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April 04, 2010

To the ends of the earth

I wrote this. Can't remember when.

The question to ask here is:

N. is sitting at his desk which is semi-cluttered w./sheets of paper, empty cups, pens, empty cigarette packets. Lamp to the right and speakers to each side on the floor. In pride of place is a monitor – wide, bright, imposing, angled such that N.’s face is slightly upturned to it (establish connotations of worship). Underneath the desk is the actual computer – this large, black, glossy – many lights. N. is (smirking) and typing. Instant messaging window is open on his monitor currently. Now he switches to a browser window and starts to watch a video. Ordinary street view; after a few seconds a man falls over in a slapstick comedy fashion. Video cuts out, N. (smirks), returns to IM window. Types for a few more seconds then stands, leaves the room. Returns approx. 6 mins later w./cup of coffee. Sits again and starts to type. Sips the coffee. (N.B – music is playing throughout – medium-paced AOR) Continues sitting, switching between IM window and browser w./various videos which are generally similar to previous one. Drinks coffee. Eventually cup is empty. N. continues in same fashion, occasionally addressing (poss. sarcastic) remarks to subjects of videos (technically apostrophe). Foulmouthed.

Suddenly: behind N. door is smashed inwards, two large men in leather jackets burst in and as he turns drag him away from his desk, pin him against a wall. He makes various exclamations/protests, men don’t respond. Third man enters, this one pale/bald w./wide jaw, obnoxious smile, wrinkles. Nods to N., walks to his computer. Looks pointedly at computer, then at N (perpetually maintaining obnoxious exaggerated smile) and taps chin to communicate thoughtfulness. N’.s protests now have become screams, tears. Smiling man nods to communicate understanding, poss. sympathy, then turns to monitor and opens his wide mouth, bites out a chunk. Begins to chew, crunching sounds heard. Leaves traditional bitemark shape in the monitor. N. now completely breaks down, screams (heartrending) into the void of existence why oh why. Smiling man finishes chewing, swallows with obvious difficulty, widens his mouth so wide and engulfs remainder of monitor. Bites, chews, swallows. Then turns, prances to window and dives out through, breaking the glass. Men holding N. give one perfunctory punch to the stomach each then follow smiling man out of the window. N. doubled up in pain, giving keening sounds, these slowly morph into growls, pitch of which drops to a point unlikely given N.’s size/species. N. looks up, eyes turn black, sudden wings (batlike) burst from his shoulders and he swears a bloodcurse, an unholy bloodcurse upon the men who’ve done this; charges to the window and leaps out, flying like a nightmare into the night, a veritable storm of vengeance – but wait! They’ve left gargoyles to combat you, stone abominations crawling from the very depths of concrete hell itself – what will you do now, N.?

What will you do?

February 12, 2010

Three poems

These are pretty much the only poems of mine that came out of my poetry course which I actually like.

I mean, I like the course. It's just that everything I've written specifically for it has so far made me want to put my liver in a vice.


In order, the poems are: a blessing for a human; a valentine for a different subject; and a mashup (or synthesis) of two collaborative love poems with two collaborative hate poems, which I called late because I'm really funny.


You need yourself. You need time for yourself.

The time you need to become yourself is the time

passing now.All time that can truly be said to exist

is the present moment, all time everywhere. You

have all the time in the world in which to be yourself.

You can be sure of yourself. You can shore yourself

up against those influences which make you unsure.

Your shores have been breached but you can assure

yourself that you are yours now.

It’s important that I’m clear on a few points:

this isn’t to release you because you don’t need me

to let you go. This isn’t to make you feel better

because you have no reason not to feel like sunlight.

This is just to ask:

how many times

do I have to tell you that

there’s nothing I can tell you

you haven’t found out on your own?


makes you smile and driftwood looks like

whales scraped beachclean and the

shells are coming up and we’re

not running the salt always

hits first

and dunes are fat with grass and

bottles are easy empty and

catching ships this

should be covered in turtles the

houses are loud and

coves are not

but you wouldn’t think they get

predators here sharp grey and

who swims these days and

i wouldn’t want to live here but it’s

fun while it lasts

and let’s hear it for the

city on a hill sink one down with a

smile because it tastes

so much better with the

extra salt

which translates as i

miss you


Holding on is/then I am submerged and

you are a cold shower;

stick in my throat.

Rain is: still watcing cuttlefish struggling in

water like plastic bags I asked

where is/but gold flooded.

Sea air is/your bones are hollow but your

wings must hang so heavy

By dawn you - or do you already know how

when you're in the room I tend to

shut up

Luck is not suffocating when your lungs

haze the wind sweet

Your bed’s warm and I don’t know what

love sounds like but I

can’t want you to

be calm

Flex and hit a vein I/roll the dice and every

time whether hand open and smile or

closed plus scream it always

comes up you

January 29, 2010

Is it warm in there?

(This was done for the portfolio)

So I was sitting on my bed watching The Departed which it’s a good film DiCaprio’s shown himself in recent years to be a talented actor really not deserving of the kind of savagery he received in some quarters after Titanic. I was a little way into the film and I thought about John who having felt he was unable to finish work on his model airplane had decided to become a televangelist, I told him at the time I thought there was a sort of logical gap there, he didn’t make any meaningful response. I returned to watching the film avidly. The Boston cityscape presented itself to me like pine needles biting through damp soil, it had a beauty all of its own which I wouldn’t want to see changed.

I heard a knock and opened my door to find a wooden doll around knee height looking at me, it said I’m the doll Descartes constructed and sent to a friend overseas via a ship. I said I thought that story was apocryphal it said no I said okay. What can I do for you?

The doll clicked its clockwork and smiled and said I need you to write my story. I was confused and I sat down making sure my bathrobe was still covering me as the doll looked strikingly like a little girl.

I said what story?

She said everything I’ve done in the past four centuries almost.

I said won’t that be pretty long?

She said I spent a lot of it in the ocean without much happening. You can kind of compress that part.

I said that wouldn’t compromise the overall vision of the piece?

She said no because if I was interested in making readers on some level experience the sheer monotony of being stuck at the bottom of the ocean not knowing whether you’re even moving let alone how far you are from land then yeah it might be useful and also if I wanted my readers to be aware that they were reading a story by making it painfully obvious that I was using a particular storytelling technique to remind them they were reading a story then I might do it. However my concerns in the text aren’t so much with the medium itself but more with the ability of the inanimate to really experience and the extent of humanity.

I said surely the self-reflexive aspect’s unavoidable what with giving a voice to an inanimate object modelled on a feminine form nonetheless no doubt making you in some ways a perfect other, even a subaltern?

She said thinking about the voice in any story necessitates thinking about the story itself as a form and as an object, that’s always been the case it’s just that it’s not my main concern and I’d rather it wasn’t my story’s primary action.

I said that’s understandable but given the importance of your voice to the story why do you want me to write it isn’t that pseudo-colonial?

She said I’m a doll, my fingers and hands don’t work that well.

I said ok but why me?

She said you have nothing better to do. Which I felt was offensive but fair. I sat wrapped in my bathrobe and watched the corner of the screen as the needles stood proud. Look, see them shining with that precious urban rot.

She said your old flat was nicer.

I said I had to move out.

She said do you call her?

I said I think we both feel there’s too much in the way.

She said well you should at least buy some new shirts.

And down on the street, a thousand gasps froze in the morning air, that morning air; doesn’t it make you feel alive?

November 04, 2009

Four Flashes

Writing about web page http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage

These are some stories based on tropes most of which I found on tvtropes.org but for the love of god don't look at that site or you'll be on it for hours. You have been warned.


First she killed them-

Then she saved them-

She got tired of them-

Threw them aside-

Began to talk to them-

Tried to understand-

She was evil in veins-

She never had a choice-

Drank the blood and spat at remorse-

She saw what she’d become-

Lay down arms-

Turned round to fight for them-

She’ll burn in hell-

She’s in the stars-

But, but the pages were all over the floor torn to pieces and the pictures drenched none of it made sense we didn’t know how to put it all back together we couldn’t it didn’t make any sense


He was insane. Completely unhinged. He’d – I couldn’t sleep at night knowing, I just knew he was out there. I could smell him there in the – not smell him, obviously I couldn’t smell him, but I knew he was there; he was there and he was watching my daughter and – do you know what that’s like? Do you have the slightest idea? You can’t understand it, can you, you – you people with your suits and your cameras – no, I’m not sorry. Why would I be sorry? No, I don’t know how old he – I can sleep at night now, my daughter’s safe now, I don’t have to have the locks replaced and keep the curtains drawn and mend the windows every day now – how on earth could I be sorry he’s gone?

Right. Or:

Please don’t tell my mother I showed you this. She won’t see it, she doesn’t watch TV. This – this is the book of pictures he sent me. That – he said we could live on that island. And – sometimes he drew me. I wasn’t asleep, I just wanted to know what I looked like with my eyes closed. Sometimes I’d find flowers on my bed. Sometimes it was grass, I don’t think he really understood the whole – did you know how old he was? Yeah, that’s – it was going to be his birthday in June. I got him a present, see – well, I’ll be fine. No, you should – you should leave now.

No I Don’t Hug Trees

You know that thing you sometimes see in films or tv or whatever where someone’s trying to work but it’s just not happening? They get all frustrated and do the angry sigh and screw up whichever piece of paper they’re working on – it has to be a piece of paper, really wouldn’t work with a computer or whatever – and throw it sometimes over their desk but normally to the side into a bin? Yeah, you know that. Well – my name’s Billy Madison and I know I’m not famous but if there’s one thing – nobody’s going to beat me when it comes to throwing that paper. I do this with care.

