May 01, 2010


She drops the latch, pockets the key.

Mrs. Benson twitches the necessary. “She hasn’t smiled in weeks.”

Mr. Benson stirs his tea.

She turns the corner, crosses the road.

Across the park to the bus stop, checks her watch, waits.

“Morning love.” The Postman waves.

She taps her foot. I am not your love, I do not love you.

The bus is late. The sky is clouding over. I am not prepared.

The bus arrives. It takes her twenty minutes to get into the city, to walk to through the small streets, to find her cafe. The drops are starting as she ducks under the awning, peers through the steamed windows. He is late, she thinks, and I am a fool for being on time. I am always the fool.

She had spent twenty minutes longer on her hair and face, etching the kohl into the corners of her eyes gently smudging it with her finger, defining with mascara.

Entering, she sits, orders coffee which comes strong and hot, scalding her spine with her first mouthful.

When I reach ten he will arrive.

When I reach twenty five he will arrive.

When I reach seventy he will have arrived.

She finishes her cup, orders another.

The waitress holds the mug under the steamer watching the froth build until almost overflowing. I have seen her before, she thinks, I have seen her before but where? Lining mugs on her tray she is serving table nine when the door opens letting in cold air from the morning outside. It bangs shut. He is removing his scarf as she places the mug on the table, taking his order at the same time. Back at the machine she notices his height and the shade of his skin, the dark of his eyes.

“I’m sorry I’m late.”

“I’m sorry I’m a fool.”


“I’m sorry you are too.”


“Yes. Well.”

“Have you been here long?”



“So what do you have to say.”

“Not much. I have your book.”


“That’s everything. Nothing else is left.”


“Can you not speak more?”

“Can you not speak more?”

“Goodbye then.”

“But your coffee...”

“You have it,” drops three coins on the table. “I should be somewhere else.”

He wraps his scarf around his neck and the cold air the door lets in quickly warms.

She slumps.

The waitress brings the coffee over. “I can take it back?”

She wraps her hands around it. “No it’s fine. I am fine.”

Later, walking home, sleet begins to fall, cutting into her face and upper arms. The kohl is now rubbed away, her hair has lost its shape. She pulls her coat up further.

The house is cold. She lights a fire, picks up the book and throws it in. The flames grow.

The waitress leaving work heads into the tube and grips the bar as the train rattles beneath the streets. There is a smudge of coffee on her face, her back is sore and she has a burn on her wrist.

I know that girl, she thinks, I have seen her before.

The light in her living room is broken; she uses lamps to create a warm glow, boils the kettle, makes toast. Her eyes avoid the pile of books and clothes by the sofa, the ripped up photos, the half burnt letters in the grate. She sits in a chair, lifts her feet onto a small table.

I have seen that girl before.  

April 30, 2010

Social Form

I watch the girl in front. Steam clouds the shop and perspiration crowds her top lip. Her eyes flash, dark they focus ahead, not moving as her lips speak her order. Stirring in sugar the sleeve of her shirt floats despite the humidity; as she walks past I mouth the words “hi” but she stares through me, letting the door slam.

I collect my drink and follow her down the street.

She turns left into a car park, pointing her fob at a long saloon, balancing her cup on top as she climbs in, reaching out for it before she turns on the engine. She drives one handed out of the building.

That night, we go for dinner with the Slaters.

“Do we have to? I have a headache.”

I say it’s politic. She sighs. Buttons up her dress, fastens a necklace.

“We’re not staying long.”

The ride to the house comprises of the highway then a narrow road and a track to their door. The house is old, 19th century clapboard, in need of repainting but with a veranda stretching round two sides.

“I didn’t bring flowers! I should have brought flowers!”

I switch off the engine and open my door. She smoothes her dress, fiddles with the buckle on her shoe. “We didn’t even bring wine.”

I go to hold her hand, she walks forward.

Through the door Nigel shouts us to “come on in!” The table is laid, with tulips “cut fresh from the garden.”

The dog barks, I nudge Claire. She doesn’t smile. Nigel hands me a beer, gives Claire wine and we sit on sunken armchairs in what must be their best room. The wallpaper folds at the corners of strips, a piano hides dankly at the back.

“Do you play?” Claire asks.

