Friday, December 17, 2010

Shawshank moment

Beneath a gherkin shadow,
is a building site of yellow jackets and
giant cement mixers tumbling their churning tummies.
Tower cranes swing chains that
slip like eels through the cold air,
unoiled hinges singing their sad song
calling out in a minor key
as far as the Square Mile can see.
Sharp-suited City boys look up, searching
for a source of this mournful call;
Boris bikes clunk to a pale blue halt,
their riders joining the collective gaze
and everybody stops for a Shawshank moment.
A police officer, biceps swelling under
regulation navy blue streaks out of a health food shop,
chocolate button eyes flicking up to the sky
as he hears the tower-crane-song.
His arms are full of plastic packets of nuts;
cashew, brazils, almonds and dried apricots.
He wrenches open a police van door,
sliding open my curiosity and throwing
packs of health snacks to his officer friends.
The van pulls away,
the tower crane cranks to a halt
and the song is done,
everyone moves on,
smartphones are whipped out as people
remember their business
and we keep on keeping on.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Win the cover

Back in the Autumn, before the weather dipped and we were sauntering about in light jackets, I entered a competition from Metro newspaper to literally Win the Cover: have your message posted on the front cover of the newspaper for everyone to see.

Sadly I did not win (and am surprisingly un-bitter) but here is what I submitted, along with super-duper illustrator and all-round girl wonder Laura Barnard.

Who knows, we may do something with it in the future, but thought you might like to have a nosey.

Happy Christmas to you all x x x

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Scrabble in Millie's cafe

You just added 'life' to 'boats'
and the Scottish cafe owner is getting involved
with where I put my 'Q'.
We drink green tea with peppermint
and eye up the cheeses. A baby cries,
bashing a plastic plate that drills into our skulls
and her older sister spills a milkshake.
We tut at children let loose in cafes
and get back to our game.
Hungover teenage girls troupe in,
all big woolly scarfs and ordering coffee,
talking about who they kissed,
and who vommed last night.
You win, 236 points to 195,
so we shake hands, fair and square.
We settle up,
treat ourselves to 20p barley sugar lollies
and walk home with collars up
with goat's cheese in a paper bag.
When we get home you will cook
Nigel Slater's butterbean-stuffed-tomatoes
and I will read the papers on the sofa
with my legs crossed and a glass of juice,
and think about my Scrabble loss.
I make it my mission to beat you next time.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A room of one's own

I wrote this poem when I was very fortunate to be given a space to write for a week in the glorious Chalkwell Hall, Southend-on-Sea, which has been lovingly renovated by Metal Culture. For more information visit

Bare feet on floorboards,
a room of one’s own.
I look out and glimpse the estuary,
all blue and brown and glitter lines
peppered with coloured boats and
half-butterfly windsurfers.
I hear peacock cries,
a dog barking,
the click and crack of
expanding plastic guttering
in the heat.
I hear the tap of my keyboard,
the stirring of tea,
and rustle of papers on the breeze.
I watch the solar panels lie like teenagers
sunbathing on the roof,
catching rays, faces up to the sun.
There is peace
and real quiet
and a coolness from
exposed plaster walls.
Flies buzz around compost towers,
and the trees that envelope the house
whisper and sigh.
I strain to hear ghosts of the past
padding on floors
and in the skirting boards,
telling me eighteenth century secrets.
The sleek Aga stands
head of the house,
sash windows a love-letter
to the past.
Turbines sleekly coil,
winking out to sea;
a reconstructed past,
a new life for old walls,
a labour of love.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bugged: good news!

Some exciting news: thanks to the Bugged project I will be having one of my poems, a previously unseen piece entitled Sonny, published in an anthology of overheard quotes turned into creative writing.

For more information on the project, see or follow their nosey asses on

Thanks to Bugged and Jo Bell, the anthology will be published in October. Other writers include my current favourite new author Jenn Ashworth alongside heavyweight names such as Stuart Maconie. Wahey.

Ray x

PS. Also, credit to my Mum for telling me from a young age to write down what I overheard people say in the street. They teach that stuff on creative writing courses now, and I should know.

Monday, August 23, 2010

High speed rain

The platforms are flooded.
The train windows steam with
commuter breath;
I draw a face.
Someone is talking on their mobile;
his daughter left home last night,
packed a suitcase,
went over to Dean’s.
She's always been independent
, he says,
Too f*cking independent if you ask me.
She’s coming over tonight, he says,
so we can
iron out our differences.

I watch a cyclist
curving arcs of rain from under her wheels
as she charts the pavement
by the swollen canal.
Another train passes the other way,
sounding its horn,
making everybody jump.
I jump.
The man on the phone says,
F*cking ‘ell, and carries on.
Streaks of high speed rain claw
their sodden fingers across my window
in diagonal lines.
The sky is a purpling bruise,
whacked by the back of August’s hand.
I watch the cows standing up,
putting up with it all,
the ambulances flashing on the flyover,
and the fields as green as spring.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Profile on One Stop Poetry

Thanks to Pete at One Stop Poetry, the new online celebration of poetry, for profiling me this weekend. A top chap, a top site, and a top compliment.

