Sunday 23 December 2012

Flying home for Christmas

I'm heartsick for your arms around me
Squeezing me like you'll never let go.
Tears are lined up in my tired eyes
Fighting to get out, impatient for your sight.
The minutes linger in the air
Through hours of clouds that go further than I.
I try to sleep, to dream of not being awake
To dream that you'll wake me with your gentlest call. 
I'm so close, so nearly there
There where I want to belong
Here where I learned how to live again.
I'm exhausted with anticipation
Unsteadied by emotion.
Overcome with love, so ready for your warmth. 
I just want to sit next to you:
Watch the whiles go by with you,
To hear you call my name
And be the version of me that's native to you.
Another minute, another mile
Another few hours and you're mine.
My beloved. My joy. My soul. My safety.
My favourite place: Chicago.
My favourite me in you. 

Thursday 20 December 2012


I still think of you
And it makes me warm
What could have been
Not always was, now never is.
Your smile, your skin,
The look that made me safe,
It’s still here in my chest,
Right next to my heart.
Never made it through,
Never broke the seal
So there they stay:
Your look and my heart,
Too close, but you’re too far,
Too long ago to forget the feeling.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

I miss you.

Who's proud
What's proud
Who can I make proud?
That's what hurts - when I cry the most,
When proud speaks words I never heard.

All I wanted
All you dreamed of
All that should have been.
That's what hurts - when I cry the most,
When loss speak words you never heard

Gone forever
Much longer than I ever
Beyond my wildest dreams,
That’s where it hurts the most:
When life becomes reality and I cry the worst.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Her day - not mine

Happy birthday 
Happy day I began
Such an occasion
Such a time. 

Is it still special 
Now that you are gone. 
Does it still matter 
Without me in your arms 

Am I still special without 
your gaze on me
Can I still believe, everything 
you told me I'd be?

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Open words

Words, sense
Inspiration is nothing
Meaning everything
Wear every letter
Paint every sound
Rounder, louder
More real than the paper it’s on.
Break out of the mould
Speak the unspeakable
Write sentences of insanity
That explain the inexplicable
Vocabulary exalting
Above all other signs
Plummeting to the top of the world
So easily misunderstood

Subjection, comparison,
Contradictions infuriating
Truth or false
But who’s? And where’s?
Just a word
More real than on paper
Echoing the caves
Vibrating through our journeys
Published on their skin
Faded into lines
Damp with dried tears
Turn the page;
Write the next.

Saturday 20 October 2012

Not mine

21st October - you don't belong to me
But I'd give everything I have for a moments still relief. 
Take care of her, wrap her in your leaves, 
Whisper words unspeakable in the colours that you fall. 

Take a pause, don't come tonight:
Don't rise or set again 
Tick on and leave us 
This day that no one wants. 

We remember your unfairness
Your spite, your sting, your song. 
Remind us of tomorrow,
Tell us again that you will pass. 

Wednesday 17 October 2012

How not to be a bridesmaid: The Rules:

You need to like my fiancĂ©e,
But you'd better love my dress!
It has become my identity -
I keep its picture in my purse.

Hate my future mother in law,
But help her learn to like me. 
Show her my worth with the company I keep
And don't spare a thought for your dresses.

Know the difference between ivory and white
And whether that glass goes on the left or the right.
Wipe my tears, calm my fears - never, ever disagree.
Remind me why I chose you, by sharing all your views
- But never, I said never, ever disagree. 

Don't worry about your dresses,
That's all under control
I have contacts and colleagues, 
Classmates who will help.

Panic for me, jump for me,
Never ask me how high.
Let me hear yeses - without second guesses:
Because our thoughts are my thoughts - your thoughts exactly.

Understand the neurosis
Pick up on every whim.
Let bells chime all morning
Ignoring each and every crisis.

Keep smiling, keep quiet,
Keep me calm and carry on...
And definitely don't worry at all about your dresses.

Be comfortable and funny
Remember who you are.
Be generous, be kind
And lead us to the dance floor.

Be the reason you are here:
My beloved trusted friends.
Who have laughed with me and loved me
Even more so now than then.

Don't worry about your dresses,
They are my only gift to you.
A keep-sake of our friendship:
A memory just like you.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

I yawn

I sigh because there's nothing left to say
I yawn because there's something I need to hear.
Mixed emotions, mixing dreams
Wanting to be better, wondering if we can.
My hands do the talking but my words have no eyes
Nothing works, no one wins,
We just stay here unchanged.

