A grocery receipt from the 1860s courtesy of the Old Design Shop, my go-to treasury for vintage images.

a documentary poem based on true texts

Leaving now

15min

Here

I’m across
the road

Just at till

In café

Will wait.
No stress

That was Thursday’s shopping trip

I love text poems – or SMS poems as I called them in a 2007 incarnation. On a short cob-house building trip to the Eastern Cape that year, I sent text poems from an old-school silver Nokia to various recipients. These became “From the Bathurst SMS Poems” (and may now be read in Shining in Brightness). “Pavement Walker” and “Now here is something to marvel at…” also started their lives on a phone, this time my little Alcatel from Carphone Warehouse.

This poem documents a morning shopping trip.

A friend of the poet’s offered to lift her to a retail park. Imagine the sender corresponding that she’s en route. The friend arrives but the poet is still pulling on obstinate boots. Then at the shop, the sender’s long completed their shop while the poet continues to wander Sainsbury’s aisles seeking quinoa, spelt and Morning Detox tea.

In my text poems the phone functions as notebook and layout randomiser (I recall the Dadaist word games). Line layout, full-stop location and capitalization all count towards meaning in my poems. So it fascinates me no end how the words create different combinations on different screens. Sometimes it’s the juxtaposition of words that pull at my eye and ear. For example, this evening on my packet of Iceland blueberries I read:

Eliot
Romania
Wash before use

These are my documentary poems of quiet suburbia, where Romanian Eliot’s blueberries arrive in my kitchen via Iceland, to be washed before use.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

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