Have a look at the site and enjoy the poems on offer:


Ray x

Monday, July 12, 2010

A balcony, brandy, and a family holiday in Corfu age 17.

A balcony is morning;
a breakfast of torn fresh white bread, with sesame
and cream cheese. Jarred jam of
forest fruits bleeding purple and hitting
sweet and sour notes.
We walk over the hill behind our apartment,
and try to remember the lyrics to 'Colorado'
by Manassas. Skinny cats dart
out of bushes, slinky and streetwise.
We swim. Pine needles fall like soft pins
around the pool and we think about
cider, and feta cheese.
There is the clink of china outside
in hot sun, and
the ruffle of napkins.
A balcony is drying swimwear,
halter-necks swaying in a
warm breeze,
my childhood swimming towel slumped
over a railing, faded tutti-frutti colours.
We fizz local brandy, Metaxa,
with cheap lemonade in self-catering cups,
and watch the sun winch down the sky,
a bold orange sinking,
letting out soft pink veins that swarm in the clouds.
Dad and I play a game of guessing song intros,
while Mum reads. She is cool
and beautiful
in a tie-dye sarong and her arms
are nut-brown from the day.
A balcony is getting ready for our evening meal;
we have picked a restaurant with friendly waiting staff,
who give us free kumquat liqueur;
a kindness we are not used to.
We get changed, Metaxa swilling in our
hot, easy heads,
and I decide against jewellery because it is
The drying towels wave us goodbye
as we track the pathway down the hill,
side-stepping squashy fallen fruit
and laughing at something Dad said
about a fig.
I already know I want a cool, crisp Amstel lager
which they will give to me in a girly, stemmed glass,
my Dad a pint.
Mum will have wine,
and I will not yet understand why. Wine is still vinegar
to my teenage tastes.
Evening food smells rise like steam off tar
and beckon us into gazebo gardens.
We push on,
looking in a window at a bracelet
we will buy for my sister,
then take our seats with growly tummies,
ready for the local catch.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Something about a hot, sticky
August afternoon,
makes an ice-craving witch of me.
Something about a still,
warm night,
that urges my limbs towards the freezer.
An ice cube,
melting its hard lines as it meets
lotion-slippery skin,
or a plastic picnic ice-pack
seamed hard against a leg.
I wish it was winter.
Take away your treacle nights
and give me hoar-frost,
rimey windows and the
crunch of a walk home.
Cups of tea are lost
in fogged days,
steam curling into the atmosphere
and beading our top lips.
We walk through cushioned streets,
buffeted by clammy pockets of air
like fenders on the sides of boats.
December days are clearer,
like the sound of a bell
with air so crisp
you can tap it like a pane of glass.
Here we are wading,
ears plugged with cotton wool,
sweat a second skin.
Trees, shed your leaves,
and days, race towards the autumn term.
We will sharpen pencils
and dig out full-length trousers
and put our feet away.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I woke up today with a craving for ink.
I can remember the rush,
the excited thrill;
you got like a parent all
creased brows and motherly concern.
I was wary too, and wondered if the
parade of framed safety certificates were genuine.
I showed her what font I wanted
and she traced the image off a screen.
I was a human canvas.
My bum rustled on the plastic sheet and
I had sweaty backs-of-knees.
The needle was tiny,
obscured by the Terminator-style gun,
and I felt well 'ard like
this was really dangerous and
I could take any pain.
She was wearing blue latex gloves
and I idly though of the dentist,
although there were no
Where's Wally? posters here.
It scratched, as she wrote
and wiped
and scored and wiped
and wrote some more.
Your eyes were full of worry;
you mouthed "Are you ok?"
and I nodded, dizzy on fun.
I stared at it all happening,
and then it was over.
Anti-bacterial wipes,
and my arm bound in clingfilm.
Masking tape pulled at the
summer-tinged arm hairs,
and I looked at it
like you would a newborn.
Cash in hand,
then out into the world,
Me and you drank pints of ale,
and Naomi cut a glow stick in two,
flicking our clothes with the fluorescent insides.
We got the train home
and I slept under my coat,
til it was our stop.
The next day I felt like a new person.
I'm ready to feel that again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I noticed you before you spoke;
two tanned hands with liver-spots,
clutching an enormous suitcase on wheels.
Your pearls were classic,
your shoes sensible.
I wondered where you had been.
The tannoy ding-donged
to tell us we were now approaching Chalkwell;
please mind the gap when getting off the train
at the next station.
I saw you, uneasy, as the train rocked
and I knew I would help you.
You looked at me and said,
peeking round men's besuited arms,
"Will you help me, love?"
I said of course. We smiled.
Then a man coughed so loudly that you jumped.
We rolled into the station and you clutched my elbow,
like I did to my mother
in supermarkets, as a child.
The train stopped. I pushed the flashing button
and lugged your giant suitcase down the step.
You creaked your way on to the platform,
and I held out my arm for you. You said,
"Thank you, love," and I had you on one arm
and your suitcase in the other.
We were driftwood in a sea of suits.
The staircase was a mountain
that we scaled together,
a three,
your suitcase, you and me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ink, Sweat and Tears