A change is gonna come - but what if I don't.
Another digit, another stranger
One two and three, every day another four.
I felt lonely today, the consequences of me:
I sigh because there's nothing left to say
I yawn because I'm tired.

We fight. We fail. We learn how to fall
Changing times, moving lines,
Highs and lows:
Ebbs flow through minutes lost in thought.
A memory chimes, echoes in the night
Stirring the unfortunate, the ones left behind.

Tell me again why we have to go on.
Feed my love with candle light
So that I can finish this final sad song
I sigh ...
Because I sigh,
I yawn because you are gone. 

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Tomorrow is another 8th of August

The 8th of August has come around again,
Empty of grief, filled with pain.
Another twelve months I have missed you for,
Another twelve months I have lost out on you for.

A hole grows in my heart, bigger with each year
Harder to ignore, harder to be near.
Every step I make takes me further from you
Makes me colder without your smile -
As I grow older without you.

Another day, another year,
Another drop tears down my skin,
Longing for memories of a different day
And a different year: before the tears -

Before another 8th of August is here. 

Wednesday 25 July 2012


Happiness does not simply fade away,
It doesn’t slip slowly through your fingers
Or disappear over the horizon like a sunset.
Happiness is snatched from unsuspecting hands,
Kidnapped in the dark of night so you’ll never see it leave.
In time you won’t remember its shape in your bed:
The feel of it in your head or its warmth on your skin.
You won’t recall the strain on your mouth that laughter once smiled
And only the idea of happiness will be missed.


What do you do when you're stuck?
Stuck on a question, stuck in a traffic jam,
Stuck for what to wear for that work night out.
What do you do when you're stuck in a day?
Same event, same outcome,
Same desperate need to seek out the smallest of change.

What do you do when you're stuck in that day?
The one day, only day you want to forget.
 What do you do when it's the days that are stuck?
The nights won't come, sun never goes down.
What do you do when everything is stuck:
Unmoved and unchanged
Unforgiving emotion that unrelents every time.

Because I am stuck; stuck here.
And don't know what to do.

Thursday 26 April 2012

The voice

I paint my nails
And I dye my hair,
Colour my skin and darken my lashes.

Now I paint my skin
And I mark my body,
Colour my life with today's anguish.

Acetone tries but can not win,
Erase these moments; Silence this voice

One am....... 1:00

It's five to one 
On our way in tomorrow
Every mirror reflects a different grief
Each thought projects, just nothing.

Empty melodies sing cliches that placate
- Placate but never heal.
Skin gives off too much heat
An unnatural exothermic outburst
Uncontrolled, and unnamed. 

It's still five to one.
No change, nothing new.
I knew once what I wanted
Now wishing seems so far away.

Every day becomes a never day
Never becomes too long for art
It's still five to one
The hands won't move, the world will not change.
Time refuses to pass in in-action and in void. 

Saturday 21 April 2012

Word Association

A moment: a moment never felt like this before.
Never again.
Unique to now, unique to me and us.
Excitement. Anticipation.
Self doubt kicks in, self worth assessed.
Quick glances confirm mutual attraction. Mutual excitement, mutual interest.
Awkwardness prevails - how to start? Where to begin?
Speak something clever, speak something funny, speak anything, just speak.
Wet dry lips and straighten clothes. Nerves flow like electricity.
Excited for tomorrow - excuse myself for seeing you again.  
An extra spritz of perfume because I know you’ll be there.
Knowing smiles and cheeky grins.
Excitement laced with danger.
A flutter not just of lashes but the true gamble of the next few steps.

Happy lies, expected untruths.
Acceptance is endless and patience embodied.
Rainbows and butterflies.
Ecstasy overwhelming.
Impatience for excess.
Breath-takingly happy.
Holidays and heart to hearts. Complete and content.  
Warmth wherever you are. Lust and laughter wherever you go.
The world softens and I am less afraid.
The purest blue and the brightest yellow.
The calmest green and the loudest red.
Singing in the street and lying on the floor.
The perfect fit, the perfect look, simply perfectly simple.
Looks that connect, never empty or unnoticed.
The rhythmic beating of footsteps walking in the same direction,
For the same reason - even when we don’t agree.

A crack.

Only small.

