Poetry

Say it

Say it. Let the sound fill your mouth

like curry, full on flavour and spicy

enough to set your breath on fire.

Then spit it out. Let them know

the wine is sour,

and the alcohol content cannot make up for it.

Bottle their gasps for later,

you can use them at the lightshow

when they try to blot you out.

And, with their retorts,

take off your cloak and mask

so their ice-words melt from your brightness.

Show them the spectrum,

not the gradient.

Poetry

Broken Time

The couple are seated, quietly speaking on a bench.

They talk of days, of moments, of ups, of downs.

Nothing they do disturbs the hustle beyond them, until someone

claims that it does.

 

They’re sitting too close, if they want to be intimate, find somewhere else.

They remain seated, talking. Just talking.

Those things shouldn’t be spoken about in public. Save them for later.

They hesitate, then continue talking.

Is there something wrong with you? It’s crazy you would be so open. What if a child hears you? Do you really want that?

 

Tainting them? Tainting me? Tainting us?

 

Voices that were silent now crash over the couple’s moment,

blocking their words, twisting them, unhinging them.

 

The couple takes out a tube of bubbles trying to seal themselves away.

It works, but the clock is already counting down until it pops.

 

They hope no-one appears with a pin.

Poetry

Unicorns

Are we just displays,

faces painted on with shimmering gloss

and sparkles in our eyes?

Given tinted glasses so we can’t see the cracks

spreading across our bodies

so we never have the opportunity to repair?

Our personalities never expansive enough

to fill more than a sentence,

a breath between speech,

a second of a cursory glance?

 

Or are we intelligent minds

housed in bodies we can love,

strong, supple and up to any task we try?

Views and motivations

and goals we strive for and achieve every day.

Emotional, yes, but also logical, calculating,

creative and inventive,

deserving of respect not just from the masses,

but ourselves too?

Poetry

Drop your guard

When you stand before someone

exactly as you are,

no armour, no shield,

and still have the courage to look into their eyes –

you are strong.

You are raw, and you are real.

And when you let them do the same,

with no judgement,

understanding dawns for both of you.

You might be scared,

but opening chests that have long rusted shut

was never going to be easy.

All you can do is be the net

to catch each other

as your whole spills forth

and slips through your fingers.

Poetry

Round One: Fight!

There’s something to listening to the sound of your thumbs pushing buttons in combos that it’s taken weeks of snatched time to learn.

Reflecting the games of your childhood, which you played with your mates, lugging spare controllers and sometimes whole consoles round each others’ houses so you could all be a team

Or to be pitted against each other with the whole pile of snacks left just outside your door by your mum (not wanting to disturb you all by bringing them in) as the prize.

What that something is, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the excitement that comes with it, the nostalgia that seeps from every one of your muscles, or the threat of reality lurking just beyond the screen that pushes you on so you can spend as much time as you can in that headspace you love.

Maybe it’s because I can see you as you were before you met me, before the pressures of school, college, work and the rest of life bore down on you and sapped at at your spark. The spark that flares up again only when we’re alone and can shed the clothes of adult obligations.

Maybe it’s because I’m sitting here with you doing the same, my own eagerness merging with yours as time jumps back for us. Maybe it’s because neither one of us is player two, but player ones on equal terms, equally bent on winning this round.

Maybe it’s because you respect me enough not to go easy, and I respect you the same.

Final round: Fight!

Poetry

Feigned Ignorance, test one.

Look away.

Our subject isn’t cool, isn’t warm, isn’t quiet, isn’t loud.

She is simply a passenger

journeying inside a tube filled with bubbles,

and hers is burst suddenly, tearing her from the pages of the novel clutched in her hands

to the attention of the male specimen, tipsy as a timer,

demanding her number.

As if she is a prized doll for collectors.

Politely, she refuses.

 

The male specimen does not like this. He accuses her of prudishness.

As if that’s his business.

None of the other bubbles burst while this is going on.

They are content, floating away; raised voices bounce off them,

pleading looks erased by blank stares.

 

Her stop is close, the tube is slowing.

Our subject can get away this time.

Next time, let’s take away her escape route and see what happens.

I’d like to think that all the bubbles would burst then,

but my colleagues say the probability is low.

We’re not placing bets.

Poetry

Name games

Thanks, sweetheart. Thanks, angel. Thanks, love. Thanks, sugar. Thanks, pet. Thanks, darling. Thanks, treasure. Thanks, precious.

Words of endearment stream from people’s mouths so easily now,

I begin to wonder if they’ve lost their meaning.

Complete strangers calling me more names than my family,

my friends, even my spouse.

 

I never hear them call the boys ‘love’ or ‘darling’.

I wonder why that is.

I hear ‘mate’, if any at all.

Thanks, mate. Good job, mate. Nice to see you, mate. Well done, mate.

 

Sometimes, everyone seems to be a star.

But why?

We’re just doing what’s been asked of us, what we’ve been trained to do.

I suppose that’s it.

You’re just responding in a way you think you’re being asked, in the way you’ve been trained.

Where a boy cannot be a treasure, and a girl cannot be a mate.

You might not think that anymore,

but the words remain from when you did.

Poetry

A list of How-To

How to get the balance right.

How to know when a wall is climbable, and when it is not.

How to realise that a person’s skin colour doesn’t change their weight.

How to respect a way of working that might not be your own.

How to describe sights to eyes that never see.

How to interpret expressions to faces that are still.

How to see more than two genders.

How to respect your own company.

How to not feel alone.

How to not wish to be someone else.

How to be you.

 

characters

Character Profile: Lizzie

Full name: Elizabeth Jimmson (Despite being married and then widowed, she always kept her maiden name, with the view that loving someone dearly need not change your entire identity.)

Next of Kin: Eric, son (missing), and Inspector Jimmson Jimmson, brother.

Age: That’s not a very tactful question for anyone to ask, in her opinion.

Favourite Colour: Does one need a favourite colour? She believes it changes depending on her mood, yet the brighter, the better.

Likes: Gardening, baking, teaching, hands-on work. Helping Thordric reach his magical potential.

Dislikes: Being addressed formally and treated differently simply because her younger brother is the Inspector of the local stationhouse. People who like to complain for the sake of complaining.

Life goals: To be reunited with her son, though she knows after so many years it is unlikely. Also to discover what the cause of her husband’s death really was, even if the truth is dark.

Most embarrassing moment: She doesn’t have embarrassing moments, only mild hiccups in her daily routine.

Books featured in: Half-Wizard Thordric Trilogy

characters

Character Profile: Thordric

Full name: Thordric Manfred Smallchance

Next of Kin: Maggie Smallchance, mother

Age: 14 1/2

Favourite colour: Red

Likes: Learning new things and how to control his magic, feeling included, painting, his mentor’s (Lizzie’s) cooking, trying to grow a beard…

Dislikes: Being bullied or made fun off, not being taken seriously, watching his mother carry out postmortems in her morgue, the current state of the Wizard Council.

Life goals: To prove that his magic isn’t dangerous, to have the same opportunities as others his age, to create new spells and potions, and to see half-wizards treated with the same respect as full wizards.

Most embarrassing moment: Too many to count, but having Lizzie catch him naked and then offer him fluffy pink towels to cover up always sticks prominently in his mind.

Books featured in: Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy