Cleo – Second Draft – “Sorry for the Inconvenience”

30 Jan

I’m really not sure about the fourth stanza from ‘Like noticing…’ down to ‘see her moving shamelessly.’ Feel like I threw it in there because it was said that there wasn’t enough description dedicated to this section, and some people asked to hear more about what ‘pleasure flooding in’ might feel like. Let me know what you think if you have a bit of time.

Sorry for the inconvenience

“Ladies and gentlemen, I apologise, but due to a person under a train at Vauxhall we will not be stopping there. Sorry for any inconvenience caused to your journey. 4 minutes to departure.”

There must be 60 of us condensed in

this carriage, littered with leather shoes,

suits and ties and preoccupied minds.

Only 14 weeks ago the mind of somebody

I knew wanted nothing more than to end

their life under a train, or jump from the

block of flats a five minute walk from their

front door. Or claw deep enough cuts

somewhere sensitive.



Yet nobody here seems to consider

the toxic despair seeping into this

lost person’s life. I don’t know if you’ve

ever considered suicide, but I’ve heard

the thought becomes soothing, When

everything else is  oh so… unsettling,

exquisitely maddening  physically paining

and all the more frustrating, when all you

can manage are grazes on your arms

instead of wounds that reach the veins.



15th of November she wrote,

I hope I don’t wake tomorrow,

but I know I won’t have that luxury.

Everyday I’m brought into another

unbearable life that is mine,

that I want to give to somebody,

somebody dying who wants to live.

I don’t want my life anymore.”



So I can empathise with this victim,

During recovery it felt like it would

never end yet here she is now grateful

and serene. With so much pleasure

flooding in. Like noticing that when

it rains outside there’s more than

what she perceived before as

only stagnant cloud, in fact,

when it rains, everything’s shiny

when she looks around.

And instead of causing irritation

Bob Marley forces her to dance.

So when she’s waiting at bus stations

headphones in, you’ll see her moving




Back on the tube, palms grip handrails

and backs lean against sliding doors.

Through my tights I can feel the coarse

material of the seat scraping my thighs.

Most of us sit idle, irritated by

“the inconvenience”

Some engage in conversation  about

“the inconvenience”

The driver interrupts again to apologise for

“the inconvenience”

Everybody continues without even

acknowledging the reality

of what just took place.

Perhaps it would be too overwhelming

and too full of truth.

But to me, that doesn’t warrant

the two people who sigh or the man

sitting with his eyes closed

feet tapping, or the dozen or so

people I note checking their watches.

What an inconvenience.



The intercom sounds and the driver speaks again:

“We have the all clear, so the train will be moving off shortly, and will in fact, be stopping at Vauxhall.”


8 Responses to “Cleo – Second Draft – “Sorry for the Inconvenience””

  1. Matt January 30, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    I’m going to re-read this tomorrow and see if I can give you anything constructive but for now I’ll just say how much I liked it. It’s really honest and plain and doesn’t try to do anything more than it needs to. It’s got a strong consistent voice and an unspeakably lovely ending. As I say, I’ll see if I can do anything constructive tomorrow but for now . . . yeah. . . nicely done


  2. mouthypoets January 30, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    This is a lovely piece very honest I love the way you’ve intertwined two diffiernt narratives .neal

  3. Anne January 31, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    what I said for the first bit of feedback still stands – the honesty shines through – for me, I like the addition of the details about the rain, and the music making her dance, because all the platitudes in the world won’t help a person when they feel that low, but if they can hold on to something as simple as rain being a beautiful thing they will always want to live.

  4. mouthypoets February 1, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    Really like the voice in the poem and repetition of ‘inconvenience’. I think the section from ‘like noticing’ to ‘moving shamelessly’ works as they are such visual images and warming ones in contrast to the rest of the poem. I think it adds more tension. Looking forward to hearing you perform this!

