One of Them

The faces drifted in and out of focus, twirling and spinning until they became a blur of colours with a lack of any distinguishing features.

In the end, they were all the same. Hair colour, skin colour, eye colour, lipstick, eyeliner, moustaches, beards … whatever. They were all the same.

Laying in the mud, I dared to raise my head enough to see their distorted faces. I did not need to be able to recognise any of them. It was what they said that defined them, but they never said anything I had not heard before.



Waste of space.

I did not need them to say it to me. I had learnt these things long ago. I if I wasn’t pathetic, wasn’t a loser, wasn’t a waste of space, then this wouldn’t keep happening to me. Everywhere I went, every school I attended, it was always the same. They were always there, with their unrecognisable faces and their sharp words.

It was nothing to do with them. It was me, I was the one who was wrong. As their faces twirled and span, they became part of a collective, the same group of people. I, meanwhile, was alone, recognisable and vulnerable, easy to spot in a crowd.

To change, I had to become a blur. I had to become one of them.

The mud smeared on my face hid me a little, and that was where my disguise – my process of blending in, of joining them – would begin.

Broken Wings

Tiny wings
Delicate, they flap
Powerful enough to generate a hurricane
On the other side of the world
Flimsy enough
For little boys to pull them off
If they can catch them
Playing cruel games
One side of the world devastated
And on the other, broken wings
Fall pathetically to the ground


Curious – a wonderfully vivid poem.

february stationery

I run my tongue around the back of my teeth
pushing the perceived space underneath my gums
and being surprised when my teeth hold fast

I’ve had a repeated nightmare, intrusive thoughts
about my teeth coming out; since this started
and I know that in a list of most common dreams
your teeth falling out would come right under nudity

But hear me out as I pretend again that I am special

Do you remember the jagged edge of your teeth
as they dangled, held in only by nerves and roots?
I do. I remember pushing, prodding, twisting
cutting my tongue open on the edge only to
give up at the last second

But I would do it, constantly, until I fell asleep

and perhaps in the night too, as I woke with
a pillow full of blood, scrabbling to find the tooth

And it isn’t that I want my…

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The Dreaming Stone

Papa had given it to Sarah when she had been four years old. It was the last thing he had given her before he had gone to the store with the neighbour and never returned.

‘It’s a dreaming stone,’ Papa had told her. He had held up the little stone, no more than a pebble, and in the light, it had looked almost see-through. It was a transparent pink colour, shades of purple dancing around the flat edges. It looked perfectly circular. ‘It’s special. Here, take it.’

Sarah had held out her hand and he had placed the stone in her palm. It had been cooler to the touch than she had expected, and she had twitched a little at the feel of it. The stone was smooth and it had been large in her tiny hands.

‘Why is it special?’ she had asked. In the throes of her childhood, she had been willing to believe anything was real: Santa Claus, pixies, goblins, fairy tales, and monsters under the bed had been some of the most memorable. One by one, she had discovered they weren’t true as she had grown up. Back then, though, anything had seemed possible.

‘It’s a magic stone,’ Papa had said. ‘You keep it under your pillow and if you have a nice dream, it remembers it. Then, when you have a bad day, and you’re sad, if you want to be happy you just kiss the stone and go to sleep. When you dream, you’ll have that nice dream again.’

Only a few days later, Papa had left. Sarah had only seen Mama crying once, although even as a four-year-old she had been able to tell just how upset her Mama had been. She hadn’t understood why at that point, because she hadn’t been able to process the idea that Papa wouldn’t return.

The worst part had been when Mama had tried to throw the stone under her pillow away, and Sarah had explained that it was a magical stone that Papa had given her before he had gone. Mama had looked down at Sarah like she couldn’t find the words to reply, and then she had walked out of the room and sat down at the kitchen table in silence. Even though Sarah had tried to talk to her, Mama hadn’t moved or said anything until the doorbell had rang.

It had been the husband of the man Papa had gone to the store with. Mama had ushered Sarah out of the room and told her to get ready for her bath. Sarah had returned to her room and checked that the stone was in the right place before obeying.

At first, Sarah had believed to worked, but the longer that Papa had been away, the more she noticed the lack of good dreams. Something was always missing, and there came a point when even if she did dream of Papa, it was not a happy dream. He was either sad, or Sarah was, or he was disappointed in her for thinking his magical stone wasn’t actually magical at all.

There came the day when she took the stone from under her pillow and put it on the shelf. From the shelf, it moved into a tin. The tin was stored in a box when Mama and Sarah moved house, and she had rearranged her new bedroom to suit her. The box had been shoved to the back of the wardrobe, and Sarah had forgotten about it for a while.

Then, one day, she had been packing a suitcase to go on holiday, and she had been looking for something in the wardrobe when her finger had touched the tin. She had pulled it out with a frown, and opened it to see what was inside.

It was the flat, circular pink stone with the purple swirls around the edges. She picked it up, feeling the smoothness, and held it in the light. It was translucent.

‘Do you feel ashamed?’ she asked the stone.

It didn’t reply.

She put the tin back in the wardrobe and tossed the stone out of the window. She had no need for silly stories, anyway.

The Best Christmas Present Ever

‘How am I supposed to look after that?’ Pip hissed. She had dragged her sister, Becky, into the hallway so that she could snap at her without anybody else noticing. One of Pip’s hands clung to the front of Becky’s t-shirt, her fingers digging into the material, so tightly that her knuckles had turned white. Becky showed no sign of being apologetic.

‘You saw how Paul’s face lit up when he first laid eyes on it. I know he’s been going on and on about getting one for a while.’ Becky’s shoulders were relaxed, her posture easy, but her eyes presented Pip with a clear challenge. ‘Don’t deny it.’

