Invasion of the Jellyfish

This poem was inspired by Jellyfish.  They are perfect survivors.  Their translucent bodies may seem fragile but they will adapt to the most extreme conditions.  Due to global warming their numbers are increasing and huge swarms are gathering near beaches.  Environmentalists believe Jellyfish are capable of surviving even radiation and chemical pollution.


The cruellest needs of the Jellyfish Society lie
deep in green pools of contagion.  Each transparent
body, a branch, a hierarchy in the wasteland,
aesthetic as rain showering turquoise ink.
Citizens divided, pass uptown drunk with coffee,

pink sunlight sparking on the Burial Grounds of Scotland.
The physical marks grow like the tail of a crab
pinned to a donkey.  This July she is a wedge of fear
but strictly not dead.  Like most people, no heart, no brains,
no backbone, drifting in and out with the moon
trailing her dangerous
box of stings.

Memoirs of a Sea Pebble


‘Tidal’ developed from a cut-up exercise.  I find it a useful method to generate ideas and creative language.  William Burroughs pioneered the cut-up poem.  He believed they could predict the future and once said, “If you cut into the present the future leaks out”.  To make a cut-up poem take four sources of ready made text; newspapers, magazines, brochures, pages from a novel, an old poem…anything will do.  Layer the pages on top of one another and then literally cut them up into small sections using scissors. Then place all the pieces in a paper bag, shake well and take out one piece at a time.  Randomly assemble to create new poetry.  You are allowed to add more words and phrases to make your poem meaningful.  It’s a fun way to create fresh work.

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