Category / Exercises

Surrounded 7 November, 2013 at 11:58 am

Surrounded by breasts. A cock, surrounded by breasts. It was like some kind of hell. He pecked himself in a a bid to wake up from this horrendous nightmare.

He wandered up and down, head darting this way and that, looking at the rows of dismembered parts, all nicely laid out and presented like seed in a trough. Some packed into groups of two, others more. All in the same trays with the same transparent sheen over the top, as if they were going to escape, as if they still had life.

He felt some corn rising inside him and gagged.

Was this a torment of his own creation? Were his promiscuous ways responsible for this sick torture? Yes, he slept around, but what self respecting cockerel didn’t?

Walking along further, one careful step and then the next, eyeing the shelves, high, low, left, right. He found thighs. Then whole chickens. Well, in a way they were whole chickens. They weren’t dismembered, but they were nothing like the graceful honeys that he spent his days wooing. They were naked, beheaded, and gutted. Just a hollow puppet of the form he had chased.

If it was just a lesson, some omniscient being telling him to right his ways, then he could cope with that, at least then he could return to his life a changed bird and know that none of this was actually real.

His mind wandered to all the chickens he’d slept with, all the girls he promised his heart to. He couldn’t even remember their names, he didn’t always ask. Each one thought they had his heart, but each one he just used like meat. Guilt shot through him and made each step wobbly. He had to change his ways, he couldn’t go on like this, he had to heed this warning.

Fluttering up to the window he made his way back to the farmhouse.

In the cold light of day he tried to retrace his steps. Tried to establish if what he had seen was real or just his conscience. Eventually he gave up looking for the opening in the wall and took it as a revelation. Now, whenever there’s a new cockerel born, he’d be there to tell the story of how he was given a glimpse of the damnation that awaited him, his day trip to hell, his journey to the underworld, his foray into Tesco.


Wasted Saturday 9 March, 2013 at 1:07 am

Okay, so here’s an odd one. It’s not intended to be a poem, so it’s not presented in that way. But it does have some symptoms of a poem. It’s inspired by spoken jazz. If it reads well, then great! If it doesn’t, then you’re just reading it wrong…honest. Anyway, enjoy:

Saturday was a real wild cat. The kind of cat that really knew where it was at. Everybody loved Saturday, he always found the fun. Any party would be dull until Saturday arrived, and then wow. What a change. Everybody loved Saturday, that is, apart from Thursday. She would always sit in the corner when Saturday entered the room. Perhaps she was jealous, he’d out shine anyone. Perhaps she just didn’t like his jib, or never really found him fun.

Who knew? no point asking Saturday now.

Thursday was holding a party, to celebrate her anniversary. Two years of marriage, to lovely Tuesday. They were the perfect couple, always so sweet, everyone thought so, they’d say

“oh, aren’t they sweet”

Before looking at their others, or dates they pulled from the crowd, and let out a weary sigh, as if their own happiness could never be found. Two years to the day, and never so proud had Tuesday been. If you look at Thursday, a huge bump can be seen. She was beaming, beaming with light, beaming with joy, beaming with all her might. Until that time of the night, when in walks Saturday.

Already tipsy, and a little bit frisky, he was quite a sight, brilliant white suit, and a brilliant white shirt, a brilliant white collar, with a brilliant red mark, another on his cheek betrayed where he’d been. Probably with Sunday, the cheap little slut, they say she never leaves her bed and is common as muck. They didn’t invite Saturday, no-one ever does, Saturday always goes where ever there’s a buzz. He crashes parties everywhere, but no one cares. Who would object to a dashing young chap, crashing the scene and making it where it’s at. Because Saturday always put the it in where it’s at. He’ll just leave you, to sort out the where and the at. Everyone smiles as he crashes in, especially Monday, oh the poor little kitten. She’s oh so dull, but what makes it worse is the poor girl is smitten.