I’ll admit: it all started as pure procrastination. I used to be terrible, you know, the paper went everywhere and I couldn’t get anything done with a messy floor so I’d walk around picking it all up, putting it in the bin. I got so sick of having to do that, I decided to work on my hand-eye co-ordination in my spare time. Long story short – I got better. I started to move the bin round my study to make it a challenge but – and I don’t want to brag – it was too easy. Really. So – I got the idea of really, you know, making it hard; I put the bin on rails. It started small, I’d just push it and it’d go in a little circle for a while then stop but during that time – yeah, that was a challenge. I couldn’t exactly keep getting up to prod it, though, so I decided to motorise it. Sort of like scalextrix but – and then, well, just going in that one pattern was too predictable. So I expanded the railing. It’s not like I had much else to do, I really wasn’t getting anywhere with the book.

You should see it now. It’s my pride and joy. Yeah, it cost a bit, I had to sell my car and my desk but it’s worth it. The rails go all over my study and I’ve connected a basic switchboard to my computer and written a program that randomises the track shifts so – really – that bin can go anywhere. Hey, but do you know what’s cooler? I – and I’m not boasting, honestly – I never miss. Go through paper like a hurricane but, believe me, it’s worth it.

I Won’t Sleep

I spent seven centuries watching ambush predators to really get how surprise works. His face, when he sees me-

I followed four generations of killers first teaching then learning what can be done with the human body. Some days I shuffle the methods but I already know which I’m going to use.

I’ve sifted particles from supernovas and sphere by sphere made the knife; now I’m just waiting to use it.

I’m a genocide in the wings lurking just for him.

I know exactly how long his bones would last thrown into any one of the suns on which I perch. The figures are in measures which won’t appear on any reasonable scale.

You know every day (and when it comes I could just) I see her choosing him, her hands on him, her eyes on him, and I know nothing I can do will ever change it not ever because that’s what’s written in all the numbers/but/I can make him regret it/oh you know I’m going to make him regret it/and I wonder if he knew how long he’s got if he’d even bother being born

I stared at hyenas evolving, studied their bite slowly becoming perfect. When he sees my mouth he’ll-

October 25, 2009

Rainbow (a story for wearing)

Wrote this for a class. Fairly happy with how it turned out but it could probably use a bit of work.

The rainbow:

-      is light cleaned, prepared and divided;

-      in water;

-      into its individual threads.

(the moment the light enters the water – refracts – it is combed and twisted through teeth inside the raindrop until red, blue, violet and whichever other colours may appear are collected together but – essentially – not connected, every thread is carefully kept separate on one line alone.)

-      This happens instantaneously; the atmospheric droplets are manufactured specifically with this in mind.

-      These threads are then cast from the raindrop and carried by others in a processionary trail across the skies;

-      this being the arch of dripcloth; the rainbow.

The rainbow:

-      is sent to teach us the mysteries;

-      and beauty;

-      of fabric

(that we who with or unwoven skin cannot clothe ourselves only in light may practice the skills we will need on the ascension;

to wrap ourselves in brightness;

to sparkle in rain.)

Blessed be.

           Oh weaver;

Blessed be.

October 22, 2009

Hours of Waking

Although I started on it before I read it, this piece is pretty obviously influenced by David Markson's Wittgenstein's Mistress which you should read too. Seriously, David Foster Wallace recommended it. He's the shit. Anyway yeah, there are in total thirteen of these little sections, might put the rest up later but it's a bit long for one blog post. Learned that lesson I think.

(I apologise for the spanish, it's been a while since I studied it)

Hours of Waking

1. My eyelashes flutter split to trickle like moth wings. A church flickers in and out of my windows. Sangre de Dios, siempre lo recuerdo. Diez veces. I worry the shields from my bones. Thighs. Perhaps today I will hatch birds, squeaking and bald. I will feed them with the day’s chorizo and with ashes stirred into water to help them stay alert. My pulse is shaking me out of joint. Pero es mía y no quiero cambiarlo porque es mía. I should collect the water from my roof more to wash away the sweat than to drink. The ceiling is clicking its tongue at me with definite reproach and shaking too but only in my eyes, which are blurred. His weight is still on me. I think my lungs may be aching to escape, they can sense strangers just above close enough to touch. Sometimes I am silent and I can tell they worry but my voice sits in satin safe in a crystal case away from their fingers tipped with droplets of our sweat. I keep it for my own. No soy ruiseñor. I can tell they worry. Perhaps I am selfish, perhaps it should be free for their fingers and hands. Doubtless it is a sin. I am sure I owe them something. One day I will know my place exactly, when I am sheet skinned. Will I seed the tears or be a toothed red heel?

2.   Steam is still clinging to the walls like cobwebs. The smell they say is roast but it coats me more like oil, which only burns. I liked how he held the cup with just two fingers. I saw it before but with glass. Was he so sure it wouldn’t drop and shatter? I wouldn’t have minded if it had. Perhaps it would have splashed over my skin and soaked a patch into a liquid birthmark. Water wouldn’t move it. Some of me is thirsty. Will I wash? If he is still there clinging to my back (I know he is) he might lose grip but oh and the outside lists the names again. Once veces ahora y los gritos son así: cielos y minas, muy viejos. I swear I can feel the slow boiling in my stomach. It will all mix together milky and dilute and then I will grow, and grow, and I will be too heavy to move. Who then will wash my birthmark? If I break our walls and run heavy with need to his door how will it look when I am sheet skinned? Will I seed the tears or be a toothed red heel? If sipping this could slide me into a perfect physical harmony – but no doubt I will see, at the close, that my phrase was meant to feel unfinished. But I feel all through me some red need to be reflected.

3.   No soy ruiseñor. My voice rises, the sun takes its hand, the day winds a smooth white scarf around its shoulders. Oh, I adore these sounds. Would this be cut away? Perhaps. It may, after all, be unnecessary in terms of plot or character. Still I would save it, I would hang the wasted reels in glass on my walls. They would glint, shine.

(my voice would drip, would corrode the floor)

I would let it stay. It would add depth and piece by piece all of me would be dredged from the ocean floors strung on fine wire. I would leave it/but it is not my choice. No doubt I haven’t grasped the intricacies of the piece as a whole. But I could know as I ache to and yes I ache to. When I am sheet skinned, will I seed the tears or be a toothed red heel?

           (my voice has missed the wire, is drowning)

Doce veces y mis orejas son enfadadas. Ahora, la media, pero no cambia nada. Centre of balance, to either side everything must tip (and yet the world I see is level). I should turn my back but then I would find myself alone like corn. Time is running from me. It slides and it flows, so set on escape. I should perhaps try harder to hold it. The corn fields, I am told, keep theirs trapped tight to their thin chests.

4.   14: and that dress was like a little girl’s, I, was like a little girl;

17: perhaps it moved. I won’t (ask won’t) know;

18: I, oh I can split their crossed hearts, whatever my skin I will forever breed want;

9: and am /I/ (their doll of me) which? Will they tell me when I am sheet skinned? Will I seed the tears or be a toothed red heel?

Perhaps I should frame these, although they’re little better than lesions and hardly precious; although it’s true, I would be sad to see them damaged, stained, flaking. I am at my best, I think, reflected in (approximations of) glass eyes.

(sencilla vez ahora, es la una la única la sola y es como-)

My ears are scented with the nails but – how will I sound?

Will they play:

Twisting genius clouds and dead encoded ocean floors?

Or will they play:

Sweat dances they see written on my skin from birth?

Or perhaps:

Smoke coiling through blazing reeds?

(I don’t know how I (should) will sound)

Still – here on sheets I am still, he has pinned me still. Did it move? I won’t (ask won’t) know. Brief stations on a long line but surely he was as taken as I with the magic, the vision. One vision: una vez. Todo empieza con (no, empieza antes de) una. I could drown suspended between the two in nothing. Hay tantos lugares desiertos.

October 18, 2009

cool face

Just because.

was walking between trees

hung with metrehigh thin canvas

prints of leni and veidts the man

who laughs a silent classic

thoughts on the topic interrupted

by mobile phone buzzing

hornet in my pocket digging

us both back into a world with

sound the phone was shivering

my time away aging me years in


so turned it off stared into

sideways eyes where was

he smiling under the knife

with his shades could easily

find him in a rorschach test

but wouldnt reflect well on

me probably

fog stuck in conversation

with branches made the

only movement in the day

my untimely aging

somewhat uncomfortable with


but on the plus side nothing

dripped down no rain no

birds if theyd come theyd

have brought rolledup pictures

but not veidt maybe something

by hopper fitting if theyd been

pigeons but in the end they

didnt come

would find it harder to do

this kind of thing in his

preferred background anyway

maybe best to find my

way out turn my phone

back on that way can

connect up find out

where im going

August 15, 2009


This is for shouting. Or maybe I just thought of it as being shouted. Mostly. Oh well.