Thanks to Mr. Charles Christian for publishing my poem Twice-Baked Potatoes on his wonderful online magazine:


Ray x

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Biscuits for Breakfast

It is morning
and I am seven years old.
Saturdays are better than Sundays,
because on Sundays Dad gets up early,
to prepare the chicken.
He hauls it, buttered and bare
into the medieval chicken brick
which weighs heavy on the oven shelves,
and we wake to roasting smells.
Saturdays, we sleep in.
My sister sleeps through hurricanes,
and Mum and Dad do not stir.
I wake up and get bored.
I try to comb my hair into a perfect ponytail,
no bumps, just smooth,
but it never works and I throw the comb
at my pile of toys.
I sneak downstairs.
You have to walk on the sides of the steps
so they do not creak.
I try not to look out of the front door window
in case of monsters.
I creep into the kitchen,
grab three malted milk biscuits
and sit under the dining room table,
laying the biscuits on the foot rest.
It is raining outside,
and blobs of silver are pinging off dark branches.
There is not a sound in the house,
but the sheen of falling rain on windows
and the crunch of my biscuits.
I go back upstairs,
slink into bed (it's still warm)
and curl down with my Strawberry ted
and wait for sounds.
Dad gets up, puts on his brown dressing gown,
and in the doorway signals a letter 'T' with his hands.
I nod, and wait for him to bring the tea tray upstairs.
I hear Mum say "Lovely" and the clink of cup and saucer.
Dad brings tea to me, and a sneaky malted milk.
"Don't tell Mum," he whispers, and walks off to make toast.
I sting with shame,
and eat the biscuit anyway.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Love song for home

It isn't about the mud we trod into the carpet
on the day we moved in,
or our landlord leaving a
greasy pan in the oven
and it filling the flat with smoke.
It isn't about the time we went out to
Chris's party, and came home to find
the lounge floor flooded from our
leaking leaded lights.
It isn't about the boiler breaking
on your thirtieth birthday,
or when the front door got jammed
and I missed my train.
It isn't about the bumpy floorboards that
make your guitar jump and go
"ca-dunnn!" every time we walk past,
or our downstairs neighbours getting home drunk
without any keys
and vomiting underneath our bedroom window.
It isn't about those things.
It's about the late evening light off the water
streaming into the lounge, all creams and egg-yolk-yellows.
It's about our to-die-for upstairs neighbours
and their show-cat, and their pina coladas.
It's about you painting shelves with trees, and
serving dinner through the hatch like Samantha from Bewitched.
It's about our June tomato plants that are
weighed heavy with their fuzzy green marbles of promise.
It's about the party we had, where we woke up in our tights
with friend's children's pyjama-ed feet around our heads.
It's about coming home and looking up at you,
waving at me.
It's about our estuary view,
and those A-Team posters we found in that second hand shop,
and your grandad's armchair
and my gran's sofa.
It's about me and you
and our walls.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ursula and Minnie

This is me getting into the Bugged idea before it goes live on 1st July...first line overheard London SW10.

“Darling if you want cafĂ© you are going to have to beHAVE.”
Ursula is pushed out of the large front door.
Her pigtails swing, defiant.
Why can’t Mummy take her to school?
Because Mummy is BUSY.
A stamped foot can achieve nothing anymore,
Ursula thinks, as Minnie tries to grab
her tiny white arm which
bites sharply away.
Mummy loves Minnie because Minnie
does everything.
Minnie is not good at English,
but she runs the house like a
smoothly oiled wheel.
Ursula hates Minnie because Minnie
is doing Mummy’s job of being Mummy.
Mummy is always at the dining table,
at sea,
picking through islands of paper
and avoiding the sharks.
Ursula is given grown-up promises, like
being allowed a croissant before school,
or a fluffy cafe au lait to the envy of her friends.
Her patent T-bar size twos slide
on the restored 1920s herringbone tiled path,
inelegantly trying to stand their ground.
It doesn’t work; Minnie is tiny but
surprisingly strong
and Ursula drags her feet for a full thirty seconds
before forgetting why she was cross.

Friday, June 4, 2010

For the homies.



This isn't a poetry post. If you hadn't already guessed...

