Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Drum'n'bass Night

The sick thump of bass
is seeping up through the ceiling,
creeping into my eardrums
to the thud of my heart.
My own blood pounding,
boiling with rage,
becomes in sync with the thick,
booting bass.
A bleary eye searches
for the time on the clock
and winces at the sight
of 3am.
A hand scrabbles for a phone
flicks open the screen
and waits to confirm the time and
yes, it really is 3am.
Peals of arrogant laughter
rise up through the floorboards
filling my head with hate,
eyelids stung with tired.
Hot eyeballs seethe
with the pain of no sleep,
and the drumming keeps on
until finally,
at 6am,
my alarm goes off.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Morning in Westcliff-on-Sea

The truck full of tyres
like a roll of muscles,
glistening with the dew of 7am.
The pile of tar left by the roadside
when they were going through their
'resurfacing phase'
now moulded to the ground
like fossilized dinosaur shit.
The race of snails
ebbing their way
from gutter to railway line
to the promise of damp,
more damp.
A tale told by a split dustbin bag
picked over by foxes,
a party paper chase of the night before:
sausage rolls
Special Brew
Tesco Value vodka,
a Kerry Katona trail.
The token abandoned car
windows put through
five party balloons curiously bobbing
on the passenger seat.
A Tilbury train skims past,
pocked with a few passengers
going the Lakeside way.
I start my day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Do The Bunk

Three halves of shandy
at the Leigh-on-Sea Regatta
after a month of no alcohol
felt a little bit fun:
afternoon drinking
in the warm September sun.
Quick look at the watch
it’s an hour til X-Factor,
we’ll never make it
if we walk back home,
Got to get the train
so I down the last mouthful;
London Pride and lemonade
reduced to a foam.
Crunch along the cockle shells
holding my breath
past the sheds;
Past the teenage lovers in a seaside embrace,
Hear the click on the railway line
of a train approaching fast,
a leisurely stroll
becomes a sweaty race.
We run to the ticket hall
and the barriers are open:
a golden opportunity
for a spot of train bunking.
Twenty minutes til Simon Cowell
and Cheryl Cole,
no time for ticket-buying
no time for flunking…
We’re giggling in the carriage
as we fly towards Westcliff-on-Sea
triumphant in our twenties
that we Bunked The Train.
This makes up for the times
I never nicked sweets with my friends
Or had Topshop skirts stuffed under shirts,
I never was to blame.
I paid for every pick and mix,
my conscience always kicked in,
A fear of what my Mum would say
I never stole a thing.

We get off at the next stop,
and I feel in my pocket as we sail through the barriers,
And I realise with crushing defeat:
I’m not rebellious at all,
I had a valid ticket in my pocket all along.
Not so rock and roll.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Two ley-lines,
two contours,
both facing each other.
Two undulations,
two callouses -
one for each thumb.
A scratch aged eleven
and a habit for biting,
turned a simple score
into a life of its own.
A habit for even numbers,
multiples of two,
made me carve another
to match left to right.
Self-awareness hit:
an adolescent train wreck,
jumper sleeves
were pulled over my thumbs in shame.
I thanked the universe
that we had grown out of
‘heads down, thumbs up’
for surely
I would be exposed in that game.
An eternity of teenage years
spent hiding my thumbs away
where a handshake
brought on a fit of anxiety.
I changed the way
I held a pen;
the way I held
a knife and fork.
Winter was a blessing;
Time went on,
twenties came,
and I settled into my skin.
I met you,
and my thumbs became bashful again –
but you looked at them
and said you liked them.
You liked that they were different;
you could tell that they were mine.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Lay me down
across your Scrabble board
and I’ll shuffle my tiles -
I will challenge your rack
until you beg for mercy.
Explore with reaching hands
for those remaining letters;
and I will open up
my triple word score
if you play by my rules.
Count up for me
my score,
and cover your letters
from my curious gaze.
We slide the tiles
across the clean sheet
of the board,
your mouth curls
as you spell out the words.
I surrender all my letters
for a fifty-point bonus;
you are left, red-faced
with blanks.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why I hated summer as a child.

“Summer’s coming,”
Mum says.
“Let’s put this duvet away.”
I watch her,
stuffing the winter duvet
into the wardrobe.
“That’s better,”
she says.
“You’ll be much better off
with just a sheet.”
I stop.
I panic.
A sheet?
Oh no.
No, no no.
What Mum doesn’t realise
is that my winter duvet
as stuffy and heavy as it is,
is my only protection.
Protection from monsters.
Do you see how easily a leg can be grabbed
under the flimsy veil of a SHEET?
How exposed a back can be
to a creeping intruder
under the thin, bareness of a SHEET?
Night comes.
I’m lying,
beneath the sheet.
She tried to tuck it in
but I wriggled free,
not wanting to be trapped.
I’m awake.
I look around in the darkness.
Shadows are morphing.
My mind is racing.
I try to hold my breath
in case I miss a noise;
a noise from a monster.
It all becomes too much,
I can’t bear it any longer.
I turn on the light.
I slide out of bed,
and shove the rejected sheet
on my untidy floor.
I haul the winter duvet
out from the wardrobe,
embracing it like an old friend.
I’m happy now.
Too hot;
swelteringly hot in fact,
but happy.
Take that, monsters.
And mum.