Poetry

Shuffle Huffle

It’s been a while since the spark of my mind

and the images it carves in the grain of my imagination

have wanted to come freely out through my fingertips

and drip into inky life on the page.

Usually, I have to drag them. Wrap my hands around their horns and heave

to get them moving. But of course, that only makes them more stubborn.

I show them pictures of the tumbleweed rolling across my notebook,

pick up handfuls of dry soil

so they can see how barren it’s become.

Guilt-tripping them all the way until they grumble into a slow shuffle

one by one, and cause ink blots everywhere as they do so.

But today they danced out to a waltz,

a festival of colours and gowns and painted masks

because I chose to let them take control of my fingers

and make the shapes they wanted to,

and not force them to bend into mine.

Poetry

Silken

A strand shines white,

a glimmer on the darkened street.

The moonlight has touched it,

but its fellows remain that rich brown

hanging down to your shoulders.

Each one a piece of your thoughts,

a ribbon tied fast to the building blocks

that make you.

Old strands gift their being to others,

and then leave.

Fresh beginnings grow in their stead.

Poetry

Space Hopper

If I had seven league boots,

I’d travel up to the stars.

 

If I had three point five league boots,

I’d travel to the highest mountains.

 

If I had one league boots,

I’d travel to every lush space I could find.

 

I am barefoot.

 

I can travel only until I get tired.

But there’s nothing to stop me believing

 

I have seven league boots.

Poetry

It’s okay

Apparently it’s okay

to demand help five minutes before the world sleeps

and then stroll off under the stars

without even the thought of thanks.

 

It’s fine to dig up liquefied bones

and fashion them into inflatable rings

to bob along on the surface of the Earth’s sweat-sheened skin

only to cast them aside when the sun hides its head.

 

It’s fine to book safaris in a distant country

while the wildlife nearby is trampled underfoot,

hit by cars and choked by polluted air,

with reserves holding fundraisers in the wake of blind eyes

and deaf ears.

 

It’s fine,

until the wall of ignorance crumbles

at your feet.

Poetry

Vanishing Time

It can overtake you, if you’re not careful.

That little bug, that tightly sealed jar that cracks with every move

and is just waiting for a chance to burst open

and flood the carpet with alphabet shapes that form words,

sentences, scenes, chapters,

faster than you can say, ‘I’ll just get in five minutes’ work before bed.’

Oh, what a lie. A page full of typed lies

that keep you from realising the time until

the strikes of midnight–no, I stand corrected–two in the morning.

Thank you brain, for that mad dash of creativity.

No, I mean it.

The pages would be crisp and white forever without you.

Poetry

Tree smiths

The elves slipped quietly into the girl’s dreams,

carefully tending to the seedling of her imagination

before adulthood sprayed it with weedkiller.

‘Grow strong,’ they whispered to it, ‘into a mighty

tree that will only expand as the years pass,

never withering even with extreme age.’

And then they bowed to it and each other,

before drifting out to find the next child

threatened by the corsets of society and peers.

Poetry

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.

Extracts/ Flash Fiction

A scene from a new idea

Tia’s arm flinched as Lannah adjusted the mechanism at her wrist, using a red-hot needle to inscribe the Tsa markings needed to reinforce both the spellwork and metalwork holding it together. Unable to stop herself from smirking, Tia analysed her friend’s serious expression despite the Elvis Presley track blaring through the spellcrafted speakers on the walls. Although the song was six hundred years old, she couldn’t deny Lannah had good taste. ‘You always get that same look of severe concentration on your face when you fix me up.’

Lannah finished the Tsa she was working on and sat up, rolling her shoulders back with a sigh. Her eyes were dark with lack of sleep. I probably look just as bad, Tia thought. ‘That’s because you are particularly hard to repair,’ Lannah said. ‘Do you have any idea how many extra enchantments I have to put on your arm just so it can keep up with your raiding antics?’ She stretched her arms up, adjusting herself. ‘Of course, if you didn’t feel the need to keep ripping it off every time you get in the slightest bit of trouble, my job would be much easier.’

Tia made a fist with her metal fingers, testing them out. Satisfied, she sat up, facing Lannah. ‘If I didn’t yank it off, then me and the team would be toast right now. My magic isn’t half as powerful with it on, and the colonists down on that planet aren’t the friendliest of people. And they’ve got two witches of their own. I nearly got spell-speared in the back.’

She jumped off Lannah’s white operating table, nearly hitting her head on the lamp the engineer had been using. She shivered. Now that she wasn’t focused on the pain from her metal arm being fixed, she noticed how cold it was in the room. She grabbed her jacket from the coat rack and zipped it up to her chin, grateful for its cosy warmth.

‘Maybe they felt that a team of raiders suddenly appearing to take all their tech away was a touch uncalled for?’ Lannah suggested, making a quick Tsa in the air with her finger. Immediately, Tia felt the air in the room get warmer. She chewed the inside of her check, quenching down the familiar pang of envy that rose up inside her. If she’d been born with witch gene zero, she would be able to use Tsa marks too. But she hadn’t. She had plain witch gene zero one, like the majority of witches aboard the Merlin.

‘It’s not their tech anyway. It’s Cosmic Witch’s,’ Tia replied, running her fingers through her short hair. Still feels weird to have it this length, but I guess it’s practical. ‘Anyway, we’re only following orders. They want it back as quickly as possible, we had no time to negotiate.’ More like we were told specifically not too. The truth disgusted her just as much as it did Lannah, whose mouth had stilled into a thin line.

The engineer turned away to her desk and began typing up her report, absently flicking the music from ‘Love Me Tender’ to ‘A Little Less Conversation’. ‘If you’re ready, you can sign out on the module. The form should already be on the screen.’ She shot a slight grin over her shoulder. ‘Try to be more careful next time.’

Poetry

Vibrant wings

The butterfly beat

its wings lethargically as it rested

on the soil, cold winds turning

it into ice. Find a place, anywhere,

safe, to hibernate, it told itself.

Warm, secure, away from jaws

of those normally waiting to pluck

it from the sky.

That’s

how I came to have these wings

on my back. The butterfly found me,

and I accepted it.