Friday, 31 July 2015

     Am I Dreaming?

Is this a dream, a mirage?
I could be sleeping.
I was looking out on trees
with rooks calling and nesting
when I started to eat 
my picnic.
But am I asleep now?
The trees are dancing,
but no longer trees.
Young people from another time
are dancing to the music,
swaying to the music of the crows.
No longer crows though,
but fiddlers and singers
making raucous music
for the dancing.

So am I dreaming?
The cheese is real though,
and I’m still eating.
I’m still chewing the bread 
and drinking the wine.
And I can feel a stone
against my back, 
digging into me.

I’m sleepy now though.

Will they be there when I wake?
Or will I come back into life
to see the trees and rooks 
as I clear away my picnic
and pack up.

First published by Pilcrow and Dagger, Midsummer Night’s Dream Issue, June, 2015

                      Where is the Real World

There was a broken circle in my field of wheat this morning.
Can’t explain it.
Walked through the wheat scratching my head with a stalk.
Can’t explain.
There are shapes in the circle, shapes which look like
the shapes and spaces of this world. Lands and seas.
Can’t explain them.

Fell asleep in the scratchy stalks of my field in the sunshine.
Can’t say why.
Awoke in England, I think, lying there, floating above it,
I think.
Lying here, drifting away, like a balloon out of control,
but avoiding the sun and the stars and the other worlds.
I think.

Or am I lying below, in my field with my heels on the ground?
Difficult to know. 
Hard to discern this place and know my place in it. 
Can’t explain 
why I’m floating here, unsure if I’m drifting above or below.
I might fall. I might fall up or down. I don’t know which.
Can’t explain my confusion.

But, I’ll know when I stop spinning round, seeing the stars
in the sunshine.
But how will I get down if I’m already below, my heels grounded
in reality,
in England, in my field of wheat, scratching my head, looking, 
up at the shapes in the space of the sky drifting above me.
Can’t explain.

First published by Pilcrow and Dagger, Midsummer Night’s Dream Issue, June, 2015


Vera Lynn was a famous singer,
the Forces Sweetheart, no less.
My mother was Vera,
so I should be Lynn.
My mother liked things to be
But even more than 
the correctness
of Vera and Lynn, 
she abhorred diminutives.
They were definitely not 
So I must have a name
which could not be shortened.
Joy was a contender, but, 
just suppose that
I was a weepy child.
That name would not fit me.
For me it would not have been
She needn’t have worried.
But worry she did.
So, Lynn it was
and Lynn I am.
My legacy
from my

First Published By Silver Birch Press in All About My Name Series, June, 2015

American Dream
We were such special people then,
the two of us, flying high above the rest
like the arrogant angels we saw
playing way above the clouds.
We could almost touch them
with our arms outstretched,
as we danced our way through
a cinemascope of endless possibilities.
But other people were unimpressed.
They had no wish to touch the angels,
or reach the stars, even if they could.
They looked down towards us, not up,
fulfilled and sacred to each other,
with a specialness unknown to us.
We did not hear the soundtrack of their voices.
Did not see the fractures of their dreams,
or of ours to come.
But now we have become the rest
and know that we were not so special then.
But just practicing for a life that would elude us
as dreams remained dreams in cinemascope.
Dreams which became decayed imaginings
growing dusty with time and fading,
as ordinariness reclaimed us and the angels let us fall.

First published in Amomancies, Americana Issue, 2015


The music of my youth still sings to me.
Inside my head it still plays Dylan and Baez
as part of our song, our time, our places. 
Subversive music, coming from the streets.
Out of tune with the surround sound monotone.
Undermining it with a discordant challenge.

Harmony and discord, 
the songs of peace and love
sitting side by side with war and revolution.
Then as now they still speak to us, 
still sing in tune
The lyrical passion of the words, 
the movement music of  the songs, 
has crossed our time and space.
Melodies of movement 
which still can break our boundaries
and join us back together.
Moving rhythms which still excite
and words which dance for us.

These moving patterns on a page,
have make different music now,  
wrapped in our emotions and melodies
which have few boundaries 
and are timeless and placeless 
when in tune with changing times,
which for us, can be any time at all.

