Thursday, 29 December 2016

Box set

I haven't watched a film for six months.

I keep saving up things for us to watch

But I can't face them alone

I can't face outside alone

Our private jokes without a home.

You'll never know

if Glenn dies under the dumpster

(he didn't, but...)

You'll never get to see crappy season 7

to find out if Negan is scary.

Well, spoiler alert, he's not.

You never got to finish your book.

Just kidding, you never read a book

You could barely finish a magazine in the loo

Without soaking it through

with the shower head and the curtain

not pulled over quite right.

I miss your soggy magazines

Complaining about overuse of shower gel

Complaining about things I would kill or die to have again

It felt like nothing at the time

But it was a life.

It was right.

Now I'm soaking everything through

And not in a good way.

And our cat on the landing gone, too

And my heart: dead, like the pair of you

Now all that's left is cat hair, crumbs and


I'm still waiting for the next bit to start.

When’s it gonna start?


Thursday, 15 September 2016


What’s worse than knowing I’m dying?
Knowing the dog will outlive me.
I can’t even walk him today
But in a month’s time
or a year’s time
you and he will go walkies and play
you’ll call to him,
call out his name
and I’ll still be dead.
The dog will sleep in your bed
The dog will lie in your arms
But at least I know the dog.
One day,
even that dog will be dead;
the dog that outlived me.
He’ll be buried in the garden
and you’ll be alive
breathing and laughing
with someone I’ve never even met.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Next door

I will remember you
The way you collected things
like I collect things
The cards and the memories
The religious keepsakes
Except you believed.

I’d always buy you angels.
A month ago, I found one I forgot to send at Christmas.
Next Christmas, I’d thought.

Every Easter,
Looking for a card with meaning
As I knew it meant something to you
And you meant something to me.

Do you remember all the times you helped me move house?
Carrying lampshades and cushions
With your packed lunch
and your Special Brew
You’d always ask for a posh glass.

Lost again with mum on the way home.
Another tale to tell.

Before that, were summers stretched out like decades
Crisps in the cupboard in your dining room
Cutting the grass in your garden
Your son was a brother to my brothers.

I remember you in bright purple
your clip on earrings
with glasses before your surgery.
That was classic Margaret.

I remember your sense of humour
How fucking blunt you were.
You knew your own mind
You were strong and kind
With no time for self-pity.

Your husband was killed the year I was born.
He has been dead as long as I’ve been alive.
I must have reminded you.

Did you know that you took us in on the worst day of my life?
You were there for me
For us
For my whole family.
You never cared who was right or wrong
You never took a side
You were the last person on earth
We all liked.

I’ll drive your car, now mine, to your funeral.

Still with the Virgin Mary on the dashboard
Still with St Christopher tied to the lighter.

And me
who has never believed in anything
I hope you got there.


Sunday, 15 February 2015


I remember you
against the pink of my bed
your eyes followed me
like the opposite 
of a sniper

no one had ever looked 
at me like that before

you were as pure as paper
but I was cynical
even then, with you eating me up 
with your eyes
I knew:

that the chemical of
lust and love
can change and become
a questioning of

‘why did you put you hand on his leg?’
‘your friend is coming between us.’


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A written rap battle

You took my skeleton hand
down streets
where red and pink lights
had twinkled days before

Now naked buildings
shivered in the cold
but my hand was warm in
your gloved embrace.

Back in your room
you told me a story
of colours like ice,
nazi dictators
and a place where everyone could
read each other’s thoughts.

Then you looked at me,
and I knew.

You promised me tiles to build
a safe place to hide.
You showed me another way,
A way to be free like you.

In my dreams
we were covered in snow
Tiles painted with ravens
cracked like mirrors.

But when I woke
you were laughing

Everything around you
was pink
and orange

and I was yours.


Monday, 3 February 2014


his pupils were massive
as he knelt between
my legs,
As we said
‘no we shouldn’t’
but of course, we did.

he looked like
he’d just been told
someone had died.
He looked like a victim.

Or was that me? 

Friday, 25 January 2013

Back to the old house

I am transported there
My heart and head
Is where my home is
Nothing has changed, everything has changed.
The shops shrunken and shabby and stuck
I have moved on but they remained forever
The kids on the street meaner, nastier, stupider
Or am I just getting older?
And those words
That spelt the name of the street
That I lived in for eighteen years
Once as important as my own name
Now unfamiliar.
I walk walk walked
Past the dead end alley
And the berries crushed

into the ground like brains
As a child
I tried to avoid them
But now
The street is a photograph
And I am a giant
So I step and step and step.
Finally I reach you
My heart, my mother, my father,
My brothers and lost best friends.
It could have been then
The cat skitters by
Crying, left behind.
It feels like you were my lover.
Behind my doors and windows
A new family lived
The plaque, ‘Roseland’, prised from the wall
I see me within you
My dad throwing my mum out of the door
My brother punching a hole in the wall
I lost my first tooth
My glasses, my braces
My virginity
And my mother between these walls.
We were still inside
The five of us inside
The golden lion knocker on the door
I remember a time
When I wasn’t allowed to cross this road
Was I ever that small?