Glossed over.
Filled in and covered up.
A moment of doubt, and selfishness and fear.
But I’m not afraid of the dark, it can’t hurt me, can’t change the way I feel.
Forget it and move on.
Never go to bed on an argument.
Excitement in between conflict.
Highs so high only because of the “no’s”.
Unhappy lies and truth telling that doesn’t work.
Earthquakes and nail biting.
Unsure or uncertain.
Certain of nothing: surely normal, surely fine.
More exciting this way: never a dull moment.
Never a moment of confidence. Self doubt, self worth assessed.
This moment never felt like this before.

Burning flesh inside my mind.
-          No ones looking, no one knows.
The world has ended in a flood and a drought and in fire and in ice.
Pain beyond my being.
Impossible to deal with, improbable from the start?  
Emptiness surrounding me, no air, no space just nothing.
No you.
No us.
Over again. 
I cant ask why, don’t want to know.
If I do I’ll give up. Never trust, try, or talk again.  
Speak something inspiring; speak of fish and the future.
Just speak.

Half left

There's nothing sadder than half a pie: dessert meant for four.
The encore to a family meal too long ago enjoyed.

Emotions rollercoaster as its absence is noticed -
It was there this morning, wondering when it would be cut.
Was it taken on invitation? Empty handed ne'er shall we be.

Perhaps a lady cooked him dinner, engaged him in converse.
Reminded him of the companionship life stole from his hand.

But there it is: half a pie in the microwave.
Evidence of nothing - a quiet night and no more.  
An extra helping with custard as well as ice cream.
Did it appease the grief? Did it comfort his loneliness?
Did it remind him of his mother’s pastry, that my mother coveted so?

There's nothing sadder than half a pie
Half of the whole, half of what once was there.

Thursday 29 March 2012

All Is Well

Death Is Nothing At All

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away into the next room,
I am I, and you are you,
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still,
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the same easy way which you always did,
Put no difference into your tone;
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect, without the shadow of a ghost on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity,
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am just waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well.

Henry Scott Holland

Saturday 24 March 2012

For Derby

Girl with pink bra, long legs and short skirt,
Glitter speckling from red platforms onto ambivalent concrete.
Boy with red eyes, cheeky smile and blue hat,
Features blurred by wisps of smoke, but not rings.
Youth drunk through straws clinking over cobbled streets,
Sudden dips that lurch on, groping for unsteady balance.
The flavour of the night rises up to tickle the stars
And waisted embraces come from stranger-friends arms.
Smiles grow and hearts heal for just a little, short while,
Hope toasted. Tomorrow delayed. Yesterday’s tears can wait.
Just Enough

I'm an intelligent person with an irrational problem
The place that I live in is flawed .
I believe what people tell me and I hope for the best,
I see what's right but it doesn't come from my hand.
What ever it is, it's stronger than me,
Older, and wiser and bigger than me.
No-one knows what we're thinking
We all hide it so damn well -
All buy it and watch it and follow it too well.

We talk budgets and buildings,
Politics plays at living while life stands slowly still.
Non-uniform wearers have so much in common:
Colour palates and plastic wrapped lunches,
Yet none of it quite fits, quite right. Just left.  
All the trays piled up are wet; soiled just a little.
Reused, recycled, refreshed just enough -
Enough to stack up and step on, stand tall as we can:
Bruised, used and damaged here, still.

Friday 16 March 2012

… anybody there?

Not a good time?
It's never me
Always them
Voicemail and I'll call you back
Seven missed calls but still no word
Busy lives breed busier friends
Moments passed should be moments held
Trying to hold on to compliments
Forgetting everything; Nothing left
An empty room and a night bus full of people
Cold hard stairs lead the way I've known before.
Calling out softly
Never making a fuss
A text at your next convenience
Until then I’ll be fine.

Tuesday 13 March 2012


Itchy skin,
Painful scratches
Single hairs sensitive to every movement.
Frustrated screams that shout nothing but silence,
And scratch me. Go on, you’ll feel better.
-       I’ll go.
 Itchy skin
Freckles pulsating,
Sound echoing from every touch.
Acute dips in temperature that only I can feel,
Goading me to pick. Go on, you’ll feel better.
-       I’ll go.
Skin itching
Teeth clenching
Moisture leaves my mouth
And the urge bubbles through my brain:
Go on. You’ll feel better.
-       I’ll go.
But you don’t do you!
You’re the only one who never leaves, never lets me go;
Never walk, run or swim alone
Without your breath on my neck
Whispering: Go on, you’ll feel better.