We’re told it hasn’t been touched in years. Sheet music is open on the stand, she walks and fingers the keys.

Nigel asks me about shooting. I say I don’t. He says he’ll have me with a gun yet. Claire frowns at the pictures on the mantelpiece. Mary tells us that they are nieces and nephews, “we’ve not been all that lucky ourselves” and touches Claire’s wrist as she stands to refill drinks.

Later, on the highway, the spray from rain forces me to pull over. We sit for ten minutes then crawl back to home, climb into bed.

“The weather will continue for days.” I turn the machine off, roll over to Claire. She is already asleep.

When I get home the next day she is sat at the kitchen table with a card.

“What do you write in thank you cards?”

I say I have no idea and go to the fridge for the water, pour a glass.

There is a vase of tulips above the sink.


The door bounces as she leaves.

I make a note to fix the catch. 

January 21, 2010

Babblebooks Copy done for The Ashley Bolser Agency August 2009


The Boy on One Leg

Last night I stubbed my toe and had to stand on one leg for a while whilst the pain wore off. I got distracted making a cup of tea and realised I had been standing on one leg for ten minutes. I thought that was impressive, so I stood on one leg for another ten, just to see if I could. I could. An hour later and I was stood on one leg still watching telly. My mum walked in.

She said “Michael” she said

She said “Michael, you oaf, what are you doing?”

I told her, I said “Mum” I said, I said “I realised I could stand on one leg for a very long time and not fall over so now, Mum, I am testing it.”

She clucked and left the room.

After five days my foot started to hurt, not from my weight but because the floor was so hard. I put down a cushion and hopped on to that and it became a lot more comfortable. I got very good at hopping. I could hop all the way from the living room to the kitchen, out into the hall and upstairs to my bedroom. I pinned a pillow to the wall and wrapped up in my duvet, leant against the wall to sleep. I decided that if I only slept for four hours each night that it wasn’t technically cheating and my conscious would be ok with that. Mum got cross because on Sunday I wouldn’t sit down for the roast and ate my plateful from the kitchen side instead of table. She said I wasn’t allowed any wine, she said it would make me wobble. Dad told me I was barmy. I told him he was jealous. I told him it would be the making of me.

After ten days the local paper sent a reporter to the house. I hopped to the front door, let her in and made her a coffee. She looked annoyed to have to stay standing up to talk to me.

The article she wrote made the national news. A TV breakfast show had picked up the story and I was featured on “This Morning” and “GMTV”. Loose Women wanted to do a feature, but they annoy me too much, so I said no.

The Yorkshire Sculpture park rang one day.

“Michael” they said. They said “Michael we need living statues to recreate sculptures. You’d be perfect. We’ll pay you a hundred pounds a day plus travel. I hopped on the train to Bradford. I had to sit in the car but my right foot never touched the floor. I had a lovely week. A small child pushed my arm in hope but found no reaction from me.

I came home. My dad said “You’re barmy. Absolutely stark soaking barmy you are.” he said. I hopped past him and took a beer from the fridge. Turns out alcohol doesn’t make me wobble. I tried to stretch out my right leg, arabaseque-style but the joints had seized. I decided that was just one of those things.

Mum took me to the doctors. He hit my left knee with a little hammer but it had got so strong in the past two months that I barely wobbled. He smiled at Mum. “Not to worry Mrs. Fraser” he said. He said “not to worry Mrs. Fraser, just a phase. He’ll move onto girls soon, and then you’ll be worried.” He gave me a lolly. I wasn’t quite sure why.

The secretary to the mayor of New York wrote a letter to my parents. She said that the city was very proud of it’s statues and would I like to go to a statuite convention there in the city. They would pay for my flights and my accommodation as long as I didn’t mind being filmed a little bit. I said that would be fine and Mum bought a new hat. Dad laughed for ten minutes when he heard then walked out of the kitchen without saying anything.

We flew from Manchester and the air hostesses smiled as I hopped up the steps to the plane. Whilst in the air, I tried to go to the toilet and hopping in a confined space in turbulence was harder than I’d expected. I held onto the head rests of the aisle seats. Nobody seemed to mind.