Drab dull Monday, is always oh so boring, always about work, and sensibleness. But along comes Saturday, and she tries to be fun, tried to throw a garden fate, which should never be done. Invited all the guests, on little personalized cards, but if Saturday puts the it in where’s it at, then Monday takes the it out and hides it behind the couch. Poor Monday, always so gloomy, all she wants is Saturday. To get a party all to herself, to get some Saturday all to herself. Poor Monday, tried so very hard, tried to get his attention, thought this party she might get some affection. But Saturday won’t even look at a girl like Monday, it might bring him down, from his glistening cloud that he’s floating on.

It was in the morning that the tragedy broke. One last bedroom wouldn’t open, one last visitor wouldn’t stir. Everyone gathered round, counted the guests, and one could not be found. They knocked and screamed “Saturday!” but he wasn’t going to see even one more day. They broke down the door, and examined the scene, locked himself in, and sadly became a has been. The doctor came, and the doctor went, he went to run some medical checks. Came back with the news, he’d died from the booze. Fell into a coma, and passed away, a peaceful death people say. As his liver failed and his heart it stopped, it was a glass too much and he popped his clogs.

Poor Saturday was buried, but as sure as night follows day, a new life soon came on its way. Thursday had a little girl, but it wasn’t a Wednesday as expected, but a little Friday which was not intended.

Tuesday left in a huff, grabbing his things in a rush, amongst Thursdays things was something he shouldn’t have seen, a syringe of alcohol all nice and clean, with one that was empty, and not quite so clean. The lab tested for blood, and the results were bad, they left a poor baby in a situation so sad. Her Dad up in his heaven, and her Mum down in her cell.


Opportune Criminal 27 January, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Well, let me just tell you how it is. From my point of view. Not that I can tell it from anyone else’s point of view after all.

I was leaving work as usual, going out the back door. If you use the back door you pass the outside of the loading bay, and onto a lightly used road. The loading bay was all locked up, but there was still a crate left outside, quite how the idiots doing the loading forgot it I don’t know.

So I had a little goosey and it was a whole crate of ink cartridges. Branded stuff. I don’t know if you know about ink prices? They’re ridiculous, and this whole crate of them where anyone could pick them up.

It may have been ink cartridges, but I just saw money, so I picked them up and carried them home with me. They weren’t in work, so it wasn’t really stealing. Not really.

I put them all on eBay and by the morning some of them had been sold already and some others had bids on. Being the efficient kind of guy I am, I went to the post office on the way to work and got some of them sent off.

Thinking nothing of it, naive perhaps, I went into work and continued with my job. I hadn’t stole them after all, so why would I feel guilty?

After a while, my manager, George, took me aside for a chat and after the usual chit chat, he asked me straight.

“Did you take a crate of cartridges from the stock room?”

“No Mate, I didn’t even go onto the stock room”

“Cool cool. Just needed to ask. Hope you don’t mind”

That was the end of it. But at the end of the night he asked me to help him lock up. It was a bit odd, but not unheard of. After most of it was sorted, he called me into the meeting room, put a DVD in the computer, and started playing a video.

Unsurprisingly in hindsight, it was the CCTV from the back door, and showed quite clearly me taking the crate of ink.

I started worrying, this guy could fire me on the spot, and even get me prosecuted. My argument of not stealing it suddenly seemed silly and just an excuse to justify it to myself, which it was to be fair.

He asked me what I’d done with them.

I’d shut off my only redemption, I couldn’t even return them and say sorry. Half of them already had bids which I had to honour, the other half were already in the postal system. How much would it cost me to buy that many new to replace the ones I’d pinched? And was that too schoolboy? Surely a big corporation like this one wouldn’t accept “I’m sorry I stole, here’s some replacements”, it would be prosecution to be made an example of.

I was caught, there wasn’t much I could do but be honest.

“I put them on eBay, half of them are already gone.”

“And when I asked you if you’d taken them, you lied to me.”

“No, you asked me if I’d taken them from the store room”

I immediately regretted being cheeky to the man who was deciding my fate, but he just laughed, and took the DVD out of the computer.

“So how much are you getting for them?” he asked.

I told him how much I was expecting, and he started flexing the DVD.

“Okay, well I’ll be get half of that won’t I?”

I eagerly agreed and he snapped the disc in two. I don’t know how long I’d be holding my breath, but I could suddenly breath again.