I'm up three years of cards at two and a half quid a go,
And thirty pounds worth of flowers weigh heavy in my heart.
Empty vases and card-less mantles, this is what I’ve gained,
Years of homemade presents collect dust and lose their glitter.

Memories of daffodils and breakfasts in bed
Line my tears with clouded pictures, pierce my guarded, stiff resolve.
Cuddles over songs, roast potatoes dipped in wine,
Chinking clinking forks on china, scrap their love from plate to plate.

Pressed up against a window, no glass; just a bar,
On looking on the very thing I crave so very much.
Desperate to say my thank you. Pleading for the chance,
Surrounded by complacence, ignorant to such a loss.

Your mother gave you everything:
Your life, your love, your law of all.
Tell her today what she means to you
And remember that tomorrow she could be gone.

Thursday 1 March 2012


I’m trying to remember the last time it wasn’t this hard,
When was I last not tired, too exhausted to find a way.
I’m trying to remember the last time I was sure,
When I knew, without a doubt, what was black and what was white.
I write my name in a book to prove that I was here.
Keep counting pages and wages, changing ages every day.
Shadows fall across the table where I sit and not write,
Right time, right place,
Wrong me, wrong head-space.
Going home, going no-
Where everybody thinks they know my name.
But it’s not so easy as eight little signs
Because my eyes tell tales that words never will.

Monday 27 February 2012


Names and dates, do you understand me please?
Colours and clothes, you understand me yes?
Two different plains, different energies around us
A room full of pain and the heaviest of hearts.
Hands clenched in hope, begging to be next.
Please come through, please be here,
Do you understand me? Please?

Help us to hope. Let us feel the proof
And hear someone else's voice say things only they would.
Searching, scanning. Hopefulness drains to despair:
Screaming for you to whisper just once more in my ear.
We don't take no's but that's all that I've got
On the edge of no-where where nothing makes sense,
Make me understand you. Please!

I'm running out of energy, can't feel hers at all
Because I gave her up and I let her go.
I didn't try to stop her, just watched her leave and said goodbye.
I never called her back, didn't beg her to stay.
I was too tired to try, too empty to hope.
Too proud to stop and cry, too ‘ard to admit the truth.

Maybe she waited to see if I needed her; I did,
But chose not to, covered my face and carried on.
Now it's too late, she's been gone too far.
Too missed too long, too cold for her to stay.

I’m the boy who never cried wolf, the girl who didn't cry:
Wiped my face and smiled on, fought on, thought on.
But now it's here: a wolf at my door,
Tears in my heart with nowhere to fall.
Do you understand me please?
Do you understand me?

Monday 20 February 2012

The Sad Truth

Ben, 40s, reasonably attractive, well spoken.

