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18
18
The ****** fuzz of adulthood
on the horizon
appears nearer than ever.

Crossing into frosty territory,
the frigid space between young
and not so young.

Six thousand five hundred
seventy four days
to get used to this voice.

To become familiar with these bones,
the way they crunch,
toes bent like ancient forks.

Days will be bloated with things
we never thought
we’d have to think about.

The ECG lines of our lives
flapping up and down,
a white wild skipping-rope.

They say it’s down to us now.
It’s our generation who will destroy,
then make flowers from the rubble.
Written: October 2015.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time (100 words long), sort of inspired by the fact a friend of mine turns eighteen today (I am 22). All feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE: Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP in the coming months.
My clock has stopped.
It says eight forty-four
but it's nine thirty-eight.
It stopped when I wasn't looking
or was looking but didn't notice
a few days ago,
the knobbly black fingers
frozen, pointing west.

I take time off,
feel its chilled curves
dig into my palms,
another river among many.
Held up to my ear
a soft heartbeat,
my thumbs squash
numbers three and nine.

On your back.
The old red tube removed
with my nail
like flicking a splinter
out with a needle.
In snaps the new guy.
With one spin of the white wheel,
a new breath.
Written: November 2013 and March 2014.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time, starting at 21:38 and finishing at 22:08. During this time, I changed the battery in the clock on my wall while writing a poem about the process.
I was in the twenty-four hour supermarket at close to midnight. I always shopped at that time because it was quieter and because it was easy to find somewhere to park. It was a cold time. The workers all looked sleepy and the store security eyed me up as if I had pilfered a packet of noodles.
     A girl I hadn’t seen in years was in the wine aisle, her basket fairly full: a loaf of Hovis, dark chocolate, and a packet of M&M's. When we got into the car park I made her laugh because my bag broke and the radishes rolled on the concrete like small red pupils.
     I’d got to the last-but-one roundabout when I realised she had followed me home. She parked her car and came into my house, asking if I could make her a sandwich and pour us each a glass of red. I didn’t think it was strange, but I noticed she had a ring on her finger, the signal of marriage. I put cucumber between the slices because there was nothing else even though I’d been shopping.
     She told me she liked the food but could I please go back to the car and get the noodles from the back seat. The street was empty but full of houses. Her car, a Ford, was there, but not mine. I understood my car was still in the car park six miles away, gathering frost, waiting for me to drive it home.
     When I got back inside, she was grabbing her coat.
Written: December 2017.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time for university (as such, changes likely), in the style of Ian Seed. Feedback welcome. Please note that 'Hovis' is a British company that makes bread and flour. A link to my Facebook page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE: Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP at some point in the future.
mornings become   afternoons
   become nights
two   jobs     I juggle
     just so I can say
   fresh   money in my   purse
     for things I do/don't need
a mahogany     umbrella stand
gorging     bottles of beer
     chest of     drawers
   from that vintage store

     guy at the window
fancies a macchiato
   any second now
   whatshisname     from the bank
   loose tie yet   again
will come in
     expect an     espresso
not in the mood
   only   thinking
     about   rent this month
     some dude     last night
clattered into me
a drunken   haze of words
    sticky kiss   on my fringe
    slapped him     so he grabbed me
   rectangular ****
migraine like     Vesuvius

     clean a table
   know he's looking at me
     turn   around
hides     behind the Times
latte latte latte
     chuck it over some   Asian’s lap
sorry   about that
   I'll get you another     one
so not with it
   all I can     see
spread out as items
     at a flea     market
snow umbrella
rent   ***
   book kiss
milk     orange
     blood   money
alone
coffee
Written: August 2014.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time, and another in the ongoing 'city' people/landscape series. This piece is nowhere near as good as I'd have liked, so edits are possible in the near future. Feedback welcome.
A stroke they said.
Came along like a puncture,
eked the breath out from him.
Not a surprise but still
a hot bullet to the chest.
Been told his organs
were wilting with age,
raisin wrinkles sprinkled
across a seven-decade face.

Wheeled the body away,
blades of grey hair,
lumpy veins that tore
through his skin.
He knew it was coming.
Wished to kiss his wife again,
eleven years after their last.
Her name was Mary I think.
Cancer.

Had a passion for horses.
Just yesterday
put a fiver on Lust for Life
and Magic Touch.
Both came in, he’d have had
fifty quid. Lucky ***.
At the bookies they all loved him.
When I collected his winnings
I had to explain.

I think they knew
before I opened my mouth.
Written: March 2017.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time for university, so changes likely in the near future. Feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page. NOTE: Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP at some point in the future.
4
4
and again
that cool delectable taste
of a moment

assembly line
of conversation
rolling out

all manner
of topics
with a candle on top

each one
tumbling as a domino
under the table

subtle twinge
of single life
pushed aside

to volcanic laughter
and the put to sleep
of another year

but we sip the syntax
let every vowel
soothe our blood
Written: December 2016.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time. All comments welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE: Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP at some point in the future.
twenty years
since the days of maroon
jumpers tucked in
black shoes
golden time
and a thin blonde fringe

I look into the still
second circa 1998
faces of future
troublemakers
a lesbian
an ex of a friend

words non-existent
that would become
existent
like flowers
bursting
into the millennium

and long ago
split
marbles that roll
in different directions
same names
another age

century before
a time not sure
ever lived
Written: January 2018.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time inspired by a photograph of my old Infant school reception class (aged about 4 or 5), taken most likely at some point in early 1998. Feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE: Many of my older pieces have been put on private recently, leaving only more satisfying and university-related pieces.
She is there.
The return of the one, the irrefutable girl.
Butterscotch hair flows, water down her back,
eyes perforate the darkness of my days.
Bang! An explosion in the mind. The brain screams ‘again’.
Do not run. Wait. Take it in, a trapped moment in time.

Thoughts collide then disperse.
Colours writhe rapidly, a kaleidoscope
as she moves closer. I can see her face.
Sweet taste, smile so intoxicating,
nothing can be said to change this smitten fool.