First published by Amomancies, Americana issue, 2015

 Dream Lovers

I am in love with an imaginary person.
A Hollywood image flickering
on the straight line of my horizon,
a mirage created by my dreaming,
as all lovers are.
Then transposed to sit on top of flesh and bone,
stuffed into a skin, which doesn’t quite fit,
as all lovers are.
Some parts I hide inside.
Others are in the forefront of my imagination,
filling out the skin, adding more flesh to the bone.

I live in a soap opera stuffed full of imaginary people
with imaginary lives
interspaced with commercial breaks.
It’s more satisfactory,
easier than engaging with the dangers and tedium outside.
Even so, love can still hurt me, but not as badly.
Imaginary events are more controllable.
So it’s more satisfactory.
I can change the situations that trouble me
without stepping outside, 
without exposure or failure.

The real world is hard and
it’s people even more transitory than
the mirage lovers
who flicker in and out on the screen behind my eyes.
Are they the same for you, these soap opera people?
The mirage lovers
of  your reality and imagination.

First published by Paper Plane Pilots 2015

reprinted in: Amomancies, Americana issue, Jul 2015

May Queen

They crowned her the queen of May,
the little girl.
Chose her for her purity.
Pure and white and smiling.
Golden curls
held by red ribbons,
and entwined with flowers
topped with sweet smelling may.
Spring is here,
you see.
New shoots springing into life,
so we’re ready to be
reborn and ready to play
the game.
Ready for the circle.
Ready to go
round and round again.
Like the dancers she watches
weaving their ribbons round
the maypole.
The maypole phallus they’ve planted
in the ground and
bedecked with ribbons.
Red and white.
Red and whit ribbons of menstrual blood
and semen.
Round and round
She watches from her throne.
Round and round.
Then come the Morris Men.
Bells jangling their presence.
Sticks clashing with their power.
Flags waving
to announce
their virility.
They crowned her the queen of May,
the little girl.
A crown of sweet blossom
and hidden thorns.

First Published by Community Arts Ink, Reclaiming Our Voices, 2015


My little princess.
My china doll with your
peachy skin and
golden hair. 
In pink frills
I dressed you up,
combed you and curled you.
Made you into
my special pet,
my little angel,
to be loved and cherished.
My creation.
My little girl.

But all the time
you were making up yourself,
getting ready to 
smash the porcelain,
and break out
to become 
the creation you had
already made up
even before you painted 
and inked your pearly skin,
combed your hair straight,
and gelled it 
into jagged spikes
with a pink splash.
Shockingly, piercing the past,
you broke out into your future.

For you were never a princess,
never a doll,
and most of all, little girl,
you were never mine,
never mine to own.

First published by ITWOW, She Did It Anyway Anthology, May 2015
In The End
In the end 
I’ll be like you.
Dust with
flakes of skin and bone
wrapped in long hair.
Teeth chattering
With no voice.
No sense of taste
or smell.
No reason.
In the end
we'll be invisible,
But then, we always were
you and I,
we always were.

Published in Snapdragon 2015

I Am A Child

I am a child of the revolution
created by the wake of
fascism and imperialism,
that sought to construct 
a more just society.

I am a child numbed by poverty, 
stultified by working class conformity,
of a mother who wanted better for me,
but also wanted to keep me the same.

I am a child of these contradictions
who became a rebel 
in the cultural revolution
of the rock and roll generation.
Who was liberated by student life,
by control of fertility,
by other places, 
by the music and art 
all parents hated.

I am still that child.
This is what made me.
This is what shaped me and
became part of my present, 
became part of my future.

Sometimes I have tried to escape it.
Sometimes I still do.

First published by Ealain, My Heritage, Issue 8, May 2015

Father Christmas

I was so excited.
It was nearly Christmas
and I was going to meet
Father Christmas himself.

I was so excited, 
wearing my best coat and bonnet,
hopping from one foot to the other
in the long queue of children
waiting with their mums
to be allowed into Santa’s Grotto.

I was so excited.
We were nearly there.
I could see the grotto
with it’s tinsel and fairy lights
I was going to sit on his knee 
and have my picture taken,
and that was in an age when
photographs were even rarer
than Christmases..