Every day you break my skin, every day you crack me open and feed and I know you need it but you breed in my cuts, in my toxic skin and I am becoming thin becoming bulimic you all you make me sick – I will spasm and out of my mouth throw you out spinning circling into nothing you will drown in vacuum and you will never be buried I have freed my skin from your filthy hungry nails

Is it wrong to just to just sometimes

You all live in dirt it – grows and it swamps me tides me over and drowns me in filth, I am so shamed you spit on me and again but I will sear you away I will crush you and wash my wounds clean I have seen myself I have been free of you I have been beautiful I will again one by one I will snap out of my skin all your filthy hungry nails

Is it wrong when you think when you tell me I should love you

And I deny all blame defy it I leave it snarled and twisted in coiled woods where the trees will pluck it apart I know I told you to live I know I spawned you weak and wet spawned you meek and set you here all new yes I know where you came from but I never told you this you worked this out alone with quill and skin when you sharpened up your filthy hungry nails

Is it wrong that I could have could always have told you to stop

Now you crack me open again but no I close myself to you I will cut you loose from me I will bite through the pulp the soft pulp you suck, it will dry and you will – remember – these things I told you in stones told you in all those clouds and waves in the shells you treasured they gleamed you shone but you never once read them when you picked them up and scraped them with your filthy hungry nails

Is it wrong  the way I laugh when you can’t swim

Still I won’t shake I not for you I will never shake I, cast cold and swimming round and round a mother still not dead I with burning brothers sisters in ice all of them silent I for you I will never shake you – can’t ever think I owe you, you, writhing there in my pores slick in blood in poison I, I have shown you the cyanide you love it now drink it now you will shake for me you who owe me for your birth you now will crack and take it pick it up you swallow and when you have finished you will lick beneath your filthy hungry nails

Is it wrong to like the quiet

May 11, 2009

Poems from large portfolio

Wrote stuff for big portfolio. This is some of that. Might add more later, might not. WAAAH.


So hell sticks to them all. Sown up and down

on arable land, fresh and red it screams.

The crops it births spread rabies. Redenned men

who eat them will turn butcher and make gowns

of skin. The women carve themselves to leave

a pretty skull. Their homes are ash; corpse dens.

And demons swoop through clouds, steal children. All

the mothers cry; the fathers roar. Split seas

claim thousands. Scylla and Charybdis. Birthed

by gods we’ve scorned, they’re vengeful. So we fall

to knees, we pray for mercy. They won’t leave

us. Only souls can care. They worship hurt.

But I know that I’m safe in my calm sleep.

No fangs drip here; the only mouths that turn

and smile for blood have no dull human teeth.

I know evil only comes from demons.

Sleeping Beauty/Sleeping Giant

I could drown in slumber. Worlds are doused in

sleep, the oceans of it coil together

swarms of faces in the glass-clear blue. Thin

and calm we float oblivious kept pure

by hands that burn the poison. They won’t let

it in our ears. We’re all so safe in fur

and down; they must be angels. Taxing debt

with grace, they’ll let us sleep forever if

we promise we will only dream of them.

And all the unwatched waves will grind the cliffs

to pebbles; soil will starve and trees will choke.

There’s nothing we can do. So hard to lift

our heads and anyway we’re weak and soaked.

The demons would just laugh us down. You wait;

for all we make one more will be invoked

to tear it all apart. In here their hate

can’t touch us and that’s all we need. So trust

the hands; you know that they can deal with fate.

You know what demons do; they’ll murder us

if we look up. I know what demons do.

They’ll murder us if we look up. It’s just-

I had a different dream. I saw into

the hands, into their hearts. They fed

us poison sleep. The demons that we knew

could kill us, they were nowhere. We were red.

Dreams were heroine. Nothing there was damned.

We were bred for rape but I looked down, bled,

and saw the knife not chained into my hand.

January 28, 2009

Urban myth based story

This was based on an urban myth that I messed with slightly. It was an exercise for a fiction class. Guess this means I have no creativity left.

A girl has a snake. Python. Long and strong it coils inside its glass tank. She feeds it every day. It is her snake and she loves it. What would she be without her snake?

One day it won’t eat. These dead mice, she throws them into its glass tank. She dangles them by the tail, jerks them so they look alive, scared and mannequoid. It curls itself away and looks at her with its flickering tongue. She stands there holding the dead mouse by its tail moving it with her wrist but the snake won’t eat. So she drops the mouse into its glass tank and she walks away.

At the vet’s she is not yet distraught but worried. Days now have gone and it won’t eat. Days now it has coiled itself inside its glass tank in with heat and vegetation not eating the rotting dead mice. She can’t take them out because when she puts her hand inside the tank now its coils shift, liquid muscle, twisting circles that look ready to trap her in. They flow over the mice and she can’t get at them. But it won’t eat them. The vet doesn’t know quite what to do. She tells him what type of snake is her snake, make and model. He shakes his head and reassures her that he will find out what’s to be done if he has to travel to every corner of the earth.

Back she comes to her house and her snake still lies in its tank, python. She looks at it looking at her with its flickering tongue. (Won’t look away. So look. Look up, look out, everywhere we move we’re followed with the look. You look at you looking at me you look away. I look at you looking at me you look away.) She walks with a dead mouse to the glass tank and dangles it inside. It looks up with its tongue all interested and she thinks it’s going to take the mouse but it doesn’t move. The hope dies down in her and she drops the mouse in and goes away.

At night she sleeps in her bed, alone but not lonely. Blankets like skin over her she rests and her worries ferment. Dead snake in a mouse becomes its tail, eats its own tail, encircles the world that is a glass tank in which she sits and is jerked up and down to look alive. Mad to think that so she wakes up/she wakes up touched. Something is under her skin. Snake, python, is seeping into her bed and lying alongside her. It stretches itself out long and strong, liquid muscle unfurled uncoiled. It doesn’t move. She stares. In the night, under her skin, she can hardly see it. It seeps away into the night, out of her skin like sweat and back to its glass tank.

At the vet’s she is far more than worried now. She tells him her tale and he blinks and he asks her its make and model. She tells him again and he says, “Kill it.”

Won’t eat the dead mice because it digests slow and the emptier it is the bigger the prey it can eat.

Looks like a trap inside its glass tank because it hunts based on patience and stupid prey.

All interested when her hand comes inside its glass tank with the mice because her hand is so warm.

Stretches itself out next to her under her skin to see if its skin can fit her in, fit her all inside so it won’t split open when it dislocates its jaw and stretches out its mouth ready to swallow.

“Kill it before it kills you.”

And she goes home with the world circling around her head like a nauseating halo. Inside her house she walks and the glass windows have all steamed up. Vegetation has spread over every wall, cascading down. Hot and steamy it’s almost hard to breathe. She sweats. Into her bedroom she walks and she sees the glass tank shattered in shards on the ground. On her bed, stretched out is her snake, python, its mouth distended out wide fit to vomit out its eggs. Transparent and thin-fleshed they ooze out, forced by rings of liquid muscle. They fall from her bed, some split and the infant snakes drown. Some land and roll into corners and the gestating pythons bite their way out and slide into the vegetation. The snake spits out another egg and looks up at her.

“Look, bitch,” it says. “You knew I was a snake.”

November 26, 2008

Memory – Flash Fiction

There were balloons that day. There were orange balloons, red balloons, yellow balloons; floating like colourful rubber blimps above us all. It was my day. There were mounds of thickly iced, moist sponge cakes. The largest one caught my eye, speckled with candles like darts on a dart board, ‘Happy Birthday’ written in edible pinks and purples with a careful hand. There were beaming faces, broad smiles, blushing cheeks. Bright eyes. She arranged my presents to one side, the smell of home and familiarity blooming all around her as she discarded the wrapping paper and silently kept everything in order and in the right place. I never knew quite how she did it. He stood beside her, solemn but proud, and they watched me dashing about the place, giggling with friends whilst dodging waiters and waitresses who were hurriedly tending to impatient customers.

At once I remembered Peter, and sought him with my eyes only to find him sitting alone in a chair set next to the long brown table. At the tender age of seven, being the only boy at a party saturated with gleeful girls was so shameful it had brought blood to his cheeks. I mirrored him, colouring instantly at the realisation of my forgetful neglect and tiptoed awkwardly over to him in my shimmering green frock. He glanced up, saw me and smiled. It was a sheepish and cheeky smile, but a lonely one nonetheless. He was persistently tweaking the thumbs of each hand with the other, then pressing his fidgeting hands tightly together in his lap. His shirt was blue, his trousers black. I wondered if he had chosen to wear it, even picked it out in the shop, or if in fact his mother had dressed him for my birthday. The latter was the most likely. I blinked out of my reverie to the sight of him holding out a package. It was so close to my face that as I breathed the smells and textures of glossy paper and festivity filled up my little lungs. I wrinkled my nose and gently took it from him. He smiled again. This time it was much more genuine. I noted how two tiny dimples dipped into his cheeks when the corners of his mouth lifted, and I smiled back, curiously touching my own face but finding it dimple-free. He was watching me, and I realised I had to open the present. As I was burying my fingers into the paper, I absent-mindedly wondered how I should react if I didn’t like it. What if it was something I didn’t want? I would say I loved it, obviously. It was perfect. That was the only answer. The only thing I could do. That was it.

My fingers suddenly found soft fabric and the wrapping paper fell to the floor, scattered around my feet like fallen birds. I was left holding up a pair of beautiful cream tights. They were littered with gold blemishes, glittering in discreet and mesmerizing patterns up and down, up and down. Peter saw the reflection of gold in my eyes, and bit his lip. I thanked him. Instantly I turned and fled to her, and to him, clutching my precious new tights to my chest. Delight lit up my face. She told me how lovely they were, how beautiful they would look, and he told me I couldn’t accept such a pretty gift. As my parents pulled me to them and hugged me feverishly, I glanced back at Peter. His hands weren’t in his lap anymore. He had stood up, and was waving at me, shyly, with adoration. I flushed and turned back into their arms.

