Memories I Never Had / Sequence 3: Nepko

Nepko, the craft of building and burying the sky.

Instructions: First, find a piece of broken bottle glass, green or amber, but preferably green.
The gravelled ground under the public benches on the courtyard between the pink and
rectangular 4-6 Mazurska Street and the quadratic, but nonetheless pink, 3 Mazurska Street
usually offers a host of opportunities in this field, especially on an early Saturday morning
before the street sweepers have had a chance to clear up after any clumsy drunk of the

With the luck of the early bird who rises before their competitors from the neighbouring
housing blocs, you will find an intact bottle bottom that is neither too big nor too small, whose
edges aren’t too sharp or violently jagged, and whose concave indentation approximates the
curved lense of a magnifying glass rather than a traffic cone.

Shortcut: No wine bottles.

Once you have identified a suitable piece, you would be best advised to smoothen any sharp
edges by applying the glass to the gravel under the benches (preferable) or whatever dry
soil you may find on the perimeter of a nearby tree trunk (less preferable).

Second, and somewhat more complicated—because this, really, is the crux of it all, this is
where you prove your worth as a crafter of the little sky in the ground—you must begin to
design your nepko. You may already be well prepared, having spent your school days and
evenings at home sending trained eyes across lunch tables and window sills in search for
the most ostentatious and elaborately designed sweet wrappers. If not, then hey, you’re in
for a treat. The master practitioner will not only rely on the design of the wrappers, but will
use a broad selection of delicate cuts and trims to create an authentic mosaic of shapes,
forms and colours.

When you are satisfied that your creation truly evokes the sky of your inner eye, you must
proceed to glue it to the inside of the bottle bottom. At this point, you will almost certainly
thank yourself for the twenty to thirty minutes you spent polishing the glass edges under your
neighbour’s balcony. Still, you would be advised to carry an ample supply of plasters and a
bottle of iodine in your pocket or tote bag.

Third, and finally, it is time to present your work. The tree-lined lawn between 35-38
Generała Ludomiła Rayskiego and 4-6 Mazurska has long been the preferred burial site for
the neighbourhood’s most impassioned nepko enthusiasts. By all means, do not dig too
deeply—it should be easy both to find and uncover your nepko, and you will want to do this
often. Place your nepko in the ground with the bottle bottom facing the sky, and then cover it
with soil.

Remember, always, that this is not really a competition.

Return to your nepko at least once a week to see if it is still there, and be generous with your
time and attention whenever a friend or acquaintance invites you to see theirs. Always say
something nice when someone shows you their nepko, and do not insist that they see yours
in return.



Charles Putschkin is a founding member of the poetry collective known as Renata Kexxel. He is Swedish and lives in Bristol, UK.

Bristol, United Kingdom


You can follow Charles on Twitter and read more of his work here!

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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