Batch 3: Kevin, Musa & Warsan.

On the 2nd of Feb, Poejazzi tweeted a series of instructions to completing the first draft of a poem. The instructions were loose and created space for personal interpretation resulting, there are some of the poems.

– How To Use Exfoliating Gel
By Kevin Pocock


You should use this. You have no idea why
but the metro says you should
(and its papery roughness knows).
Perhaps your skin needs saving from a dusty doom?

Cresfallen by the clumps of gone kinsman,
do cells prefer a watery death, encased in fluid?
You sympathise;
withering to nothing is an ego’s worst nightmare.


It could be worse of course:
Your father, a man’s man of earthly salt,
accepts that his own father wouldn’t use sun cream.
Things move, and you’re at least not rubbing your face
on expensive rocks, or bathed in shit like a pig.
“You are curious…yes.”
“In need of company…naturally.”
(And though he doesn’t say it, “desperate”).


The door is locked tight. Your flatmates may
worry for your well being – assuming you’ve
entered either for pleasure, a number one or two.
But you’ve been some time, and were
curiously flustered.
Crimson faced, in the window you hope that
the gel can remove more than dead skin
…loves faded aspirations, too?


It says, “not in the eyes” (for the microbeads itch),
yet this non-magic balm has done nothing.
If it’s effects are not visible and you see no
results then BEGONE!
Window-wide, you squeeze hard.
Contents emptied in unflattering spurts.
And its done.
Never again, will you try such a foolish thing.


A yelp…
Poor lass, thought a pigeon had emptied
large bowels upon her.
But she dared touch the goop.
Softness encasing grit-like eggs.
She looks up, screaming
…“fucking wanker!”

Turning to sink, cup those hands and loose
warm water upon her.
She is half drowned, half-slimed.

You are Lovestruck,
Throw her a towel.
Some beauty has revealed itself.

– How to Use Vaseline
By Musa Okwonga

1. To all African parents: the skin of your child is naturally ashy upon waking every morning. Yet if he or she is to attend church with you, this must be remedied, as it is shameful – indeed, a sin – to take a dry-skinned child to a Sunday service. He or she must look as well-presented as possible.

2. Seek out the most robust skin products known to man or beast: namely, Vaseline. You will need to venture deep into ethnic territory; Elephant and Castle, perhaps, or Brixton. You can abseil down through London using the Northern line, or the 133.

3. On Sunday morning, extract your child from bed an hour before it would normally wake; the element of surprise is essential. Ignore its yelping, this is for the greater good. Wash its entire skull thoroughly in the sink, then cake face and scalp with petroleum jelly, leaving five small holes for breath and sight.

4. Step back and admire your embalmed child. Good start; but its face is not yet shiny enough, it should be shiny as the gold collection bowl or the chrome wheels of the pastor’s convertible. Let child dress and yelp, then repeat process. Buff its face with a soft cloth till it has the glare of a Saharan desert solar panel.

5. Arrive smugly at church with child whose skin is well-polished as its manners. Allow child to extend tongue briefly at other less-groomed children as you ascend the aisle towards the altar, for the nodded approval of the pastor and the rest of those sat in the front row. Your offspring is well-sheened, and thus the Lord is well pleased.

– How to use your mothers lipstick
By Warsan Shire

you must wear it like she wears disappointment on her face
you must hide the surprise of tasting other men on your lips
your mother is a woman and women like her cannot be contained.

you find the black tube inside her beauty case, where she keeps
your fathers old prison letters, you desperately want to look like her
film star beauty, you hold your hand against your throat
your mother was most beautiful when sprawled out on the floor
half naked and bleeding.

you go to the bathroom to apply the lipstick,
somewhere no one can find you
your teeth look brittle against the deep red slickness
you smile like an infant, your mouth is a wound
you look nothing like your mother
you look everything like your mother.

you call your ex boyfriend, sit on the toilet seat and listen to
the phone ring, when he picks up you say his name slow
he says i thought i told you to stop calling me
you lick your lips, you taste like years of being alone.

The instructions were as follows:
Tweet 1 – 8.30 pm //
There are only a few things to note.
1) Each Verse should be no more than 60 words.
2) You will be given 5 mins to write each verse.

Tweet 2. – 8.30 pm //
Choose a beauty product. You are writing an alternative set of instructions, your title will be e.g. How To Use A Hairbrush.

Tweet 3. 8.35 pm //
Verse 1. Reason. (come up with a need/scenario to use the product)

Tweet 4. 8.40 pm //
Verse 2. Get product. (detail purchasing product, where to go, the market, competitors)

Tweet 5. 8.45 pm //
Verse 3. Find a place and use product. (after the chaos of shopping choose a solitary place)

Tweet 6. 8.50 pm //
Verse 4. Your are dissatisfied with the results. Take it a step further. (go crazy with it)

Tweet 7. 8.55 pm //
Verse 5. End (try and flirt / please someone now.)

Tweet 8. 9.00 pm //
You have 10 minutes to edit.


About Charlotte Morgan Nwokenna

Editor and Public Relations Officer
This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

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