AWOL Exercise #17 Responses

Not the Not the Exercise Again!

Last week was biography. This week, in a way, is biography of another kind. We’re all defined by the things that are around us – our possessions, our interests, our fellow humans, our world. They show us in part who we are, but they aren’t us. I’m not the poems I write, for example.

I want you to define your worlds (real or imaginary, or a mixture of both) by listing the things around you (again, real or imagined). And I’ll give you examples of these

Every sentence/line must start ‘Not the’, but can be as short or long as you like. And to help further, the categories you can include (add your own!) are:


Not the [things around the house]

Not the [noises]

Not the [description of the weather]

Not the [touch]

Not the [personal features]

Not the [taste]

Not the [things in the town where you live]

Not the [smells]




In the middle of the spiderweb by ‘Jodi Glass’ 

In the middle of the spiderweb  

Not a town centre, with people rushing by.

Nor a meeting place, with scruffy benches.

It’s a holding-place for shops, not boarded up.


Not a place to chill, with patches of grass to sit on.

Nor a place to bypass, onto roads, to the outside.

It’s a holding-place for shops, selling stuff cheap


Not a place for buses, carrying people in masks

nor a schemes-end destination, village to village,

its a holding-place , newly opened;


not a way to support the economy or pay wages.

Nor a way to be happy, stuff is wasteful

it’s a holding-place for shops that support many.


Not Dundee city centre, it’s a spiderweb of connections

nor Stobie, where flats were dingy,

its a holding-place for thousands of lives, trying to cope.

Jodi Glass




This is by Kathy Low

This is

                         this is not the time….

                              this is not memory….

                                 this is not enough….

                                     this is not The Matrix….

                          this is not sleep, nor this a dream….

                              this is not Redemption….

                                  this is not Transcendence,

                                     nor he the Postman.

                          This may be Grace.

Kathy Low




But For Love   by elisheva katz

But For Love 

Not for all the wild roses praying on the beach,

As I watch them live, watch them die.

Not the cold sea on my feet,

Every morning waking me up to who I really am. 

Not robin red-breast, red-breast robin,

Singing to me even in summer’s mid-day heat.

Not for you my prince,

Your love is nothing but fake plastic gold.

But for my wolf! 

My dear wolf heart, who is always by my side, for no other reason than simply because he loves me.


A love with no condition. A love with no end.


Written by elisheva katz

July 11th 2020




Time   by Peter Marshall


Not the coolest centre of the night;

now, sombre darkness starts to take flight. 

Not the midnight hour for fox to prowl;

now, long trotted by in hunt for fowl.

Not those times of silence that are best;

now, distant roar as factory freezes harvest. 

Not the day-joy of full-choir birdsong;

now, lone crow whilst seagulls throng. 


Not wild thoughts which must be forced asunder;

now, refreshing rain which comes with thunder. 

Not those hopes to nurture lest they perish;

now, wishes which are far better just to cherish.

Not the feelings charged with negative emotion;

now, love and happiness as outcomes of devotion. 

Not the actions happening without a care;

now, experiences together as we share. 


Not the simplest thing to be your best;

soon and evermore, try to pass that test. 

2020 07 10   Peter Marshall

3am Noctilucent clouds over West Gourdie Industrial Estate




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s