So things went on and soon all the cartridges, or evidence as I’d now looked at them as, had been posted around the country.

Everything was back to normal, and I’d learnt my lesson.

George passed me while I was stacking shelves, and just said “A crate of mobile phone covers are outside the stock room door.”

I didn’t like the implication, or instruction, but he’d wandered off before I could reply. Later on I managed to talk to him about it.

“Look, it was a one off, I’m not doing it again.” said I.

“Don’t be so uptight. I’ve already logged them as missing, so they’re as good as gone, you just need to put them on eBay.”

“No, I don’t want to go through that again. It was bad enough the first time.”

“Didn’t I cover for you last time? At least do this one for me?”

“You forget that you got half of the money? It’s not like it was a favour.”

“You weren’t the one that had to take any of the risk, all you had to do was flog them. I had to account for them and keep the regional manager from asking questions. We’re a team, and we can make plenty. I’ll tell you what can go missing, and you get rid of them”

“If it’s so easy, why don’t you do it?”

“I’m the one marking it as missing. Don’t you think it would be suspicious if the manager reported stock missing only for the profits to appear in his own bank account?”

“And they won’t be suspicious if it lands in my bank?”

“No, because they’re not listed as stolen. As far as the regional manager is concerned, they haven’t even arrived at the store. Now stop whining and get rid of them.”

It didn’t feel great, but slowly the dollar signs appeared in my eyes again and I was seeing it as profit. Like he said, it wasn’t stealing if they’re already marked as gone.

Unsurprisingly it didn’t stop there, there were about four more random crates that I had to make go missing. I suppose ‘had to’ is a bit strong, but you get my point.

We were making a nice profit, but then I got caught. Well, more like spotted. One of my colleagues saw me and must have assumed I was going to sell them, so asked for half the money.

There wasn’t much I could do, so I gave my colleague his half, and my manager his half and told him that people were starting to notice and I wanted no more to do with it.

He thought for a few moments before agreeing. I wouldn’t tell him who had spotted me despite his questioning, I don’t like dropping people into potential trouble, I just wanted it to all stop. To tell the truth I was slightly relieved I had the excuse to pack it all in. I should have guessed what was going to happen.

Leaving from work that day, I spotted the police. They had John in the back of their car, and had his boot open and were rooting through all kinds of potential stock items. Poor John was looking bewildered and he looked on at all the things they found in his car.

My manager was leaning against the wall looking on.

“What’s going on?” it was a stupid question but I had to ask it.

“It seems John was stealing from the company. Our records show crates have been going missing for a couple of months, and we’ve found proof that he’s the thief. It’s really quite shameful.”

I tried to assassinate him with a stare before walking off. Glancing behind me I could see him surveying the scene with a proud malicious smile.

It wasn’t until John was about to be sentenced for a likely jail term that I heard that his wife was expecting their first born, and whilst I may have been able to ignore a lot, it’s gone too far and the truth must come out.

So here it is. My confession.

Yours Regretfully,


The T.S. Eliot/John Gardner Killer Exercise 14 January, 2013 at 12:00 pm

“A middle-age man is waiting at a bus stop. He has just learned that his son has died violently. Describe the setting from the man’s point of view WITHOUT telling your reader what has happened. How will the street look to this man? What are the sounds? Odours? Colours? That this man will notice? What will his clothes feel like? Write a 250 word description.”

The news fell a blow upon me, physically knocking me back onto the bench.

The world turned into a blur, it appeared to slow down, but it was only I who had slowed. A bus arrived, passengers boarded, and then departed before a moment had passed in my eyes.

Despite the hour approaching lunchtime, the day grew dark and took on a more sinister hue. The once fluffy clouds became dark rolling waves of doom.

Each passer by seemed to be passing their own judgement.

Mature gentlemen shot me blades full of blame, accusing me for my part in the tragedy, all the things which I could have done to alter the chain of events but didn’t.

Kids seemed to be laughing in scorn. Mothers seemed to try to distance themselves, worried my foul influence may bring the same fate to their offspring.

A pidgin pootled around looking for scraps, it got as far as the edge of the bus stop before it caught sight of me. It only took a moment of starring before it realised the evil inside me and flew off.