Weeks later, she told me I couldn’t wear them. “They are so pale,” she had said, “they’ll get filthy, save them for a special occasion.” How could an occasion be more special? I only attended friends’ parties and sporadic christenings. “They’ll get filthy.” Protectively I tucked them away in my drawer, and there they remained for months, for years. At times when I remembered, I searched for them in vain. They were gone, and I had never worn them. They were still perfect. “They’ll get filthy,” she said. As time passed I found I had not forgotten. Sometimes I wonder if he still remembers me.

November 25, 2008

Whale Watching

This is a science fiction story, apparently. Wahey.

Sun beats warmth down as ever, enough to make the metal sweat. Not sweat. It’s condensation. Looks like sweat. Looks like the metal’s alive, like the boat’s alive, but it’s not. There’s less life here than might be expected, hoped.

Four people step out onto the deck. One walks to the railings and quickly walks back. The sea turns sluggish and tarring on the hull. Tinted pink again, that’s sky and plankton working together to glorious effect. Powerful. The day smells old already. The man who walked to the railings turns to the man next to him and exhales meaningfully, quickly, and smiles. He wipes his hand back through his hair and his hand comes out damp. The man next to him looks at him and then looks away.

“Warm today,” says the sweating man. “Kind of- kind of warm, yeah? Warm. Heh. Didn’t think it’d get this warm this far out.”

The other man looks back to his right. The bay is still in full view. He shakes his head. The sweating man leans forward a little and looks past him at the other two. One man, one woman. He laughs out a single syllable, weak sound that melts in the air.

“So are we all – are we, are we, are we here for the same – same thing?” he says.

The woman looks up at him. “No,” she says. “I don’t think so.”

The man the sweating man first talked to shakes his head. The sweating man nods and looks back at the sea.

“I was going to say, I’d – I was going to say I thought there were a few of us,” he says after a while. “I thought, I – thought they only did these trips one-on-one normally. Don’t want too high a, a concentration, do they?”

“I don’t know anything about that,” says the woman.

The sweating man pushes his hand back through his hair again and nods. “So where are you all from?” he says. “I’m a, I’m a city boy myself. You know, never – never comfortable without concrete as far as the eye can-”

“We’re all,” says the man the sweating man first spoke to, slowly, “from the same place.”

The sweating man nods quickly, several times. “Right,” he says. “Right, right, of course we are. Of course we are. That’s why – that’s why we’re on the same boat, obviously. Sorry. Yeah.”

The sea slurped and sucked at the hull. The sweating man blinked. “It’s getting colder,” he said.

“Life is hard,” said the man at the end of the group. The sweating man looked up and blinked and looked out at the sea again.

The sun is comforting, it’s familiar, it’s always there but this sky is something different. Further out, now, the bay disappears and the sky and the sea start to change. Individual spirals and trails of plankton show up under the surface now, not just a solid raft of blotchy pink. The sky’s getting paler and there are hints of cloud. Weird. Slightly worrying. It doesn’t get easier with time, with repetition. You just start to remember how scary it is. Or-

The sweating man’s right hand is over his mouth and he’s coughing. His left hand is in his pocket and it’s moving slightly. The man he first talked to looks at him and then looks away. The man at the end frowns and looks at him.

“What are you doing?” he says quietly.

The sweating man looks up and shakes his head. “No, I’m – nothing,” he says. “I – what? I was coughing. I’m not used to this, this air, that’s all, I-”

“What were you doing in your pocket?” says the man. The sweating man blinks and shakes his head and shrugs.

“I don’t know what you’re talk- talking about,” he says. “I don’t-”

“What do you have in there?” says the man.

“Nothing. Nothing, I – what would I have?”

“Take your hand out of your pocket.”

“Okay, fine. Here’s my hand, is that-”

The man next to him grabs hold of his arms and the man at the other end walks round and puts his hand in the sweating man’s left pocket and pulls out a leaf. He frowns and turns it.

“Why do you have this?” he says quietly.

“I don’t know, I – what is that? What – I swear I haven’t seen that before in my, I’ve never seen that before in my life. I don’t – it must have got in there by accident. Or – wait! Wait, I was, I fell asleep at the bay, waiting, at the bay, yeah! Somebody could have – could have slipped it in there! They-”

The man holding the leaf shakes his head. The woman steps round and takes the leaf from him.

“It’s been leathered properly,” she says. “This is from a rich man.” She hands it back to the other man and he looks at the sweating man.

“Why do you have this and where did you get it?” he asks. The sweating man looks at their faces quickly and sags in the grip of the man he first spoke to.

“It was a gift,” he mutters. “From my father, he – his grandfather was one of the first – one of the first workers in, in Fort, and this – this was one of the first ones turned off the, off the rollers, and he kept it for the history and gave it to my granddad, and he, he gave it to my dad and when my dad went back to the Fort after his, his thirty year, he gave it to me. Something to remember him by.” He sniffs. “I don’t know who it came from but I heard it was some – someone special. Probably just a lie, special people don’t get their skin leaved.”

The man holding the leaf nods. “We have to confiscate this,” he says. “This is an important cultural artefact and it belongs in a museum, not rotting in your pocket. Do you understand?”

The man nods. “Yeah. Yeah, I understand.” He looks away. “I don’t – yeah, I never really wanted the damn thing anyway. Just – who wants to carry someone else’s skin around? I only took it because my dad-” He coughs looks up at them and blinks. “This wasn’t a bad – he wasn’t a bad man. He did everything right, he – don’t strike his name out. Don’t, he – he never complained, he went back to the Fort without a fuss, they didn’t have to-”

“Your father served the process properly, I’m sure,” says the man holding the leaf. “Little lapses don’t matter that much, it’s when they leave ripples that there’s a problem.” He turns around and looks at the sea. “That hasn’t happened, has it?”

The sweating man shakes his head quickly. “No, I’m – I’m – I believe in the process, I know, I-” He looks at them and inhales and coughs. “I am – okay, the-” He inhales and coughs again and closes his eyes.

“Fortis Tertiary Systems hold that all men good strong and true will keep the following truths in their hearts and their minds and with these truths follow on the glorious procession of meat for all time:

1.     That man is at core gifted meat;

2.     That man as meat is of the most benefit and nutritious of all meats to his peers and fellows, in nutrition physical, mental and spiritual;

3.     That the perfection and consumption of meat is the highest goal any man can strive for;

4.     That for the good of meat no sacrifice is even debatable, it is simply duty;

5.     That any who attempt to hinder the perfection of meat or who refuse to consume meat are to be considered spoiled and are to be processed by all men good strong and true as soon as these spoiled present themselves;

6.     That any man good strong and true will save the choicest of meats for his fellows or his betters and accept frugality as a virtue;

7.     That the process of meat is endless and beautiful and to return to it is the highest honour one can wish for.”

The sweating man looks at them and coughs and they look at each other and then look back at him and nod.

“Alright,” says the man holding the leaf. He puts it in an inside pocket in his jacket and glances at the woman and then looks back at the sweating man. “Have you ever been inside Fortis Tertiary Primaris? Fort, I mean.”

The sweating man nods. “Yes. I – only once, but – yes, I was, I was a boy, I was – my father, he was promoted and he brought me there to look around. My mother didn’t want me to go, she thought, she – but we went there, and I saw the-” He nodded. “It was amazing,” he says.

The man looks at him for a moment and then nods. The other man lets go of him and steps around to his side and looks back at the sea. The woman stands next to him and the man stands for a moment in front of the sweating man and then goes and stands at the end of the line. The sweating man blinks and coughs and looks up at them.

“We aren’t far out,” says the man the sweating man first spoke to. The sweating man looks at the water. It is barely pink anymore. He looks at the sky. It is pale grey and some spots are choking thick with cloud. He coughs and steps forward to the railing and looks at the sea. It slides on the hull now, it doesn’t stick so much. He steps back quickly and rubs the bridge of his nose and shakes his head twice, more swings it from side to side than shakes. His eyes are clamped shut and drip with tears. He blinks and opens them, they are red. He looks at the others and walks back to them.

The day becomes brighter, almost noticeably. The sun rises, up, up high, and passes for a moment behind the cloud but it comes back out too. It’s colder but that feels good, healthier. Everything looks sharper, or perhaps that is a fault in the eye. It could – it could be, but that kind of thing is seldom very important. Not very.

Something sounds out near the front of the boat and the man the sweating man first spoke to walks away from the group and steps below deck. He comes back out a moment later and nods to the other man. He walks toward the railing and nods and turns around beckons to the others. They all walk to the railing and look out. He points further out into the sea. There, things move.

Swirling, writhing, dancing angelic (but they’d make heavy angels) three of them, there are three total and they circle one another, herding bubbles and harvesting, reaping the barely visible plankton in the centre; baleen flashes in the sun, gleaming with wet; smooth hide (but only from far away) and as they emerge from the blue the water slicks away and the networked nerve system of scars and scratches, all warped by barnacles, it emerges as well into the sun; they glide so, they truly glide through this water, something almost deific, it’s so – and they are unknowable, perfected, shadowy, mountainous death cycling on through the fields of prey, their plankton to feed on, in this their kingdom; their territory, their sepulchre, labyrinth; so very much theirs; built for them for they built it themselves and they know every twist they turn their way through, carving death from the sea, feasting on helpless tiny prey; but the horror doesn’t ooze its way through, if there even is horror, it’s – beautiful, this machine, it all works, as though oiled and tended. It works so well.

The man who beckoned the others to the railings steps away from the railings and looks at the others. They do the same and the woman blinks and holds her head. The sweating man is pale and his legs shake. The man he first spoke to doesn’t meet any other eyes.

