The boy

The boy

has his father’s eyes but they are closed because

he is exhausted; he stands still and silent,

I pray to the birds, to the horses and my

father’s family to keep him safe from harm. I see

blood, sweat and dust, his young, thin arms are

scratched, his feet bruised and I smell the juice

which has made him delirious; I smell his energy

and the burning pain yet to come. I am here to see

this boy become his father and honour our family,

our tradition, but my teeth rattle, a mother’s tears

cannot help him now, cannot stop this rite of

passage, stop the hands, her knife. Later

I will bathe his wounds.


The women are singing and drumming beside

me and I want to cry, my mind is calling out to

to calm his fear, his ordeal and I think,

are they going to kill him?

It feels like those hands have cut me,

I have my own wound as I mourn the loss

of a son, my baby boy, my little one.


He has gone now, forever, this boy; our only boy.

I feel the ancestors in my heart, my body,

my bloodline. My father gone but present,

I am all of the colours around.

I feel at peace knowing I will die here

at home with my family in my village.

In the forest the children will run over me.


Published in The Projectionist’s Playground #3, 31 August 2017,
Editor: Julius Smit

A recipe for a break up

A recipe for a break up

You will need a good handful of nerves that have
been tenderised the muscle fibres of your heart
broken down in order soften the texture

of hurt which may make distant and future pain easier to
digest even taste better in the long run they say the toughest
break up can turn someone into

a succulent juicy being with the right methods though
your love has been pulverised your self-esteem roughly
chopped at this stage you

should cook your confidence moderately let the negativity
slowly ooze out perhaps coarsely chop one or two shared
acquaintances from of your life

add them to the pan of no return select as many love letters
gifts as you think necessary cut them into chunks cover the
photograph of you both together

let your anger steam for a few minutes while those thoughts are
simmering slice the remaining photographs add them
to this satisfying stew of new you finish

it off by grating bitterness on top it is so comforting a warm
delicious lift mouthwateringly sweet it will be sure to leave
you feeling tender flavourful strong.

Published in The Fat Damsel: Poems To Survive In click here

Trafalgar 1981

Trafalgar 1981: CND rally

I wore my badge the one from Fylingdales with satellite elephant
heads the streets were full of people thousands of mothers fathers
children I saw boats on the Thames Nelson’s royal column fountains
of young men and women sharing the fear of a nuclear future

boys wore white jeans with black braces punks rockers from
Birmingham Glasgow Hull the Communist Party the National Union
of Teachers men dressed up as clowns in suits flat-caps guitars
tambourines harmonicas everyone looking at everyone else smiling

scared my feet sore from walking lines of police waiting watching us
watch them as we march slowly deliberately with the Salvation
Army a rope separates us from the city behind me a man is pushing
a crying baby she holds a CND balloon another man waves a sign

History is Full of Mistakes Only One Nuclear Mistake Can End History
I think this is the end here now in Trafalgar on this cold war day
it could happen this afternoon among the chanting the megaphones
the deafening traffic hour after hour on the road

to Hyde Park where we will celebrate the end of humanity with
banners and balloons a woman speaks from a podium she says
a nuclear blast will kill us all instantly it will blow our clothes
off if you look at the flash from five miles away your eyes will melt

your chances of survival are slim later you will die from radiation
sickness I see a huge crater red buses blasting into clouds bombed
buildings naked people crawling vomiting blood I look up
to the circling sky her voice echoes through the microphone

if you are not frightened now in this moment you are psychologically
ill I want my Dad to take my nine-year old body into his arms
instead he holds me up so I can see all the people in this world
who are preparing to die protesting to survive.


Published in Neu! Boots Are Made for Walking,

Day-Twenty Seven click here



I had drunk so much coffee I was shivering as if something

inside of me was about to go off I stopped to stare

out of the window watched a plane fly over so loud it frightened me

reminded me of the fear of a nuclear attack which is as real to me now

as it was when I was a child


the phone rings telling me I can get solar panels and later another

about a new boiler paid for by the government the government.

the one that doesn’t care about people dying from poverty

and humiliation old people who are starving can’t heat their homes

single mothers who have no one to look after their children


while they are working unable to progress past sixteen hours

people with learning difficulties whose families can’t cope with them

at home with no break the nurses who get paid less than politicians

girls working in shops and cafes on the minimum wage who can’t afford

a house men in low paid jobs who are told be grateful so they go home


feeling small it’s always the children who suffer my husband comes home

doesn’t ask how I am disappears upstairs keeps busy the washing still out

on the line in the rain for three days but in three days things will have changed

again I might be in a better mood I might not be scared of a nuclear attack

or worry about all the things in the world that I cannot change.


First published in New Boots and Pantisocracies blog, and in book form order your copy here. And again in the Morning Star, Well Versed on 20 October 2016.




By day she weaves fabled threads of true love into cloth;

silky constellations fired by the cosmic powers of female

prophecy and at night she unpicks this wondrous universe

listening to the ocean signing her trusted companion’s return.


An object of gluttonous male desire she needles new life

from old tales silenced by myth she gives herself voice

consoling conjugal grief she un-weaves her art

revealing truth and faith to the one and only

man she chose over her cherished father.


Unheard no more Penelope looks to the stars

a thousand tiny fires dying out in the cold, clear coal night;

her fearless husband is coming home.


Published in Three Drops from a Cauldron

8th April 2016