October 03, 2009

Battle ground

War ends with whimpers, not banging; as the guns expelled the soldiers expired, a soft sighing in the wind, the carrion caravans crawl home and the government grovels prodigal before its divine congregation.

July 26, 2009

An Entirely Different Type of Cannibal

I eat the world. I consume and inspire and absorb. The thirst is no better, sucking in all that will unwillingly flow through my lips. It does not bother me. I am constantly hungry, and so why bother denying that desire, that peremptory driving force? I am relaxed in this way of life, quite suited to it, although my body is always tensed and coiled as I follow after the next piece of prey. The only downside to this world is that my meals are always moving. Targets and aims, the stalker and the watched, the criminal versus the cop. Ambition is a beautiful thing, is it not? Obese and crushing, it has clambered to the top of the heap of undernourished people, the ones who did not take feeding themselves seriously and so latterly became starved of all opportunity. I have fed myself reasonably up until now. There was a time, a brief few years of doubt where the sheer mass of all that I had consumed played upon my mind, and my skin felt unbearably stretched - but I have since come to appreciate the hunger again, to stop trying to fight that which my blood believes to be right, even if my heart is straining at the thought, and to carry on eating. I can feel my weight starting to settle, starting to get too comfortable at this particular resting point on the mountain, although the view from here really is quite spectacular, and so I give a sigh and hoist myself up again, placing one foot before the other as I continue the trudge, my mind soaring ahead of me to that most glorious peak, the one which seems unreachable. I’ll get there. I’m bound to get there eventually. Even though it kills me.


I am packing my bags. I am getting ready to flee from the prison which has held me for so long. No more steel bars, no more unbreakable glass walls.
   I am returning once more to the long-familiar lands where I grew, and where my roots remain firmly planted, no matter how much I myself have branched out. I am going to where I can once again hear the whispering rumours that the trees beg to tell me, and where I can place my feet to the whooshing waltz tune of the river.
   The world in which I live is totally different to the one I work in. I am running far away from this man-made woodland of grey sixties concrete.
   I don't think it will mind if I don't say goodbye.

May 30, 2009


Jotted down on the first page of a new blue-covered notebook.

This is my blue book.
Does that mean, then,
that I must always
and only
record my most depressing moments?

Or am I able to
take from it
that serene
offered by the shushing
of the waves
on the beach on a still day?

But, no. It is a royal blue.
A regal, righteous tone
that attends and
This blue
shall command my language,
ushering in the liveried letters
one by one,
to line up in ranks
where they shall fight for my freedom.

April 13, 2009

Whoever said the dog had to be a Corgi?

The views in this are not my own; it was a just an idle bit of contemplation. It’s in no way stunning, and to be honest I think the most interesting part is probably the title, but I thought I might as well put it up anyway.


Whoever said the dog had to be a Corgi?

This is the way things are between us. Have you honestly not worked that out yet? You’ll always be the pet poodle, there to look pretty and be obedient and engage in social interaction, but for all that you are distinctly unimportant. You are something to distract the paparazzi crowds whilst we negotiate in the background, bringing things to pass that rule the running of your life and making sure that you are safe without your ever knowing you were in danger. Master and dog.

Who’d ever marry a Royal?

February 15, 2009

Phases of Day

Twilight falls, a curtain
Of melancholy settling
Over the vestiges of a summer's day.
The gnats sing in their buzzing
Choirs, and the bats' wings
Applaud them.

The vixen sneaks out of
Her earth, shoulders low,
And shrieks victory to the night,
A vicious, rust tinted
Call, to which
Three cubs cackle their accord.

Stars come out, white
As the owl's wings
On silent winds.
Wise raptor huntsman owns
The night that is his cover.

Moon rises over,
Meadow threads shining below, as the cats
Creep on their battlements
And slink,
Over bridges
That their enemies made.

Dusky dawn arrives at last, twilight's
Other half.
The gnat's puerile music
And a different chorus
Begins. The earth replaces its dictator:

Beast for the dove.

February 14, 2009

Hamsters and Eggs make the Best of Friends – redraft focusing on voice

Re-draft of an exercise done last term, focusing on voice rather than on the weirder elements of the original excercise. Unfortunately, I don't feel that this piece reads quite right just yet, so may have to see if I can do some additional tweaking later on.