Too precious to touch, she is the glass, me the reflection.
Not mine, not yet, not a chance?
This is it, that moment when.
**** that thought, curse you to hell and beyond.
Doubt, the enemy, the old antagonist, can’t you drown
in the ocean of loathed emotions?

A step closer, God help me now,
every breath, heartbeat, blink, heartbeat.
Her splendour is too much, this drug too powerful.
I don’t like this anymore mother,
can I go back inside now?

Too late, her hand is in mine.
Now I am lost, she will not save me from this tsunami
but **** me in, deeper so I cannot see, hear, think or believe.
It cannot be right, it so cannot be true,
but…but…it is.
It is.
It is.

“Are you coming then or what?”
Written: September 2011 and January 2012.
Explanation: This poem is about a friend of mine and was the first poem I wrote in preparation for university. It is a poem that I go back to many times to make adjustments.
When I woke
                      you were gone.

A bowl in the pillow
where your head   slept,

   six     hours
   pouring what passes for coffee
these days.

In a text
you told me

you burnt your hand,
     showed me

     a pomegranate splash that danced
between your fingers.
     Ouch, it still hurts you know...

Didn't hear you come in,
                            silent angel

but your perfume
   lingers like a   delicious poison
  
and I notice flowers
   are starting to crumble
as snowballs     on our window.

   No mirror
   so I cannot see

whether you've  left
     a cherry   lipstick birthmark

on my cheek
   or a note which says
didn't want to wake you!

Got this feeling,
   jet lag maybe

   but I haven't     moved,
haven't   flown     anywhere.

I flump my arm
   into the blank     space
where your   body ought to be.
Written: July 2014.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time, inspired by Simon Armitage's 'Night Shift.' Feedback always appreciated.
It was a Wednesday,
the postman in glorious blue,
a horrific thin letter
in your mailbox.

Across the street
the plump woman watched,
you tore it open,
birthday present in June.

Rejections, maybe.
But no. Instead
black words
said something other.

Happiness crashed upon you,
jumping up, up and down
as if on a trampoline,
a fire, smothering the dark.

Accepted.
You called it a creative wave,
rising, frothing wildly
and falling again.
Written: May 2013.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time and another possible inclusion to my third year university dissertation about Hughes and Plath. On Wednesday 25th June 1958, SP received a letter informing her two of her poems would be published in The New Yorker.
Black treacle,
a spoonful gums your mouth shut,
makes a mind opaque.

Raindrops disintegrate dully
against glass,
a tumble of thunder.

A car door is closed,
gurgle of key in lock,
inside - vacant spaces.

Somewhere a child is doing
all the things you haven’t done,
little gatherers,

gaining what you’ve never had,
or what fell out from your pockets
when you tried to run.
Written: July 2018.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time. Feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
Seven years later
the first thing I mention is
how your glasses are different.

The barista, chestnut hair
and weak masked smile
is biding her time, for uni beckons.

I scald my tongue,
you un-knot the evaporated events
I never knew existed,

condense them into digestible chunks.
That boiling ring of honesty
like a blister in the throat,

to tell you I’ve filled my life
with farcical reveries, sleep
that stutters like a lorry in traffic.

A child, plaster-wrapped finger,
***** on a purple bottle.
I wish they’d stop looking over.

I would tell you but I treat this,
stupidly, as though a date,
our initial, perhaps last tête-à-tête.

You haven’t heard from them.
Exactly, I think, almost say.
Why would we.
Written: April 2021.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time, earlier in the month. Feedback welcome as always. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
It started when he drove me in
and the teacher couldn't help.
After that, four years passed
like water sliding into a gutter.
What a shame the last days
are remembered the best.

A page, written on a whim,
given to her by my friend.
That was long ago.
The new wave came, swept me up
in a chilly embrace.
Thursdays, a corridor,
a newspaper for the bus.

It would never have worked.
How could it have worked?
One-sided, the colours didn't mix.
Two seasons later,
a new shade in the light.
I stumbled down invisible steps,
almost said your name wrong.

Meant to leave
but still you stick around.
I went to the new place, grey place,
new names, stories to stick
to my tongue.
A challenge in itself.

Now words I use
are used for a reason.
The waves don't shatter my ribs,
drown my lungs as much.
This phase, this pinch of time
is almost complete
but as for the rest I don't know when it
Written: October 2013.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time about growing-up. The title is Latin for 'to grow up.' This piece was written in collaboration with a friend of mine named Sarina, whose poem ('the big dipper') can be found on her page here: http://hellopoetry.com/-sarina/
Although our pieces are very different, we both agreed to write about the same theme, to produce poems that focus on growing-up from two different perspectives.
they don't notice
   but in this playground of love

as you smile
   into the lens
      and I take the shot

that captures a segment of a second

this is our beginning
   and middle

the moment when we mesh together
   the way magnets clap together

or spaces between fingers
   for another person's fingers.

I am afloat in the flame
   we have made

the touch of you
   again
      
      and then again

my favourite melody

sing so the words
   are flowers in your lungs

give me your gold

   you are golden to me.
Written: March 2018.
Explanation: A simple poem written in my own time - feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
and we’re back there again,
moved some seats around,
why change something
not broken I said.
Your eyes,
topaz ovals watch me
as I take off my hat,
a treat for a change
from that shop
on the high street.
Conversation,
a roll of sticky tape,
the novel,
your very first
with chapters, a title
and a pretty front cover
is moribund, liquid words
that don’t mean what they did
six weeks ago.
I tell you I write
but the pendulum wobbles
between A* and a C,
if nothing much happens
there’s nothing much to say.
The coffee bites my tongue,
flames zip along my bottom lip
like the strike of a match
as you talk
about these names
with no faces
in your life, bubbles
on the scene.
I know before long
they will pop and be gone
but keep quiet
for I am one of them,
floating around longer than most.
The water
still hasn’t boiled for us yet,
it probably never will,
what I have to say
stays stored in my head
sealed up as Christmas knickknacks,
DO NOT OPEN
in black marker
on the side.
You’ll read, you’ll see,
you’ll no doubt laugh,
once a pen pecks my page
what has started
must end.
You kick me back awake
under the table,
I must have half a book
already.
Written: September 2013.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time and a follow-up to older pieces 'It Was a Wednesday I Think' and 'A Thursday Some Weeks Later.' Written in the same sort of style as those poems. NOT based on real events.
It began to snow at midnight, and
we made our way home after a night down the pub.