I was so excited.
There were the elves...
But wait..
they were cardboard.
Where were the real elves,
the magic ones,
why weren’t they there?
“They’re much too busy”,
my mum said.
“But Father Christmas will be real”.

We paid our money
and there he was.
He really was.
I couldn’t wait to climb on his knee
and examine his beard.
I’d never seen a beard before.
But he was very tetchy when I pulled at it
and told me to stop.
Then it went lop sided
and I realised 
it was a false beard
and I told him so, angrily.
He put it back.
“Stop thy wriggling”, he said.
“You’re not the real one,
I don’t want to sit on your knee” 

Flash went the camera.

And outside there was a queue of children
to be addressed.
Hands on hips.
“He’s not the real one.
He’s got a false beard.
He’s not magic at all,
they’re cheating you!”
It’s a swiz!
Then the store manager came..

I was so excited.

First published by Silver Birch Press, Me As A Child Series, May 2015

A Rose For Gaza

Gaza is a garden full of roses.
Stone roses.
Rock roses.
No petals to crush and bruise
to release their fragrance.
Only dust.
Dust and the stench
of death.
No green space left.
No sweet tranquility,
peace or quiet.
No escape.
No garden of Eden here.
No gateway to paradise.
Rubble and rock roses.

So I shall plant a rose for Gaza
in my green space,
in my tranquil garden.
I won’t bruise it,
just gently sniff it’s fragrance
and hope that one day
fragrant roses will bloom again
in the garden of Gaza.

What else can I do?

Degenerates, Voices For Peace Anthology, Weasel Press, June 2015


You spoke to me. 

A smile on your lips
and a sadness 
behind your eyes 
to match my own.
I could see it,
recognise it.
I knew it well.

“Hello you”, I said.
“Hello me?”

A gesture,
a question in your voice,
laughter caught 
in the back of your throat
and eyes that smiled.

At least

First published by Amomancies, Comittments issue 4, April 2015


    Getting Married

Let’s get married, you said.
I sat up quickly and 
just in time,
stopped my mouth saying, 
After two days?
You’re going mad!
Why? Where’s the gain?
We’ve already said we’ll stay together,
You with me or me with you,
and care for each other,
and make love to each other.
We don’t need a piece of paper
saying Mr and Mrs.
Anyway, you don’t have a good record
when it comes to marriage.
Or so I’ve heard, I said.

I think I want an extra tie,
another binding, a public one.
So that your friends 
would ring you up, concerned,
and warn you not to go ahead.
And mine would try to find you
to do the same and worry
about my sanity.
But not for long.
We’ll do it quick, you said.

And then we can smile behind their backs
as they check our progress down the years,
amazed that we’re still together,
still like each other, still love.
And, after all, I have a much worse record 
of not being married.

So, lets get married, you said.

First published by Paper Plane Pilots, issue 4, April 2015

     The Best Medicine

Humour heals better than hate.
You can confront hate with reason
but humour is best 
if unreason prevails,
if more hate is your only return.

You can wind up the anti,
add hate to the hate, 
add aggression to aggression,
madness to madness.
But he'll like humour less.

Anyway it's more fun.

First published by Harbinger Asylum, Literary Review, Spring, 2015

It’s Clear

On a clear night
I should see the moon full silver
in a sky shot by moonbeams.
Not greyed by a smoky mist 
and dust clouds rising from the ruins.

I should see a black, black sky.
Not bright from the orange glow
from the fires of hell on earth.
Which send sparks high enough
to compete with the stars,
the pinpoint moonbeam spangles.
Not beamed by lasers.

I should hear the silence 
in the depth of the black night,
not the explosive cacophony
bought by the masters of war
and the silent screams
buried in the rubble.

I should hear people talking in the street
and the music and laughter of the night.
I should see them walking home
to feel firm flesh loving and soft
unsplintered and unblemished by shrapnel,
unbroken by the metal clad monsters
masquerading as humanity and
wrapping themselves in the uniforms 
of thousand years old myths
dressed up as history.

These should be my rights.
But they aren’t.

I have no rights.
Nor do you.

Only what they give us,
the men of the flags,


First published by Harbinger Asylum, Literary Review, Spring, 2015