“So you all understand now?” says the man with the leaf. He looks away for a moment and then looks back at them. “I know it’s hard to watch but you have to understand what things are like without the process.” He blinks. “The catechisms are there for a reason, they aren’t just words. They mean something. Meat means something.” He nods out to the whales. “Would you rather have that?” he says. “So dictatorial? Simply choosing for yourself where death should go?” He shakes his head. “You will remember it, now,” he says, looking at the sweating man. “Don’t let your blood up. This will keep it back. Remember what you see here and you will be calm, peaceful in the process.” He looks at the woman. “How do you feel?”

She shakes her head. “I don’t – quite know,” she says. “Odd. This is all – odd. I didn’t expect this, quite.”

The man nods. “I know it’s hard to watch,” he says. He looks at the sea. They have stopped still on it. In the distance, spray erupts as the massive dark whale shapes crash down onto the water. He looks away and walks below the deck for a moment. He walks out again and the boat begins to move again, begins to turn. He looks at the sweating man.

“And you?” he says. “How do you feel?”

The sweating man nods. “Better,” he says. “Better to be leaving that.” He looks up. “The process is-” he exhales and shakes his head. The other man nods and the man with the leaf looks up and nods back. The woman looks pale but, later, as the boat reaches the bay, blood comes to her cheeks and she barely remembers not feeling fine. They sweat as they leave the boat and behind them pink daylight catches on the pink waves. As they walk into the city the smell of salt and meat assaults their senses.

November 19, 2008

Recreating the Snow Child part 3

And this is the third part of the exercise.

The Snow-Child

“The snow-childis innocence embodiedpure in body, with no taint of mortal dirt in its pristine form; pure in deed, with the harsh winter moving its every digit in each action that it takes; pure in word, with a cold breath in which sin can only wither; and pure in thought, for with no taint of body there can be no taint of mind… the snow-child is an embodiment of many things which are good; but not all… for just as it is too cold for all evil… it is too cold for all love.”

There was a yelp in the darkness and a scurrying. A heavier step came, forward into the night, onto gravel. Then stillness. Then, some time later, some steps backwards. A light shone out for a moment, leaking from an open door before the door shut with a quiet click.

“Did you kill it?”

“Is that really what you think of me?”

“No, of course not. I just thought…”

“It didn’t really hurt him. Just scared him a little.”

“So you…”

“So I scared it a little. Justice is harmony.”

“Yeah. That’s what his Sunday-school teacher said, isn’t it?”

“He certainly seems to believe so.”



“You don’t think…”


“Well, I just – I know the religious education is – I know it’s important, but you don’t think that church is maybe… a bit restrictive? I mean – some of the lessons, they’re kind of simplistic for-”

“For a five-year old?”

“Well – I just think that he should have some kind of grounding in – in realities, not just, you know, stories and-”

“What kinds of realities are you thinking of?”

“I don’t-”

“Because I am not having my son’s mind polluted. Not like every other kid’s is these days. Come on, I know you don’t want that.”

“Of course I don’t want that, I don’t want that at all, I just think that maybe what he’s – what he’s being taught is a little… old-fashioned?”

He sighed and shook his head. “Lucy, I can’t – can we talk about this in the morning? It’s late, I want to – I just want to get some sleep. I’m sorry, I’m not – I’m not ignoring you, I, you probably have a point, I just – I have a headache and I’d like to, I’d like to get some sleep.”

She nodded. “Of – of course. Go ahead. I’m – sorry, I should’ve thought. I know you’ve been working all-”

“It’s not work, work’s fine, work’s always fine. I just – kicking a dog isn’t fun.”

There was a knock at the door. Noel looked up quickly and walked to it and opened it. His mother looked down at him and smiled.

“Good morning, Noel,” she said. “May I come in?”

He nodded and turned around and walked to his bed and sat on it and looked at her. She blinked.

“I was just checking that you were awake,” she said. “I wasn’t sure… but you are.” He nodded. She nodded and looked away, around the room. “That’s good,” she said. “That’s good.” She inhaled. “Oh, Linda’s going to be here looking after you for a couple of hours tonight, I can’t – I have to stay late at work. I’m sorry.” She blinked and moved slightly closer to his face. “Is that okay?”

He nodded. She nodded and then looked away and around the room again. She looked at his desk and smiled and stepped towards it.

“Is this the model daddy got you?” she said.

“Yes,” he said. “It’s a pterosaur.”

She nodded and smiled. “It’s very good,” she said. She touched it gently with one finger. It was a collection of different sizes and shapes of small pieces of wood which fit together to create a rough model of the skeleton of a flying reptile. The wood was a pale brown, boring and normal, but the silhouette on its own would have been nightmare material for her. But Noel didn’t even sleep with a night light, he never had.

“It took a long time to get the wing bones to stick together,” he said. “I had to open a new bottle of glue.”

She nodded. “What did you do with the empty one?”

“I put it downstairs like daddy said,” he said.

She nodded. “Good,” she said. She turned around and smiled and stepped over to him and hugged him. “Hurry up and get ready for breakfast,” she said. “If you don’t get downstairs soon daddy’ll have eaten all the cheerios.”



“Shut up a second, Craig.” She sighed and picked up her phone and sighed again. “Great.” She sat up. “I have to go.”

“What, now?”

“Yes, now. Linda has to go check on her mother and I’m not leaving my son alone in the house.”

“Can’t you get Bill to come back early?”

“Are you serious? Get Bill to leave work early?” She sighed and leaned back against the wall. “If he did that – ever, I mean, ever – then I probably wouldn’t even be here.” She looked at Craig. “Or not as often, anyway.”

“Ouch. That – that’s nice.”

“Don’t worry, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to resist your animal charms completely.” She shrugged. “But, you know, if he paid me some attention at all, then…”

“Come on, Luce. Bill’s a psycho, you really want to spend more time with him?”

She looked at Craig and then stood up and with her back to him pulled her clothes on. “I’m going,” she said. “I need to look after my son. I’ll see you later.”

“Oh, Lucy, come on. I’m – I’m sorry. Just – sit down a second. Please? Just – just a second.”

She looked at him and he got out of bed and walked over to her and leaned down and kissed her cheek. She rolled her eyes and sighed and he smiled and kissed her neck and she shook her head and stepped backwards and opened the door.

“Craig. I’m going,” she said. “I’ll call you. Goodbye.”

She stepped out of the room and shut the door. Craig looked at it for a moment and then sighed and started to get dressed.

Lucy shut the door to the house and locked it and walked to her car and got in and drove away. She looked in her mirrors a bit as she drove home. She shook her head and sighed. She drove home and stopped the car and got out and locked it and walked to the front door and unlocked it and got in and shut and locked the door behind her and said, loud, “Hello?”

Linda stepped out of the living room and smiled at her, apologetic. “I’m really sorry,” she said. “I didn’t – I really didn’t know anything about this, about any of this, they just, just called me and they – they said-”

“It’s fine,” said Lucy. “I wasn’t doing anything important.” She shrugged. “How’s Noel?”

“He’s a little angel,” said Linda. “Just like always. I swear, if I wasn’t looking at that boy I wouldn’t know he was in the room.”

Lucy smiled. “He certainly couldn’t be called noisy,” she said. “Where is he?”

“He’s just in here,” said Linda. She looked to her left. “We’ve been making paper cutouts, haven’t we?”

Noel walked up to her side and nodded. Lucy smiled and knelt down. “Can you show me what you’ve made?” she said.

He nodded and she smiled and she stood up and followed him into the room. Linda hovered and Lucy turned around and smiled. “You can go if you need to,” she said. “Give your mother my love.”

Linda nodded and smiled and picked her coat up off a chair and stepped out. Lucy followed Noel to the dining table. It was covered in paper chains, of men and flowers. Some of them had been drawn on, coloured in. She picked one up and smiled.

“Why’s this one got a red nose?” she said.

“It’s orange,” said Noel. “It’s a carrot. He’s a snowman.”

She looked down at him. “Really?” she said. “But – it’s the daytime. And it’s the summer. Shouldn’t he have melted?”

“That’s why he’s so thin,” said Noel. “When summer came his stomach melted but he was quick enough to hide, so now he’s waiting underground for the sun to go away so he can come out.” He took the paper figure out of his mother’s gentle fingers. “It’s not time yet, though.”

“No, it’s not,” said Lucy. She looked around. “Hey. Do you want some ice cream?” He nodded. She smiled and nodded. “Okay. Clear this up and put it in your room and then, well, if I feel like getting any out, I suppose maybe I could let you have some.”

He nodded and picked up the cut paper and walked out of the room. She looked around and glanced at her watch and walked into the kitchen and opened the freezer and took out a tub of ice cream and then a spoon from a drawer and a bowl from a cupboard and she dug out two scoops and put them in the bowl and put the ice cream back in the freezer and put the bowl on the dining room table and walked upstairs. Noel came out of his room as she stepped onto the landing.

“I’m just going to have a shower now,” she said. “You can watch some television after you’ve eaten if you want but you have to be very very quiet, okay?”

He nodded. “Okay,” he said. She nodded and he walked downstairs and she walked into the bathroom.

Lucy brushed a strand of hair off Noel’s face. It was cold, it was always cold. He never said he was cold but he always felt cold. She didn’t know quite how she felt about that. He shifted in his sleep. The only noise was the sound of his clothes moving slightly. She blinked slowly and looked up at the television. It was casting colours across the room but divorced from sound it all seemed odd, which didn’t particularly surprise her. People on the screen were shouting, it looked loud. She shook her head and looked around. Nobody again. That was okay. It was late but Noel didn’t normally fall sleep quite this early. She generally checked on him when she was going to bed and he was normally awake when she did. She blinked slowly and looked at the window. She wondered where Bill was and where Craig was. She looked at the ceiling for a while and sat, content with hearing Noel’s breathing.