Sun seemed to suddenly break through the darkness. I looked towards the sky and a crack in the clouds allowed what seemed to be a sole ray to beam upon me.

I’m sure I heard a voice as I looked to the heavens

“I’m safe. The blood’s on your hands”


Santa 10 December, 2012 at 12:00 pm

The task was to write something with a festive theme to be read out at a Christmas party. This is about as festive as I get.

The Santa that you know has abandoned you!

Nay! The Santa you know has never existed!

Let yourself not weep for this political creation, and mourn over something that was so invented. But let us strive to remember what Santa once was, what he should be, and lets hope that he can still exist for us once more.

Of all the sources in which he appears, not one depicts the man you know. Not one is what you believe in. Not one is the fat jovial demon glaring at you today. Instead you must go back, go back to the origins for your belief. Let us not mix stories and once more create a monster to be shaped by the consumerism that has engulfed us. Instead, let us rise above that, and clutch a legend, a myth, a story, which is honest and true. Something that is complete enough to survive. Something that we can turn to and say, “This is our Santa, and this is no lie”.

A Santa that no faceless entity can twist least we say “nay, that is not my Santa. For my Santa is the Santa of old. The Santa of truth, the Santa of honesty”

Be it Odin the Norse God, or be it Saint Nicolas of long ago, or be it a myth from any of a thousand sources, as long as it be something true, and then, perhaps, we can all believe in Santa once more.


I Just Don’t Care 26 November, 2012 at 3:47 pm

An exercise to create a piece of poetry 40 lines or less. No subject was suggested, so given all the choices, from a love poem, to something considering the meaning of life, or something about the beauty all around us, is it really that much of a surprise that I just did a rant in poetry form? So I present you, I Just Don’t Care. aka Procrastination On BBC News aka Meh

Which side to take on the Wikileaks plight,
Or where to stand in the Syrian fight,
Or weather to believe revolution is right,
Is it all important or are we losing sight?
I just don’t care.

Scotland has it’s referendum,
And we’re slowly losing our kingdom,
And the government’s promoting tedium,
But do we still have our freedom?
I couldn’t ever care.

Who’s going to win X-Factor,
And who’s this years top actor,
As we welcome a new BBC director,
Will the be any British BAFTAs?
I’ll never ever care.

The Internet is full of piracy,
Which is a challange to democracy,
Politics are rife with bribery,
Which could ruin Europes economy,
I’d rather not care.

Does it matter what Clegg says?
Are the British police just plebs?
Will the London bombers ever confess?
Do you want to see Kate undress?
Does anyone care?

So my mother is worrying herself,
And my father is worrying himself,
Because the government is squandering our wealth,
And I desperately try to convince myself,
That I just don’t care.


The Mary Celeste 12 November, 2012 at 12:00 pm

The task was to explain the famous mystery. The famous mystery that I’m not that familiar with and didn’t have time to research, so this time there’s a reason for it being hasty and not researched.

He saw them all rushing up to desk. Some woman was screaming. Never mind the screaming, just keep cleaning the floor. There were shouts from up top, followed by bangs on the big doors. They wanted him to open the door, remove the barricade.

“Sorry Sir” he said, “But Mr Marshall says I’m only to clean”

After a while the shouting stopped. Just like Mr Marshall says, if he stays out of things they resolve themselves.

He cleaned up to the base of the stairs to the bridge, shiny clean behind him, dripping red ahead. Oh well, will keep him busy. Up at the top step, still red seeping out.

He waited 5 minutes after knocking and knocked again.

Counting the seconds he opened the door after another 5 minutes. What a mess! Oh well. Don’t touch the crew he was told. It took all day cleaning the red as it leaked out the crew.

The next day he unblocked on of the doors to the deck.

Mornings he cleaned the deck. More red. The rain from the storm had made it go everywhere, but easier to clean.

It took him two days to decide the corpses could be called a mess and cleaned up. The cuts from the sword the man used made quite a mess. Perhaps he should have stopped him when he was running around with all those weapons, but that wasn’t his place.

12 O’Clock. Time to lay the tables. It was hard work doing it all on his own, but he was a good worker. Keep working and don’t ask questions Mr Marshall said, and Mr Marshall was always right.