We ambled past a torrent of drunks
but slowly continued on into the  kaleidoscopic blur.

We hope the New Year will bring joy,
instead of wishing the calendar disintegrates in front of us.

We have suffered more so than most
and our misery is intensified by the ***, the gin.

We know our lives are jagged, confused
and with little money, I certainly can’t treat you well.

We finally arrived home and flumped onto
the sofa, our eyes avoiding that blasted calendar on the wall.

We went into the kitchen soon after,
where it was warm, we swigged a glass of wine or three.

We saw the flakes continue to fall,
the clicking of the clock penetrating our minds.

We discussed the future, where we will be
in years to come. Eternity, won’t you lend us a hand?

For it is this eternity that is so uncertain,
unclear, buried deep under the crisp, white snow.
Written: December 2011 and March 2012.
Explanation: My fifth poem for university. This is a responsive poem to Vladimír Holan's poem 'Snow'. Again, not my best, but certainly different than the stuff I would usually write.
In the room
I used to be in
but now on the other side,
a ****** on who I was
or think I was,
knees bent beside punnets
of new faces
born well after I left.
They are rising like vegetables,
some already have
in the few months
that have passed
since I saw some last.
I’m sure they recognise me
but say nothing.

Gripping their lead utensils,
digging the pointed grey
into flawless white,
today’s date,
Tuesday 12th September

a mob of letters
compressed or stretched
as elastic across
the maiden line.

This afternoon
involves castles and knigh.
I point at the page, say
‘there should be a ‘t’ there,
on the end.’

They draw, content.
I loop around the desks,
a sporadic
sliver of praise
drops from my mouth.

1.30 becomes 2.30.
I think of how
they’ll still be studying
when I am thirty,
and a string of incidents
will keep flooding in:
job, relationship, money,
perhaps, crackling black words.
These pale faces
know little of the sort,
so they shouldn’t.

I leave them to sing,
this knowledge
rowdy in my head
like a shaken sack of marbles.
Written: September 2017.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time. Feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE: Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP at some point in the future.
the air is dense
with guilt

smoke we made
that threatened
to devour us both
has gone

but our exclamation marks
still loiter
like unwelcome
dinner-party guests

we’re red-faced
and aching
from the tsunami of garbage
hurled franticly
about the place

but our eyes connect

our apologies
ready to float like balloons
from our mouths
Written: September 2016.
Explanation: To mark National Poetry Day on 6th October, I wrote 25 poems over the course of eight days, and sent one poem each to one of 25 of my Facebook friends. After some deliberation, I am now posting the poems on HP (in order of when they were written), albeit not all in one go. None of the poems are about their recipients. All feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE: Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP at some point in the future.
The man who scored a hat-trick
is having a baby. OK, he’s not,
his girlfriend is. A baby.
They’re all having babies.
A twenty inch squirm
swaddled by a blanket,
eyes like marbles. All having them.
It seems so. Either that
or they’re getting married.
The biggest day of big days, apparently.
Soon there will be invites. Maybe.
Showing off the calligraphy.
I can picture it,
a suit creased once, a glass of fizz
as a stranger takes photos
to be tucked inside albums
I’ll never take a look at.
Those I’ve known know others now.
They are settling into a life
that writes itself, like a book
never moved from its place
on the shelf. There will be
a triangle of kids kissing
before you ever did,
hands fumbling as if the other person
is a button, noses bumping.
There will be a house
with a dishwasher and pictures
on the walls from the honeymoon
in Greece you didn’t know about
- perhaps don’t care.
Soon you and they will be thirty
and forty and fifty
and their squirm will grow
before you’ve even blinked
or had time to toast the bread.
Some already have.
The hat-trick man is smiling.
I should proffer congratulations,
type out ‘bundle of joy’
at the pencil-esque ultrasound,
the shapes that will become human.
We’re the same age, miles apart.
They’re all at it, it seems.
The girlfriends that is. Having babies.
Written: June 2017.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time that deals with how many people around my own age (24) seem to be having children or getting married. All comments welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE: Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP at some point in the future.
I appear to have found your address
myself   I have lived in the same house
for twenty-two years
I have been meaning to write
leave an ‘xo’ of my own
tomorrow   I say   it will happen
so you know   today is not a blue day
but more   of course   will come
others from long ago
have blown away   naturally
age will do this to us
circumstances   relationships
only widen the gap
I do not converse with them anymore
they will miss my funeral   instead
I search for meaning in writing
happiness comes in ****** bursts
then vacuumed back up
I can only find solace in little pleasures
why has this not happened to me
what am I missing   did I lose anything
I point my finger  
I sigh   my fault
or so I tend to believe   so it goes
I carry myself as if I am a mirror
reflection the same but looking different
every day   I mean to play my guitar
in the same house I have lived in
for twenty-two years
besten wünsche   mein freund
I feast on your words
a delightful banquet
and so I said   your address
I will send you a letter
Written: February 2014.
Explanation: A poem written relatively quickly in my own time (and as such is not quite as strong as it could be), shortly after receiving a letter. The style, structure and theme is partially influenced by a poem written by Lisa Marie Basile. The German phrase translates as 'best wishes, my friend.'
Darkness crackles where she’s stood,
a memory in the margin.
Stories tumble on her tongue,
words scurry like leaves
back down her throat, scorch her lungs.
She is lost. Alice is lost.

Left her heels at home,
never the right weather,
sending tears in the mail to twenty addresses,
first class sealed in poppy-red envelopes.
She writes left-handed so they’d never know
it was me.

