I’m in residence at the Poetry Cafe today gathering nearly stories – and performing the Nearly Show with the Ifso Band here tonight.

Here are some gathered so far:

“I nearly.. g.ot a job today. I’d been promised it too.”

“I nearly…joined a top youth football team but I decided to go to a lower level team as I was guaranteed to play every match and be one of the top players in the team.”

“I nearly chose to love the other girl…but i didn’t and now I am still with the same person. I don’t have regrets because I chose who I chose but I do wonder what if…”

“I nearly got myself stuck in playing “the game” – the bullshit job sucking my life force, but I’ve managed to avoid any disapproving judgements and am now happy squatting and skipping by the med, growing my own veg.”

“I was nearly a stand-in for James McAvoy, but went to Rome instead.”

“I nearly… became a professional dancer/performer. I had been going to classes since was 5 and people had often suggested I should transfer to stage school but I was too academic, and we simply didn’t have the money. Then when I was 14 my chronic illnesses reached a crescendo, it simply wasn’t possible for me to keep going. I was in too much pain. It eventually meant I had to leave school, which had meant so much to me. But I turned to writing, published my first poem when I was 14, about sickness, and parallels between growing up and the rhythm of dance continue to inspire me.”

“I nearly ate guinea pig on holiday in Peru.. I’ve regretted ever since that I didn’t.”

“I nearly…died of a drug overdose in my third year of university. It was a life changing moment. I turned my life around.”

“I was nearly conscripted into the South African army during the height of apartheid, was selected as an officer cadet and attended a 2 week training camp in the bush. Then the commander gave a lecture on skin colour equating to friends vs foe!”

“I nearly… spoke to Paul Weller (an idol) when we were alone in a lift on Drury Lane. I didn’t want to bother him, wanted to be “cool” and couldn’t think of the ‘killer Q”. He saw my gaping mouth, like a suited goldfish, winked at me, then walked out at his floor!”

“I nearly drowned my own cat.” The Poetry Cafe user who told me this said she was six years old at the time, loved the cat and wondered what would happen if she didn’t pull it out of the freezing water it had fallen into. She’s never told anyone about this before.

“I nearly bought an Arcade cabinet for a computer game

“I nearly..hit my brother; he nearly went through the front door.”

And finally…

“I nearly…allowed myself to be a dancer. I will now.”


This powerful poem arrived today from Laura Potts.

Laura Potts is twenty-two years old and lives in West Yorkshire, England. Twice-named a Foyle Young Poet of the Year and Lieder Poet at The University of Leeds, her work has appeared in Ezra Pound’s Agenda, Prole and Poetry Salzburg Review. Having worked at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace in Swansea, Laura was last year listed in The Oxford Brookes International Poetry Prize and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She also became one of The Poetry Business’ New Poets and a BBC New Voice for 2017. Laura’s first BBC radio drama Sweet The Mourning Dew aired at Christmas, and she received a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018.


Yesterday’s Child

The sun slit a knife through the womb-wet night

and bled like an egg, like a budburst head:

in the swell of the sweat on the belly of the bed,

broken-throated then and red, you said

the clench of winter let the roses grow instead.


But time has fled with jenny wren and left

the meadow dead. And overhead a mouth of moon

has called the mourning on this room, and soon

an ever-bloom of moss will clot the loss of you.

For the years between us are wide as a child;


and the tears as wet as a wound.