Hamsters and Eggs make the Best of Friends

The girl knelt by the cage and peered at the fluff-ball in the corner. She rummaged through the various foods she had raided from her mother’s kitchen, where she had hauled at a chair twice her size in order to reach the cupboards. She selected a stale cheese and onion crisp, poking it through the bars at the small rodent on the other side. It was eaten. The hamster crunched it.
         So, that was a success: the hamster likes crunchy food. What to try next?
         She knew. She’d had to clamber right up to the highest shelf to acquire it, banging her forehead on a cupboard door in the process, but she had finally looted her mother’s supposedly secret stash of liquorice toffees. 
         Not so good. Apparently sweet, hard, and sticky didn’t go down so well with hamsters as with humans.
         So something softer? There were some leftover hardboiled eggs from two weeks ago that she’d found at the back of the fridge. She carefully mashed the egg through the bars towards the rodent’s quivering nose. The egg was well on the way to decomposition and had become a hive of different food-poisonings, all of which were now soaking into the hamster’s system – but she didn’t know this. In the child’s mind, the link between nasty smells and getting ill was non-existent. Getting bored with the repetitive process of giving her hamster supplementary nourishment, she started to absentmindedly pick at the luxuries herself, making up restaurant games in her head, until her Mummy made her tidy up and go to bed. 
         The next morning she woke up early, head spinning, stomach rolling, and feeling spectacularly sick. As she tottered on unsteady little feet towards the bathroom she noticed her hamster on its back in the cage, all four paws in the air. She stuck a finger through the bars and prodded it. Stiff. Strange… why wasn’t it moving? All thoughts of the pet vanished as her own illness clamoured for attention. 
          Two hours later she sat on a bed in the city hospital, an IV drip snaking into her arm. Her Mummy leaned over to her. 
        “Lizzy, this is Doctor Conran. He doesn’t know what’s wrong with you yet, but he’s going to help you get better, okay?” 
         No. It was not okay. Lizzy didn’t want to be here, she wanted to be home. She didn’t want to be stuck with the doctor, he had cold hands. He prodded and poked and she didn’t like it. The man had short blondish hair and big, hazel brown eyes, with a wide and welcoming smile, but his eyes were full of quiet contempt. Lizzy stuck her tongue out at him, turning away and crossing her arms in a sulk. 
         The next morning Conran told them it was a viral infection; he could only treat the symptoms, not the cause: that was down to her immune system. 
         As soon as she heard the news, Lizzy’s attitude brightened. Finally she would be able to escape the mean man and have fun. As they left, Lizzy sighed with relief and sagged against her mother, her body tired after killing off the infection. She was glad she was going home, and secretly started plotting Barbie tea-parties in her head. She wondered if she’d be allowed to paint her bedroom pink? 
         In the driver’s seat, glancing back at her little girl’s dozing form, Lizzy’s mother desperately tried to remember if they had any spare shoeboxes lying around the house.

February 03, 2009

Pixie girl

A whisper through the trees, her laughter slicing through the air.

The sound of her light steps leaping over the undergrowth and moving towards me, dead sprint.

Is there anywhere I can run? There certainly isn’t anywhere I can hide: she knows this place far better than I do.

No definite place to run, so just keep moving. Anywhere is good.

A delighted giggle and a flash of black hair, a glimpse of the taunting jaguar of a girl sliding through the trees.

I scramble up an embankment, mud burrowing under my fingernails, before taking a tumble down into the stagnant remnants of a stream that lurks on the other side. I freeze for a moment, listening for her.

Nothing. Silence.

No, not silence. A muffled snigger and the soft crunching squelch of leaf-mould sinking beneath the pressure of her knees. She’s right on the other side.


She’s found me.

January 28, 2009

Notes to Jilly

Notes to Jilly

You know what, Jill? Every time you come around to ask me a vaguely unsettling question you always follow up my answer with the words “Don’t worry, there’s nothing to worry about. Thanks for your help.” And you know what? That always sets alarm bells ringing. And we’re not talking little hand bells on a shop counter to get the assistant’s attention, oh no: we’re talking about standing next to Big Ben at twelve o’clock on a really quiet day. You say something like that and you know something’s wrong.