Vowels loop dreamily
but ooze as un-bandaged wounds
over each vital word, every name
she murmurs so the city can’t hear.

Streets fuse together,
melt into a concrete concoction,
a labyrinth Alice crawls through
until her knees bubble red,
ruby rivers throb in her eyes.
Turning into a zombie,
downed the wrong pills,
now her hands belong to someone else,
do what you like, what you will.

Cranberry Street to the corner of Jay.
Midnight and midday both the same.
Now out come the princes, princesses
feeding their heads, slapping money
on the table, licking wine glasses clean.
Alice finds solace in a streetlamp,
twirls like a ribbon and falls
into another crackling darkness
with no one to call.
Written: September 2014.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time and another in my ongoing city series. This piece is about a girl who is essentially 'lost' in a big city. The name Alice comes from the book 'Go Ask Alice', and the poem was partially inspired by the song 'White Rabbit' by Jefferson Airplane - 'feeding their heads' comes almost directly from the song. Alice of course also stems from Alice in Wonderland.
Plus, the word 'zombie' is used, alongside Cranberry Street - Irish band The Cranberries had a song called 'Zombie.'
It's likely there will be some edits to this poem in the near future. Feedback always welcome.
X - The Aftershock. (June 2011 - June 2012).

Understandably dismayed.
Calmed down, got on with things.
Had to.
Went on holiday.
Up north.
Weather wasn’t wonderful, but OK.
Heard from you a few times.
Got into university.
Creative writing.
We arranged a cinema trip.
That never happened.
Why not?
Said you’d get me out the house thanks to your car.
Then that was it.
Erratic contact.
Not a word until New Year’s Eve.
I wrote poetry.
Fellow students read them.
No new substitute.
Only you, still.
You changed.
Redder hair.
Out in town more.
New guys in all the images.
You didn’t care much before.
You really didn’t care now.
Slow to reply.
Fine, you were busy.
What, drinking?
Couldn’t you let me know how you were?
Nine months became ten.
Became eleven.
Told I should move on.
Ridiculous.
Ought to have hated you.
Didn’t.
You were ignorant.
Different.
But I kept sending messages.
I wanted to see you.
You had copious chances.
Why didn’t you take them?

XI - The Ending. (23rd June 2012).

Could call this the beginning of the end
because soon you won’t be around anymore
unless there’s a unlikely turn of events.
I won’t say it, what’s the point, you already know,
but it doesn’t mean anything to you,
just some person you used to chat to,
laugh with, learn with.
A year ago since the last time.
When I think about it, we’re both different.
I just write while you go out and play.
Maybe you’ll want to see me sometime.
That’d be nice.
Of course it would.
Just let me know.
Don’t terminate it now,
what am I supposed to say
when people ask ‘who’s that girl in your work?’
Will I have to call you by your real name?
We hardly speak
and then conversation is short.
Whatever comes next,
wherever you are,
don’t disdain the times gone by.
Those other men won’t care as much as I do.
This is not the end.
Just don’t forget.
Written: June 2012.
Explanation: These three parts of the poem were written in my own time over the space of several days. It is the most personal poem I have written to date.
Part Ten refers to most events that occurred after 23rd June 2011.
Part Eleven refers to the brittle present and the more fragile future.
I - The Proxy. (September 2010 - February 2011).

I don’t know how it began
and I don’t know how it will close.
All I recall is that of us together
in the dull rooms

with your male equivalent
and the girl who’d soon depart.
The first year is inmaterial,
the second is where

you came ablaze
like a torch in the obscurity,
intense and alive.
From blonde to brown,

unforeseen
but it arose.
You enticed me in,
as did the serpent to Eve.

So started more interaction,
regular, controlled,
guess I was foolhardy,
strained my luck too much,

ambiguous jargon
got me nowhere.
Blasé, shrugged them off
(but you knew didn’t you?)

and they soon stopped,
but the talking did not.
It became apparent,
she was sadly gone.

You were the substitute,
as foul as that sounds.

II - The Design. (March 2011).

Over again I thought, once more I attempt to ease into this world,
a world still hazy to me but I’d seen how it worked,
people happy, joyful, walking around with a little more happiness
on the soles of their shoes, or sad,
sad at the expiration of what before had seemed great
only to invisibly split like the skin of a bruised banana.
Me and P spoke for ages about what could be done.
What would she like? Should anything go ahead?
Three years in a row, but this one felt righter,
a genuine chance to get my feet over the threshold.
This couldn’t go the same way as the past.
Ideas were puny, rash, almost stupid,
it needed to be powerful, effective, simple instead,
I said all the time, stick to those rules, a plan will come up,
though days disappeared, notebook remained a vacant space.
But just like the first time, a night by myself in my room
an idea came.

III - The Envelope. (5th April 2011).

*You must understand that what you are reading could not be truer.

You know that I like you. A lot. I have felt this way about you for several months.

You know that I hate it when you (and I) have to leave, and that I miss you as soon as you are gone.

You know that you make me feel happier just by turning up to lessons.

You know that I think you are an amazing individual.

I know that you may not care, I know that I cannot stop you from doing what you will, and I know that I cannot force you to change. All I want is to be around you all the time, but that cannot happen.

Quite simply, if I do not tell you this now, I doubt I ever will. Even though you sometimes make me feel depressed, and sometimes make me annoyed…
Written: June 2012.
Explanation: The first three parts of this poem were written in my own time over the space of several days. It is the most personal poem I have written to date.
Part One refers to how we met.
Part Two refers to how I planned things with the aid of my friend.
Part Three refers to the plan that never was.
IV - The Lost Trumpet. (April 2011).

A girl loses her trumpet
and she’s ever so sad.
She can’t find it
but a young boy does.
He searched high and low,
to and fro,
before spotting it
and giving it back.
The girl is delighted,
falls in love straight away.
They marry.
The boy stops a tormenter
from hurting his girl.
Ears bleed.
Then the girl says she is moving on.
The boy doesn’t like this
so tries to win her back;
he locates her and they sleep under stars.
They wake up together.
To be continued?

