With my good friend Nick Dormand, artist and photographer, we have been collaborating in words/images for a few years, these wonderfully spontaneous links in that my writing is always prompted by the – mainly – photographs he takes and posts [Facebook/Instagram] but also other images, including sketches/paintings.

It is a ‘found’ collaboration, never structured/organised. We both seem to have an urge to capture, and finding whatever that is then becomes an ongoing and homogenous process.

This facemask image struck me immediately, for obvious reasons. Probably more than ever, the compulsion to write with this was powerful. For Nick, the image is hugely personal in that it is of his daughter who works in the NHS. My response was one no doubt shared by so many in this Covid-19 world where we all have deep-rooted, emotional attachments to and thankfulness for the caring and compassionate commitment of nurses and other frontline workers: the facemask now an image firmly fixed to that selflessness but also the personal risks involved and, speaking for myself, unacceptable abuses from lack of supply and those responsible for this, including making excuses for it.

Where my accompaniments, especially found prose poems, normally come from quite wide searches, these words just seemed to be there.

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