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The internet, an indulgence

She types into the screaming void. A thousand teeth without mouths tear at her words. They float away into the dark in tiny pieces. A fraction of a ‘g’ slices through the vacuum, bouncing off the edge of a ‘b’; the letters swirl in an endless brownium motion. She abandons her children into the cold, and does it repeatedly. There should be a law.


Flashfiction: The Shadow

I was walking Little Black Dog in the fields behind our house when I met the Shadow. It was dusk, no, dark, really, a half-light with a half-moon bright enough to pretend to see by. I had forgotten that the nights were getting earlier, again, and so, again, I was walking the dog in the dark. We had stumbled and cursed (me) and trotted gracefully (Little Black Dog) through the long tunnel made by tall hedges on each side of the footpath towards our usual field. The mud sucked at my boots, my arms flung out to help myself balance.

The steel of the gateway was cold, and I held it for the the Little Black Dog to pass. I dawdled into the field as the Little Black Dog became the Little Black Smudge as she streaked past me. I smiled at her, marveling that something so small could hold so much joy. Sometimes I am grateful that she holds enough for both of us. I made a rough circle round the field, away from the brooding hedges.

I nearly fell once or twice on a piece of rough ground, it all looked the same in the liminal light. Every now and then I called and my shadow dog streaked past me. I could not see her when she gets too far away, or too close to the hedge, but I could an hear her feet and saw her dark shape. Someone once asked me if I was afraid, alone on my night walks. I was baffled. My Little Black Dog is there, and her bravery makes mine superfluous.

I do not know when one smudge became two. Round and round they chased and played. At first, I could not make out its shape at all, sometimes it seemed tall and monstrous, sometimes tiny and cute. After a while it seemed to take on a similar shape to its playmate, and I assumed that I had become confused in the velvet dusk. It must be lost or a stray. I called to both of them, hoping that I could lure it closer to see if there was a collar. Although my girl circled close to me, the strange dog kept its distance.

When I again reached the gateway from the field, I held the gate open for longer. Little Black Dog trotted through, mind focused on her dinner. The shadow dog hung back in the field.

“Come on, Little one.” I invited.

The shadow slipped by me, and although it was very close I felt nothing against my leg. Little Black Dog led us all home, tail waving like a flag.

When we reached the doorway to my cottage, again the shadow dog hesitated, just outside the circle of light.

“Please come in with us, Little one.” I again invited, hoping that with warmth and food I could get close enough to find out if the little dog had an owner.

The shadow seemed to wait a second to make up its mind. For a moment it grew tall and broad as an oak at full strength, and wavered delicate as the breath of a child. But again, it became dog shaped, and trotted in mimicking the Little Black Dog.

I felt that I should scream. In the light, the shadow dog was not a dog at all, but a dog shaped void. It sniffed my hand and curled up by the fire on the rug. I froze, waiting for the fear. But as Little Black Dog snuggled alongside the shadow, it did not come. The creature looked at me without eyes, and I could not turn it out again in the cold and dark. I shut the door, slowly, and filled two bowls with dogfood that night.

The shadow has been living with us for some time now. It settled in well, and I have never been afraid of it, not even when it ate the postman. I said a big firm NO, as when Little Black Dog tried to eat a chicken, and it seemed contrite. Certainly the replacement postman is still with us. Ah, it’s beginning to get dark, I had better go for a walk…

Raking leaves

Raking leaves


Ivy drapes the walls of my house

turning green turning gold turning red turning

glittering filament

on dirty-white washed walls

until one morning –

listening to a signal that I cannot hear

–          it all falls down

knickers and lace and silk

decorating the white gravel and green grass

leaving my poor house naked and pale and blushing


Tim, welding his wedding band

firmly taking me in hand with the leaves

–          how I love him firm!

Leaves a rake and gloves for me

I reluctantly use them

the poet in me sad to rake up the gems,

squashing them in the dark of a green bin

I take too long

admiring the jewels of my ivy leaves

ruby, amber, garnet, pearl,

the leaves are a blend of precious stones

decorated with a shower of diamonds.

I leave some adorning my jade grass

shhh, don’t tell Tim

–          or maybe do

–          how I love him cross!


Despite their bold colours and brazen shape

my gems will fade in a few hours

leaving brown smudges on my grass

and in my gravel.

their beauty gone for another year.

I wish I was content they will return

like my nan, sure that the seasons will turn

bringing with them my jewels

but I am always afraid

that this is their last

their beauty snuffed out

by the winter.

Venalfaxine withdrawl – the song!

My talented and wonderful friend Jame Whyte turned my poem into a song! its sort of HipHop / Jazz.


