I get the train most days in London and it often makes me stressed and anxious, and in honesty I have been in a bit of an anxiety cyclone recently and when that happens I tend to avoid writing which is odd because is always makes me feel better. So yesterday I deliberately didn’t take my headphones out with me, just a little A6 notepad and a couple pens.

So here is a simple writing exercise for your daily commute (if you have an iPad/tablet or a phone you could even do the editing on it too although on a phone the lineation might be hard)

 

1. WRITING PART 1 – ON YOUR WAY SOMEWHERE

-First part of the writing happens on your way TO SOMETHING/SOMEWHERE so it will take as long as that chunk of the journey.

-By hand: this is a key challenge for me at the moment, I am so used to and comfortable with typing I want to see how writing by hand changes what I find.

-Choose every third thought: (I definitely stole this off of one of my friends but can’t remember which SO SORRY) but write slowly, look around you for images, phrases, smells.

 

 

2. WRITING PART 2 – ON YOUR WAY BACK HOME 

-Same rules as part 1

-Write with a different pen

-Don’t read the first chunk of writing, just carry on writing.

 

3. EDITING PART 1 – TYPE IT UP 

-Leave the line and stanza breaks wherever they fell which, if you are like me will probably be largely restrained by the narrowness of your book!

-Keep any typos, these can sometimes be more interesting. (Big up my fellow dyslexia massive, it’s sometimes a better poet than we are!) 

Obstructing the doors can

be dangerous – Mind the

thigh gap. This is a circle line

service, suspended, suspenders,

skin coloured rights and a

pair of black Asics’.

It’s simple – no touching. It’s

6.47 in the morning so

we lye on the concrete outside

the club to catch the

shadows yawning.

I’m embarrassed to say it’s

Complicated.

Please stand clear of the yellow

Line – but when it’s

unnecessarily

far out we all play the

game. Train as fast as

hairs to blade or a baby’s

face – the line between laugh

and cry as you tickle away today.

The next station is

Embankment. When I told strangers

I was a Vigrin they told me

They didn’t like sex

Or it’s the best

Or when you start can I be next?

The train is ready to

depart can you mind the closing

doors.

If you need to ask

If I need to pause.

Get on the night tube

Or the N25

Hear your converse splash

As your backside dives

Look down at the lino

Smell where you’ve arrived

Vomit more extensive than

The M25 –

Running down the carriage

Like period down a thigh

Puss from a stye

Everyone sitting like

Everything’s fine –

Is the apocalypse ny?

TRAIN HOME

The next station is Temple

My body – what will you

Sacrifice on my steps?

This train is being held

At a red light because

Of a person on the line –

A fatality at Westminster.

We are now ready to

Depart – please do

Not obstruct the closing

Doors.

What doors inside you

are closing?

Tell us what you think,

Contacting us is easy.

The gaps between my

Cheek and his hand.

No one taught me the

Difference between

don’t touch me

and I love you

That thye can live

Together.

There are Cannons

On the streets inside

Me.

The tube map looks so

Simple when you’re from

This cound of London.

Squint. What do you think?

When did I loose my

Virginity if it’s not just

About a dick going in?

Australia is the best because

It’s daytime is out nighttime

You can reply to all

Their emails whilst

They’re asleep!

 

#Metoo

 

#Metoo… how many hashtags

have I drawn a line

through?

I’ve thouh of too many

Hands in my sleep –

Seen too many men on

Dance floors tonguing

Unconscious women.

I heart they got rid

Of bendy buses cause a

Body was trapped

In the rubber fold –

Dragged for miles

Like chewing fun on

Sole.

Stop rhyming

No drinking

My mate had sex

With a train driver

Said it was

Great. I didn’t

Really like strangling

People but I

Also don’t know

What I do like –

I asked

once and embarrassed

I didn’t know

What to say except

Stay, stay, stay

Behind the yellow

Line.

 

 4. EDIT 2 – CUT & PLAY 

-Cut and add trying to find sense, I always feel like first drafts are subconscious Debris leaving conscious Debris some sort of riddle and when I edit I need to get closer to the answer. So, read out loud if you can and cut and add to try and find the core thread of this riddle.

-Edit your line and stanza breaks to add to meaning (play around to see what works).

-Get rid of the explicit divide between the first and second half unless if feels like it’s serving something.

 

Obstructing the doors

can be dangerous – This circle is suspended,

suspenders, skin coloured tights and black Asics’.

6.47 in the morning, catch

shadows yawning.

It’s embarrassed to say anything

complicated, Please

 

stay behind of the yellow line – but when it’s

unnecessarily far in we all play the

game. Train fast as a baby’s face –

laugh to cry in naught point six

then as you tickle the fear away.

Get on the night tube or N25 – Converse splash

vomit more extensive than than M25 –

Running down the carriage like period down a thigh

Puss from a sty – everyone sitting like

Everything’s fine?! Is the apocalypse nigh?

The next station is Temple, my body –

what will you sacrifice on my steps?

 

This train is being held at a red light

person on the line, fatality at Westminster. We are now ready

to depart – please do not obstruct

the closing doors. What doors inside you are closing?

Tell us what you think, contacting us is easy.

 

The gaps between my cheek and his hand.

There are Cannons on the streets inside Me.

 

The tube map looks so simple when you’re from

his country of London. Squint. What do you think?

 

When did you loose your

Virginity if it’s not just

about a dick going in?

My mate had sex with a train driver

Said it was great. I was asked

What I like once, and I didn’t know what to say

Except stay, stay, stay, please

stay behind the yellow line.

 

 5. EDIT 3 – CUT IT DOWN TO 16 LINES 

-So I am working on a series of poems that are all 16 lines in length at the moment, but it also works as a nice exercise to cut something down radically!

-You might want to have an additional exercise where it gets a bit bigger or maybe even smaller but working towards a specific line length is a nice exercise to challenge you to trim down to the essentials of a piece.

-Come up with a title.

 

It’s Simple, No Touching

 

6.47AM, catch shadows yawn. Commuters rebel, [please

stay behind of the yellow line] trains fast as a baby’s face –

bird-song fights with tracks to tickle the fear away.

N25 – Converse splash vomit more extensive than M25. Chunky fluid

running down carriage like period down thigh. Everyone sitting like

everything’s fine? Is the apocalypse nigh?

[The next station is Temple] My Body, what will you sacrifice on my steps?

[This train is being held at a red light – person on the line – fatality at Westminster.

We are now ready to depart, please do not obstruct the closing doors]

 

What doors inside you are closing? [Tell us what you think,

contacting us is easy] The gap between my cheek and his hand.

There are Cannons on the streets inside me. A tube of privacy –

 

When did you lose your Virginity if it’s not just about a dick going in?

My mate had sex with a train driver said it was great. I was asked

what I like once, and I didn’t know what to say

except stay, stay, stay, please [stay behind the yellow line].

 

Far from done but I have a DRAFT of something for my 16 series. Hope you get something out of this too!

Debris x