On 17 August 2017, I was in a pub near Euston station, killing some time before my train back north. News was breaking of a terrorist attack in Barcelona and I felt a vague urge to write something. After opening the Notes app on my iPhone and tapping away for a few minutes, I wrote this:
In London / drinking alone / with time to kill / thinking (not aloud) / about a van that has plowed / (always plowed) / into the happy crowd / and the man / now out of the van / on the run in Barcelona / some loner / with time to kill
I took a screengrab and posted it to Instagram, explaining it was a rough and probably short-lived experiment in writing poems in rapid response to current events.
Two years later, I’ve posted 1,300 poems at a rate of at least one a day, and it has become a ritualistic part of my creative life, to the point where it’s hard to imagine not doing it. Along the way, I’ve thought a lot about how writing and design can respond to fast-moving times.