In New York the Mayor’s secretary had sent someone to meet us at the airport. I hopped into the limosine and Mum followed, unhappy that her ankles had swollen. We went to the hotel and she lay down. They’d set up a bed as I’d asked them but I was too busy bouncing around by the open window. I could see central park! I could see people roller blading! I wanted to go go go but mum said stay stay, just for a minute, she said please stay and just stop moving. I stopped. I think I look quite graceful when I just stand, rather like a flamingo. I thought about saying this to someone else but then decided not too, in case they wanted me to be like a flamingo statue and painted me pink. Then I’d look stupid.

We went to the statuite convention. There were other people there who dressed like statues, people who had won awards for the ability to just stand as still as possible for hours and hours. They would stand and I would watch them and they just wouldn’t move a muscle. I get too bored for that.

I was told that I would be on the news in America but first I had to do a photo shoot. I got a bit worried about that. I don’t have the best skin. I’m a little bit conscious about it and don’t really like people looking at me too closely and the air conditioning on the plane had sent it all crazy. I looked like a pack of bees had stung me in the face and left lots of little red stings. But there were make-up artists, so my skin was made to look pleasing. The make up girl had to stand on a chair to reach my face because I couldn’t sit down and she was only knee high to a grasshopper.

In the photo shoot I dressed up in different poses and stood around holding my arms out and trying not to laugh at what my dad would say if he could see. He would see though, mum was taking pictures. For the last picture they had a picture of me on a boat with the statue of liberty in the background. I had to lean right over and cup my hands out so that from the angle of the picture it would look like I was holding the statue. Mum read from the guide book and told me all about why the statue was built and what it represented. I was more concerned that a seagull was eyeing up my corn dog (they were one of the best things about America, the corn dogs. I ate so many of them).

The next day when we woke up the hotel had sent up all the local and national newspapers.




And they were all filled with pictures of me looking like a right goon holding up a corndog and an ice cream near the statue of liberty.

The magazine with the pictures in came out 2 days later to coincide with my appearance on Jay Leno. A fansite had been set up for me and had had over two million hits. The hotel was refusing to let any girl under the age of 18 in because they were being rushed at the door with girls trying to touch me. In Tokyo a school girl died whilst falling off a giant billboard with a picture of me on it. She wanted to touch my hair she said.

I returned home with a whole wardrobe full of new clothes. I gave Dad a new iPod and he looked at me like I was insane. He said “bloody hell lad, the whole bloody world’s barmy” he said. I said “I know” and then told him that the bank manager had told me to spend only the capital of the money I’d earned in America but with that I could still buy him a new car. He dropped his mug of tea.

There were movie offers and record deal proposals and I was seriously considering a script that Diablo Cody had written for me when my headmaster called me into his office.

“Now then Michael, you just have a seat, we have some chatting to do young man.”

I said I didn’t want to sit down, I’d rather stand. He looked at me the same as my dad used to.

“Right then. Lean on the cabinet if you want but mind the plant.”

He said “the thing is now Michael” he said “the thing is that your work is suffering and so is that of your classmates. We know you’ve got a very special talent there with your leg but the windows are being blocked by reporters and photographers and some of the smaller children are suffering from light deficiency. It’s not that we don’t want you at school but we need the natural light. You’re preventing that from happening.”

I sucked my lip “I see Sir.” I said, I said “so what exactly are you saying?”

“I’m saying Michael, that we’re going to have to ask you to leave the school. You need to focus on your own work which you can’t do here but we’ve looked up some tutors for you and the little ones need to be able to breathe bless them. You can see that can’t you lad?”

I said “aye yes I could see that well enough” and that I knew my GCSEs were important and that at school I just lolled about whilst the lasses swooned and the cameras flashed.

He stood up and shook my hand. “Glad we had this chat here Michael, been a pleasure having you here for so long and you’ll still sit your exams here.”

“Ta sir” I said. I said “Ta sir” and then that was that and I was out of school forever.

I said yes and went over to the US to film it. I ate too many corn dogs and figured maybe they weren’t for me. When I came back everyone said I had an American twang and that I did my hair differently. My mum said I hopped much taller and had really grown up. Responsibility had come with the money and fame. She said she was proud. My dad sat behind the daily mail and looked the other way.

I got Ds in my GCSEs but as my agent said, you can’t have everything can you. And I was a multi-million dollar film star so I reckon I just about had enough.

