A ripple in a glass of water

can never leave the glass.

Yet if the glass ever cracks,

the water can push against it,

working away to force an opening.

Even if the gap it makes is only

wide enough for a trickle to escape,

sometimes that trickle is all that’s needed.

Seeping across the table,

weaving its way through discarded cutlery,

crusted salt and pepper pots

and past dusty, fine china plates

to the edge, where droplets form

ready to drip into the dry soil

filling the plant pot below.

The fresh seeds lying in wait

beneath the surface

will finally get

their spark of life.



Who you really are

I want to climb to the stars,

feel the roar

of ovation in my ears.

Let euphoria take over

as my body balances

on the point of a needle

as it sways back and forth across the dial.

Precarious. Rash. Bold.

I am all these things.

As I wake,

I sink my hands

into my jarring heart

and replace the bent, broken cogs

with new ones.


The demise of a splash of green in an otherwise grey world

The hard droplets pound

away at the pavement;

the dainty daisies growing in the cracks

stand no chance

against this sudden onslaught.

They fall flat,

squashed not only by the weight of the rain,

but crunched by wheels and feet,

all rushing past as though


are the ones

whose petals

are being washed

into the dark drain.


Onwards to the rotting tiles

The chess piece is split down the middle,

parading as two – in a mirror you can see

it whole, moving puppet-stringed

across the board, never waiting for a second

to consider the effect having the image

of an extra player has on the other pawns.

One side is stained black, the other bleached,

but what of the grey space in between?

Sticky, sap-covered moss disguises it;

no-one can see that inside they are the same.


Our sweet fortress

We build up walls

to hide our little cocoon

of love,

with brightly woven  threads

woven into a snug blanket

and a casing of polished ebony.

The heat of the sun warms us

as time passes,

grasses grow up around us

and wildflowers bloom year after year.

Our hands are constantly entwined,

and will be

until they are hands no more.


To the teacher who broke me

There are certain days,

like those mornings just after a heavy downpour

where the scent of pollen and damp soil

mix to form that sickly, sweet smell,

and the sun comes out to create mocking shadows –

yes, days like those –

when nostalgia kicks in and I’m thrown

back to primary school,

clutching my satchel and walking into the playground

where all the other kids play without care

or squabble about nothing.


I sit on my own and watch.


Then the whistle blows

and she comes out, asking

us to line up.

A severe face carved

with severe eyes

and an even severer mouth,

but only when her gaze is turned to me.

Everyone else sees the smiling, caring mask

that tricks them into false security.

She speaks to them with soothing words,

but for me?

For me she leans in so that her severe face

is barely an inch from my own terrified one,

releasing the full roar of her lungs

into my ears.


I’m frightened.


I know she’s watching me,

waiting for me to tell someone about her.

I try to hide it,

but soon the dread consumes me.

I am physically sick at the idea

of facing her again,

seeing the rage build up in her eyes

when I ask even a simple question.


My parents grow concerned.

They talk with her –

she gives them the smiling mask –

and when they leave,

she rounds on me,

raging on

until I am no smaller

than a pebble in her wake.


My face is wet.

I can’t see;

I don’t want to see.

A hand gently touches my shoulder:

it’s time to speak up.

Tell them

what’s really troubling you.

Tell them the truth

about her.


I do.


Three weeks later,

she is gone.

Never to return.


Her voice is still there

in my mind.

It’s always there,

and so is the fear.


But now I can choose to ignore it.


A box full of kindling

You start by cross-dressing,

trying out every hat

and pant-suit

you can lay your snatching hands on.

Taking a nip

here and there

without even knowing,

pollinating the dry wood

with a peppering of ideas

and choosing to tempt

Pandora with the wild taste

of the unwritten.

An input always needs an output;

you present the light-child

who carries it.


Soiled Glass

The chugging of the engine wakes me;

I am tainted

with its fumes.

A blackened face

in a blackened mirror,

a copy made of carbon

filled with the discards of personality.


My doppelganger’s stupidity

faces me everyday,

always solid with the expression of the trapped.


Ironic, don’t you think?


If only I could roll it up

into little balls of doughy flesh

and pop them into my mouth one by one,

chewing and chewing until the juices

flow out

and I can use them to wipe away

the layers of coal-dusted





It all started on

a Monday;

the contents of the pot dribbled

onto the floor,

flooding the newly polished tiles

with a voluminous

dark gloop.


The gloop was a mistake,

a recipe

gone wrong

from the mass of ingredients

forced to boil together.

Just like her life.

Spread out so thin

that she was barely a droplet of herself.


Working through the week,

she swept up the gloop

into heavy-duty sacks and buried it

among the mountains

of other people’s waste.


But for years after,

the gloop’s dark stain