Thursday 31 March 2016

For Charlie

So many people marching and waving,
waving pencils and pictures of pencils.
Millions and millions marching with pencils,
asserting their values, showing their power,
paying their respects.
But it's not what it seems.
say the sideline snipers,
the underminers,
the false flag wavers,
the pencil baiters,
the Je Suis Fuck All-ers.
They're pencilled pawns,
just part of the plans
of the Old Pretenders,
the liars and haters,
the manipulators,
the plotters and schemers,
the money makers.
The bullets were blanks and,
the dead, aren’t dead.
Say the sideline snipers,
the underminers,
the false flag wavers,
the pencil baiters,
the Je Suis Fuck All-ers.
just look who's leading
from the front line.
It's the Old Pretenders, the liars and haters.
It’s proof enough
What more do you need.
But it's not what it seems.
It's a trick of the camera,
another pretence
to diminish the distance
between them and
the leaders behind them,
the pencil wavers,
the movers and shakers,
the history makers.
Not so say the snipers,
the underminers,
know better than you-ers,
the Je Suis Fuck All-ers.
They say nothing of Gaza,
those pencil wavers,
or climate, or oil, or this or that.
And if they can't speak for all things,
it won't matter if, tired by the baiters
they go home and draw cats
till their pencils are blunted
and the spell has abated.
and smiles back on the faces
of the Old Pretenders,
the liars and haters,
the leadership fakers,
the Je Suis Fuck All-ers
who love
to look at
of kitties.

Behind the Mask
Will I ever see
the man behind the mask?
I think I can 
through the eye slits,
when they are open.
Eyes are revealing, after all,
and difficult to hide.
Maybe they’ll tell me enough,
tell me all I need
to know.
So I will have no urge
to peel off the mask,
to tear it away from the skin
It would be too painful, anyway.
Too raw,
for both
of us
and would leave behind a soreness
that would not heal.
And still
not all would be revealed
by the exposure.

Wednesday 30 March 2016


Last night at the theatre I saw you again,
Your smile in a face so much younger.
My confusion, my thoughts, my stares made him turn
and your warm smile chilled me
with ice melting now from the long frozen lock,
the key turning freely to let out our past.

And my past, and it’s future all came flooding back,
the shock of sensations long gone.
The dance and the music, the books that we read,
the memories that we must both have
of the pain and the pleasures, 
that were part of our love
such a long time ago.

So I ask myself now, can anything stay
to give pleasure to us in remembering those days?
For my remnants now seem to be only pain,
and their sadness engulfs me 
and halts my return.

So I left, in the end, as I left you, my love,
Saying nothing, taking nothing,
leaving nothing behind.

Without saying goodbye.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Washed Up

So many dead people
caught in the crossfire
created by the the money men,
the arms traders,
the super ego-ed politicians.
They lie dead where they fell.
Flesh and blood transformed to
fertilizer to nurture the seeds
and grow the crops, in a future
they will not see.
Their bones decaying to dust
to form the building blocks
of homes they will never inhabit.
Dying where they fell,
over there, not here
and not looking like us.
Unseen or soon forgotten
by us here.

But the dead washed up
on holiday beaches
look like our flesh and blood.
They’re wearing our clothes.
They’re washing up to haunt us
in the Old World.
Then there’s the living,
washed up alive
and by any means necessary
moving on to bear witness,
if any one is listening.
To bring the horror home
to those who created it
in the Old World.
Bringing it home to the Old World,
but not as yet to the New.

Reprinted in Harbinger Asylum

Sunday 27 March 2016

End of the Season

The season of wrinkles
and over ripeness
has arrived
too soon.
Shriveled buds.
Fruits bursting open,
their seeds drying out,
beginning to crinkle
and wrinkle.
Beginning to split
and break.
Beginning to moulder
and dribble with damp.
Their past spring
a distant dream.
Or not remembered at all.
like the fresh shoots
of hopeful green growth.

Even the memories of the
florid, blowzy summer’s blooms
are fading.
Fading fast
and faster.

Perhaps this season of dry
has been here a while
and I haven’t noticed.
It’s been approaching
a long time.
Slow at first
Speeding up, then
But still
as everything
slows down
So quickly

I think that winter has arrived.
The season is over,

beyond returning.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

    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.