November 17, 2009

2,000 word assignment.

I came up with the tag line after reading an article in which the wife of the recently late footballer Peter Enke said something about destiny blowing. It began life as a cross between The Great Gatsby and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold but has changed disproportionately since. In fact that's not really the best introduction as it is now nothing like that at all and I've got your hopes up of some jazz age spy thriller, which it most definitely isn't....

Destiny blows in all directions, and I believe in fate, you know?

The midsummer morning hung heavy with mist and it was cold, really cold. I’d set an alarm for 5 but woke before it rang. This is my favourite part of the day, when the birds are just getting started with morning song and the light creeps through the valleys and dales that make up the landscape I call home. A deer crossed the top field as I walked down the back track. It was idyllic, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The track was slippery and the rivers of water from the last week had caused channels to form in the soft chalk so the road had become broken, unstable and unlike any kind of road or track, more like a gorge for the tiny voles that would be living in the just ripening corn fields. The rain had made everything clean. The mist lingered just above my ankles; I felt like I was floating.

I got to my dale and I climbed the five bar gate which was peeling with rust and dropped into the long grass. My legs were soaking immediately, and my trainers, but I waded through until I was in line with the hut which hid the bore hole. I lay down on the grass and looked up. The sky isn’t blue when it’s black. It’s not white when it’s red or grey when it’s pink. When it’s cloudy it can’t be clear and when it’s wet it won’t get dry. If a star is out then it won’t be sunny and if it’s bright then it won’t be foggy. In mist there’s no clarity and in moonlight no sun. If a rainbow arches from end to end then a pot of gold can’t be found even if the rainbow seems to stretch forever and ever into the distance and the sun is its middle point. I thought, the air isn’t hot when it’s cold. It isn’t soft when it is whipping, or peaceful when it whistles. When it’s muggy it can’t be fresh and when it’s stifling it won’t be calm. If it stings my skin then I won’t feel relief and if it’s blowing around my feet my head won’t feel the benefit. When the wind blows into the sea and away from the land, that’s not destiny sucking on a lollipop or a father figure breathing to cool hot tea, instead it’s the pat pat pat of a raindrop constantly hitting the floor, eroding away at the concrete over a continual period of time. If I jumped up and down in a puddle then the ripples wouldn’t be scientific but the effects of my actions on the people around me. If I wave my hands frantically in the air, will I get shot or will I lie down with the lion and the lamb and, in time, sleep peacefully.

I am waving my hands frantically above me now and watching the effect that they have on the air that surrounds me. I can still breathe, but the disruption of the air, or possibly just the movement of my hands, is making it more difficult to control the in and out. The in and out and again, in and out and my diaphragm is moving as I know it must. I lie my hands flat on the bottom of my stomach, each hand just above the corresponding hip bone and feel my skin stretch and relax with each intake of air. The skin is tighter than it has been before and that is because of you, because you’ve made me change into something that I don’t want to be and something I can’t explain to anyone else. Not here where the dales meet the sea and the hills roll and the women in the post office talk. Not where there would be condescension and fake flattery, embarrassment and finger-pointing.

I fall asleep and wake up shivering with a nosy calf nudging my upper arm. Loss is a kind of gain, isn’t it? You gain the experience of that loss and can learn from it, can become a better a person once you’ve managed to jump across the rift of sadness, hate and despair and into calm acceptance and belief. Yes, that’s right and I’m sure you’d agree that if I could get over the loss then you might too. You’d take some convincing but I’m sure that eventually you could see it from my point of view and would no longer need to mourn the loss to see the clarity in the clearness of the point, my point, my argument forward. What would you say? The calf had wandered away but now has come back and I sit up as it sniffs my arms and neck. I put out two fingers and it starts to suckle on them, used to the gesture from being newly born but looking put out that there is no milk covering the fingers, no milk for its purple tongue to lick up. The calf gets bored and moves away again and I lie back down on the now warm wet grass. I have no phone or watch with me and so assume that it must be about 8 by now which means I have about an hour until they realise I’m not in the house and about two until they start to come and look for me. Two hours is more than enough time for what I want to do anyway. I lie back down and close my eyes again.