She heard the sound of a key in a lock and then heard the sound of a door opening and she looked around. After a few moments Bill walked in. He blinked and walked over to a chair in the corner and sat down.

“Hi,” said Lucy. He nodded. “How are you?” she said.

He shook his head. “Fine,” he said. He scratched the side of his head. There was something crusted dark brown on the side of one his fingers. He blinked and looked away. “Fine.” He nodded slowly.

“How was, was work?”

“Same. Same as always.”

“Well – did you-”

“Lucy, please. I’ve got a headache, would you mind just… I’d like to just sit for a bit.”

Lucy nodded. Bill nodded slowly again and looked around the room and sat back and tilted his head back and looked at the ceiling, maybe at nothing in particular. After a little while Noel shifted and looked up at Lucy. She looked down at him and smiled.

“Do you want to go to bed?” she whispered. He nodded.

“You don’t have to whisper,” said Bill. Lucy looked up. “I’m not going to – forget it.”

Lucy nodded quickly and looked back down at Noel and took hold of his hand and they walked upstairs into his bedroom. She smiled at him and closed the door and walked back downstairs. It was still silent. She sat down on the sofa and looked at Bill for a moment and then away.

Noel stepped out of the front door and shivered. Bill glanced down at him and smiled.

“Come on, you can’t be cold,” he said. “I’m warm and I’m wearing a shirt.”

Noel nodded. “It’s warm,” he said. He looked up. “It shouldn’t be this warm.”

“Well, no, it is a little unseasonable,” said Bill. “But don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Come on.”

They walked to the car and got in and Bill drove away. Lucy glanced in the rearview mirror. Noel looked uncomfortable. She turned and glanced at him and smiled. He looked up at her.

“Are you okay, sweetheart?” she said.

He nodded. “It’s warm,” he said.

She nodded. “Do you want something to drink?” she asked.

He shook his head. “No, thank you.”

She nodded. “Alright. Well, say if you do.” She turned around and Bill glanced at her sidelong.

The journey passed and the car slowed and stopped. Bill turned around and smiled at Noel. “We’re here,” he said. Noel looked at him and nodded. They got out of the car and Bill walked around to the boot and opened it and took out a rucksack and he closed the boot and they walked out of the car park and into the centre. Bill looked around and frowned.

“Okay, skiing, where… right. There,” he said and nodded to a sign. “Come on.”

They followed the sign and walked to a counter. Bill started talking to the man behind it and Noel turned around and looked at an ice climbing wall a little distance away. Lucy glanced down and saw him looking at it. He didn’t move, just looked at it for a while.

Bill walked away from the counter carrying two pairs of boots and smiled at Noel. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s get moving.” They walked to another door and bill turned to look at Lucy. “You’re not skiing, are you?” She shook her head. He nodded and turned around and he and Noel walked through the door into the changing room. Bill walked through a few aisles and stopped next to a locker and took two sets of keys out of his pocket and opened two lockers and turned to Noel and handed him the small pair of boots.

“Put these on,” he said. Noel nodded and took off his shoes and started to put the boots on. Bill picked his shoes up and put them in one of the lockers and then took his off and put the boots on and put his shoes in the other locker. He took two heavy coats out of the rucksack and handed one to Noel and put the other on himself and put the rucksack in the locker with his shoes in and shut and locked both.

They left the changing room and Bill looked around. “Which slope do you want to do?”

Noel blinked. “I don’t mind,” he said.

Bill glanced down. “Alright. Well, you won’t be allowed on the highest ones, but that one… well, it’s a little steep, but I’m sure you can manage it.”

Noel nodded. “Alright.”

They joined the queue for the slope. Bill glanced down at Noel. He was looking away, somewhere, at something in the white dotted black slopes. Bill looked away. Noel kept staring around.

They reached the front of the queue and Bill put his hand on Noel’s shoulder. “Ready?” he asked. Noel didn’t respond. Bill squeezed his shoulder. He didn’t move. Bill glanced down at Noel. His face was blank and his eyes were fixed on something in front of him, down the slope, but bill couldn’t see what it was. He frowned. “Noel, are you ready?” he said. Noel stood and kept looking down, out, forward, into the cold, the white dotted with black slope. Bill frowned further. “Noel. I asked you a question. Are you ready to ski or aren’t you?”

Noel blinked and nodded slowly. “Yes,” he said. “Yes.”

Bill nodded and watched him begin to slide. He reached the bottom slowly but without slipping. He moved off the slope and looked up to the top of it. The assistant looked at Bill and nodded. Bill stepped forward. Noel watched him as he slid down, fast, controlled, faster, faster, not controlled, not stopping, and he slipped and tripped and flipped over and landed face-down in the snow at the bottom. He lay there for a moment and then got slowly to his feet, pushed himself up with his fists. His face was red. He looked at the snow and didn’t say anything and didn’t look anywhere else.

“He’s going to be in a great mood,” murmured Lucy. Her hand twisted around the polystyrene coffee cup and the slow honey ooze of the warmth into her skin quickened, stronger.

“I’ll bet,” said Craig. Lucy stepped away from the window, out of view, and Craig smiled at her. “You want to leave?” he said.

She glanced back at the window. “I don’t know how long they’ll be,” she said.

“Well then you just went for a little walk around the place and didn’t look at the time, sorry,” said Craig. “Come on. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Lucy snorted and they began to walk out of the cafe. “The worst?” she said. “Don’t have a clue.” She glanced around. “I swear, though, the other day when he came home I saw blood on his hands.” She shook her head. She frowned and glanced up at Craig. “Craig?” she said.


“Well, nothing, I just thought you might have maybe commented on the fact that I just said that my husband, your – your colleague and friend, apparently came home with his hands covered in blood,” said Lucy. “Does that – doesn’t that interest you at all?”

Craig glanced around. “I actually wasn’t going to say anything about that,” he muttered. “I-”

Lucy stopped. “Say anything about what, Craig?”

He frowned and looked down at her. “Can we do this somewhere else?”

“No, actually, let’s do this here. What weren’t you going to say?”

“Listen, I – okay, look. That – this was two days ago, wasn’t it?” Lucy nodded. Craig glanced to the side. “Okay. After work, Bill and I went to a bar and – no, it’s not that – he didn’t drink, he never drinks. He had a coke and I had a beer and we were just sitting there and – and then this guy comes up to him and starts – starts accusing him of kicking his dog.” Craig shrugged. “I don’t know, I – I don’t. But – Bill just looked at him and stood up and walked outside and the guy – the guy followed him, didn’t he, and I did too but I had to say something to the bar staff and – listen, I was only – they were out there for a second before I got there. Seriously, Lucy, a second passed, and – by the time I got out there the other guy was on the floor and Bill had hold of his shirt and was smashing his face in. It was – well, it was fucking scary, actually. I dragged him off and I thought, I thought he was going to clock me one, but…” He shook his head. “So I got him cleaned up and sent him home and then, you know – he said something about it, said the guy’s dog scared – scared Noel or something, but – I don’t know. I don’t know.”

Lucy stared. She blinked and looked down. “Alright, let’s do this somewhere else,” she muttered. Craig nodded and they walked outside into his car and he drove out of the car park and a little way away and stopped. Lucy didn’t say anything on the way. He sighed and turned to her.

“I should’ve said something,” he said. “Sorry, I – I was just, you know, didn’t want to get involved, but I was – it got me thinking, you know. I mean – Bill’s my friend, but, seriously, he is a psycho sometimes and if he – if he ever drank, at home I mean, I don’t – I don’t know. I don’t know if – I don’t know if I’d want Noel around him then.” He shrugged. “That’s all.”

Lucy turned to him. “He would never touch Noel.”

“Well, no, I don’t think he would either, but-”

“No, you’re not listening. I don’t not think he would, he just wouldn’t. He would never lay a finger on Noel. Wouldn’t happen. Couldn’t happen.” She shook her head. “So that – don’t ever say anything like that again, Craig. Don’t.”

Craig nodded. “Alright,” he said. “I won’t.” He looked out of the window. “But I’m still allowed to worry about you, aren’t I?”

Lucy looked up at him. “Drive me back,” she said.

Craig looked away for a moment and then nodded and sighed. He pulled away and Lucy looked out of the window.

“I’m not going to be able to see you next week,” she said. “I’m busy.”

Craig glanced over at her and then nodded. “Okay,” he said.


“Craig. Hi.”

“Wh- oh, oh, hi. Hi.”

“Listen, are you busy?”

“No, I – well – not really. I could – I can-”

“Can you meet me now?”

“Well – right now?”

“It doesn’t have to be right now, but I’d like – I’m just a bit – anytime today?”

“Well, yeah, okay – is – is a couple of hours okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah, that’s fine.”



“Alright, well, I’ll – I’ll see you then.”

“Okay. Bye.”


Craig put the phone down and glanced around. Bill wasn’t looking at him.

A couple of hours passed. Craig looked up at the clock. He glanced at Bill. “I, uh, I think I’m heading off,” he said. “You alright here?”

Bill nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “I don’t have much left to do.”