Published in Amomancies, Commitments Issue

Tuesday 22 March 2016


When I was nine,
by accident,
I stepped on a caterpillar,
stepped on
one end of a caterpillar.
And it’s caterpillar shape,
bright emerald green,
shot out the other end.
Since then,
I have taken great care
never to step
on a caterpillar.

First published in Harbinger Asylum Literary Review, Spring 2016

Friday 18 March 2016

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 mould.

Reprinted in The Fem 2016

Wednesday 16 March 2016

The Hoopoes Are Back
The hoopoes are back,
even though
the walls and holes they liked to nest in
were destroyed by human nest builders
four years ago,
when there was a housing boom
and money to be made.
The hoopoes are back,
even though
the new holes and rubble they liked to nest in
were destroyed by human nest builders
three years ago,
even though,
there was no market for nests
and no money to be made.
The hoopoes are back,
even though
the new holes and rubble they liked to nest in
were washed away two years ago,
as the walls that stopped the storm flow
were destroyed by human nest builders,
to prepare the ground for money to be made.
The hoopoes are back,
even though
their nesting places are hidden, buried
under growing mountains of rubble brought
by the human nest builders a year ago
as there is no demand for human nests
and no money to be made, except from rubble.
Hey, the hoopoes are back! I’ve seen them!
The hoopoes are back!

Tuesday 15 March 2016

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 its fragrance
and hope that one day
fragrant roses will bloom again
in the garden of Gaza.

What else can I do?

Saturday 12 March 2016

The Circus of My Dreams

In the circus of my dreams
the unicorns are are prancing, rearing up,
flashing their rainbowed hooves,
pointing with their golden horns,
with their unique golden horns.
Then, ridden by Leprechauns,
they’re dancing round and round
the circle of the ring.
Kicking up the gold dust ground
from their droppings into
shimmering sawdust.

In the circus of my dreams
there is a rainbow.
A rainbow which has painted
their hooves with it’s light
as they climbed their way up
and slid their way down
to the crock of gold at the end.
Time for the little people to dismount
and mould the gold into hearts of love.
Time for the unicorns to use the gold
to nurture and replenish
their golden horns, their unique
golden horns.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Sunshine and Shadows

There are black clouds lingering over me.
Casting shadows.
Even though
there’s a big red sun above 
shinning down on me.
Warming my face.
Caressing me.
reminding me of other sunshine days
when the rays beamed more sweetly.

The clouds make today too close,
too hot,
yesterday too far away.
And the rays are stabbing me sharply.
Hurting me.
No longer warm and sweet
but hot and sour. 
Piercing me. 
Cutting me like icy splinters.
Because there’s cold there as well,
coming from somewhere.

This sun is too bright for me to see clearly,
too red and swollen,
like my eyes feel now.
Black with shadows.
So I’m waiting for the rain to fall.
Fall away.
Drop by drop until they’re empty and cold.
And I’m waiting for more cold days to come.

And I’m waiting for the empty clouds to pass 
and the sun to shine again
and warm me

if it can.

Monday 7 March 2016

Perchance A Dream

'To sleep perchance to dream'.
Who said that?
Sounds so gentle,
but there's a rub,
a rough edge to it.
Not the long deathly sleep, though
but drifting away in night time slumber.
It can take you anywhere.
Take you to places you haven't been
and may not want to go.
Send you spinning,
out of control
to an indeterminate end,
with demons and dragons
as companions.
Daytime dreaming is preferable,
more gentle than it sounds
fitted into a busy schedule.
In wakeful dreams
you can determine the beginning,
at least,
and invite the participants.
they may act out an old story
with a predictable end,
they can drift into a new story
and then
the demons may join in
your daytime dreaming
as well,

Saturday 5 March 2016

I am dancing
in the sunlight,
the bright, bright light.
I know the cloud is there
but I can forget it, till I stop.
And then..
There it is,
even bigger
and blacker
than before.
Darker than
It doesn’t like me dancing,
doesn’t like the laughter
or the sunshine.
Brightness breaks it,
shatters it into a grey mist.
But still it won’t leave me.
The brighter the sunlight,
the louder the laughter,
the greater my fear
that it will form again
and suck me into it’s