This time when I wake, there are three calves watching me from a short distance. I pick a blade of grass, hold it between my thumbs and blow, scaring them away with the noise that it makes. The calves have now moved right down to the grass track at the bottom and are pretending not to watch me but I know that they are. I stand up and walk back to the chalk track and back towards the farm but turn left into a field and then down into another dale. This dale is empty which is key for the purpose of what I want to do and has a lake in the bottom and a small stream which trickles into it. We call it the tarn, though it’s not that big. We used to swim in it all summer though since we’ve grown up more, we rarely come down here. There’s a crude wooden jetty that Dad built years ago, in the deepest part, so we could dive in, like our own kind of swimming pool. I stand on the jetty.

The water beneath my feet is moving slightly in the breaths of wind that have just begun to pick up. By the afternoon there will be a lot of wind, the weatherman said, moving in from the nearby sea and picking up speed as it crosses the land. The farm will take a beating. Mum will mind. It will destroy the plants which are just coming into their own and starting to look nice. There are trees rustling at the shallow end of the valley, planted just for the pheasants to live in, breed in and get shot in but at least they had a little bit of time. They wouldn’t be alive unless they were going to get shot. I told a friend that once but she didn’t understand and just looked upset. She didn’t understand that there were preconceived reasons for all things to happen, whether by a farmer or by something else. I guess you and I as we are, or just as I am in this state, was preconceived by something somewhere. And I guess that whatever decided it knew what the outcome would be anyway. It gave me a reason for things. And a reason for an answer that I’d been trying to work out for what seemed like a very long time.

A deer came out of the wood and up to the tarn to drink. It bent its head but must have smelt me on one of the gasps of wind and lifted its head to stare at me for what seemed like hours. I stared back but couldn’t hold its gaze. I blinked, then it had gone. I saw a flash of white disappear into the trees.

The sun was getting quite high now and I decided it was time so I walked off the jetty and stood on the grass. I had some stones in my pockets that I’d brought down from the farm specifically and there were some bricks left over from a makeshift barbeque we’d had at Easter. The bricks fitted into the pockets of the coat I was wearing. I zipped the coat up right to my neck. Then I took out the bottle of sleeping pills I’d brought with me for extra help. I didn’t want to be strong enough to fight when my instincts told me to. I took out three and swallowed them with water scooped up from the tarn. I left the bottle on the side of the jetty and stopped for one last look around.

I said goodbye to the trees, to the sky, to the dales which I’d loved more than anything for longer than I could remember. I began to cry as sleep tried to take hold and became emotional as I felt more tired. The landscape was saying goodbye to me too; I could hear my voice being shouted again and again echoing between the hills. The trees were talking back and as I looked across they were waving at me their branches like arms, moving from side to side. I stepped up onto the jetty. The mist was returning though the sun was hot, very hot, hotter than I’d thought it could be. I looked at the water, walked forwards and jumped.

There shouldn’t have been a hand to reach down for me. I shouldn’t have been pulled back to the surface or had lips closed around mine. I wanted my fate to be the water.

If there are grey clouds then it won’t rain. If there are black ones it will. There can’t be any light when the sun is covered over but how can it still be warm when it is? I never stepped on three drains or crossed on stairs or walked under ladders. I paid my respects to the magpies and always left a house through the same door I’d entered. I wasted salt over my left shoulder. Destiny blows in all directions but it never blew me where I wanted to go.

October 23, 2009

a long time coming.

back at uni now, updating things. this is from the portfolio i submitted for fiction last year. the lack of paragraphing is intentional, not a formatting error. 

The House on the Hill.