...this is just to say thank you for reading my blog. I really appreciate that in a busy world people might not have time to read my poems, but I have written 26 or so poems this year and would love to know what people think. I'd really like some constructive criticism (no "It's just shite!" please...) so if you have time (or are bored on a train and have a portable internetty device for example) I would love to know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the sun. I'll be in the shade, reading, sweating in a woollen cardigan, pretending it is still winter.


Ray x

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Hello, friends :o)

Thanks to the lovely Jo Bell and her call for 'overheard' writing on Facebook, one of my poems is being used on the brilliant BUGGED website (

Bugged is a new writing project encouraging creative eavesdropping to get your writerly juices flowing. My example is an overheard conversation from a London to Essex train; oddly a regular source of much inspiration for me! (But then I do spend 2 hours a day on those trains...)

Thanks to Jo and Bugged - do check out the website as this is a really cool project.

R x

Friday, May 28, 2010

Two of hearts

I found a playing card at the end of our road;
the two of hearts.
I stoop and pocket it,
smiling because I know you like it
when I tell you I've found a playing card,
because you always say I
find the best things
like that teddy-bear still life greetings card
from a Maureen to a Doris,
that now nestles in your scrapbook.
Or the child's picture of a boat
with scruffy stick men family members sailing,
and a crayoned "I love my Mum".
I am also smiling because me
finding playing cards
reminds you of the Jack Berger episodes of
Sex and the City, and you always hated his
character and preferred him in Office Space.
We talk about this often.
I think about the fluffy sentimentality
of finding the two of hearts
but how fitting it seems to me as
we sail ourselves, in our second year.
You aren't a fan of hearts or
obvious romanticism,
you prefer to be punk rock about
these things.
Do you remember when you
crossed out the printed hearts on those pink post-it notes?
And put "pretend these are bananas" instead?
I would rather have a punk rock romantic than a
Clinton Cards bear,
so it works out well.
In our world is a warm weightlessness,
of evenings in and shared pints and
laughing really, really hard and watching Corrie and
making up recipes and going out for pineapple smoothies
and you talking to the window plants
and me doing my Shane Meadows accents.
I will put this playing card on our wall
and you can call me a soppy wanker if you like.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A love affair

You coddle me on mornings when ice sheens the windows,
and I return the favour with my hold.
I press your delicate, porcelain form to my face and
warm cheeks and eye sockets with your caress.
We are one.
I fell in love with you when I was small,
when chubby hands clutched Tommy Tippee feeding cups
and squidged soggy Rich Tea biscuits with pressing fingers.
We were together always;
you knew me inside and out.
And call me a cliche but after twenty years of soothing
you always sweeten up my day.
You are always a hit with the parents, the grandparents,
who respond well to your liquid charm.
You fit in anywhere:
the Ritz, the doctor's waiting room, a fast train,
a greasy spoon.
If we ever meet abroad,
things are not the same. You are not well-suited
in a sticky climate. I'm okay with this:
your temperament suits mine.
We can while away hours on British soil and
toast our love.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I grate the tips of my teeth
along a hard, fine, powdered line,
a solid tube of white;
this is the cigarette that ghosts smoke.
My teeth aren't as white as this,
but maybe they will be influenced.
My stomach growls with envy for blackboards
and hopscotch pavements
and I find myself standing in post office queues
with three packs of my very own candy sticks
that children should have snatched out of
wondering hands.
You might think you understand a craving
when you think of a chilled glass
of white wine on a Friday night,
or you think about your lover's earlobe
taunting you to bite it.
But you do not understand how my
stomach yearns for these
bitter sticks of compact dust.

I want to draw around us,
a crime scene-line embrace,
so we cannot distinguish where I end
and you begin.
Call me magpie,
I will consume this unfood
and when my hunger is slaked
I will white your face with chalk.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I wrote this for a writing competition where the theme was 'Bust'. It didn't make it, but here it is:

You will methodically park your car
in your designated space,
you will straighten up
your name badge
and you will sheen your fringe with hairspray.
You will glide into your department:
sensible shoes on shiny floor,
greet Dora the cleaning lady as
she sways the mop in your wake.
You will hang up your frumpy handbag
in the Heat-magazine strewn staffroom
and make your way
to the fitting room.
They tumble in
like dropped peppercorns,
a steady flow throughout the day.
They are nervous,
just like you.
They have gone their adult lives
thinking they are a 34B.
You will tell them
with the pride of a mother at sport's day
that they are a 36E or
Double D.
You will tighten their straps
and delicately avoid
their lightly sweating backs
and recommend a tshirt bra,
or plunge for dramatic effect.
You will wave them on their way,
but they will not see you
as you
watch the spring in their feet
as they move from the B stand to higher.
You will remember them
on your drive home that day,
and you will hold them in your mind.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A morning cigarette while revising for A Levels