‘That’s not the point! He might want one, but he’s only seven! Who’s going to be the one who actually has to look after it, who has to train it, who has to feed it and take it out for walks? Me, that’s who!’

‘Oh, come on, sis, I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to take it out for a walk –’

‘And you’re trying to teach him what? That he can have anything he wants? Is that it?’

‘Pip,’ Becky said, her voice as smooth and calm as ever, one hand reaching up to touch her sister’s lightly, ‘relax. He’s been through so much in such a short life. This year has been tough on him, but he’s doing so well in school despite all the pain and visits to the hospital. Let him have this. I know the real reason you’re annoyed, and if you need some help to pay for it, then –‘

‘I don’t need financial aid,’ Pip replied. She released Becky’s top, and their hands fell back down to their sides. Despite the haze of conflicting feelings that buzzed through Pip’s mind, she forced herself to regain her composure under her sister’s watchful gaze. A sigh escaped her lips. She walked over to the door to the living room, and Becky followed; they stood there leaning on either side of the door frame, and looked in.

Paul was sitting on the rug in the middle of the room. His tiny frame, too small for his age, was quivering with excitement as he rolled around with the new puppy that was darting around him. The bandana that Pip had taught him to wrap around his head to disguise his lack of hair flapped around at the back with his sudden movements. The bruises from his IV seemed to have no effect on him in those moments – he would normally complain that they were sore and visible this recently after treatment.

Pip smiled.

Then Paul spotted them in the doorway, and in one movement he rolled over and caught the puppy, landing on his knees facing the door. He raised his head and looked up at the two women with a wide, toothy grin.

‘I love the puppy, Aunty Becky!’ he said. Becky turned to Pip with a victorious smirk.

‘All right,’ said Pip. ‘Maybe it’s the best Christmas present ever.’ She paused, as the puppy wriggled out of Paul’s skinny arms and bounded over to the pile of used wrapping paper, which it proceeded to pee on. ‘Maybe.’

Button Eyes

I understand, you know. And I don’t blame you. I’m not one to lay blame on others, and you know it. Whoever they are, whatever they want – I’m always there, smiling politely, two shining button eyes staring ahead at everyone and anyone who looks my way.

You used to play with my hair. Sometimes, you’d get your fingers tangled in it – but I wouldn’t complain. Not ever. All you did was pull a bit. I just kept smiling. You never pulled hard enough for any of it to come out, because you loved me. And I loved you.

I still do, and I know that you love me too. I realise that it was an accident. You’re probably up on that aeroplane now, forcing Mum to search through her hand luggage again and again to find me. I can imagine you now: red faced, tears running down your cheeks, flapping your hands around as you desperately tell Mum that you have to catch the next flight back after you land at home. She won’t let you come to collect me – and that’s fine. I know it wasn’t deliberate.

Perhaps if Mum calls the hotel, they’ll be able to send me back to you. The housekeepers will find me and hand me into lost property – a pretty, well kept dolly like me, they’ll be able to tell how much I’m loved.

It wasn’t your fault that I fell down the side of the bed as you were packing your case and you missed me. I was hidden between the bed and the bedside cabinet, so you couldn’t see me. You’ll get over it, in a while – and, maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll see each other again. You’ll find me in the post, delivered by a faceless driver, and we’ll cling to one another in happiness of our reunion.

But don’t worry if it never happens. I know it wasn’t your fault. I know you don’t care for me any less. I’ll always be your little dolly, smiling politely, staring with my shining button eyes.

In Days of Innocence

Dandelion seeds drifting on a summer breeze
Destined to be forever free, to swirl around
Above fields of multi-coloured flowers;
I cupped my hands together, tried to catch you,
Floating on my cloud of innocent wonder:
Rosy cheeks, baby teeth, eyes wide open in awe
At nature’s dancing pattern in the air.
How beautiful the simple, the ordinary can be
To children chasing dandelion seeds.

My Dada Baby

A lovely, heartwarming poem.


img_20161017_231910I wake up to the sound of your voice

Every morning, prepare your feed and

Fall asleep again with your arms

Wrapped around me and your breath

Warm against my cheek.

You open your big round eyes and say,

Amma, I’ll stay with you the whole day,

Please don’t go to work,

Please don’t send me to school today.

My heart pains to part with you

Even if it’s just for a while to school.

When I see your big round eyes swell

With tears and big droplets fall on your cheeks.

But I get to hug you again soon enough

And to hear your sweet voice say

Amma, I’ll stay with you the whole day.

We hug, we laugh, we roll, we eat,

We watch cartoons together,

We play with little cars, your mini coopers,

Your audi, JCB, and aeroplanes and bikes,

And spend the rest of the day…

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This is a truly wonderful poem, easy to relate to and well crafted.

An Intoxicated Storyteller

It is not something that you’d ever dreamt of attaining,

when your life was an oil-pastel painting, with a few crayons

and sky-scraping dreams carelessly scattered, strangely watched over by

the chaotic combination of R. L. Stein and Enid Blyton. No, even

when the rush of hormones caused a vivid, painful alteration to the harlequin scenery and

to those scattered jigsaw pieces, you did not want to grow up.

It did not slap you in the face- the stinging pain lasted longer than that. Instead,

it devoured your being, your soul, and parts of you that had no identity- its presence

an epidemic creeping into your flesh, celebrating the grand descent

in every scandalous step. No, adulthood did not arrive with the blood between your thighs

or the prickly hair along your jaw. You knew it was here- when you saw a monster on the other side

of the mocking…

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