Craig nodded. “Alright. Well, I’ll – I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Bill nodded. “See you then.” Craig left and Bill glanced up and then around. He frowned and looked back down at his work. A few minutes later, he scratched his chin and looked at the picture on his desk. He frowned and picked up his phone and dialled a number. It rang a few times and then connected.

“Hello? Lucy?” said Bill.

“Dad?” said a voice.

“Noel?” said Bill. “Noel. Hi – hi. Is – are you alright?”


“Right. Good. Is – can you put mummy on?”

“She isn’t in.”

“She isn’t – okay. Well – do you know what’s for tea?”


“Right. Good. Good boy.” Bill scratched the side of his head and frowned. “Did you say mummy’s not in?”

“She’s not in.”

“Right. When – do you where she is?”


“When did she go out?”

“Just a moment ago.”

“Was she – was she just going for a walk or did she take – did she drive away?”

“She drove away. She said she was going to be out for a little while.”

“Right, well – are you alone?”

“Linda’s coming.”

“Right. Okay.” Bill nodded and frowned. “Okay. Well, are you – if you’re alright – well, I’ll be home in a little while, okay?”


“Alright. I’ll see you soon.”

“Alright. Bye.”

“Bye bye.”

Bill stood up and looked around and frowned and looked at Craig’s cubicle. Empty.

Lucy unlocked the door and walked in and shut it behind her. There was a sound of steps on the landing and Linda appeared at the top of the stairs. Lucy smiled.

“Hi. I’m sorry about this, I just-”

“It’s fine,” said Linda. “It’s fine, you did it for me.” She smiled and walked down the stairs. “How are you?”

“Fine,” said Lucy. “Where’s-”

“He’s in his room,” she said. “Drawing, I think.”

Lucy nodded. “Alright.” She smiled. “Well, I’d better-”

Linda nodded. “Of course.” She took her coat off the hook to Lucy’s left. “I’ll see you on Saturday.”

Lucy nodded and smiled. “See you then,” she said. Linda left and Lucy looked around and walked up the stairs and onto the landing and knocked on Noel’s door. It opened a moment later.

“Hi,” she said, smiling.

“Hi,” he said.

“May I come in?”

He nodded. She walked in and looked around and blinked.

“What are these, sweetheart?”

He looked up. “They’re snowmen,” he said.

Lucy nodded slowly and leaned closer to one of the pictures he’d stuck onto the wall. Thin jagged pencil lines looked back at her. “They don’t look that much like snowmen,” she said slowly.

“They’re the thin snowmen,” said Noel. “The ones who are melting.”

“But it’s getting closer to winter now.”

“That’s why they’ve come out of their caves.”

She nodded. “Right,” she said. She blinked and looked away from the picture. Something in it was still looking at her, staring. It stared like Noel did. “Well, they’re – they’re good. They’re-” There was a slam downstairs and Lucy frowned. “I’ll be back in a moment,” she said. She left Noel’s room and he turned back to drawing and she walked to the stairs and saw Bill walking into the living room.

“Bill?” she said. She walked downstairs slowly. He was kneeling in front of the fireplace. He stood up holding the poker. She blinked. “Bill?” she said. “Are you okay? What – what was the noise? Did something fall?”

“Yes,” he said without looking at her. “Something fell.” He turned his head to the side and didn’t say anything for a moment. Lucy looked at him.

“Well – are you-”

“How long?” said Bill.


“How long? How long, how – how long has it been going on for?”

Lucy blinked again. “How long has what been going on for?” she said. One of the pictures Noel had drawn flashed in front of her eyes for a second.

Bill whirled around. “How long have you been fucking him behind my back?” he screamed. Lucy stepped back.

“Bill – I – I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said. “I don’t-”

He threw the poker into the television. “I saw you!” he roared. “I saw you, I saw you with him! I followed you there, I saw you, I – I saw you in your car! Your car I bought you, in there, in – did you drive out there?” He stepped closer to her. “Did you both drive out there and meet there? Is that what you did? You drove out there and met there like perverts? Where those perverts meet? And I saw you there, I – I watched you like a pervert would, does that make me one? Did you make me into a pervert?” He grabbed hold of her arms and shook her. “Did you make me into a pervert?” he roared.

“Bill!” she said. “Bill, let go of me, let-”

He threw her onto the floor and stood over her and grabbed her shirt and pulled her up and slapped her with the back of his hand, not gentle, not a lover’s slap, a cuckold’s slap. “Is that what you like?” he screamed. “Do you like perverts? Do you want perverts? Do you want to be fucked by perverts? Is that what you like?” He slapped her again. She felt warmth dribbling from her nose, saw it on her hand, on the floor to the side. Dizzy for a moment. She looked up and saw his face and saw she didn’t know his face. “Is that what you want?” he screamed again. His hand dropped low.

“Dad?” said a voice. They both looked round and saw Noel, standing at the bottom of the stairs where he hadn’t been just a second ago. Bill blinked.

“Noel, go – go back upstairs,” said Lucy. “Go upstairs now. Go – go to your room. Go to your room!”

Noel looked at Bill’s face. “What are you doing?”

Bill’s fingers loosened and he dropped Lucy to the floor and he stepped back and his mouth opened slack and his eyes didn’t once close or move away from Noel’s, from Noel’s – cold – eyes.

“The snow-child who are you is innocence embodied I never asked where you came from I never once asked them where you came from in this house I’ve always just called you my son but you are – not – my son pure in body, with no taint of mortal dirt in its pristine form; pure in deed, with the harsh winter moving its every digit in each action that it takes; pure in word, with a cold breath in which sin can only wither; and pure in thought, for with no taint of body there can be no taint of mind you look at me and stare at me with those cold cold eyes and I never ever know what’s behind them behind those cold cold eyes the snow-child is an embodiment of many things which are good; but not all for just as it is too cold for all evil why suddenly so cold it is too cold for all love.”

Lucy stood up slowly and walked to Noel. The door swung closed quickly and she couldn’t hear the footsteps anymore, beating fast down the street. She looked around and knelt down and put her arms round Noel and put her hand on the back of his head and put his head on her shoulder.

“It’s alright,” she whispered. “It’s alright.”

Noel blinked slowly. “I know it is,” he said.

There were background noises soft in the light and a calloused hand put a near-full pint glass down on the table carefully. Another one came down a moment later. Then an empty moment. Then a look up.

“And how’ve you been this day?”

“Pretty fair. Pretty fair. And your own self?”

“A sin to complain, I’m sure. Although I can’t claim to be fond of this, this weather we’re having.”

“No, nor myself. It’s, it’s unexpected, is it not?”

“Oh, aye. Snow in December, who ever heard the like?”

“Not since I were a lad, no, but there’d been nothing on the news, had there?”

“Ah, well. The news. What’s that to…”

“Fair to say.”


“Sure it’s been unexpected for some, though. What about all them folk were snowed in down Somerset way?”

“Well, snowed in, what’s that? They’ll just have looked out their doors, seen some flakes and taken the opportunity to get out of a day’s work. Down south, you know it’s… but I can’t say so much for that poor soul they found in the snow, though. Where was that?”

“Just a little way from here, wasn’t it? Round Heptonstall area?”

“Aye, that sounds about right.”

“Did you hear who it was?”

“No, I never did.

“It were Richard Parks’ son.”


“I do not tell a lie.”

“Well, I never. Little Billy Parks dead in the snow?”

“Dead in the snow, they found him. Near that hill. There, lying dead in a snowdrift. Face-down in the snow at the bottom of that hill.”



“That little hill?”


“Is that not where they found that little boy five years ago now?”

“I do believe… why, I fear you may well be right. Well, now, fancy that.”

Recreating the Snow Child part 2

This is the second part of the exercise.

(Giggle – I love her giggle, that semi-squeaky sound when my fingers tickle her right here; love it love it love it, know I’m going to remember it. Can’t forget it no matter how far my waves take me.)

(He smells like he always should, smells strong, but he isn’t and it fools my nose every time, then I feel his fingers tickle me right here and I can’t help but giggle at it all, and mostly his smell; I know I’ll remember it.)

-         Gary, stop it…

-         You’re saying you want me to stop?

-         Gary, you’re a bastard. Come on, stop it, stop it!

-         Oh – oh, you want me to – sorry, I don’t – no, I don’t fully get what you want – what is it you want me to stop?

-         Gary! Come on, just – right, I’ll bite –

-         Oh – oh, is that what’s happening now? Threats of – violence, is it?

-         Yeah, it is, so stop it or-

-         Or what? Bring it. Come on. Bring it.

-         Gay sailor.

-         Art student.

-         Shut up.

-         You shut up.

(You close my eyes with your lips. I – it’s honestly an involuntary reaction. They just close when you lean in to kiss me. I’ve never ever kissed you with open eyes. Don’t think I want to, but it’s – it’s just odd. Or is it, I don’t – never mind.)

-         When are you going to be back?

-         You’ve asked me this…

-         I know. But when are you going to be back?

(Sigh and he leans back, theatrical, looks up at the ceiling, rolls his eyes. Arms still round me. Warm.)

-         May.

-         Fuck.

-         What’s wrong with May?

-         It’s – ages away, that’s what’s wrong with May.

-         It’s not that long.

-         Yes it is! It’s five fucking months, how is that not long?

-         We’re in Winter. It’s Spring. Next season. That’s not long.

-         Shut up. Spring’s rubbish anyway. It’s just there to get you excited for Summer and Summer here’s just like Winter anyway so it’s useless. Don’t like it.

-         What’s not to like?

-         I just told you, you stupid sailor.

-         Art student. Shut up. Seriously, Spring’s awesome.

-         No it isn’t.