  5. Ste February 5, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    On Friday when you read it out I was really not a fan of the stanza in question, so it’s very interesting to hear you feel similarly. It stood out like a somewhat irritated thumb for me. Not quite sore but certainly not comfortable.
    It’s difficult to decipher why I disliked it so: I appreciated the simplicity of the previous draft, so maybe the new stanza just felt intrusive. Maybe I just didn’t enjoy the particular images you chose to represent (the combination of the two being that horrendous cliché of dancing in the rain). Are there any different examples you could use of your friend’s transition?

    Perhaps if you changed them you might feel more comfortable with the outcome, too, whilst still acknowledging what people have said about wanting to hear more about the flood of happiness? Personally I was satisfied without those images. It felt more realistic to me before – like it had more grit and rawness.

    Also; perhaps it is just an incorrect recollection, but did you remove the word ‘into’ from the line “or claw deep enough cuts [into] somewhere sensitive”? To me, it feels more beautifully graphic with ‘into’ included.

    • mouthypoets February 5, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback. ‘intrusive’ is exactly why I feel uncomfortable with it. It feels completely fake and bolted on. It didn’t come naturally and I wrote it because it was what people wanted, rather than what felt necessary to me. Dancing in the rain was definitely not the image I was going for; they just happened to run concurrently. I cringe a bit when I read the new section. I think that’s enough to know it’s got to go, or change at least.
      I didn’t remove the word ‘into’ but I’ll have a rethink.

  6. mouthypoets February 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    HI Cleo,

    Firstly I just want to make a note of the impact this has had on people in the sessions – this is clearly an important poem for your audience and I really appreciate you writing and sharing it. Well done.


    -the title and how it loops in cyclically with the ending.
    -specificity, e.g. 60 in the carriage, leather shoes, 5th floor, Vauxhally … You are drawing a concrete and contemporary picture for me which makes this piece feel even more important!

    -some really powerful lines for me in here; grazes instead of scars // wanting to give life to somebody who wants to live //

    -fourth stanza; I would cut the part about the rain and keep ‘ instead of causing irritation… Until …. See her moving shamelessly” this is a much more concrete image for me, and the one I really remember for you sharing the piece,

    -amazing ending – a piece people will remember. Something already being proved to me as lots of role have come up to me and mentioned the impact this piece had on them.


    Line breaks and stanzas:
    -I remember finding the narrative a little hard to follow in places, looking at it on the page, I think playing around with line breaks and consistent stanzas could really help you refine the narrative without putting a massive amount of time in (which we don’t have at the moment). Look at every stanza as a unit of meaning; am image, an event, a tone – each new stanza changes the event, meaning, image or tone and looking at line breaks a highlighting elements on these. This enables you to cut out repetition, tighten up images, and ask yourself – what do I actually mean here or what is the most important point in this unit? Is this unit important at all? I have played around with the first verse as an example…

    There must be 60 of us condensed
    in this carriage, littered with leather shoes,
    suits, ties, preoccupied minds.

    14 weeks ago someone I knew
    wanted out from the fifth floor window,
    or under this train at Vauxhall.

    To claw deep enough
    to cut somewhere sensitive.
    Yet no one here considers

    The toxic despair
    of the train in front of us:
    this persons lost life.

    I would really like to challenge you to use this form and focus on what I have; 1. Cutting out unnecessary words/phrases/lines, 2. Clarifying the narrative through order and repetition, 3. Really considering where you put your line breaks and why.

    -I am not sure how the narrator has access to the letters of the person under the train? Would be good if you could do a quick sketch of the different characters in this piece and there relationship with each other in this poem/ narrative. Once you have that clear on paper I am sure it will be easy to weave that in because it particularly confused me how the narrator seemed to have access to the letters of the person under the train at Vauxhall? If she is connecting this person with herself, or someone else she knows, that is fine but I just need a clear line indicating that e.g. The sound of the announcement reminds me of my sisters letters/ or / I’m reminded of my own letters – They are really tiny additions, but they will make your poem massively more accessible. Even if the connection you make is a lie, giving people a narrative thread makes the point of the poem easier to access.

    I hope this is helpful.


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