Monday, 17 October 2016

Has Trump been hacked by Spambots?

WASHINGTON, DC  - Boffins have been mobilised to investigate whether the brain of presidential candidate Donald Trump has been infected with a computer virus.
“Mister Trump’s ever-more bizarre pronouncements and nonsensical circular speeches show signs of having been assembled by automatic Internet scraping programs,” said Doctor Theopolus X. Zucchini, Professor of That Kind Of Thing at the Washington University of Special Electronics And Complex Computer Wotsits.
“Through careful analysis of his doggerel we have identified signs that his software has been infected by the Ars.Brain Virus, which could have been as long ago as the turn of the millennium.”
Dr. Zucchini predicted that it was only a matter of time before Mr. Trump asked his supporters to buy Viagra and Cialis directly from Trump.  Computer specialists also revealed that Mr. Trump’s hardware is also almost certainly running the unofficial and outlawed Gropem.Pro mainframe.
At present a team of computer experts is working on an antivirus program, under the code name of D/Select/4Godsake, but Trump is expected to remain online for the time being. Users who believe they have been affected by the software or hardware issues are advised that we have such good brains working on it. I mean, we have the best brains. Such terrific brains, folks. It’s gonna be terrific.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The Moderates Song

You never hear a moderate on the radio
Phoning in to a phone in show:
“I have listened to all sides of the discussion
And feel it’s a complex issue with many repercussions
Oh we must all tread carefully
And try and find common ground.”

You never see a moderate in a footy stand
Standing up to shout and wave their hands:
“Oi referee! You do a bloody hard job
And we’re collectively grateful to you sonny-bob
Cause without you we don’t have a game
And we forgive your human mistakes cause they make us the same.”

You never see a moderate on a protest march
With a banner lofted high and proud and such:
“This is a legitimate way to express an opinion
And I must admit that our position
Is based somewhat on emotion
And could do with challenging too.”

Maybe if we did, things would be better
You’d open the local paper to read the letters:
“On the subject of Mr. Stayaway’s scribble
I must admit I found myself a little
Intrigued by his contention that if we’ll
Discuss the facts and drop the bluster
We’ll see the truth behind the rhetoric.”

Maybe if we did, we could move on
Power in truth and love and song:
“We’re not saying that we know it all
Good grief, we ain’t saying that at all.
But if we begin from a standpoint of openness
We can redefine the word ‘success;

To mean giving credence to what’s there
Not nebulous oppositional politics where
The onus is on us to choose a team
To shout from the sidelines, screaming, obscene
At each other whilst our pockets are picked
And we’re kicking each other, not against the pricks.”

Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe moderately so?
To accept and embrace our communal faults for those
Impostors and invigorators, thoughts and feelings
Whilst simultaneously recognising
That humans are fundamentally good
If only we could listen more. If only we would.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Stages of Found Poetry: Below The Line (digital)

·         Prior to an event:
o   An editor or commissioning editor sees news value in an event
o   They select a reporter to cover it, based on reporter skills and knowledge of house style and/or political leanings of the publication
o   A deadline, wordcount and brief is given to the reporter

·         An event occurs
·         A reporter witnesses the event
·         The reporter writes about the event and submits the piece by deadline to the brief as above
·         A sub editor cleans copy for grammar, accuracy to house style as above, and selects a headline
o   To increase clickthroughs online
o   To draw readers to that article
o   To enable the advertising department to maximise views in order to sell ad space near the article at a higher rate
·         The editor may also go through the subbing process before putting the article live online
·         Comments are opened
·         Commenters offer their views
o   They will have had to sign up to the service either because a) they share the aims, bias and leanings of the publication, or b) they have strong views on the event and want to share them. It is not relevant if they are positive or negative
·         Comments enable more clickthroughs on an article as above re. ad space
·         The would-be poet searches through the comments to select suitable content
o   Based on rhyme, metre, pace, wording
o   Based on suitable content – either oppositional in nature or themed for the purposes of the piece
·         These comments are rearranged / decontexted / recontexted into recognisable ‘poetic’ forms
·         The poet-editor selects the format and writes a suitable headline
·         The poem/s are published on a website which may be itself subjected to the advertising metrics as above
·         News of the poems’ existence are published on social media, emails, and other forms of dissemination
·         Comments are published on the poems. These comments are subject to the same process of poetic selection/editing as above.

