Dark Angels Note 45

Welcome back to our writerly thoughts to distract, inspire and reassure you. Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here..


1 Writing

This week’s prompt comes via an interview with A.E. Stallings in Lightbox Poetry.

Write a poem about your least favourite (or favourite if you prefer) school subject –algebra? social studies? chemistry? – using some interesting un-poetic vocabulary from that subject. Find the poetry in the unpoetic, or the unpoetic in the literary.


2 Reading

Fairy-tale Logic 

Fairy tales are full of impossible tasks:
Gather the chin hairs of a man-eating goat,
Or cross a sulphuric lake in a leaky boat,
Select the prince from a row of identical masks,
Tiptoe up to a dragon where it basks
And snatch its bone; count dust specks, mote by mote,
Or learn the phone directory by rote.
Always it’s impossible what someone asks—

You have to fight magic with magic. You have to believe
That you have something impossible up your sleeve,
The language of snakes, perhaps, an invisible cloak,
An army of ants at your beck, or a lethal joke,
The will to do whatever must be done:
Marry a monster. Hand over your firstborn son.

A.E. Stallings


3 Sharing

stop smiling

the smiling mortician,
listen, lay off, ok, at least another day, no,
another 28 days no 365 days no ten years or more
because he’s not ready for you– no, he’s not ready, ok
you’ve had his brother, Uncle Rog, gone too soon, without
goodbye because it’s the sort of surgery Prince Philip survives at 99
so why say goodbye because we’re going to see you when
Pam’s baby arrives and you’re Grandad for the hundredth time

the smiling mortician,
listen, look away, ok, at the squashed fox
on the cross-hatching where the pensioner left the world last spring–
it’s flat, its organs collapsed, its life lapsed, easy to flap and fold
into a small coffin cheaper to make than one for Dad

you, smiling mortician,
listen, lay off, look away, ok,
and turn attention to another, a crossed lover,
a landlubber, Danny Glover, a tubthumping gun runner
i don’t know, i really don’t know,
just another

and stop smiling
or else the mirror hanging on your walls
will one day reflect a light so bright on those teeth
that you’ll be the next to leave.  

Rob Self-Pierson

This was written in response to a reading of “The world is a beautiful place” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti at a recent Tuesday night gathering.


4 Gathering

Join us via Zoom for an hour of writing and talking with other Dark Angels. We meet at 7pm UK time every Tuesday. Click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance and we’ll be using the same link every week from now on. There’s no charge. And feel free to bring a friend along.


5 Workshopping

Our online Advanced Course with Jamie Jauncey and Richard Pelletier this April still has room for a couple more, so if you know of anyone who might enjoy this fantastic writing experience, feel free to spread the word.

From everyone at Dark Angels

Also published on Medium.