Thursday. Thursdays he cleans the sides of the ship, usually there’s more people, but he’ll try on his own, worst that could happen is he falls in, then he just needs to shout “Man overboard” and then someone would rescue him.

Any minute now…Any minute.


Accidents Can Happen 5 November, 2012 at 12:00 pm

The aim of this exercise was to create a story in 60 words. No more, no less. The problem is, once you’ve started, you’re almost finished so describing a scene kills your word limit. Most stories I’ve seen tend to be jokes instead of stories which is what I try to avoid.

He was naked. And cold. That much was plain to see.

“What did you do that for?” he whispered.

“Sorry..throws of passion and all that”

“Throws of passion, not throw them into the canal!”

“Hide! Someone’s coming!”

“Where?! There’s nowhere to hide!”

She pushed him off the path.


“Sooooorrrrrry! Err…I love you?”

His body was never found


Chauffeur Hanged 29 October, 2012 at 12:00 pm

In this exercise, the task was to convert a newspaper article to a poem. The article chosen was regarding the execution of Thomas Henry Allaway who was hanged in 1922 in the south of England (search his name and you can find the full story). This is one of my very few attempts at poetry.

Everyone should get a job,
No matter how it makes you sob,
But mind the daily paper,
Or your soul may escape like vapour.

No one should seek to murder,
But if you do careful how you lure her,
And be mindful of your spelling,
As in court it can be telling.

Craft a careful alibi,
Least it may cause you to die,
You must convince the judge,
Of all the facts that you fudge.

As you sit in your cell,
And you wonder which sod did tell,
Know that it’s not his fault,
Just your excuse wasn’t worth its salt.

“Did you do it?” Said the priest,
“Then confess at the very least”,
“From God nothing can be hid,
And he truly knows that I did”.


The Clegg Monster 21 February, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Following on from the last Clegg and Cameron story, I had to choose one of the characters, and write first person, given a specific event which will soon become very clear. I have a nasty habit of writing a story, then for one reason or another, it totally changes direction. As usual it’s from light-hearted world domination to sinister. All events are purely fictional and bare no relation to anything real, it’s just a bit of fun.

I got back from school, and the moment I opened the door there was a wrongness. Then there was a thud. I rushed through the house and a man was lying on the floor, his eyes were directed straight at me and it seemed like a candle inside him went out. Blood was pouring out of his head and soaking into the carpet.

I looked up to the man towering above him, all I saw was a monster. A drop of blood caught my eye as it fell towards the floor from the lamp still in the creatures hand. I could see his veins pumping, and his teeth were gritted in a face framed with anger. I don’t know how long we stood there, me starring at the monster, the monster starring at the corpse, and the corpse starring at me.

The monster broke the stand off, raising his gaze to meet mine. The moment he moved, my legs refused to work. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t even breath.

When his eyes met mine was the point I recognised him, or rather, who was hidden inside somewhere.

“Daddy?” I let out meekly.

“I had to. I had to. It was his own fault! He ruined my career! Did you see it? That STUPID speech he made me read!”

My stomach dropped. It felt like my entire insides had dropped. It felt like I had dropped. All the way to hell. And from this hell there would surely be no return.

I’m not sure why, but I couldn’t stop the words escaping from my mouth.

“I wrote that speech and replaced it in your red box”

He waddled over to me, his face still crazed, I searched desperately for my father in his eyes, but found nothing.

He raised the lamp above his head.

I turned away, I still couldn’t run, but I found I had tears streaming down my cheeks.

There was a thud.

I turned back, and my father had returned and was on his knees in front of me.

“What have I done?” was all he said, and then grabbed me and held me tight in desperation.

When he released me and looked into my eyes it seemed like a thought struck him.

“You wrote ‘Cleggieweggie smells like eggieweggie’?”

“No” I was confused for a moment before I figured it out, “That scheming evil little Arthur Cameron…”

I ran out of the room muttering in anger at what the little upstart did to my dad, behind me my father was screaming out for me to stop, but it didn’t register. A red haze had descended.

What more can I say? Like father, like son.