These circularities seek to reveal the bias at every stage, including that of the poet-editor, whose ostensibly neutral position is found to be nothing of the sort due to the extraction choices and poem-edit-creation above. The Internet’s structure is also revealed through these choices, specifically some of the relationship with advertising, funding, content and click counts, social media and self-selecting subsets of political-social groups, anonymity and accountability, et cetera.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Below the Line Poetry: The second election of Jeremy Corbyn

I wrote some Below the Line poetry for Neon Magazine on the re-election to his current job of Jeremy Corbyn.

The articles were all published on Sat, 24 September 2016 and the comments were taken as far as possible from the earliest commenters.

The publications in this case were The Guardian; Daily Mail; The Canary; The Sun.

The pieces in The Corbyn Suite were written/compiled/edited on Monday, 26 September, 2016

The nature of BTL is that it is malleable to almost infinite extent. The link also has a short explanation of the process.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Idle Wednesday

I am so idle I can hear the cat breathing.

Hfff hfff                hff hff  

I could sit here longer and hear the tomatoes ripening. Wouldn’t that be something?
Straining with juices and fragrantly fattening.
Not like me.
Flagrantly fattening.
I don’t even really like tomatoes.

If I stop typing                                                   I can hear a bee buzzing                                               
                And there is another                      a chirpy bird, not too close           a slightly raised mum’s voice                       mysterious bangs                             three of them                                    buf buf                 buf
Low frequencies too. Undulating. Waves. Car engines eddie and flow into each other. The bottom of the soundscape
                Was that a futurist thing?

 I can’t hear my brain but the blood bumping up and down                                            is there                 fdp         dfd         dsp                              

 and I think that’s kind of 



ah 42 and the answer is minus 0

Sunday, 4 September 2016

I am a writer, I suppose

I spose I’m a writer now, because I write things
But not much gets published. Does that matter?
I’m wondering if validation equals a career or
Maybe at least a vocation? No. A passion?
I don’t really think so. Of the hats I’ve worn
This is a fairly comfy one. Is it a compulsion?
Do I feel worse if I don’t write, and better
If I do? I guess I don’t obsess, don’t sing
My own praises enough. Or maybe too much
In passive-aggressive woe-is-me port-soaked
Nonsense. Who knows. Who cares? Pfff.

I can call myself a poet if I want, but nobody else
Really gives a toss about that, which is fine by me.
Actually I lie. Who wouldn’t want other people
To read what you do and say things like, ‘He
Really taps into the zeitgeist,’ or, ‘Joe calls
Things as they are, but you can see he believes
In something better.’ Stuff like that. Really. Truly.
But that’s really not the point is it? It’s kind of a self-
Obsession if I’m motivated by that. Again, though,
Maybe that’s the point. I think I’m missing something
Rather than the world missing me. So…

Journalism is different. Non-fiction books, all that
Is easy really once you realise that the story
Is already there. All your job is on that one
Is teasing it out, finding good quotes to stitch
Together. Chasing the ever-falling wordcount
And hoping to get paid. Nobody got rich
Off of these pulpy unauthorised biographies.
Well, not me, anyway. I don’t think they’re crap;
Some of them – all of them for different reasons – are
Pretty entertaining. I surprise myself when I read them
At some of the stuff I scribbled for a laugh. Ha. Ha.

Fiction? It’s stuff that’s made up, stuff that hasn’t
Happened. Or, stuff that could have happened, and
Is plausibly enough scrawled onto a page that it
Engenders hallucination of sorts, a mental movie
Translated from the printed black on white bits
And bobs that equal written language. And so we
Keep on reading, keep on dreaming way beyond
The confines of the ragged world’s constant spasms,
To lift ourselves from day to day drudge, or fear,
To stave off the urge to get fucked up or to fuck off
Altogether, and finally. Why? Well, the truth is: I have no idea.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016


Man Does Thing
- Reuters

    A MAN shocked bystanders today by doing a thing.
Onlookers at the Place Somewhere were astonished when A Man came and began to do what turned out to be a thing. The man, who appeared to be a human man, made several movements and noises consistent with the process of thinging, before leaving the scene.
"I could not believe my eyes," said a lady, also apparently human, "I've seen it many times before, of course, but never just now and not in that exact place."
Police attended the scene but could not establish whether it was.

SOARAWAY SHOO would like to hear from you! Were you there? Is it? Did a man? A thing? Call out to a higher deity and we'll print the best replies in a future issue. Now go away you filthy ape.