There is a house on the hill. There is a house on the hill that is grey. There is a house on the hill that is grey with green gables. There is a grey house with green gables on a hill and ivy is climbing up its walls. Ivy is climbing up the walls of the green gabled grey house that sits on the hill with a dog outside its front door. The ivy-clad green gabled grey house on the hill has a dog outside its front door and an old man walking up the path. An old man is walking up the path to the dog which is sitting outside the front door of a green gabled grey ivy-clad house that is up on a hill looking down on rolling farmland and a tractor in the distance. The tractor in the distance, which is being looked down on by a grey house on a hill with green gables and ivy and a dog and an old man in front of it, is carting corn to the next village. The tractor carting corn which the green gabled grey house is looking down on is blue, which is the same colour as the old man’s eyes, who is currently patting the dog sitting outside the ivy-clad front door of this grey house. The dog being patted by the old man, with blue eyes the same colour as the tractor, is a Labrador, but an old Labrador, whose coat has faded with age from black to a kind of grey in a marked contrast with the old man’s eyes which look like the same colour as the tractor carting corn to the village in the distance but in actual fact are a few shades darker. The village in the distance is framed by a clump of trees on either side that are in full leaf and green but a very different green to the green gables of this ivy-clad grey house. The green gables of this grey house clad with ivy are a dark tennis court green whereas the leaves on the trees are a leafy light green that seems to smile in the sunlight in a similar way to how the old man is smiling now as he pats the grey-black Labrador that sits outside the front door of the house. The front door is red, which matches the unusually placed phone box to the left of the house, but clashes with the green gables and the purple ivy which clings and hangs and climbs up the side of this grey house which sits high up on the hill, overlooking rolling farmland and the bright blue (brighter than the old man’s eyes) tractor which is carting corn to the next village framed by leafy green trees. The phone in the unusually placed phone box to the left of the green gabled grey house on top of the hill begins to ring and the old man looks up from patting the dog but does not move down the path to go into the phone box and answer the phone. From the green gables, a sash window opens and a head with equally blue eyes appears through the ivy which clings to this hilltop grey house and shouts down at the old man to stop patting the dog and go and answer it. The old man who is crouched by the red front door of the grey house on top of the hill and patting the black-grey Labrador, stands with effort and walks to the phone box to answer the phone. In the time that the old man with the bright blue eyes the same colour as the tractor currently leading corn to the leafy green village has walked to the phone box to answer the ringing phone which has stopped ringing by the time he has reached it, the red front door has opened shocking the black-grey old Labrador dog which had curled back up to enjoy the sunshine, and the head from the sash window with the same bright eyes has stomped out attached to a body and legs holding a basket full of clothes. The old man with the bright blue eyes turns to the girl with the eyes of a similar shade who has just stepped out of the grey house with green gables and says that he missed the phone. The bright eyed girl, with the basket of clothes, who had just left the grey house with green gables and a red front door, shakes her head and walks in the other direction onto the grass-green lawn to hang the clothes from the basket onto the washing line. The grey-black Labrador, who had been sitting patiently outside the red front door of the green gabled grey house with ivy running down the side, sees a leveret run through the gate towards the grass-green lawn with the washing line where the girl with bright blue eyes is hanging up the washing and chases after it knocking down the pole holding up the washing line on which the bright blue eyed girl is pegging clothes. The clothes that the girl with the blue eyes, which are really very bright, is hanging up scatter across the lawn causing her to chase after the once-black dog chasing the leveret shouting and cursing. The old man whose genes have given the washing girl her bright blue eyes has called back the number which had just caused the phone box to shrill and chirrup and has found that he and the girl need to head to the leafy green village that the blue tractor was carting corn towards and so he limps past the red front door of the ivy-clad grey house with the green gables to the grass-green lawn to try to chase the brightly blue eyed washing girl chasing the black-faded-to-grey Labrador chasing the sneaky little leveret which has found a gap in the fence and run away to freedom. The old man with the not-so-bright blue eyes and a gouty limp catches up with his blue eyed and red faced granddaughter as she stands at the fence shouting at the black-grey Labrador who is looking longingly at the small gap in the fence and wishing that he could sneak through. The old man tells the young girl what the voice on the end of the phone inside the unusually placed red phone box had to say and the redness in the young girls face drains out leaving it a strange shade of yellow and she grabs the hand of the old man with the blue eyes a similar colour to the tractor which has now reached the village with its load of corn and they jump into a muddy red car and speed off down the long hill on which stands a grey house that has ivy wrapped around the green gables and the red front door and which looks down on rolling farmland with an unusually placed red phonebox to the left and a grass-green lawn to the right where clothes are scattered over beds of purple and orange dahlias and a washing line pole lies abandoned in the centre. 

April 05, 2009


So I'm giving up on the whole lent thing, even though there is a week to go. Finding that I have few ideas and those that I do have need to be focused on the two portfolios I have due in very very soon...sad times. 

