Saturday, December 10, 2011

christmas-on-sea

take me up the high street and buy me
oversized gingerbread hearts
from european vendors with
cold fingers and
kind, crinkled eyes.
buy me a praline latte from a
corporate coffee chain and
we will talk about how christmassy we feel.
there is a tree,
outside the odeon,
that towers and sways with poor baubles;
decorations that look like someone has thrown them
from street level
and hoped for the best.
a sudden ice rink happens,
just shy of nando’s,
where small children risk severed hands and
broken ankles to the
blare of slade on repeat.
walk me under the railway bridge,
past ann summers’ festive display,
past the 99p shop bragging its slashed prices,
past mcdonalds and its flashing, police-like blue lights,
and take me past the doors of M&S,
where a hot breath of cinnamon and
middle class panic buying
pours out of the doors, up up and away.
let’s talk about how neverneverland used to have
the first christmas lights of the year,
and how creepy it was before it was bulldozed.
remind me of how many times I thought
I wanted to move away before realising that actually,
this is home,
this vagrant town,
this beautiful mess of cheap shops and aspiration;
this is, for two months of the year,
christmas on sea.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Winter's Tale

Well, it's been a week now since NaNoWriMo finished… I didn't submit my word count to them in the end, because I kind of felt like I didn't need to: so no certificate for me, and in their eyes I am probably not a winner, but I'm still walking with the glow of knowing I got 51,355 words down in 30 days. PHEW.

Well done to everyone else who completed it!

I'm still working on it now, adding bits, completing backstory, and taking out the trite nonsense I bashed into it on off-days. I've given myself the deadline of 31 January to have it all tied up, and then I might just start sending it out. If I'm feeling particularly brave, I might post a preview of it on here…

In other news I mentioned that I was going to be published in the Railroad Poetry Project, so here it is! Big thanks to the gorgeous folk at Railroad for the lovely opportunity and early Christmas present :-)

Hope you're all well and starting to put up fairy lights and write your Christmas cards and generally Be Festive.

Have a great Christmas and see you for more poems in 2012…

Ray x

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nanos and railroads

Hi everyone,

I hope you're all well and digging the frosty mornings and stocking up on hot chocolate like me. I've not done much on the poetry front lately, but have completed my first ever collection, titled This is a Coastal Town, which is hopefully going to be turned into an exciting project, so watch this space.

I'm also doing NaNoWriMo - writing a 50,000 word novel in one month. I'm almost halfway through, and really enjoying the challenge. It came at the same time of starting a new job, which is pretty ridiculous timing, but the commute has proved invaluable as I attempt to tap-tap-tap my 1,600 words a day.

I have some poetic news... the lovely Railroad Poetry Project are publishing two of my poems in their second issue, due out later in November. It is a brilliant publication so I'm truly honoured to have not one but two poems in!

I'll post up a link once they're published, but for now I'll leave you to look out of your window and get excited about Christmas.

Much love

Ray x

Thursday, September 15, 2011

15.09.11

the platform is a pebble’s width from the sand,
a wash of frothy sea my morning sound.
I smell salt, and
broken shells – ripe, bursting seaweed
and
newspaper print.

the train slicks into view,
a gleaming rocket,
pregnant
with station-bought coffees and
station-bought toast in
damp paper bags.

the city is erupting;
drills shake my feet and
charity buckets shake themselves
and
the street smells like
someone has blown out a birthday candle.
Sweet:
coffee shops with morning pastries,
and pavement dust, and sour:
cigarette smoke blown into faces.

a craving for rain
to wash it all clean,
and a craving for home,
for air you can breathe.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Toe woe

tom and jerry toe
ingrown woe
I need help getting in the bath
foot in plastic bag
feeling like a dag
it doesn't help by stifling a laugh

they cut away the nail
major pedi fail
elevation is the key to healing
the sofa is my friend
through a slow weekend
when all I'm looking at is the ceiling

iplayer daze
toe feels ablaze
sickly pallor growing on my cheeks
cream tea from my mum
I'll get a fat bum
recovery in four to six weeks.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Love song for The Alex

I was seventeen,
my friend’s passport in my sweaty hands,
queuing outside for the promise of £1 beer.
It was in my lager days-
when Foster’s brought on burps
that I suppressed to make it look like I was enjoying it.

I would wear cut-off tights and plimsolls
before Primark started selling them,
and blazers when they were only meant for school.
I’d get in thinking
I got in, I got in, I got in,
waving goodbye through the window to those who’d been ID’d
and wishing they were with me.

I would stand,
with a Reef
(remember them? They were awful),
with Kara.
Kara was mental. They said she
drank Aftershock for breakfast
and she wanted us to be mental too.

We scrawled on toilet doors and
shoved empty glass bottles in comedy places;
pool table pockets, pot plants, holes in the wall.
We would hold back her blue streaked mullet
as she vomited in the loos,
before running for the last bus home.

Now, ten years on,
Sue Sylvester above the bar,
I look around at the squashy sofas
and vintage TVs
with a fondness,
like this is where I grew up, but with new people living here now.

