I have been putting that pen refill to unexpected use writing instapoems. What is an instapoem? I only came across the word recently, in a New Yorker review of The terrible, a memoir by Yrsa Daley-Ward. From what I can make out, an instapoem is more of a concept than a formula. It refers to a first, or early, draft of a poem, usually short. So they are either not edited at all, or if so, only lightly. (I couldn’t help myself here and there.)

I have been enjoying knocking out a few of these. Maybe they will be a sort of warm-up for the memoir that I am supposed to be writing, but which is as yet only notes and a few scraps. Because there are several of these, I have decided to give them titles from the periodic table. The titles are not assigned for any particular reason. I can’t get all the line spacing right, except in the last one, but I’m not going to fiddle with them further.


We hold on

until we can’t

then it can be


to let go.


In love

like a pairing

you need to take place

if your love

doesn’t love you

you can’t be

by yourself.


Man standing on one leg

foot to knee

like a double bass

on a spike

himself the instrument

the universe plays


A paper shop

smells of all the sweet thoughts

we imagine ourselves thinking,

all the marks

we owe it to ourselves

the universe

to make


After Mahler

In the forest

I’m in a clearing

tall trees

the magic hour

seems to stretch out

as if it will last forever

a path leads out

that I have to take

wind in the trees

the grass is cool.


Bubbles fur the bottom

of the saucepan

water seethes

just contained

sauce kisses

the gentle pasta

oh Mommy



Endless manoeuvres

of the glasses

shuttling between

cold and wet

hot and dry

being handled

being alone

shut in the dark



Alexa, I’ve got
a broken heart
how do I get a cure
Hey Google
what’s the meaning of life
should I buy my wife a bracelet
so she knows
I love her
or just tell her



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