March 17, 2009

11th to 17th March

More excuses, I am awful, and they all have to do with a boat and sitting on rippling water watching sunlight dapple swans and thinking "I'd really like to write about this" but then getting out of the boat and getting home and being so tired to do anything except eat and go to sleep. Except, it is the holidays so I have nothing to blame except myself and my own laziness. Yesterday I found time to wander around Kensington in sunshine and eat lots of scones and drink tea and champagne in Hyde Park and today I walked around Christchurch Meadows with a sandwich and a diet coke and an old friend so yes, I have found time to write some poetry and also to write a self-indulgent, fake depracating and long winded explanation of the past 5 days or so. 

Without further ado therefore...

17th March

Deep breaths

hot tea

deep breaths




stand up

straight back

eyes down

and watch.

and pause.

and wait.


16th March


Swans jeer, I pass them by

but with long strokes they catch up, 

taunting and

teasing so

I lock my wrists and try

desperately hard to breath. 


The boy slash man opposite is 

attractive but as attractive

as my dress? I'm not sure.

The problem is 

I prefer clothes to human contact:

softer, prettier, longer lasting.


Is graffitti on trains wrong?

I write on the arm of this

jubilee line heading east. 

The man next to me writes

yes, in red felt pen.

11th March (I did actually write this on the 11th) 

The grey stone is you.

How you look when wet and cold is you

or windswept and blown.

How you moan in February

how you breathe in May

how you laugh in July

and how you defend against cold in December

and fight fog when the North Sea frets and

encompasses us, and you, and 

hear only barks and shouts in the 

very far distance and see

nothing, is you.

March 11, 2009

6th – 11th March

I've been horrendously bad at keeping this up but again I have excuses...big big race on Saturday took up all energy I had in racing and organizing and then an essay on Monday meant all creative resources were plowed solemnly into that (it was solemn, most definitely.) However, I did a bit of fiction, attempting to try an anti-narrative approach and this is it...

With flattering poses and obnoxious pouts you attempt to prove a point that has never been proven before, and need never be again. It wasn’t long before the mirror in the mars bar showed you something you didn’t like so you spat out lumps of chocolate and tried not to choke. Presently, the west wind blew hard and the pout stuck leaving you with a face like a platypus so it was impossible to eat soup, or anything remotely viscous, from a spoon and if we’d just poured it you would have choked. The silver spoon from which I ate rice pudding and custard, gloating, reflected back and you were surprised to see the bitter hag that you had become in the space of five minutes. Out of guilt and self loathing you stood on the window ledge threatening to jump, though we both knew you wouldn’t and we both knew that you’d climb back down and pour a strong gin and not-much-tonic to drink in a deep hot bath to calm your nerves.

This is just the beginning, there was more, but I couldn't decide whether it worked or not particularly.


Currently looking at Zimbabwean poets for a feature in the June Warwick Review issue... Like a guy called Chris Mlalazi a lot, and also Charles Mungoshi.


March 05, 2009

4th and 5th March

5th March.

When I wake up there are six biscuits outside my door

if I eat five then, I think, seven hundred and forty two would be left,

but I never was very good at maths, so perhaps they would just be crumbs.

4th March.


Were there a way and a taste of success

And were I to have tasted and waded,

Then would I still feel the need

For countless cups of tea or would the

Sweetness of success have filled me up for good?


Were there a sound and a screech of dislike

And were I to have sounded and screeched,

Then would I feel the need to sing on and on

And on along with the radio, or would the

Solemnity of dislike have been emptied of me for good?


Were an apple as round as a sphere then I could contemplate

The shape, and speed that it would travel the floor

Between your foot and mine, but it’s a square, now, all

Red and shiny and so far beyond my contemplation that all the tea

And the singing on the radio cannot shape my thoughts into the

Sphere that I would like them to be.

March 2023

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Most recent comments

  • I love it. Everything. One thing that amused me was the "climbing into bed", there is a bit of a jok… by Sue on this entry
  • This is a great blog Jennifer. Will take my time to go through it. Keep up the good work. by Christopher Mlalazi on this entry
  • more please. by on this entry
  • nice work by will kerr on this entry
  • I agree with tds "were" is really good. by on this entry

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