Thursday, 25 November 2010

Imp or Giant

Sat there alone, I saw this...
In the bar's safe corner where no one else sits,
away from the giants, their laughter like grit,
away from catty dwarves’ cruel chitter-chat-chit,
away from wafer thin willo the wisps
fingering magazines between vodka sips,
I chewed my shaking nails like half eaten bags of crisps
watching this cackling, barefoot Imp.

I watched it. Barefoot. Waving round its shoes.
Acting like it invented feet.
Cackling up to the jukebox din
through the crowd so thick with their talk so thin.
No one even gave it a glance.
Sheltering behind my fat finger mask
I thought, ‘One- two- one- two- one- breathe’,
turned my ears away from its barefoot beat.

Imp flitted forward, cheeks and teeth,
elbows jabbed a staccato jig.
Too wrapped up in its own bare feet,
Accidentally... knocked over
...a Giant's... full



Giant's face... engorged.
Cherry red... eyes glaced.
Lager danced down his mountainous shirt,
rumbaed to the valley of his lap.
Giant’s knuckle hair rose like spears.
Imp- bare faced- had no fears.
I thought, ‘One- two- one- two- one- breathe.’
As my fingers hugged my beer I felt myself freeze.

Drenched and deranged, Giant leapt with a roar,
slammed down fists, a fight, or more
and Imp... waltzed away,
oblivious... free.
Seemingly unseen
grinned relentlessly.
The crowd hadn’t flinched, their natter bobbing along.
Giant sat down. The night sailed on.

‘One- two- one- two’ still could see
Giant's massive muscle, Imp's barefoot glee.
In my safe bar corner where no one else breathes
the air got sticky like someone spilled the breeze.
I thought, ‘One- two- one- two-’ to ease
as I bit nails deep, tasted them bleed,
Panic attacked on the count of


I would do anything to be bigger
or smaller
than me.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Medusa's hands have got ingrowing nails.
Sat behind the check-out till she chews at her gnarled fingers.
Customers tut.
Tsk! Tsk!
One day, she stopped painting them,
realised she'd got more nail in her than out,
an inside out pin cushion,
spiky Medusa chewing.

Six minutes past two.
Two hours and fifty four minutes to go.

She loves collections of porcelain shoes,
used to wear bracelets heavy with runes,
never had kids but sponsored a unicorn,
wishes her flat had a fireplace.

One day, woke up with ingrowing hair,
hissing migraines and head-full of cobras.
Felt like an atlas had cracked in her skull,
felt like she'd swallowed the weather.
Got two months away from the shop
then Doctor said she was better.
Confided her eyes still twisted of serpents
but Doctor said she was better.

He told her to smile,
take the bandages offered for her internal bleeding.
Cheap incentives.
Counterfeit concern.
Minimum rest keeps her stressed
python knotted shoulders tort,
chest crushed tight.

She wishes
she could turn more than his heart
to stone.

She must


and never


in public

Medusa's face is ingrowing.
Check-out till stranded,
struggling to smile,
hold those bloated eyes in.

"Hold my eyes in, keep my eyes in,
smile and thank who I'm despising.
Venom swills against scraped nerves
until I can’t shake off their words,
words that make my heartbeat flicker
pumping poison through me quicker."

Lumps of fear, chunks of doubt
feed the snakes she can’t carve out.

Monday, 22 November 2010

A new poem looking at Wizard's past, 'Hero'.

A bit of Wizard's back story...


Once-upon-a-time, a barman worshipped the Sun.
Worked nights so didn’t see much of it
but in his head he’d got stories of
the Fire God supreme
vanquishing monsters who'd eat out your dreams.

He called the Sun ‘Hero’,
believed it had six pairs of arms,
giant wings of flame
and the handsomest nose in the galaxy.
Made moons blush,
giggle their names.

His Sun was a Hero who rescued smiles
and fed them ideas 'til they were fat with luck.
Faster than a speeding comet,
could see around corners, rewrite destiny,
didn’t break promises,
could even rewire a star.
gave songs to orphans, faith to minstrels,
had the kind of hug you couldn’t touch
but kept
underneath your skin.

Barman knew his Sun would come
one day,
teach him the Hero's Way.
He could be the Sun’s wise-cracking side kick.
Might even get his own light saber!
On long, lantern lit night shifts
washing drip trays,
watching drips
getting wasted,
Barman kept faith that Sun would come.

Hurrying home under a bludgeoned moon
he’d hum a tune made from
downing flaggons and flying dragons,
nights filled with what-would-be’s!
Adventures! Dichotomies!
Unlocking his flat’s door

at 4am
he’d get ready for bed,
every time dreaming he’d just stay awake
long enough to see

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Elders Song

In this 'Wizard' poem, Wizard gets a letter from the Elders of his world questioning the severity of his mental illness. Wizard has previously been given money to live as he has been considered too ill to work. Now the Elders are reconsidering their decision...

The Elders’ Song

(spoken by THE ELDERS)

“Dear Mister... insert-name-in-this-space.
We are writing to conclude on your case.
You ‘say’ you’re... ill... Your words are misplaced.
Sometimes we all get a little sad.
Yours isn’t the only form we’ve had.

Lose that frown and dressing gown.
Let’s get our statistics down.
Hey, hey, hey! Earn your play!
Live to work another day.

You say you’re too ill to go outside.
We said where therapists were. We tried!
You wouldn’t go! You just stayed inside!
Have you thought we might suspect your sneaking?
Is this just attention seeking?

You said you panic. We heard your call.
With our pills, you’d feel nothing at all.
You wouldn’t take them! Of all the gall!
Have you thought we might suspect your faking
easy way of money making?

Lose that frown and dressing gown.
Let’s get our statistics down.
We’ll clear up all this mess and fuss
though no-one ever says thanks to us."

(spoken by WIZARD)
“I said I would work. I’d work from home.
I’d work quite happily left on my own.”

(spoken by THE ELDERS)
“Well, how could you find work with that tone?
Have you thought about our budget’s cuts?
Now, please, no more ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’,

lose that frown and dressing gown.
Let’s get our statistics down.
Hey, hey, hey! Earn your play!
Live to work another day.

Lose that frown and dressing gown.
Let’s get our statistics down.
We’ll clear up all this mess and fuss
though no-one ever says thanks to us.”