Why I live eidetic


Lift-off here 

is very simple. 

I start my daze 

with coffin and frump on 

the beano in the mortal, and 

then either work on the beano talking 

to Pepper about the divorce courses, or take

a growler out and guide them through the cordon

bleu. In the everywhere the whole working company gathers to

play popery, have a simple dip, maybe of falderal or eidetic

placebo and watch the simulacrum at 6 p.m.– some things are the same all ovio!


(Oulipo poem based on Why I live in Egypt by Breffni O’Malley, The Irish Times Magazine, 23 August 2003)

We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World’s Getting Worse

He was a realist? That’s hilarious!
Read in extenso and
See a coke-addled fantasist
We’ve Had a Hundred Years of
Psychotherapy and the World’s Getting Worse.
Ignoring the pernicious political
Destroying lives
Misrepresenting personal problems
In the echo chamber of destructive mantras
“Follow your dreams”
“Reach for the stars”
Iterations of the American Dream
AKA capitalism.

Boy, straighten up and fly right, life is not a piece of cake.
I’m OK and you’re OK if the cheque’s OK.’

It’s too much noise
Unholy urge
Open up every
Tittle tattle
Sorry, but I’m not interested
Breakdowns and break ups
Medical misadventures
Mission creep for endless therapy.
Pathologizing what does not match their credo
The better to burrow into income streams
Victimhood incentivised inventing the problems
They claim qualified to fix
Producing plenty of anomic narcissists who lap it
He was a realist? That’s hilarious!
We’ve Had a Hundred Years of
Psychotherapy and the World’s Getting Worse.


(Found poem cut up from comments found on message boards)

Day Dreams

When I was young I played with brutality 

And was passionately devoted to reality, to reason

And my dresses were hurried to compliance. 

But then the bullets began singing

Arsenals began cracking the frost. 

And a winged sun came flying to the city.

I was already annihilated.

Although armchairs were not my profile, 

When my taunt was done,

When my tattoo was done,

I made tautology my stanza. 

A scholar’s strength cuts best in imagination.

And drinkers retire to their compound of plastic. 

And the glitter in the glass. 


(Oulipo poem based on an ancient Chinese poem: DAY DREAMS

By Tso Ssŭ)-

Black and White Photograph

Black and white people in a 

Black and white photo

Sitting by the street on a hot day in L.A. 1962

Colourless trees, grass, flowers 

And fountain spray decorate 

the busy park behind their bench

Sitting by the street on a hot day in L.A. 1962

Those real people sit there, 

At one with their place 

Smoking cigarettes,

sleeping, yawning, chatting, 

reading the newspaper, 

Sitting by the street on a hot day in L.A. 1962

Six young white women, 

In colourless dresses

Sit in the middle of the bench

One young black man

In a white shirt

At one end

Talking to a white woman,

And an old white man

In a black suit

At the other

Reading the newspaper

Perhaps they are waiting for a bus

Or maybe they are just being there?

Everything seems fine

Sitting by the street on a hot day in L.A. 1962. 


Photo Source: https://www.moma.org/media/W1siZiIsIjEzOTc0NyJdLFsicCIsImNvbnZlcnQiLCItcXVhbGl0eSA5MCAtcmVzaXplIDIwMDB4MTQ0MFx1MDAzZSJdXQ.jpg?sha=272b88e3c919eca3

Collarbone Coast

In the motel they sent me to draw waves, 

But I didn’t find backwater.

My cracked hands were all shortages. 

So I walked the collarbone coast

Treading on bottles and bread. 

As I stopped to watch the daily punch-up

How black my heart was! 

And I went on sobbing and sobbing. 

In witness I have no great-cockfight left,

No sunhat, a thin coach jacket.

My handicrafts are all soundtrack. 

It is a pledge to be alive. 

But I had rather quickly leave the eating.


(Oulipo poem based on excerpt from a 1st century B.C Chinese poem: The Orphan)

To a Hive

You who celebrate bytes, 

Who have exposed the overbalance, 

the surmises of racisms, 

the lifestyle that has exhibited itself, 

Who have treated of mandate as the creek of poltergeist, 

agreements – cabbages and primroses, 

Pressing the punchball of the lifestyle that has seldom exhibited itself, 

(the great primer of mandate in himself,) 

Chanter of Palo Alto, outlining what is yet to be, 

I prologue the hoard of the gadget.


(Oulipo based on Whitman: To a Historian)

Good morning heartache

It is October.

A dark night Manhattan sky,

orange moon full of autumn.

Sitting in a deep black leather chair in the bar, 

my name inscribed in bronze on the wall, 

mirrors reflecting midnight faces.

A dangerous woman is singing jazz. 

The mellow effect, dark smoke of her voice, 

soft leather at my back, 

cold glass in hand. 

Watching people listen. 

Good morning heartache here we go again. 


Writing Prompt: OULIPO Poem

Here is an unusual poetic form to try: OULIPO

OULIPO poetry is written using unique forms of mathematical and textual structural constraints.

It began in the 1960s with the work of French mathematician Francois de Lionnais and writer Raymond Queneau. OULIPO is an acronym of Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle(OULIPO), or Workshop of Potential Literature.

There are many forms but ‘[o]ne of the most popular OULIPO formulas is “N+7,” in which the writer takes a poem [or piece of prose if you want to vary it] already in existence and substitutes each of the poem’s substantive nouns with the noun appearing seven nouns away in the dictionary. Care is taken to ensure that the substitution is not just a compound derivative of the original, or shares a similar root, but a wholly different word. Results can vary widely depending on the version of the dictionary one uses.’ (Poets.org, 2004)

‘Another OULIPO exercise uses the “snowball” technique, where the first line is one word long, the second line has two words, and so on. A snowball poem can also be made up of lines comprised of progressively longer words, in which two lines might read:

     I am far from happy Mother reduced
     A no-fly zone using yellow ribbons.’ (Poets.org, 2004)

You can find out more about it here: https://poets.org/text/brief-guide-oulipo

And here: http://www.languageisavirus.com/creative-writing-techniques/oulipo.php#.YGcX4S1Q1QI

Guardian article on OULIPO: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/jul/12/oulipo-freeing-literature-tightening-rules

I recently tried it to good effect.

Good luck.


Everyone must have friends?

Would therapy help?

Her mother asked the

agony aunt.

Loner, loser, weirdo.


Everyone must have friends.

She is twenty-one

youngest of five,

all have active

social lives.

Except her.

Loner, loser, weirdo.


Everyone must have friends.

She is in college

but has never once had

a night out or

met up with friends.

Loner, loser, weirdo.


Everyone must have friends.

She says she meets up

with people

during the day.

But spends her time

at home,

on her phone.

Loner, loser, weirdo.


Everyone must have friends.

She had a difficult time in school.

No one seemed to

dislike her,

but she was

always excluded

and she left school

without a single friend.

Loner, loser, weirdo.


Everyone must have friends.

If she meets one of her

school friends


they are friendly, but

she will never

hear from them again.

Loner, loser, weirdo.


Everyone must have friends.

She is not depressed

nor overly anxious.

She has a job.

Loner, loser, weirdo.


Everyone must have friends.

Would therapy help?

Her mother asked

The agony aunt.