V - The Moment. (May 2011).

Bus.
Way back to school.
Can’t remember the day.
Talking as usual about the upcoming end.
P says how about doing a simple thing, not too big.
Something like chocolates or flowers, why go over the top?
Flowers, doesn’t everyone do that?
But it’s May, only a month to go.
Flowers it will have to be.
Red and pink.
Great.

VI - The Discussions. (21st/22nd June 2011).

So, are you ready? Here’s how it will go…
I’ll sit the exam, you turn up towards the end.
We’ll meet up in the common room and walk back to my town,
down to the florists, then somehow go back to school
without anybody seeing them all before quarter past one.
No, wait...

Later…

Change of plan, I’ll sit the exam still,
two and a half hours, I know, but anyway, you meet me
in the common room once it’s over, then we’ll go into town
because there’s actually a florists there, didn’t know that earlier,
buy them, make sure no one sees us,
head back to school, all before quarter past one right?
Wait for her to arrive, then you dash off with them,
I relax with a nice brew in class, and right at the end
when she’s getting on the bus I come up to you,
take them, run to her,
give them to her before she goes, mutter what needs to be said
and then it’s over. Maybe a hug, who knows?
This has to work. If it all goes wrong
there’s the envelope from the other month to hand over in its place.
Got that? Good.
She’s bound to ruin it though ain’t she?
Written: June 2012.
Explanation: These three parts of the poem were written in my own time over the space of several days. It is the most personal poem I have written to date.
Part Four refers to three stories I wrote.
Part Five refers to the moment the plan was decided upon.
Part Six refers to the build-up to The Event in the days prior to it.
VII - The Event. (23rd June 2011).

It started off normal,
wispy clouds
on an unexceptional morning,
that’s what it looked like,

but no, was not a normal day.
Calm, unruffled, no fear in my head.
The exam started, albeit a little later than planned,
it went OK I thought, but the rain, the rain,

nearly messed it up for us.
But it stopped - an omen perhaps?
P was there
and into the unfamiliar we went.

Can’t thank him enough
for his help that Thursday afternoon.
He bought something to eat first,
this is what, not long after twelve.

Later, two bouquets, as I said, red and pink.
Delicate petals wrapped up in my hands.
Sat in this small park area, oh man,
people are going to see this, I was adamant.

My watch kept smirking
each time I glanced at my wrist.
When we got back
K and M

almost found out,
however fast thinking
saw the package stashed
behind a tree.

J was upset,
it’d be me later I guessed,
we spoke fleetingly
before the earwax bus arrived.

You were on it,
thank heavens for that.
I jumped high like a kid
who’d scoffed too many Skittles.

Pretty of course.
Part of me knew I wouldn’t see
anything so striking again
for a long time after.

Brown cake, brown tea,
brown hair,
I look at the pictures
every now and then,

I looked an idiot
in my cobalt cardigan.
Then as expected,
you ruined it.

VIII - The Non-Fiction. (22nd/23rd June 2011).

The boy and the girl are in love.
Urgh, *****.
The girl has to leave for the big city.
Not good.
She departs and the boy is distraught.
Oh dear.
He meets up with a friend.
OK then.
They choose to go and see her.
Excellent news.
They get to where she is.
How exciting.
The three have fun that evening.
Quite nice.
The boy whispers in the girl’s ear.
Say what?
The story ends unfinished.
**** it.

IX - The Event (Part 2). (23rd June 2012).

Why’d you have to get a lift?
Why’d you have to change it?
At the end of the class,
I fetched them

and you hugged me.
Didn’t want to I bet.
Everybody saw,
H, C, L and J (all three),

you with roses and part four
of the story.
Then gone.
Everybody gone.

On my way home
I saw S on his bike.
Said well done.
Thanks, but the icy actuality was there.

You were gone.
You haven’t come back.
Written: June 2012.
Explanation: These three parts of the poem were written in my own time over the space of several days. It is the most personal poem I have written to date.
Part Seven refers to The Event, a huge moment in my adolescent life.
Part Eight refers to the most recent instalment of my stories for her.
Part Nine refers to the second part of The Event.
Like the loss of a limb
or a missing *****,
whether an arm, kidney
or half of a heart.

Every bone numbed,
laden with pins and needles,
every puppet-like move
languid, free of joy.

Hoping for a letter,
brandy to spike your mood,
but for now it’s Yeats on the moors
as you long for your wife.
Written: January 2014.
Explanation: A poem that is likely to be part of my third-year university dissertation regarding Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. In a letter to his wife dated 3rd October 1956, Hughes claims 'It's true how you feel amputated in some way ... I sit around in a daze of shock...' in reference to how he wishes his wife were still around (SP was in Cambridge, while TH was in Yorkshire.)
Here are my eyes
my fried eggs
teal lily-pads floating
on white albumen.

Here are my elbows
like deformed peaches
my knuckles the peas
wrist corn on the cob.

Here are my teeth
my frosty Stonehenge
a ring of slabs
solid halibut.

Here are my ankles
four gobstoppers
cracking as rocks
under her size-five feet.

Here is my nose
fastened to my face
the garbage chute
meets hoover hybrid.

Here are my knees
two wrinkled potatoes
mashing in their sockets
as waves crumble on me.

Here is my hair
my straw candyfloss
unlike her buttered popcorn
curly-wurly waterfall.

Here are my tonsils
squashy strawberries
wedged at the back
of the cave I once made.

Here are my lips
azalea-pink sweets
flecked with salt
from our slice of sea.
Written: May 2014.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time that does (sort of) fall into my ongoing beach/sea series. Could've been stronger, but I am satisfied with the end product. Note 'size-five feet' refers to the UK measurement. The full-stops were a late addition, though I left out the commas.
I write your name
at the back of the book
because I know
you’ll flick to the end first.

Endings are the real killer, I say.
I have said before,
they are only ever coming
or artefacts of the past.

