For me, penning poems is to writing novels what 
eating chocolate is to eating everything else; 
utterly necessary but I don't get to do it every day.
 HAPPY 2024, people. Good luck.
Scroll down, down, down for a new year poetry addition

*credits: Aesthetica 2024 creative writing award (for short fiction - Birdie) (Anthology); Misfit Mirror, Earlyworks Press (2008); Complexities of Life (Anthology) Dogma Publications; Perceptions in Poetry (Dogma Publications (2004)

Mantra

 

11.10 am: i am a runaway wife

 

I iron your shirts, and air the rooms 

of whisky, cigars, my life’s blood.

 

3.10 pm: i am a runaway wife

 

My suitcase glares

obese with dreams, virgin jeans and socks

photos of my peach-faced boys

Mother’s bequeathed ring

the costume watch I stole last spring.

 

5.03 pm: i am a runaway wife

 

I check the bedroom for things to abandon:

chequered scarves with pasts to match

tights with unwelcome ladders

used to climb my thighs

your bloody body, stiff on the bed

i fantasize.

 

5.50 pm: i am a runaway wife

 

The front door clunks, dead on time

my reflex smile appears

yet, still, you heave your crimson rage

into the bedroom

onto the bed

into me.

 

Through vodka armour i acquiesce

to your sweat and spit and slithering.

 

10.10 am: i am a runaway wife

 

My mobile sings:

the station taxi has arrived.

 

I shall fly in a hot air balloon

climb a mountain in noon sunshine

sleep on a bed of gentleness…

 

but then there’s a bang and a slap!

I turn, to discover

the mail, just the mail

 

11.10 am: i am a runaway wife

 

My guilty ticket flutters 

in the train conductor’s hand

he hesitates

clips the wing.

 

Spring leaves on trees speed past.

***

I'm delighted that Mantra won Curtis Brown Creative's New Beginnings poetry competition 2022.

And, on the short stories front:

Birdie 

Shortlisted for the Aesthetica short fiction prize 2024. Published in the anthology of the same name.

In 2024 - if you don't already -and this is especially for commuters to dreary offices... would you like to feel as happy as these unrepresentative, happy people from the template page look? Then, my gift to you, a poem what i wrote many years ago which is still, sadly, apt. Think about it. Breaking free... (Perceptions In Poetry, 2004, Edited by Mark Lane)

Drink! Thirsty fish

Bakerloo tube sweat torments

trickles and runs down 

into damp crevices.

 

As the tube doors eerily slide

the casket gasps like a cod, drowning.

And in a while, we’ll all be 

desk-bound, sloshing around

The City Bowl.

 

In spite of our hearts,

we swing from handles

grasping abstinence from life.
 

We dare not relinquish our hold

dare not quench our dehydrated souls

with life’s symphonic currency

that aches to course like river rapids

through our damned veins.

 

Yet, as Nature decrees

free juices seep 

from beneath tongue flesh

that lizard dances

anticipating the last glass on the platform

before the final train departs.

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