She thinks she lives for her first cigarette of the day.
A pair of cotton pyjamas,
Christmas-present slippers,
the milkiest of teas.
Her ample rear is perching
on a damp patio slab,
her glasses slightly askew
with the morning hours.
She worries briefly
about clouding the new neighbours' washing
with her smoke.
She remembers her mother mentioning
the man next door is a vicar.
She wonders if they are allowed to smoke.
She hears the other neighbour shuffling,
filling a watering can,
as she sends her clouds like thoughts
over the wall.
She draws it in,
fooling herself into thinking
she needs this. The tea is gulped -
frog-like swallows,
with nicotine fingers
cupping the cooling mug.
She remembers the first cigarette she smoked:
stolen from a school play props table
with furtive, curious hands.
Now she lives in a blue, cartoon cloud,
with pathetic unpopular girls
sitting with her between lessons
and wishing they had the guts to smoke too.
Her mother smokes,
but she must never know.
Our girl will hang out of bathroom windows
until she is thirty if she has to.
She will never steal her mother's supplies
as her love of detective dramas
has made her a sleuth of sorts and she
would absolutely know.
The girl stubs it out between
patio cracks and
slides the butt underneath the fence.
Let that fence never be knocked down.

Monday, May 17, 2010


My health kick
has begun.
Four weddings this year
(no Hugh Grant jokes please)
and I have a stunning
tulip-hemmed dress
to squeeze into by summer.
My usual lunch of hearty soups
and tiger bread
is replaced by celery
cherry toms.
One wholemeal pitta
and an apple to follow,
good lord I'm being good.
But it's this crunch of
ice-cold salad
that makes me think of you.
You used to keep radishes in
old Vitalite tubs
in your heaving, visitor-friendly fridge,
and I would pop them in
to my mouth like sweets.
Rachel Radish,
everyone called me.
Well guess what, folks?
She's back.
A squirt of
Be Good To Yourself salad cream
and I am back at your dining table,
with one of your classic lunches.
Cheeses, hams, rolls, a basket full of crisps.
My sister and I would fight over
the last Smokey Bacon.
Grandad would ask for the ham,
and my small arms would wave
the heavy plate towards him.
You would stand an army of dressings,
condiments and sauces
and I would test my young tastebuds
with honey and mustard,
or blue cheese.
There would be pie or cheesecake for afters,
after you hovered around the table
making sure everyone ate but you -
we would have all nearly finished
as you cut a tomato in two and
buttered a piece of bread.
I would love one of your lunches now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


The estuary is made up of lines.
Seams of pale blue
and brown are being
pecked by wading birds,
with Tim Burton branches
for legs and
eager, striving necks.
Kent is staring at us,
all giraffe pylons and
squat gasometers like
tubby cans of paint.
The pier is our offering:
stretched out,
a laid-down Eiffel Tower
in a dirge of water and sand,
limpets adorning
each rusted girder.
Pompeii crab claws are jammed
in one last reach for air
and someone's welly
is forever lodged in molasses mud.
The streaks of sea glitter
and shine like mirrorball specks,
and they gurgle with the
creeping tide.
A dog barks,
four seagulls wheel,
the boats are being pushed back round
to face us.


A poem of mine has been featured in Issue 2 of the wonderful Minus9Squared magazine:

Many thanks to Anna Hayes for putting my poem 'Grandad' online!

Ray x

Friday, May 7, 2010


Home means
getting a seat facing forwards and
a fully-charged iPod battery
and only a few pages left
of my tattered paperback,
and me thinking about how
much I enjoy watching people's faces
on trains
as they near the end of their books;
are they sad?
are they smiling or frustrated
or do they do what I do
and contentedly sigh and go back
through the beginning pages
to make it all make sense?
I like looking out at the pastures
between Upminster and Laindon or
between Pitsea and Benfleet or
just by Hadleigh castle,
standing strong,
and watch the speeding flashes
of sunshine rape fields, like
steamrollered sherbet lemons.
I watch cows lying down,
standing up,
swishing tails,
and cyclists on the sea wall
rumbling along on the tufty grass.
There are phone calls
approaching Canvey Island
arranging pick-ups
takeaways and
"Have you remembered to drop the dvds off?"
and I uncross my numb legs
and stretch like a languishing cat.
People drop off,
that tired hometime dullness in their eyes
and Evening Standards drift
between different pairs of hands
and I think about cold germs and
just peer at headlines over
shoulder pads instead.
I jump off at Chalkwell,
climb the stairs,
call you even though I will be there in
six minutes.
I kick stones along the pavement
keeping an eye out for good ones.
I walk up our garden path and
sometimes I hear Chet Baker
or the Sex Pistols drifting out,
depending on your mood and
sometimes I can smell garlic
and I turn the key with the weird
90s acid faces plastic cap on
and I climb more stairs and that,
that's what home means, actually.
You tell me what's for tea.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Coming second

