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