It is Saturday today and too hot to go outdoors and so I finished reading Charlotte Gill's short story collection Ladykillers. Gill gets so much out of words I feel as if she is teaching me a new language. I use words in one dimension while she uses them in three dimensions. Her writing is brilliant and her characters unlikeable. I am left with a sour taste in my mouth on this flyblown day. Indeed, I feel like one of her characters, staying indoors to avoid the heat, putting small round tins on the floor in the corners of my log house. The tins are greasy and smell of peanut butter. They will entice ants through the holes I punched into the sides and will kill them. I am vegetarian; I don't even kill mosquitoes, yet I am killing hundreds of ants today because I don't want my wooden house to collapse. Before I put the tins down I banged on the walls with my fist and told the ants to please find a new place to live. Ants are intelligent. They may have understood my one-dimensional words.


I watched Threads again today. It's on YouTube after apparently disappearing for a few years. It's a mock documentary about nuclear war and its impact on Sheffield. It's still shocking, eighteen years after I first saw it. I'm not sure why I watched it. It was as if I was trying to jump start a poem that would be useful in some way. I can't knit, I can't cook, I can't build a house, I can't do much that's useful so I must make my poems utilitarian instead. But the poem hasn't come. I'm not surprised; it's a back to front method. Even didacticism is better if its spark is spontaneous.