Saturday morning,
Your mum dropped The Guardian
through the door,
we've got plenty of milk for
pots of tea
and maybe I'll make
those Jamie Oliver pancakes,
fluffy and round
and crying out for
crispy bacon.
I waft about the flat
in domestic bliss,
angle for a pancake kiss,
start wittering
about what to do today.
I have a habit
of talking to you while
my head is in the fridge or
while I flush the toilet or
while you are making the bed
and this time I am saying
"Have you watered the tomato plants or shall I?"
But I get no reply.
I remember what day it is.
the day your other lover
comes round.
You suddenly ignore me,
favour not me, but him.
You do not reply to my chatter,
or cut me off and tell me
how funny he is;
"Read this! Isn't it FUNNY?"
I scowl.
You interject my comments
as you clutch him in your greedy hands.
He lies, sanguine,
firmly in your hold,
staring face-out at me,
and taunting me to fight.
I hate him.
I cannot compete with him.
He is your favourite,
your weakness,
the best around, and
I wander out of rooms
with a teenage frown.
You were mine until ten minutes ago
when he slinked his way
into our lives,
slipped between the sheets
and turned me out.

Guardian Guide,
you stole her heart.
I wish I had the courage
to tear you apart.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The first day of spring where a coat is not needed

Plimsoll feet skiffle
through littered
blossom as it falls,
catching in hairstyles
and sneaking into pockets.
Leaves whisper softly,
a calmer way of speaking
than when fending off cold.
Bare arms steady themselves
and the gold hairs ruffle,
unsure of what to do without goosebumps.
Wysteria, warmed by sun
is leaning from a whitewashed wall,
emanating its sweetshop smell,
all Monet lilacs and
looking like grapes.
Sounds occur,
like small aircraft buzzing through
the blue,
or children in a playground
and you wonder whether
you hear them at all in winter.
The air is soft
like apricots
and you keep your jacket
tucked under your arm.

Pygmy Giant

Hello folks,

I have just had a poem of mine, 'Wallpaper', published on the delightful Pygmy Giant. Check it out!

Many thanks to TPG for putting it up :)

Ray x

Friday, April 23, 2010

Twice-baked potatoes

I come home and
you are making
twice-baked potatoes and
it smells
so homely and
so wholesome and
you turn round and
your hands on your trousers and
we have a potato-scented kiss and
we pour red wine and
I slosh it about a bit and
pretend to be like Oz Clarke
or something and
you are laughing and
we sit and
eat and
agree how annoying it is when
Coronation Street isn't on because
of the football and
then there's cups of tea and
biscuits from the christmas tin
we still haven't put away yet and
at night when you're sleeping and
I'm awake for once and
I can hear foxes outside our window
shuffling through our rubbish
so it makes me think there's someone out there
I watch you so close to
make sure you are breathing and
I touch you on the side because
I know you find that comforting and
you stir, and
I feel safe again and
the foxes get bored as we never really
throw any food out do we?
I drift into sleep
while the night freight trains
skim past our window
with their smooth warning sound that
rattles the walls.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


There is a cello on the Jubilee line.
He is standing tall,
chest puffed out,
all smooth and smarmy,
all Nigel Havers, all
I'm a cello.
A small child looks up with saucer eyes
at the petite woman holding
She caresses his smooth,
case of a body,
all muscles and brawn.
People look away,
stare into their paperbacks,
look intently at their fingernails
on the grimy handrails
or notice themselves in the
opposite windows.
The cello woman sways,
her floral dress flutters flirtily,
she sways
and gives her body into him.
Above the clatter and din
of the 8.48 from Canning Town
you'd swear you could hear the
of his strings.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The paper boy who never grew up

Willy was a paper boy.
He started off at 13 years
so he could buy an Atari
and by the time he’d saved up
no-one had Ataris anymore but
he could escape in his room
and be somebody else.
He’s pushing 35 now
and his mum calls from her
threadbare chair,
up the stairs
“You won’t ‘ave any friends Willy.’
He wants to save up for a
Nintendo Wii
and make friends with people
so they can come round and
play tennis and
bowling and
like they do on the adverts.
But she’s right,
and it started at school when
he didn’t think to say
‘The name’s Bill’ or
‘Will’ or
and he didn’t understand why
they were calling him Dick all the time,
he just did not understand.
He’s still delivering papers,
up early,
out before the sun,
and he trips the light confused
and he knows he could have more
but the truth is he is
He keeps on delivering on,
his giant yellow bag
causing permanent slouching
and a series of pressure headaches
but he keeps on,
posting papers like,
like only he knows how.
At 7.34 every morning
he passes a girl,
every day,
every day for two years,
she must be
getting a regular bus or something
and she decided to smile at him today
and Willy,
he doesn't know he isn’t doing the right thing
and his mum will never get out of that chair now,
and he will never find those friends,
but Willy was never
told right from wrong.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fat Quarter

A non-poetic update from me:

I have just had a short article published on the gorgeous website Fat Quarter -

I hope you enjoy it. Have a look around the rest of the website too, for it is a place of wonder and awesomeness.