Don’t think about that, you say,
look at the clock,
its hands stammering on,
the time lost and now

lost again.
What will we become
if not whispers
in every hundredth conversation?

Here is now -
cup it in your hands,
or like so many things
it will be a forgotten echo.
Written: February 2018.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time - quite simple. Feedback welcome. All feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
Bright vegetables of the sea,
disordered hair, thin arms.

Tubes protrude among vivid coral,
an array of shades against a sapphire canvas.

Wobbly vermilion wires poke out
from under rust-coloured rocks.

A clown swims quick through the middle,
orange in a forest of fingers.

Pink bonbons, candy canes,
an underwater confectionery store.

Some throb with electricity,
small pools of violet light near their homes.

Others ***** rainbows
from deep open mouths.

Waltzing in solitude
as tangerine horses gallop.

More creatures weave past,
realise they are in a multi-hued hug.

Hidden paint splatters,
are they aliens of the deep?
Written: January and March 2013.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time for university. As such, it is a work in progress and is subject to change over the next month or two.
Water nuzzles ankles again
     sliced pomegranate sunset
footprint glyphs
   like our own Hebrew letters

legs half-bare is a rarity
   sand is orange zest
stippled against our fingers
   hair overflown champagne

down your spine
   thin ribbons of un-tanned skin
the sea like a wildfire of hushes
   each wave urging us on
Written: October/November 2019.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time, originally considered for my Masters manuscript. No changes have been made since this draft was finished. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
exaggeration the word
   that   skips   on the front of my tongue

a bar of orange-fizz light
   a rooftop where the sky
is a pond-ice blue

     a blush of inky flowers
shadows that drip
     down
   accordion-stairs

the sun fits between     two of my fingertips

     conversations swallowed
behind windowpanes
or          lost in the clouds

a city that   groans   in heat
   chalk-white tiles
   blood buses

trees with          arms wide
green   condensation
    and a child with ice-cream

you bruise of colour
snippet of a smile
I cannot
          hold

     postman delivers
your   wispy   ribbons
of          silence

vortex that ***** me closer to you
     but   always          further away

wonky     syllables
make for
          a wonky
     heart
Written: June 2018.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time. Often I will write a piece using photos as inspiration, and create a loose, somewhat non-cohesive poem as a result - often the outcome is quite satisfying to me. I see it as a string of images that make a whole but with a slightly clearer meaning that isn't blatantly obvious (to you perhaps, but not me). Like with much of my work, it is not totally based on real events. Feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
here’s the clunking throb of my heart
and you walk in from work
your hair a fluster of black strands
heels flicked off and keys
tossed into the bowl with a clatter

you flump onto the sofa
say nothing
but listen to the clunking throb
of my heart
and I know we’re both thinking
something has to change
but the answer is hidden
like a note under a stone

we breathe
and the traffic continues outside
we sigh
and the phone shrieks by the door
Written: May 2018.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
Nightfall
and I cannot get over
the architecture of you

I could draw your fingerprints
from memory
with rainbow crayons

paint
how you scrunched your toes
like yesterday’s paper

whenever the water
threatened to soak
our undressed feet

We are here
talking about
anything everything

nothing at all
your words are my wine
I want to sip every drop

ask for another bottle
in the coal-black silence
and get smashed

wake up tomorrow with sand
strewn through my fringe
a silly smile or two

forget what is not
on this beach
and know only now

the tone of the waves
hue of your lipstick
beat of our hearts
Written: May 2014.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time that is part of my ongoing beach/sea series, and is similar in vein to previous poems 'The Shore' and 'The Scene.' As always, I do not wish for my poems to be soppy or indeed romantic, but rather intimate and realistic.
perhaps a part of me
gone, like that first
chunk of apple,

transient taste
but then gone,
and no other apple

bite will be the same.
I went to them
positively enough,

thirsty cat
with just a splash
of trepidation,

let them coat me
in terminology
from above,

rinsed in apple green
and pink, the hollow,
missing parts

to be made big
until they sink, myself
proffering the anchor.

now, I have gone to grey
or almost white,
not quite snow,

maybe pathetic toast
and I unravel
the most littlest bit,

my toothache hurt
attempt to fill
the now half-moon

apple back again,
my repetition
my repetition.
Written: October 2020.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time, and my attempt to get back into writing after too long away in my opinion. Feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
Four nights a week, one thing only: pool.
The cloth ain’t great, ***** scurrying to the cushion
every time, cues skewed high as we feather the white,
chalk up another foul.

Tonight though, an epic night.
The culmination, attend one and all,
old guys with dodgy hips, teenage mothers
with their children’s cries high among the elements.

Final few frames of a marathon encounter,
the east coast’s known nothing like it.
I select a gleaming cue, send the white
careening into the triangle of notes.

Crucible of sweat. Back and forth
between swigs of squash. Left-hand side,
a smashing *** to the top right leaves the black,
my opponent seeing defeat like a neon Vegas sign.

Stick between thumb and finger, the kick
and slip into pocket. A cheer leaps out my mouth,
claps echo between the grab machines.
I meet my opponent's eyes. Another tenner

is tossed across the baize.
Written: 2018/19.
Explanation: A poem that was part of my MFA Creative Writing manuscript, in which I wrote poems about cities that have staged the Eurovision Song Contest, or taken the name of a song and written my own piece inspired by the title. I have received a mark for this body of work now, so am sharing the poems here.
The night descended to that.
You, sunny side up,
queasiness inhabiting you
as if a change of season,
eyes damp with lethargy.

We planned to depart,
myself, a few others,
spilling well-wishes through the door
to your sanctuary,
dreamcatcher holding your reveries,
books like sentences of teeth
on your shelves.

I left, passenger seat,
with my language a glue in the throat.
The episode quite gone,
thunderous concert of silence,
only windchime giggles that filtered
through the dark.

It is what has become customary.
The bullet-point reeling-off of events,
each spark with its own named shade.
My hollow words missing the yolk
of conversation, vacant bottles
lost to the ocean, skin flecked with rust.

