Archives for posts with tag: mobile phones

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



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:

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

vintage mens clothing image, victorian era man illustration, antique catalogue page, free black and white clip art, old fashioned mens clothes

Image courtesy of The Old Design Shop, a vintage design treasury.


High Dependency Units

Another quick read poem/ non-poem, which uses a list format.

See, gentlemen, poetry isn’t such an effort to read. And there’s so much more left of your day to do other things such as check your ‘phone, drink coffee, smoke and check some skin.

(The impressions for this piece came while I was sitting at a coffee shop watching the men come in, buy their espressos, sit outside with their cigarettes and then pour over their ‘phones. An ambulance, with the words ‘High Dependency Unit’ painted on its side, drove past.)

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill


My latest volume, based on my year-long 2×52 project, will be available at in June. In the meantime, please preview my two other titles.
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness

Ten days ago
I didn’t know you.
Didn’t know you 
walked the streets 
of anywhere
walked the streets
of London
Didn’t know
Didn’t know you 
had walked 
the dusty sights of that anywhere 
near where I had
breathed the streets of 
and then in London.
I didn’t know the sight of 
each “1 new message” 
could stop my lungs 
for 58 hours
stop those bellows in my chest 

for fifty-




If I text,
will I have blown it?

Said plainly in acknowledgement of Valentine’s Day.

Both of my recently published books include poems on love and relationships. Preview by clicking on the titles below:

Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys

Shining in Brightness

Follow me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill or pop over to the BeadedQuill Facebook page.



Do not stop for


they are a

waste of time.




Bury in


Hurry in a grey

coat. See not

the fallen gate-

post, a thread

of quiet small-

leafed ivy.

16/02/2012 19:20

First thoughts for this poem were drafted on a little black Alcatel. I had been given the ‘phone as a freebie on opening an Orange account when I first arrived in the UK. On the evening of these first draft thoughts, I think I was on my way to see the friends whose household features in another of my poems, 118A Creighton Avenue.

“Pavement Walker” reflects a typical weekday evening in a North London suburb when it is repopulated after the workday exodus. The commuters spill onto the pavements from the tube and buses, still bent over their ‘phones and cares.

The original draft mentioned “Consult/ the insufficient Blackberry,” but I removed the brand reference in respect of their copyright. This allowed for a smarter poetic turn, as I could then insert an inter-textual reference to a line from TS Eliot’s “Four Quartets.” See if you can spot the allusion.

“Pavement Walker” serves as the opening poem of my first volume, Shining in Brightness. Positioned as such, it was intended to be both a poetic and thematic entry point into the (sub)urban landscape, which is the setting for much of the work. It also introduces the tone of quiet meditation that qualifies many of the selected poems.

“Pavement Walker” appears in the 94th issue of the South African poetry journal Carapace. You can order copies of Carapace or read more about the journal here.

To preview my first volume of poetry SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012, visit the online bookstore at

Follow my regular tweets on poetry, pavement walking and suburban life. I’m @BeadedQuill.