Tag Archives: Found Objects

All Around Our Houses by Anna B. Sexton

Been doing some more writing for my book & work related courses & training programmes.

And in the process of doing so re-visited a book of poems I created back in May 2010 as part of a collaboration with poet, writer & performer; Miriam Nash

Follow this link to take a trip down my memory lanes through my poems dedicated to each house I have lived in since being born


A new poem is due for addition since moving back in the summer…watch this space

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Oh Geneva…

A totally amazing city to visit for the short trip I was able to make to meet up with Miriam whilst she is briefly staying there. The city is calm and clean. Life seems to effortlessly glide by through days of coffee and cake eating whilst ladies walk their toy dogs, visit designer clothing emporiums and gentlemen effectively  move around the city well groomed and poised for deals. The waters of Lake Geneva are so crystal clear and the swans large and scary…

Miriam and I wandered around her favourite haunts she has discovered whilst living there as well as some new finds along the artist walks we made including a magical cafe called the Cottage and the most amazing macaroon shop I ever seen or smelt in my life – lush, if a little over powering

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A doll’s leg sequence

A week or so ago, I went for a walk by Lake Geneva and found a stone beach with all kinds of driftwood, rubbish and objects washed up on it. A plastic doll’s leg caught my attention, lying just next to a soaked, black walking boot. On the rocks, someone had built a structure – like a bender – out of driftwood. It reminded me of dens I used to build as a child.

I kept thinking about the leg and wishing I had taken it. Anna had been finding objects relating to little girls and dolls, a hat, a mitten, toys like the maraca. On Thursday I went back to the beach and couldn’t see the leg. I was about to leave, but then I noticed it woven into the bender with a net. I untangled it and took it home. On the way, I met a whole doll – a blue one.

As soon as I got home, I sat down and wrote five freewrites, all around the plastic doll’s leg and the boot. I then wrote them into five first-draft poems. I’ve never had such an intense gust of writing – I felt almost unnerved.

Among the Driftwood

bottle tops and empty toothpaste tubes,
a doll’s pink leg, its severed plastic joint no longer joined,
pressed against dead leaves and stone. A baby’s arm away,
a man’s black walking boot, swollen with the weight of tide.
Both soles flex in one direction, as if two bodies lay there
side by side, a giant and a naked child, as mist rose off the lake
and passers-by breathed in the mountains tops and trees.
Somewhere a doll is crippled, a baby cries.
A black sole pins a child’s calf against cold kitchen tiles.
A man runs fingers up the inside of a plastic thigh.
Somewhere there are sirens, bags and tape.
Another broken toy, another beach, another leg.


Perhaps they journeyed from the same house,
black Velcro bobbing against plastic,
pink toes brushing the imprints of the sole.
Near enough to hear each others’ thoughts,
to smell the seaweed tide that clung to them,
glimpse syringes and green bottles
washed up along their shore.
Perhaps a father snapped, and with a reflex
from his boyhood, snatched his daughter’s
favourite doll and ripped it, leg from socket,
flung it in the stream behind their home.
That night, she crept down to the back porch,
lifted her father’s walking boot with twig-thin arms
and carried it across the dark. The splash
made tiny spots appear along her spine.
The current dragged it out of sight.
Perhaps she smiled, knowing they’d rock up together
on some city beach, two punishments laid side by side.
Perhaps a string of other body parts would follow,
an arm, a plastic head. Perhaps one day the father,
swimming downstream to look for his girl.


I found a pink doll’s leg bent at the knee
lying in a pile of leaves and plastic bags.
Just next to it, a walking boot
mimicking the angle of its pointed foot.
I thought of taking it, but didn’t want to touch
the tiny toes, the grooves of its open stump.
A week later, I returned and saw it hanging
from a driftwood house, a beam of severed limb
like the chicken legs that carry Baba Yaga’s hut.
I unwound it, held it in my hands.
I washed it in the bathroom sink
running my fingers over the curve of its calf.
It smelt of birds and compost. It tasted like skin.

The Missing Leg

The baby arrived in parts.
The head, patched with yellow gunk,
the scrunched red cheeks. The eyes
were frog eyes, leaping from the face.
Then came the neck and shoulders,
nothing pink about them.
The chest was buckled by the arms,
ten sticky fingers itched the air.
The bottom came, sunken
as cheeks with all the breath blown out.
One leg poked into sight, one tiny foot emerged,
toes parted like five perfect nipples held erect.
But on the other side, an absence.
A stump, like a knot of umbilical mass.
The missing leg filled up the room, like light
through the rose windows of a cathedral.

My Father’s Dolls

My father brought me dolls.
Babies with a hint of fat about their thighs,
barbies whose feet were shaped like heels,
wide Russian ladies to unpack.
I’d eye each new arrival, check her sockets,
run my fingers through her flimsy nylon hair.
My princesses knew the sound of scissors,
the tightening of rope against their powdered skin.
The more beautiful, the worse their torture;
eyelashes torn off, pearl toenails ripped.
In the water vat behind my father’s shed
I’d drown them, stain them to brunettes.
I’d leave a floating leg for him to find,
so he’d know his daughter wasn’t fooled.
I knew what happens to girls with pretty limbs
who hanker after gifts.

Working with Anna, I don’t feel as ‘in control’ of my writing as I usually do. This is a very good thing. I feel permission to play and to write beyond my comfort zone. Walking a lot helps too. I not only find objects that correlate with Anna’s, but I’ve discovered I have most of my ideas while walking. When I get back to London I plan to continue this, hopefully with Anna.

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A&E Pistols & Pollinators meeting 07.02.2010

I am back home having attended the next meeting in the process of the Pistols & Pollinators collaboration project created by Ellie Howitt and Anika Carpenter…

As Miriam was not able to attend being she is not part of the jetset international I could only do with taking an image of her to represent Miriam at the meeting…not half as much fun talking about our project with her there to say what she feels she is receiving from being in this process.

I took some pics in and around Columbia Road as part of my interest in what’s left behind, this time as the flower market was shutting up.

At the meeting there was talk of expansion of practice on  both sides for the artists and writers, tales of games, secrets, whispers of stories, synchroncity and even waking the dead…doll’s houses came up too.

The exhibition of the show will open Friday 30th April 2010 and run until 11th May 2010.

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Mr. Postie arrived bringing a gift….

All the way from Geneva! Miriam’s parcel arrived

Here are my first thoughts about the object;

What does it do?
What is it?
How does it work?
Where does it take me?
Is it a space machine?
An alien detector
Position navigator
Satelitte instructor
Beam corrector
I want it to work
Does it take batteries?
What happens if its lost?
Not found
Can it destroy me?
Now its found its way to my home?

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More pictures of objects and places I have been drawn to over the course of the partnership with Miriam…and excitingly I have booked a flight to go visit her between 15th-18th Feb 2010. This project is so much more than I could have imagine when I said yes to joining in…

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Here are a selection of images which I have been collecting along the theme of whats left behind…

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