First published in Ealain

Friday 4 March 2016

Sweet Heart

He’d seen it glint earlier
when a shaft of light hit
the open box.
He kept watch till they left.
Back now, still watchful.
Turn his head this way,
then that. 
No cats.
No humans.
Upturned the box 
and seized his prize
glinting gold among the dull
browns and creams.
Carried it off.
Then carried it home,
a home now fit for his new lover,
his sweet heart.
But he didn’t unwrap it.
Didn’t discover the greater prize
lying under the surface glitter.
Didn’t find the jewel 
of sweetness in the centre.
Soon life dulled the surface glitter,
screwed it up.
And  the sweet heart 
melted in the warmth,
Melted into sticky goo.
Melted away as

sweet hearts do.
I Remember My Father

I remember my father.
Remember being carried high 
on his shoulders when
he was walking into town.
I remember that I was scared.
I had never been carried
on shoulders before.
Was there a bus strike
or no money for the fare?
That I don’t remember.

I remember my father
sitting in a chair, a passenger
on a bus or tram,
as I collected his fare
and gave him a ticket.
He drove trams once
and then later he cleaned them.

I remember my father.
Remember sitting on his knee
looking at Rupert Bear books.
I knew the stories by heart
so people thought I could read
and were very impressed.
But I could only remember.

I remember my father.
I don’t need photographs
to jog my memory,
which is just as well
since there are none,
None of him whole, anyway, 
just one of his legs
in loose grey trousers,
sitting by me as I planted seeds
in my first garden.
Turning to Ice

Snowflakes lit by sunbeams
blowing gently,
fragile as shadows
making rainbows in the sun.
Smiling in the soft light.
So soft.
So soft.
Catch them quickly in your hair 
to melt them.
Time has past and
they're already harder now,
even though the sun
is still shining and smiling.
Blindingly bright.
Crunchy crystals.
glistening still.
Shining like diamonds,
but harsh 
in the sunlight
while it lasts
Cooler now as
the light starts fading.
The surface is melting.
Shiny where the sun
still catches,
but fading,
giving way to ice.
Losing it's smile.
And we're skidding, sliding
beyond control.
slipping away,
blinded by tears of ice.

First published in Metaphor Issue 4, Jan 2016

Wild Fruit

I like the wild berries best.
Juice spilling over.
staining my tongue purple
or my lips red.
Each one a new sensation.
A little harder to come by,
than the bland clones,
the cultivars.
A bit more of a struggle.
And, it must be said,
not always sweet.
One never knows
with these wild fruits.
With each taste comes
a surprise.
Spit out the sour,
take in the sweet.
Such joy!
Oh yes!

the wild berries are the best.

Published in Amomancies, Love and Fantasy

Round and round, 
the grinning, gaudy horses 
round and round
on the merry go round.

Round and round,
but the grins are faded now 
and the once bright horses 
drab and disheveled 
staggering and lurching.
Round and round 
on the treadmill 
of the merry go round.

Round and round.
Round and round.
Just one more revolution
and they'll be ready.
to bite the hands
that refused to feed them.

Round and round.
Round and round.
Only one more revolution,
to sharpen up the teeth. 
Round and round,
just one more revolution

on the not so merry go round.

First published in Ealain, Karma Issue

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Sore Fingers

At night my long hair was wrapped
in rags - pristine strips
of thick white cloth.
Sore fingers, my mother called them.
My unruly curls bandaged
into six stiff sore fingers,
to be unravelled in the morning
to reveal
shiny ringlets
to be tied in bunches
with broad, bright, bias cut ribbons.

I wanted plaits.
All the heroines
in my childhood 
books had plaits
I dreamt about plaits
fantasized about plaits.
No more sore fingers.
I wanted plaits.

Sometimes I untied the ringlets,
to my mothers displeasure,
and made untidy, unsuccessful plaits.
Plaits would ruin my hair, my mother said.
Would spoil it’s natural curl,
destroy it
in some

I didn’t care.
I hated ringlets.
I hated sore fingers.
I wanted plaits.

First published in Silver Birch Press, My Mane Memories series, February 2016