-         Yes it is.

-         No it isn’t.

-         So is.

-         It so is? Do you even speak English?

-         Me speak good England words.

-         Ha ha ha. Shut up.

-         Alright. What if I told you that Spring is the month of love?

-         I’d say go away, you gay sailor. Or I’d say, get a real job, you fucking hippy.

-         Chill out, man. Come on, don’t harsh out.

-         Your impressions are rubbish.

-         I know. That’s why I need to practice them.

-         Do it in front of a mirror.

-         No. But yeah, Spring – really, it’s the month of love.

-         Oh yeah?

-         Yeah. Spring – right, Summer’s like – Summer’s post-coital. It’s so lazy, the evenings are like, like the air and the earth just lying down and sleeping. You know? And when it’s really hot, they’ve just had an argument and the air’s pissed off and – and then in the Autumn, the air starts to get bored because the earth’s getting tired, all the leaves are turning, it’s like an old man, no stamina…

-         Sounds familiar.

-         Please, don’t interrupt my story with your petty vulgarities. This is art. Where was I… yeah, Autumn, earth’s tired, still sleepy, air’s getting bored so she leaves and goes looking for greener pastures – which is a bit unfair, if you ask me, but – I digress – so they’re apart, they’re split and there’s this chill between them, this cold – but then, in Spring, air remembers that she loves earth and she comes back and they have make-up sex and all the babies are born, the fertility’s in the air, everything comes around. Spring is when the earth and the air remember they love each other, and show it.

-         Huh.

-         What’s that mean?

-         It means that’s a load of bullshit.

(Fall over laughing. Really fall over – but not because we’re laughing, just because we’re happy; I’m happy, you’re happy, I know you’re happy, I can feel your heart beating more than I can feel mine, and – we’re both so happy. I love you. Love you. We will, we will be back together, in May. May. Spring. The month of love, I – I believe that. I know you do too. Know you do. Love you.)

-         Gary?

-         Yes, Jennifer my darling, my love, light of my life, my most dear of all… something?

-         I don’t want you to leave.

-         I know.

Recreating the Snow Child Part 1

I found a writing exercise called Recreating the Snow Child which had three parts, I decided I felt like doing it. This is part one.

They use me

Forget me

Call me whore

Can hear it in their heads

I know their hands

Every lifeline

I have no love left to give

I only soil it all

At best, I soil it all

November 09, 2008

Chernobyl's Fallout

Come to share your regrets with guilt in tact;

Follow fleeing feet through billowing dust

Return to the ghost town of Pripyat.

Broken dolls lay strewn between the dry cracks,

Thirsty plains of tumbleweed bleed, unjust,

Come to share your regrets with guilt in tact.

Wan, silver wolves illuminate the black,

Foraging for shards of her sweet, loose trust

Return to the ghost town of Pripyat.

Yet still we feel resentment biting back

From the town we loved and the fallout crushed;

Come to share your regrets with guilt in tact.

Children’s laughter huddles where bricks are slack

Skeleton trees shed poisoned leaves and rust,

Return to the ghost town of Pripyat.

No trivial chaos to rein act;

She wept as we ran from death, so we must

Come to share these regrets with guilt in tact

Return to my home town of Pripyat.

Tunnel Vision and a Loss of Innocence

Silently, he thirsts for this fall from grace

While innocence blossoms in his wide eyes

Just tell yourself kisses shock, fingers grate

And still in quiet minds I wonder why

Celibacy drips like milk from his hands,

From his fingers. Lips are clean lacking mine.

I mind his scent, covet his heart and

Quietly corrupt his beautiful eyes

With tales of longing in distant lands.

I tell him in verse, don’t play with fire

You’ll burn and spoil your softness, your skin

But to feel his mouth warm, stuttering, shy

Is delicious as nature’s breathless sin.

How I want to break this, such dangerous

Chastity calling, enticing me in.

The need for preservation shackles us,

Me, but it burns thickly smouldering black

In my throat, now growing tumultuous.

But nature took advantage of my lack

Of forwardness and want in infant days

She scaled his body, traced like a map

She was his ruin, I can’t count the ways

I’d scorn her and how she lined his body

With wicked puberty, manhood and pains

Growing, hair scattered like rusted money

As childhood crept out from his slack throat

With octaves purged, stalked and hunted

Like vermin, now he is all I want, show

Me thicker allure in another part

And I’ll bear their thorns, my veins tighten, oh.

Turn away as I lay siege to his heart.

November 02, 2008


Forgot yourself amongst the lies,

With shaking hands and bloodshot eyes.

The desperation brought you here,

Into my house, and void of fear,

You took whatever you could find,

And stole away so cold and blind,

Into the dark forgiving night,

Skin punctured, damp and sickly white.

You took from me and sold to them,

To get a precious fix, and then,

With bitterness, I see delight,

And watch you gently lose the fight.

Your heart is crippled, your blood sings,

To tunes of what addiction brings,

And when exhaustion cannot free,

Your poisoned mind you’ll come to me,

To play your life out without lies,

With desperate, crazed and weeping eyes,

But seven years have passed, so how,

Can I expect to reach you now?

Back on that quiet night we lost,

Each other in that winter frost,

Nobody’s heart survives misuse,

Through cold and selfish drug abuse.

October 29, 2008

Home is Where the Heart is

Cold warmth is my favourite smell,

Rough, fierce tenderness

And it's forgiving me;

Holding naked bloody flowers

it arranged like a jigsaw

For me, through me,

On the table I once touched and knew.

I opened my heart and it told me,

You told me, at home I will always find

Flowers and faces, forgiveness

In my favourite rooms.

But I loosened my ties and I fled.

I have broken a perpetual sky,

Depth shattering the eyes of God.

Still standing, its hands now follow a luck-strewn pavement,

Bending amiable street lights into spiders' legs

That throw bright silk at the shadows, at the walls

My shadows, my walls, cupping my house.

And this smacks of life, so it said

If this is where you want to be,

Come outside.

But I can't when walls and windows

Are locked as my winter throat.

Though powerless, I smile and know,

No need to look inside to see

That this is where I want to be.

October 22, 2008

Walking Poem

Walking Poem                    p



Footfumbles over a s           hill

lead to these tall branches and proud shadows

through a ………….green frame……………

              … ……                     …. ………

there is a …………. blue patch ……………

             ………….                   ……………

a streaked simmering sky that is slowly losing blood

against the fading light

and only the black dot of a bird

scrapes the clean slate.

there is a


over a hollow, through a narrow corridor

with birds alarming against the kissing wind

then out

into the space and l i g h t

the glorious clouds above, the watching woods behind

make a church, a holy space of green and brown

abandoned temple to the sky and birds




along muddy tracks, gold and cream

in stripes across the grey

lit up by the gold eye of the sinking


A cover of soft, gentle grass lollops

under foot, pink leaves fizz in bushes

and the smell of bonfires seeps into the porcelain bird sounds





has its limbs against the white, like a mouth of sharp teeth

cutting and dividing the fake red squares

of distant houses.


andcryandscream into the fr ac tu red air

but you aren’t afraid, beyond is the crest of dark wood

like a held breath

a spiral flock of birds pouuuuuuuurrrrrrssssssss from the north

into the sweeping caramel of evening,

over the woods as if they were no barrier.

A car-------------)))) passes, you slide




to the field, unknown territory and shade.

The canopy is so thick you don’t feel outside,

chopped logs and fallen trees a                          little stream,

soft breathing, soft rushing over the mulch of soft dead leaves.

“Hello!” two ramblers speed bye, rabbits tails flicker

til on your hands and knees

you scrrr rrrrr aaaaa mmmm rrr mmm ccc scrrrraaaammmmm scraaa

scramble back to the road,

circling planes and a

pink sky.

Ankle–High Haiku


October 19, 2008




Oh, goodness, sweet freshness,

Dragged in, thrown out,

Dragged in, thrown out,

SMASHing chattering teeth

Whilst I'm picking, picking, picking his scabs

With curious nails, splintered nails.

Don't you take them from me you invisible wretch, jealous wretch,

With your snakes and your slaves and your sorrow and your-

                                        Stop it! Stop it!

Eyes, ears, eyes, ears, ears, eyes,

Bloated with cotton wool

And flaking skin


Won't you wait a while, my ravished lungs are burning.


October 16, 2008

All Saints

Sometimes I watch him falling

When crippling hearts draw blank and dismiss, wavering,

Uncertainty an insult to insanity, coating his mind in beautiful dust.

And sometimes when they go up in flames, I find I am the only one

To crave, with envy, this humming scaffold of madness.

October 15, 2008



So I just realised I've actually posted 2 poems today and I haven't written a single thing otherwise! It all seems very unfriendly.

I spent a long time fussing over what to call my blog. I wanted something profound in the top corner; I'm hoping something amazing will come to me soon. I've also discovered that I find it a lot easier to write outside. I'll be doing that more often.

I saw a tree today and was immeasurably inspired to write my haiku.

I'm probably going to go to bed soon. I like this, it's like a stream of consciousness. But a little more disorientated!

More writing to come!

... Hopefully!

Ciao. xo

Woodland Children

A tangle of wooden childrens' limbs are in my way,

Please, forgive me if I spread you out on the forest floor,

If I flex my heels, splay my heart and strain my toes through your

Humble mistakes. When all I wanted was my pathway.

They suck my skin like glass, man-made but beautiful,

A paradox, their grasping fingers falling through my outstretched arms,

Blind fumbling for myself amidst their silent cries and helpless palms

But I cannot return to them when love is null.