         Every time you say that I can’t help but worry.

         Every time you say that it means another sleepless night for me.

         And every time you say that, I can’t help but fear, somehow, that it’s all my fault.


So what’s happened then? You came around to my house last night all concerned questions and “don’t worries” and then left without another word of explanation. You don’t even have your phone with you, so I couldn’t call you.

         It’s Timothy again, isn’t it? It’s always Tim. I don’t think he deserves you, Jill. He always takes and takes and never gives anything back. He’s no good for you, Jill. You care for him too much.

         So tell me then, what’s he done this time? Got drunk and fallen into the canal? Got high and assaulted the policeman? Been so out of his head that he’s set fire to one of the local tramps, because, after all, they make such pretty torches? Or has he tried to kill himself again?

         Please, Jill, I wish you’d keep your mobile with you: I hate having to slip these notes through your door all the time. Oh, and you seriously need to get your answer machine fixed; it’s been broken for ages.


I’m really sorry, Jill. I know I exaggerated. I know Tim probably wouldn’t have done all those things I said. He’s not that bad. He’s not good, mind, but… look, I know I’m harsh on him sometimes; I just worry about you. Please give me a ring when you get this note. Thanks.


Hi, Jill. I know you’re at the hospital today, but just dropping a note to say that I think your Mum called round. At least, I think it was your Mum. I mean, it could have been someone else, I haven’t seen your Mum for years. She drove a green car.


Has somebody nicked your mobile or what?


Hi, Jill. Just wondered if you wanted to go for a drink tonight?

         I’ve found my old phone if you want it. I don’t use it anymore and you’d have to delete all the numbers from my contacts list, but it works just fine.


I’ve just told my parents the news! They’ve asked if they can have permission to send round ridiculous fluffy toys in varieties of pink and blue with little hearts embroidered all over them?

         You’ve left your phone behind again, you silly thing. I can hear it ringing in the hallway.


Your phone was switched off.

         I heard Timmy coming in this morning. He seemed in a right bad mood; I could hear him from right across the street. Is everything alright?


You know you came round yesterday and asked if I’d seen Tim? Well, I went out clubbing with some work friends afterwards – it was the Blues House we went to – and I spotted him there in the sea of people. He was with some shifty looking bloke.

         Hope everything’s ok. Please answer your phone when it rings next time.


You’re not really pregnant, are you Jill? I saw you coming home yesterday. You looked ill.


Jill, where are you? I can’t find you anywhere. There’s police here saying Timmy’s been found dead, hanging from a tree. Please, pet, where the hell are you? Your Mum’s here and she’s going frantic. The police are preparing to break the door down. Please, Jilly darling, please answer a phone or come to the door and read the note and answer it or something. Please let us know you’re alright.


Dear Milkman,

         Please stop delivering to this house. They won’t be needing it anymore.

         If you’ve got any problems with anything then just slip a note through the red door across the street.


January 14, 2009

Beyond the Blowfish

This poem was a homework from Peter Blegvad, and it had to be written using these rules/constraints:

1. The poem can be of any length, but each line must contain only ten syllables.

2. Each line must contain one of the words Peter read out when we were doing the free-writing exercise in class: blowfish, cuddle, detonate, Cyprus, destiny, anti-semitism, couch, beyond, convulsive, car, bass, demi-god, convex, Alaska, cypher. A word can be repeated or not used at all.

3. The first word of all the lines save the last one must be I, you, he, she, we, or they.

There was also another rule which was that the poem should contain one or several of the phrases that we underlined in our free-writing exercise, but I forgot about this one, as did everyone else, so this will just have to do for now, and maybe I'll write another version later.

Beyond the Blowfish.

I gingerly prod deflated blowfish —

We wait for the moment — damp — detonate!

We see convulsive inflations — small fish —

I, the demi-god, cannot understand:

We say, why did the bass fish not go bang?


I cast the blowfish onto the old couch:

We see our destiny in Alaska.

We climb into the car — convex — bent — squash…

The blowfish twitches out its life — gone now.

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