I ought to love you more,
this platonic, solid love.
Perhaps I should **** myself free
from the shipwreck, dust off
my catastrophes and breathe,
revel in your odysseys, let you know
my spoke of mishaps,
let us accept each other with clean hands.
Written: January 2020.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time. Feedback welcome as always. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
off the plane
and the word marriage
alive on your tongue

another with
another
spilling bits and
again

you take their hand
not the other way
around

both say no
but I know yes

yes
offered silence
black water
in a bucket

drink it like whisky
scorches my
Written: December 2017.
Explanation: A pastiche poem written in my own time for university (as such, changes are possible), in the style of Rosmarie Waldrop. Feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE: Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP at some point in the future.
The night we first slept together was election night,
the reds against the blues against the yellows against the greens.
We both picked the same colour, I found out,
sipping coffee, scolding tongues at that place on the corner
where you can chuck in some scran while you’re at it.

Here’s a cliché, but true: one thing led to another.
A DiCaprio movie I barely recall, a dreich day
umbrella-sharing as we charged back down Arthur’s Seat.
I wondered if Hibs won, you thought if my hand in your hand
meant we were comfortable, easing ourselves into each other
as if trying on a new pair of boots.

There was ***, but that’s personal.
It was at your place. The sleep.
After it was over, our throats aching with lust, you went
to the bathroom in your pricy Primark knickers,
spine ablaze with light, and I revelled in the deliciousness
of your not-quite-**** body, knew we’d started something,
knocked the first domino down.

In the morning, we’d reached an impasse.
The TV blared out no surprises.
My eyes discovered an unfamiliar ceiling,
you wore an iron-soon shirt, white, nothing else
as the coffee machine spluttered its language.
A one-night thing? I thought so, eyes punctuated
with crooked red hyphens. I didn’t know my toothbrush
would be there in months, my face again in the mirror.
Written: 2018/19.
Explanation: A poem that was part of my MFA Creative Writing manuscript, in which I wrote poems about cities that have staged the Eurovision Song Contest, or taken the name of a song and written my own piece inspired by the title. I have received a mark for this body of work now, so am sharing the poems here.
As I opened my fridge one morning,
early on before sunrise,
I was greeted by the stench of tuna fish
which at that time came as quite a surprise.

And I poured myself a glass of orange juice,
the stronger stuff with bits in,
and then tossed yesterday’s Guardian
into the overflowing silver bin.

‘I’ll pull back the curtains’ is what I thought next,
nobody, of course, out on the street.
No sooner had I picked up the remote control
when I felt like something to eat.

‘I’ll get myself some toast’ I said in my head,
and smear it with some Marmite,
but my days, my eyes were so **** sore,
I couldn’t see if I was doing it right.

The years I’ve been waking up early,
every time it is the same,
barely making it down the stairs,
all part of God’s make-him-pay game.

But I finally sat down once more
and could now relax in front of the news,
only to see some cheery couple
with a glass of champagne on a cruise.

It made me wonder, what it would be like
if tomorrow I just stayed in bed.
Would I have an extra few hours to rest
or would somebody find me dead?

Then a van pulled up on the other side of the road,
bloke closed it with a very loud bang,
made me jump so much I spilt half my drink,
seconds later is when the phone rang.

‘Hello?’ I recognised the voice immediately,
a friend calling me at this hour?
They said how they wanted to pop round later
if it wasn’t going to be a terrible bother.

‘Sure’ I replied and then soon hung up,
my voice sounded coarse like Velcro.
Only then did my eyes see a black figure
standing right outside my window.
Written: August 2012.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time, and my first poem in ages that rhymes. The style of this poem was based on that of W.H. Auden's 'As I Walked Out One Evening'. The poem was originally going to be quite funny in tone and also quite silly to be honest, but halfway through I wanted there to be a slightly darker tone to it as well. Also available on my WordPress blog.
and we met up, same place,
seats still cold but comfy.
Your cheeks were fuchsia pink
from the squally breeze outside
and I had one of my scarves
wound around my neck,
red and black
like a chunk of children’s candy.
The story you'd started
was going well,
ideas popping up
as a villain would
in a hackneyed horror film.
I said a sporadic poem
spilled onto the page
but little else,
just comatose dross.
Twenty past,
coffee swam over our teeth
like sepia-bikinied swimmers.
Somehow you were more beautiful
but unaware of it,
your hair brighter
under the glare of the lights above.
The youngest pair around,
early twenties, 'whole life ahead.'
How wrong.
Our relationship a radiator
that fails to heat up enough.
Everybody has one.
I'll write about you someday for sure.
Some day.
Written: December 2012.
Explanation: Poem written in my own time, intended as a follow-up to earlier piece 'It Was a Wednesday I Think'. NOT based on real events, but written with a specific individual in mind. Also available on my WordPress blog.
In Science class
he brandishes the stick
of wood, alight at the tip,
wafts it against
the balloon’s skin,
his students awaiting
the expulsion of colour,
a bang to jangle the eardrums.
He moves in, the pumpkin flame
prods the hollow shape
and it vanishes
in a second of a second
to a spiral of fire,
the sound spreading
through the room faster
than teenage gossip.
Written: October 2016.
Explanation: To mark National Poetry Day on 6th October, I wrote 25 poems over the course of eight days, and sent one poem each to one of 25 of my Facebook friends. After some deliberation, I am now posting the poems on HP (in order of when they were written), albeit not all in one go. 'Firework' is poem one, for those of you who wish to read the series in full, in order. None of the poems are about their recipients. All feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE: Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP at some point in the future.
lick the sky with commas
crimson ribbons
  and shamrock murmurs
   like the crayon scribbles
    of a young child
     electric choir
     strums of colour
    make melody of night
   shifting whispers
  a new language blur
we can only open
our mouths at
Written: April 2019.
Explanation: A simple poem written in my own time as part of Savannah Brown's escapril challenge. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
I. (Girl.)

