Going for coffee


The book and I are passing each other messages through a third party.

Neither of us bothers with the niceties any more, nor do we keep regular hours.

The bath, in the middle of dreams, meetings. (Sometimes these are the same thing.)

The messages, such as they are, tend towards the terse.

‘Can I keep that poem?’






We both know it: the shape, the structure and the ‘concept’ are in ruins.

And all because I would not listen. For around three years.

Slowly I am starting to realise that killing the book was the best thing for it, not least the realisation that the book I thought I was writing was dreadful.

Now it is a new kind of dreadful, but at least one with integrity.

There is still something here, ticking quietly, its pulse not yet extinguished.

From nowhere the book makes a proposal, speaking directly, not through its agent. It wants to know: do I fancy a coffee?

‘You ought to know by now,’ I want to say (but don’t). Instead I say ‘That would be lovely, thank you. Your place or mine?’

‘You decide,’ the book replies. ‘Any time you want. It’s time to talk.’


  1. “There is still something here, ticking quietly, its pulse not yet extinguished.”
    Yes! The stories or poems we keep pushing back are the ones that need to be written. I can’t remember who said it, but I tend to agree. So best to you and the book: It looks like time to start the conversation again.


  2. Anthony, this is marvelous and I mean that – I marvel at your brilliance in capturing just such thoughts a writer has at 3:00 a.m. Someone asked me recently if my books and poems were like children. Mine are not. They’re like lovers, and the ones I discard are always, always the ones whose names I remember and who keep me awake wondering what might have been.


    1. Thank you Molly. I mean it too.
      I can’t decide if my poems are like slugs that I find in the kitchen when I come down in the morning
      or like old photographs of my children as babies.
      With best wishes as ever


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