I tell people this is the only pub in Southend that serves Irn Bru,
and for that reason alone it deserves your love.
It is Scream burgers and cups of tea,
home to Sundown;
a pub that loves poetry, pear cider, and pool.
Yoda lives upstairs,
downstairs: my sticky Converse memories.

I’ve got different tastes now;
lager has given way to Brother’s,
and the rituals start anew.
I hope it remains in ten years’ time,
when I will look at it with the fondness
of people now in their forties who
still call it ‘the Top Alex’.

I will watch with nostalgia at the
underagers,
and I will chuckle at their lager love.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I have a small and respectful umbrella

I have a small and respectful umbrella;
a 1 pound,
children's
'bought in Battersea in a charity shop when it was
raining' umbrella,
a modest affair,
not like your banker's bank umbrellas taking over
HALF THE STREET,
not like those,
no not like those.
Not like the Barclays Corporate patio umbrellas
that pointy-shoed City boys wear
to detract from the fact that they've
got one in the first place,
Not like the oversized Radley ones
sported by Elizabeth Arden commuters,
to match their Radley bag,
Radley purse,
Radley fucking pantyliners,
no not like those.
Rain at 8.45am in the City is a minefield;
dodging spokes at every step;
walking the tightrope curb,
watch your side for Boris bikes
and MIND THE BROLLIES:
duck under the Deloitte,
rise over the Radisson Edwardian,
the corporate umbrellas sneering at my
children's charity special.
I'm not on a brolly power trip,
it's functional, not weaponry,
I have a small and respectful umbrella:
your pub garden capitalist brolly ain't got nothin' on me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hello! *waves*

Hello, poetry pickers.

Firstly I'd like to apologise for the lack of entries lately; a new job, very slow home-computer and a dismal lack of reading have all contributed to my not having written very much lately.

That's not to say I've been lacking creatively; I'm working on a children's book idea and planning creative writing workshops along with helping run Sundown Arts, so don't you be sayin' I'm lazy...

Anyway I'd like to thank the very lovely Jessica or 'Writer's Helper' as you may know her as, for nominating my blog as a stylish one. It's fitting considering Jessica inspired me to get a blog and 'pimp' it in the first place!

Take a look at her lovely blog, and we can all join hands and sing... ;-)

Be cool, kids. I'll be back.

R x

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blue Monday

Today is apparently the most depressing day of the year. Not so, say I.

You will try to squash us,
by tempting deprived tastebuds with
golden caramel chocolates and
leftover Christmas panettone,
goading our unrealistic resolutions to
give up a food group.
You will pour rain, cold and unrelenting
on coats bought in the sales and
soak our trouser hems with a smile on your face.
You will cloud the sky with doubt,
and make us feel our lowest when
a week ago we were aglow with newness,
a rosy cocoon of promise and wellbeing.
We will fight you, though
with endless cups of steaming tea,
and pull out our emergency store of
carrots and crackers;
you will lead us not into temptation.
We will brandish overpriced umbrellas and
smile against the lashing rain as we listen
to our new records bought as gifts,
in our new earphones, bought as presents,
as you try to smite us.
We will make broad, bubbling vats of
warming stews and casseroles,
using healthy ingredients and
food to fight off colds.
We will not let you defeat us,
we will think of brightness, beauty, and truth
and be yellows, purples, lime greens
and look for other days
amidst your blue, blue, blue,
Blue Monday.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January, early morning

A platform, 7am.
Umbrellas flap like batwings,
shaken down towards the floor
in sodden, sinewy shame.

The tide is glugging in,
unseen and thick,
burbling muddy promises.

A dog barks, and our necks crane
to see if it's loose on the tracks.
The noise travels on the wind,
and we hear
its source; the darkened beach.

A peninsular blinks and twinkles,
a whole other county getting ready for the day.
Enormous ships slice towards
the mouth of the North Sea, more
lights,
and lowly fog horn sounds.

Cargo, bright yellow drums; we see them from
the shore,
the only ones escaping.
We are city-bound,
and I stand awaiting the sleek,
unwanted train,
wishing I was on any ship,

heading out to sea.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Apple picking

Our faces are rosy apples,
cold blooming blush on our cheeks
as we crunch our way to the lower branches.
They hang heavy, bowed,
leaning their fruit our way.
Your feet sink into wormy windfalls,
and we make gurning faces
at the slime.
I pick one off the tree and bite,
crisp skin bursting
and tart, too-early flesh tingling my tongue.
You lean and take a bite,
mouth smiling at the sourness,
and we look up at the chiller cabinet sky.
Your eyes are saucers and
my face feels numb
as we fill paper bags with our finds.
Your phone vibrates in your pocket
and we are hurtled back to real-time,
to the real world,
shattering our illusion of centuries past.
I felt like we were in a Christina Rosetti poem;
you said Anne of Green Gables.
You ignore your phone and take my hand,
the other swinging apples in our bag.
We pad our way home,
talking of crumbles and maybe jam.


This poem was originally posted on Helium.com