Venalfaxine (effexor) withdrawal in poem form

Fucking Venal


ten years the bitch

has been

fucking up my


time to make it

stop wean

myself off venal


buts it fights

drunk mean

hangs on its teeth

white clean

monkey-wrenched my

mind machine

reality a strobe-lit

wax dream

inner-ear set to

max lean

dizzy thought won’t

stay seen

Evil fucking venal


 (on the plus side the weird OCD meant that all my drawers are neat and organised…)

Flash fiction: The Box

A piece I wrote and performed at the Warwick Words Flash Slam! Enjoy. 

I am running. The heat spirals and shivers around my powerful muscles, I feel the whip of the long grass against my hide, the dry dirt against my paws. I can run forever, I ache with fatigue, but here, I can never hit the walls of the box. The sun is a huge yellow eye staring across the plain.  I can see prey, and snarl, the naked apes running and screaming, dropping ice-cream in their panic. I snap with my large teeth, but they jump out of the way at the last second…

I always wake up. I cannot stay in my yellow hot dreamworld, I wake up into the grey cold of the box, where the sun is only visible part of the day, and then it fails to break through the smog. I was born here in the box, and I will end here. There used to be another with me, a soft warm rumble, a sandy heap of muscle, claws, fur. But no longer. A naked ape with some dead-prey comes three times a day. I used to pretend the dead-prey was alive and play with it but I cannot be bothered anymore. I can walk thirteen paces from side to side, and seven from the back to the bars. Most days I count my steps. I keep going until I cannot pace anymore, and I can sleep again and go to the hot dreamworld. I lose count after nine hundred odd steps and I have to start again. One two three four…

A lot of the naked apes come to stare at me.  They smell sick, like dirt and iron and milk. I ignore them now. They just stare and walk away. One day a smaller naked ape came to stare. I paid her no mind. I was counting. Three hundred sixty eight, three hundred sixty nine, three hundred seventy… She stayed longer than most. The next day she came again. It was after noon feed, before night feed. Not many other naked-apes about.  She started to walk with me. No one had done that before.

She came every day. She walked with me and made noises at me. I came closer and closer to the bars, and so did she. We kept pace with each other on either side of the bars on the box. After a while I didn’t bother to count when she was there. One day, when we had walked for a while I stopped and looked at her. She looked at me. Naked face and furred, we stared separated by a mere pace and the bars of the box. She was short and we were eye to eye.

She started telling me about her very own box. The one she lived in. It wasn’t concrete and iron like mine, but it was there.  It was small and pink, and polite. It was no trouble. Every day it opened for a few minutes and then she came to me and we walked. She came every day for a long time, through hot times and cold times. She got taller.

One day she stopped coming.

Eight hundred twenty four eight hundred twenty five eight hundred twenty six….


Peril Entry: The Peril of the Jab

{quick note: I have probably got things wrong here. Please tell me if you have enough spoons. *for longer verision see first comment}




  1. a sharp poke or stab
  1. a quick short blow, esp (in boxing) a straight punch with the leading hand
  1. (informal) an injection ⇒ polio jabs


Melissa stared at her new baby girl, Amy. She was so beautiful. Big brown eyes that seemed to be smiling even when she was grizzling. Her brown skin like her daddies, but soft and tender. Melissa wanted to cry.

The time for the jab was near. She didn’t want to do it. But she had had it, her mum, her sisters, her friends. They all had had the jab, and now, it was time to decide for her own little one.

Tom wanted to do it. It would make Amy normal, he said. No one kept the kinky hair, not now there was a permanent solution. Melissa herself had beautiful hair, so black and silky and straight. Long too. He loved to twine his hands in it, to stroke it, let the strands slip through his fingers. It was her best feature, he said. Didn’t she want that beautiful hair for Amy? If she didn’t have the jab, well what then? Why make her life that much harder? What about school? She would be bullied, called nappy head and worse. And work. Natural hair was not professional. It was just a jab. One shot, then smooth and flowing hair. She would fit in.

Melissa knew all this. But a big part of her screamed that her girl was beautiful. As she was. That her hair was part of her, her heritage, that it was beautiful in itself. Soft, with short curls that would stand like a halo about her baby’s head. The hair would have framed her face, make her cheekbones higher and her dark eyes stand out more. The tiny curves would reflect the light in a thousand waves, like glitter. It would smell of cocoa butter. It was part of who she was, and isn’t it strange that they are all post-racial now, but that beautiful hair just happens to look more like white people’s hair.

The time for the jab was soon, Melissa had to decide. It had to be done before the child was nine months, or it didn’t take.

She booked the appointment. It felt like another defeat.


Next noun of peril:


Ka (kɑː )


(in ancient Egypt) an attendant spirit supposedly dwelling as a vital force in a man or statue