Big thanks to the very lovely Katie Allen @ Fat Quarter too for letting me say my piece :o)

Ray x

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Morgan Ray, wallpaper

Feed my ego, Google, and
report back to me
at the end of each day
just how many people are reading my words:
My small, insignificant words.
Analytics reports show
that during the week beginning 22nd March 2010
I had 42 hits all sourced from Google searches.
My show-off heart flutters with pride.
People are GOOGLING ME.
They want to find me, source me, read me.
This continues to excite me.
This is what it is all about;
writing my words
so that people read them, like them,
respond to them.
I've still only got a small 15 followers
if we're following Blogger's own statistics,
but this is good news.
I decide to find out how they found me:
how do they google me?
'Ray Morgan poet, Southend on Sea?'
'Ray Morgan, wonder poet, inspiration to thousands?'
Ok I'm getting carried away.
The first one is Morgan Ray, wallpaper.
Ok, that's interesting.
I wrote a dark, quite depressing poem called Wallpaper.
How do people know about it?
I re-read it.
It's nothing spectacular.
I notice that an awful lot of people
have clicked their way to my blog
using these same search terms.
I try it myself.
Morgan Ray wallpaper.
Morgan Ray is a...
porn star.
And people are looking for screen wallpaper,
I am a little deflated.
I am not a popular poet.
I am one wrong click away
from a busty MILF.
I hope they enjoyed one of the poems,
at least.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sleepy Orange


Two of my poems, 'Mist' and 'New Years' Resolution Gone Wrong' have been published on the delightful website magazine Sleepy Orange.

Many thanks to the Sleepy Orange team; you can check out the link here:

Ray x

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I promised

Pick your way
through the copse of second-hand clothes,
gloves and
camisoles like fallen leaves.
Undone laces
shrew away like
mouse tails,
burying themselves.
Cleave apart the trunks
of butter-soft leather,
fifteen suitcases or more
displaying some chaos.
Half-read books are teepee tents
fanned out and face-down,
spines bared
to a vulnerable sky
of scarf-swathed lamplights
and dusted bulbs.
I am not here,
my breadcrumb trail
of notebook leaves
and ticket stubs
makes barest clues
so sit awhile
on silken sheets of greenest moss.
Coat-hanger branches
muddle and knot,
bend the metal
to find your way back.
The half-drawn blind
suggests a sunset
and I promised you I would be home.
A clock lies on its side,
time stood still,
and you hold it in your hand
and you wait for me
and you wait for morning,
because I promised you I would be home.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Jacqueline can’t bear it
when people call her Jackie.
She wants you to remember
that her name looks and sounds
like lacquer,
like the very lacquer
which coats and crusts her golden hair,
a protective guard.
An irksome grandchild
once clambered up her
Roland Mouret
and tapped a grubby fist
on the rock-hard helmet hair.
Jacqueline grimaced.
He knew nothing about manners,
but then she knew nothing about children.
Her own had been raised
by soft-spoken
soft-haired nannies,
with Irish lilting tones
and a firm grip on nutrition.
Jacqueline was too busy
and streaked in front of them always
in a glossy blur,
their glamorous mother
who shouted at people of lower rank,
the under-10s included.
She didn’t feel the need to tell them
what she did for a living;
a firm ‘Mummy’s busy’
was enough to keep their curiosity at bay,
not knowing that eventually
that would push them away.
Jacqueline networks,
and always is adored.
She glides through rooms
and waves her hands
telling people what to do.
Her scent is thick, cloying,
an ageing smell
of tea-roses and something darker,
and she lives in constant fear
that someone will uncover
the history of madness in her family.
It lives behind her eyes
and the men whom she snared as lovers
are the only beings
who braved that icy grip
and know what it truly is
to be close to her.
This is something her children
gratefully never learned,
and now Jacqueline lives alone
ignoring letters from her lovers
and not answering the door
to her alienated grandchildren
and sips rosehip tea
and will always live to spurn.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I want Rainbow Drops,
sticks of Juicy Fruit,
Wham bars, Irn Bru bars,
and chalk-lolly lipsticks.
We are wearing your Mum's shoes,
her navy sling-back shoes
and clopping to the shops.
I'm not allowed to go
to the shops
on my own
so this is Really Exciting.
We've got handfuls of pennies,
and are doing impressions of
Victor Meldrew,
thinking we are hilarious.
It's sunny
but there's cold wind stinging our legs
bared in school summer dresses
and our feet in too-big shoes.
Mine have elastic straps
which are flapping round my ankles,
yours have one big leather buckle
which is clanking on the ground.
We are sporting plastic sunglasses
and spying from behind them,
laughing inexplicably at old ladies
who tut at us in return.
We really don't need the sugar rush
but here we go,
we are choosing,
20ps worth of fizzy cola bottles
making our mouths water,
stinging our lips with sugar like salt,
and you think you might have wrenched a filling out
with a penny apple chew.
The man in the shop is getting annoyed as we eat while we shop,
putting the wrappers in the cardboard bowl
so he knows what we've had:
stealing really isn't our thing,
it's what the tarty girls do
to make the boys like them
but all we really want
is just the sweets.
My mum comes to pick me up
and I don't want any dinner,
she asks me why and I say
"Oh I had some biscuits round at Jessie's house"
and hide the Wham bar wrapper
in my school dress pocket
in a sticky, sugary palm.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I am thinking
about all the things that I like
about you,
about us;
Like how you don't go on the Tube
so we get buses
or walk
and find weird pubs
and Dickensian street names
and see random celebrities
who would never have got on the Tube either.
I like remembering how excited you got
when you bought that Spiderman sleeping bag,
never mind that your legs were too long for it
so sleeping in it meant you were freezing cold,
but you loved the matching pillow that came with it
even though you thought the label on it
was a moth in the night.
Or how you get really competitive
when map-reading
'cause you know your way around a city street-finder
better than anyone I know.
I like thinking about
how you call yourself a slow reader
but what you do read
you take in and pore over,
and get really enthusiastic about
and read whole passages out to me.
I like how you adore the Saturday paper,
and read out every item you find interesting,
whizzing through the supplements
while I am still digesting my first article.
I like how happy films make you,
and how you know all about the directors
and what they worked on in the past,
how you guess the Bafta and Oscar winners
and are almost always right.
I like how we can have involved discussions
about the characters on Coronation Street
as though we live there too
and know them all intimately.
I like how you love classy older women
like Lauren Bacall, Meryl Streep, Eileen Atkins.
I like how good you are at accents
and that we can have a whole phone conversation
in pseudo-Russian.
I like how you hate Valentine's
and that you would prefer to be romantic
on any other day.
I like how you always, always laugh
at the way tiny dogs' legs walk
and that I can see it coming
when a terrier approaches.
I like that you are unique,
a one-off.
I like that you like me too.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ode to Ms. W.

