Waking up to a white room, a point of no return

rumoured to be a gift, yet is nothing but whitewash.

Even my skin and blood have been bleached, only

my words seem to stay, but they don’t echo.

They float in the air until I’m not sure they’re even words anymore,

and there are times when they retreat and return

different, as if they were never mine at all.


Good afternoon, how

may I help, what can I do

for you today, oh sir, oh madam, oh

leech of my sanity. Strangled

by the curled black cord, tightening

by the hour, squeezing

the voice from my throat.


The record begins to skip,

the doll wobbles on her rotating stand,

mouth a sing-songing, singing

techno jumble instead of pretty songs.

The mynah bird’s voice fails.

Annoyed it flies away, ignoring

the deranged bell’s ringing.




I think of my eyes as building blocks, little

lego bricks that connect in place to make

something bigger than themselves,

bigger than me. Sometimes

the colours don’t match, or a wall doesn’t take

on the shape it’s supposed to.

That’s when I know I’m tired. That’s when I know

I’m overwhelmed. That’s when I

know something’s wrong.

I need to rest, evaluate the pieces I have

and find a better way of constructing them.

Figure out that just because pieces don’t fit in one spot,

doesn’t mean they won’t fit in another.

Step by step. Brick by brick. Hour by hour.

And I’ll heal. I’ll breathe.

I’ll build once again.


Seed webs

Anything can spark an idea. A casual remark from a spouse, the sign for a road,┬áthe scent of a stranger’s perfume that has been applied so thoroughly it lingers in the air minutes after they’ve passed. Away to another land, a pace beyond the street, or maybe to the final land. Perhaps their perfume is not just perfume, but a way for the organisation they work for to track them, figure out the exact code that unlocks the doors from world to world. Random or systematic. Like the mind.


So what would a diagnosis mean for you?

The spectrum runs much deeper than we can see,

maybe we’re on the precipice,

maybe we’ve already reached the bottom.

Dragged through the world, forced to be immersed,

or constantly waiting on the edge, wanting an invitation

but blocking up the letter box.

Time opens up, divides, expands.

The clock ticking provides a distraction,

my body sways in keeping.

Why is yellow such a bright colour?

It rains on my head and splashes in my eyes,

a tidal wave of unpleasant butterflies

and the number three.

All I crave is quiet. pH7.



Walking across the threshold

my nose is affronted by dust and mustiness,

then underneath that vanilla extract scent comes.

The smell of old books, loved books, well-handled books,

books with broken spines and dog ears,

coffee stains on their covers

and notes from relatives:

‘Happy Birthday, love Aunt Mary’

‘Season’s Greetings, Frank! Christmas ’78’

‘To Mr Baldings, English Teacher Extraordinaire

upon your retirement.’

Love notes written in margins of epic romances,

the strict calculations of Vernians,

and the underlined and highlighted words

in a thousand textbooks read by a hundred thousand students

working towards their exams.

All books have a story,

not just the one printed on the page.

Poetry, Uncategorized

Fungi in the pool

I see your lips shaping to call out my name.

I’m already looking down. The pool

beneath my feet turns acid, acrid memories rising

to curl, choking, around my throat. They are monsters,

and I can no longer run. Give me

the alkaline words that I need to neutralise them,

turn them into harmless fungi

that one day will be plucked and fried

over a low heat ready

to be served up for breakfast,

where we sit together finally,

laughing and talking about things like we always should have done.


A shelf of names

Is it an odd thing

to want to put my name on a shelf?

Pin it up amongst the other names

of other dreamers, ones who have been told many times,

probably even more times than me,

that their dreams aren’t worth following?


Is it an odd thing

to want to pour my mind out?

Use my blood as ink, staining the words

onto white sheets binding the dreams always to the world,

polishing until they are no longer

dreams, but real, solid books?


Perhaps it is.

And perhaps I’ll do it anyway.


The Fuel

On one side of the street, people crowd,

staring across at the house that is no longer there.

Shattered glass collects their expressions

and pours them into the ground, where the foundations

of the house still lie buried.

The oil worms its way up and swallows

this small taste of humanity,

before being sucked out by a pump

more insatiable than itself.



Witch hat?

Out of the ground it springs,

plump, spongy flesh with a wide brim

and pointed tip.

Or should I take the one over yonder, floating on the night black road

beaming silver and tangerine?

Perhaps the shining brass one, left behind by the marching band

complete with player’s spittle.

The daffodil’s trumpet, or the acorn’s cup,

the nightcap of the old magician.

No, no, no!

None of these are suitable for my hat.