Tuesday, April 19, 2011


(based on suggestions from @jellyjellyfish, @snazzydee, @facelikethunder, @realnixwilliams, @mlledelicieuse, @pinknantucket, @matchtrick, @ernmalleyscat, @greenspace01)

Take the number two and clonk back a couple of hundred years.

We’ve got time, there are infinite decimal places between Zeno

and the first bus. Large numbers of glottal bus stops but few

fricatives in the language of public transport. Trains have the most,

because of the tunnels. Force air oosh along an articulated tube.

The vehicle bumps to a stop with a whish of air brakes.

I wish, not for the first time, that my carriage was a horse

as high as a woolly mammoth or the Empire State Building

with clopped hooves and a tall dog’s mane. A beast you could burden.

A Clydesdale I could ride in a crisp bonnet and roffling petticoats.

I’ve climbed the shape of horses in the clouds and it’s like

looking up a spiral aircase from below. It alters perception:

resonants appear as vowels and consonants parody themselves

like Mr Ed with peanut butter umbling on his gums.

The flank of a horse is the most beautiful shining nimbus.

Draw back on the accelerator, Mr Driver, we’re in no

tearing paper hurry. There’s time to check references,

amend hoof-notes before driving oodly exhaust clouds

forward in (Harvard 2010, p. 1) to where cars go in Chicago[1]

to the flow of rivers under the Cambridge[2].

Just before the folding doors close I light-bulb a reply

to that thing you said weeks ago about food and riding.

If horses were courses then beggars would fry

them up crispy. Belated humour on the steps of a bus

is one sole note smiling against the timetable.

Tyres emboss a superscript number on the bitumen.

We bang along the same old paths, veer below the lines.

But sometimes we footnote something really important

(like the love in the eye of a horse or the

muffling long hair of an Afghan as it runs).


Today's poem is based on suggestions from nine peeps:

@greenspace01: "woolly mammoths"

@ernmalleyscat: “Ok either an Old Norse epic or lots of onomatopoeia”

@matchtrick: @annaryanpunch @pinknantucket “Infinitessimals!”
@pinknantucket: “hmm ok…how about the infinity that exists between one and two”

@mlledelicieuse: “unless you’ve done it before, the shapes made by clouds”

@realnixwilliams: “the benefits and drawbacks of Harvard, Chicago, and Cambridge styles of referencing”

@facelikethunder: “Proto-Indo-European”

@snazzydee: “L’esprit de l’escalier”


One of my high school friends always said I looked like an Afghan hound, especially when I ran (long straight hair, centre parting, very tall). This seemed somehow right to me, and still does (even though I have a side part now). I think they are my patronus.

I've discovered I'm not a natural at onomatopoeia, which is odd because sometimes I go through periods where I experience sounds as words. It's hard to explain - if I hear someone clap their hands, the noise suddenly spells a word in my head.

I always want words to throw up visuals rather than sounds. But I've had a go, even though it meant inventing some words.

[1] Illinois, Which is Cleaner, and Does Not Disrupt the Eye (Chicago: Run Bus Run Press, 2011), 2.

[2] East Anglia, Which is Basically the Same Except With Less Parentheses, Cambridge, England, Let Them Run On Time Publications, 2012, p. 3.


nixwilliams said...



ernmalleyscat said...

Lots of fun plays with words and sounds. Better than just onomatopoeia. I love 'glottal bus stops', 'spiral aircase', 'roffling petticoats', 'peanut butter umbling on his gums'

Anna said...

It was all rather fun :)
That's apparently how they got Mr Ed to "talk" - rubbbing peanut butter on his gums.