Denounce my faith,
forget everything.
Give up
on what we fought for.
Embrace my pastel-coloured, italic-font
paperback stereotype,
become that weakling heroine
who waits by the phone
and dots her ‘i’s with little hearts.
I will buy into tummy-slimming pants
and pinch my feet in heels
about ordering a beer.
Make ‘his’ dinner every night,
assume every ‘she’ has a ‘he’.
Give up on nagging, girls,
give up on nagging him to pick up his dirty socks
This is my doctrine,
These are the new ‘Rules’,
This is how we are going to roll.
Men across the nation
hurl their dirty left and right socks down
It finally happened!
Do this, fellas, and she will pick them up
Top marks, Ms. W. Top marks.
Thank you for all you have done.
You walked into my office.

I wish I had thrown socks on the floor.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010



Just a quick note to say that one of my poems has been commended in a 'Tiny Weeny Writing and Drawing' competition by Leaf Books.

The competition was to write a poem small enough to fit on a postage stamp and my haiku 'Stones' made the shortlist.

Many thanks to Leaf Books!

Ray x

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A note on being bored working in a seaside gift shop in 1999.

Pick the lacy cobwebs
from the ‘Please ring for customer service’ bell.
Re-arrange the sympathy cards in colour order,
from blue through grey.
Raid the stockroom fridge;
Make cup-a-soups to fool
your growling stomach.
Suck Nutella fingers
straight from the jar.
Try on the wigs.
Re-stack the plastic champagne flutes
filled with yellow-ish wax gel
to make Millennium Champagne Candles,
£3.99, or 3 for £10.
Re-discover your obsessive
compulsion for alphabetical order.
Arrange the seaside sticks of rock
into pink,
Knock over a stand
of personalised Winnie the Pooh key rings
and put them all back.
Start with Abbie,
end with Zach.
Adjust the silver star ‘sprinkles’
on the black tablecloth
on the millennium table display
and add more party poppers.
Create a Subbuteo-style game
using glass nuggets (remember them?)
and packets of silica gel.
Display the mermaid figurines
in height order,
like marine suspects.
Shake all snow globes,
tap each captain’s bell with a fingernail,
straighten every fisherman book-end,
watch the lifebuoy clock.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Snow at 7am.

The streetlight casts its amber eyes
over the Kendal mint cake snow,
compacted and snoozing under the glittered frost.
Fox footprints run away from me,
in dashing arcs and lines
telling me he had fun in the snow too.

I crunch towards the beach
where white chocolate buttons
are mindfully looking towards Kent.
The world is still sleeping,
breathing quiet mist
and singing a silent song.

The station is calling.
A train skims by,
untrustingly soft and hushed.
I walk underneath the streetlight
where it buzzes and clicks off,
as though solemnly obeying my cold mind.