Chocolate cake with chocolate sauce, what does that say about our host?
We’ve all heard that women use chocolate as a substitute for sex. I think a more accurate comment on the matter would be that after a while, chocolate becomes not the substitute for sex but the reason you’re not having it in the first place.
I need to be physically attracted to my partner – let’s be honest, we all do. You can tell me looks are only skin deep as much as you like but, isn’t the skin an integral part of the human make up and therefore rather important in the grand scheme of things?
You wouldn’t buy a rusty car would you? Beauty may well be in the eye of the beholder but rust is rust, there’s no getting away from it! It’s a sad truth but there it is.
That’s why, when you are first getting to know somone you are not you, you are your representative; the best version of you. The truth will come out eventually, always does. It sounds counter-romantic but loving someone, for a long time, is all about knowing the very worst things about that person, the annoying things, the things that make you shudder in the street when you even think about them, things you didn’t even notice at first, and finding a way to ignore it all.  Its not glamorous, its just tolerance.
And that’s why people cheat…… I haven’t. Yet. Thought about it? Yes, and I would, if, I knew I could get away with it, that nobody, no-one, would get hurt… then yes, absolutely. And I’d challenge anyone who says they wouldn’t – they are simply not being honest with themselves. We’re all the same, dying for excitement and in the cold light of day after day after day, after day, monogamy gets boring.
It starts off great. You meet the woman of your dreams, who’s like no one you’ve ever met before and fall in helplessly love.  You have wild and passionate sex (for 8 months to a year) until the time comes when you become acutely aware that she’s probably the best person you’ve ever been with and if you don’t marry her she’s likely to walk away.
Now you have to think about mortgage payments and matching curtains, and suddenly the incredible woman you thought you’d die without, is starting to blend in amongst the ivory and the beige in your living room.  And one day, when the conversation has well and truly run out, and you don’t know what else to do, the only way to escape the monotony is to have a couple of kids. And that’s is, you’re well and truly done; no more surprises, no more excitement, just everything in its place, all the time. Life becomes predictable, regimented; I have a wife, two children and a schedule.
Scarlett’s nine and on Mondays I pick her up from string quartet practice at 5.40 while my other half takes Max to cubs, he’s seven. Tuesday Scarlett has brownies, which the Mrs helps run, so I’m in charge of dinner, bath and bed for Max. Wednesday they both have swimming lessons and on Fridays Scarlett has gymnastics which Max likes to go and watch so I get to have a drink after work. I can squeeze in two and a half pints and still get home in time for our Friday night take away.
I coach the local under 9s on a Saturday – for which Max is the reserve goal keeper, not quite good enough but a real trier. Then, if the Red and Whites are at home we go to the game and watch them lose more often than not. I got Max his season ticket for his fourth birthday, but if I tell the truth he doesn’t seem that interested.
Saturday nights is family film night and my turn to do dinner. Sausage casserole and mashed potato is my gourmet specialty.
Most Sundays the wife takes the kids to church with her mother and I get in a round of golf. I used to play of 8 before the kids were born but now my handicap is round about 15.
The kids go to bed early on Sundays and if she gets the ironing done and there’s nothing on telly, and we’re not too tired, so do we if I’m lucky!
I know it doesn’t sound like anything special, its not, but we have a good life. We have two nice holidays a year and the kids go to a good school. We eat well, drink well and live well.
Am I madly in love? No. Not anymore.
Am I happy? For the most part, yes. I’m content. And so is she.
We make each other content and that’s “okay”. Its been enough to get us through the last 13 years, I assume it’ll get us through a few more.
We get on well most of the time, our tastes aren’t so dissimilar. We both quite like university challenge, and Italian food. We’ll never agree on a radio station in the car but we don’t argue.
And we still have sex, sometimes … more than most as I understand it. So I don’t complain… too much. It doesn’t take long. We know all the short cuts and preferences that make it more like a strategic maneuver than a romantic communion of bodies.
Sometimes I wonder if she feels the same. I assume that because we have a good life, decent house, nice things that she’s as ambivalent to romance as I am. Don’t get me wrong, I get her a card on Valentines day, and so far (touch wood) in 13 years I’ve never been caught out by our anniversary.
I’ve never been one for romance. The last romantic thing I did for her, really romantic, Hollywood style romance was surprising her with a trip to Paris three weeks before we got engaged. I knew she’d think I was gonna propose and when I didn’t she was livid. I could see the sheer disappointment in her whole body from her eyes to her elbows.
Two weeks later, on a Wednesday over a chicken chow mien and a cheap Pinot Grigio, I finally popped the question, and surprised wasn’t the word.
We should do that again. Probably wouldn’t work now though. Things are different. Love changes, it normalizes. And I’m okay with that. We should probably make more of an effort to spend time just the two of us, but our baby-sitters keep finishing school and going to university.
We do go to book club on the second Thursday of the month, although its should really be called wine club for all the reading we get done. It’s nice to be around adults for the night and pretend we are still modern and ‘hip’.
I’m not a big reader and I prefer a cold Guinness to a glass of shiraz but book club is my guilty pleasure for a different reason.
Amanda Shepherd. Single mother of Alfie, four and Daisy two and a half.
She is divine.
She’s got short red hair that falls across her face when she laughs and the kind of figure that says she’s a woman who enjoys life to the full but still cares about how she looks; all curves and nail polish. She’s got a little scar just here, under her chin, and it’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen, just imperfect enough to make her perfect.
I have this dream where we are together and I’m kissing that scar and it tastes like nothing I’ve ever tasted.
I woke up the other day and Max had come into our room crying He’d had a bad dream……..and I tell him what I tell myself: it was just a dream.
I wouldn’t risk what I’ve got, which is real, which is okay – it is, for something that doesn’t really exist.
I remember that nervous, butterfly feeling, it was great… it was exciting. But suppose I’ve got security instead. And that’s better I think.