Young girl with blonde hair
peers at her phone once again
to see if she's loved.

---------------------------------------

II. (Black Umbrella.)

A black umbrella
even though it's not raining
to anyone else.

---------------------------------------

III. (September.)

The clock crawls to nine
as autumn comes to students
for an awkward hug.
Written: September 2013.
Explanation: A series of three haikus describing things that I saw/observed early one Wednesday morning at the end of September while at university.
Baby, I thought it worked.
Baby, I don't understand what has happened.
Everything we knew, the pieces
one discovers when it's more than holding hands,
we splashed red. That lovey-dovey red.
Valentine display in a shop window red.
It was serious. Intense.
Too intense? Who's to say.
We were puppets made of lust,
glistening in the night
like glow-in-the-dark stars.
But baby, I had buttons,
and you pushed them all.
Set me whirring away as a spinning top
off the table. But I did the same to you.
Got you all flustered, red-faced, wet-cheeked.
We liked to nit-pick our mistakes,
gather them together, scrawl them into a list
on the fridge so every time I got a drink
I’d be reminded of last night’s tiff.
Baby, what were we doing?
You slept with your back to me,
and I’d be all fidgety. I’d go into our bathroom
and get angry. Curse at myself in the mirror.
I threw my heart at you
and you blended it to bits.
Where’s the ‘it happens in every book’ ending?
Baby, the ‘get you hankie out, they’re about to kiss?’
The couple across the street have it,
the waitress in the café.
Our parents must’ve had it.
These things happen. But why us? Why now?
How can you tread water one minute
then face the fact you’re drowning the next?
Baby, I’m too broken to be fixed,
but that doesn’t mean we can’t give it a try.
Baby, can you hear me?
Maybe I’ll repair you
and we’ll both feel like new.
Written: October 2015.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time, that I feel is not a very 'poetic' poem, but I am still satisfied with the outcome. Not based on real events. All feedback welcome. 'Baby' is one of my least favourite words, but it felt right for the title of the piece. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE: Many of my older poems will be removed from HP in the coming months.
Now for too long drunk in your past,
dunked in your past
and you know I can't swim,
thrashing like an epileptic puppet
as each wave gurgled over me.

I guess you were a magnet,
hurling me toward you like
a cricket ball in the air,
except I was never caught,
the shiny maroon sphere
nowhere near your fingers.

Had to go and ruin it,
spoil it, but there wasn't an 'it',
a malleable object
for us to **** and poke
into our chosen shape.

You can't swim back either I suppose,
for the city screams
at you like an ambulance
and my head bobs above the surface,
I see silhouettes
move no nearer, no further.
Written: March 2013.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time - started well, kind of ran out of steam.
She longs for home.
Stuck in this town
is taking its toll
on her.

Her flatmates
just don't give a ****
and students shout
outside her window

after a few.
She can't tell
if that boy likes her
or that guy

isn't interested.
All this hearsay
burns her ears.
Needs to get away,

relax in a more familiar
place with more familiar
people, pretend
that things aren't different.

She can remember
the good times,
outside the English room
on a warm June day

even though
she was revising for Science.
It'll be OK again soon.
Soon it will be back to normal.
Written: March 2012.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time about a friend. Not the best poem I could have written about them, so this poem will either change at some point, or a new one will come along.
I hold her arms
as she knocks the egg
against the bowl

a bump

a bit harder I say
again

a crackle
now pull it open
slowly

she gasps
as the yellow present
slops into the bowl

a lake of yolk
on flour mountain

I see it in a way
I haven’t seen before
as if I can see
and feel what she feels
a swell of pleasure

again she says

as I hand over another
from the cardboard box
excited for what comes next
Written: September and October 2016.
Explanation: To mark National Poetry Day on 6th October, I wrote 25 poems over the course of eight days, and sent one poem each to one of 25 of my Facebook friends. After some deliberation, I am now posting the poems on HP (in order of when they were written), albeit not all in one go. 'Firework' is poem one, for those of you who wish to read the series in full, in order. None of the poems are about their recipients. All feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE: Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP at some point in the future.
Am I an eagle
with aluminium wings
in the electric night
or the mad man
watching mosaics
melt into stained-glass puddles?

Look into my bloodshot eyes,
speak to me in that Spanish susurro
and tell me to fly,
          tongue of lightning /violet horizon,
or I’ll be seeing colours in bubbles
dancing a marinera,
a manic stalactite-white grin
I’m not in control of wriggling
across my whiskered face.
Written: December 2017.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time inspired by a few photos a friend of mine took while in the Barranco (ravine) district of Lima, Peru. This area is known for its bohemian style and street art. Please note that 'susurro' is Spanish for 'whisper', while 'marinera' is a Peruvian coastal dance. Feedback welcome. A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page.
NOTE; Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP at some point in the future.
potent blue sky but ground laced with blood
stench of death in the air and on that August day
he joined the deceased Spaniard in the sun outspoken
generation of ’27 with the taste of poetry on his tongue
called a socialist partaking in abnormal activities
never found a single shot or several nobody knows
during La Guerra Civil the voice of a nation
quenched in the blink of a second

like the cellophane wings of a dragonfly
torn from its body so the whirr vanishes
or fire strangled out of someone
drenched with bullets of water

como las alas de celofán de una libélula
arrancadas de su cuerpo
para que desaparezca el zumbido
o fuego estrangulado afuera de alguien
empapado con balas de agua
Written: November 2017.
Explanation: A poem written in my own time for university, so changes are likely in the coming months. Written in the style of Alice Oswald's 'Memorial.' The Barranco (ravine) de Víznar is located between the towns of Fuente Grande and Víznar in Andalusia, Spain. It is believed that very close to this location, the famous Spanish poet Federico García Lorca was murdered and buried by nationalist forces at the start of the Spanish civil war on 19th August 1936. He was 38. The final verse is a translation of the verse above. All feedback welcome.
A link to my Facebook writing page can be found on my HP home page. NOTE: Many of my older pieces will be removed from HP at some point in the future.
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