Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Good news everyone! My prose poem - The Astronaut, was commended in the Leaf Books micro fiction competition! It will be published as part of their winners collection! I've read some of the work that will be included in the book and it's of an incredibly high standard. So if you'd like to purchase a copy, you can do so here:


None of the proceeds will go to me, but it's definitely a step in the right direction!

My poem 'Accordion' was also accepted for the first edition of Trashed Organ, a Newcastle-based Zine which brings together poets, musicians and artists into one lovely big creative ball. More information can be found here:


I will put both poems up on this blog after they have been published. Watch this space.

Sunday, 22 May 2011


That summer, I cut my hair to an awkward length. I found a pair of blunt scissors in a drawer in the dormitory kitchen, and simply removed the excess. All that dead wood – that thicket that fell over my breasts and back – was clipped away, until the blunt bristles skimmed the nape of my neck. My discarded plumage lay limp on the linoleum, and the memories with them had been plucked from my mind.

It was odd to feel the summer's breeze on my shoulders then, a violation from which I had previously been protected. My shroud had been shortened by circumstance. In its place, a sheet of spines now lay, pins flowing from my temples, puncturing the past until it died in my hands. So, with the vulnerable skin of my throat freshly exposed, I was sent home, hoping to find new solitude in my disguise.

The house looked just the same that summer. Red brick walls and iron gutters stood squarely at the end of the terrace, rhododendron and foxglove clamouring for space against the austere façade. The little pond - no more than a puddle due to the lack of rain - was punctuated by the soft fleshy commas of tadpoles. The old ford sierra sagged in the heat of the mid-morning sun like a damp rag on a washing line. The door to the house was still blue, the paint still peeling.

Victor sat on the steps that led up to the porch, staring coldly at me as I descended the path. He was smoking one of those filthy roll-up cigarettes and as I approached, his face clouded with confusion. A small, ugly ridge appeared between his brows as he recognised me.

I felt the jagged whiskers of his chin bruise my cheek before he had even stood to greet me, and each time I moved my head, the brush of my own hair would dig into my throat like pins into the soft flesh of a jumper. His eyes penetrated me, searching out my motives. My nerve flickered and he smiled.

Of course, he knew why I had done it. And with his knowledge, Victor seemed more dangerous to me than he had in January, when he had stroked my face and told me that he loved me. The jagged edges that sat just below my ears would not dissuade him, and I had been foolish to think that they might. Next year, I would shave my head.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Character-driven sketch

“Oh my God! You won't even believe it Cherise! I'm still shaking now! He was here! It was that film star. Yes, he was hear when you were on your lunch!

You know, that bloke who was in that film with the woman with the big face. Oh, you know, the one who does charity work and has five children from six different husbands. No, she wasn't here. But that film star was. The one that was in that film with the big-faced woman. You know, that film about the farmer and the ski instructor. We saw it at the cinema. There were loads of explosions, and this film star takes his shirt off in the middle of the supermarket.

No, not Asda's up the road! I mean in the film he takes his shirt off. The film about the ski instructor. Yes, the guy with the tiny eyes. Yes, he was here! In the shop! He ordered a coffee and everything!

No no, you're thinking of his brother. The one who never married, if you catch my drift. No, I mean the one who was in loads of films. Like the one about the man who turns into a three piece suite. Or the one about the aliens with five heads. And he played the middle head. You know, he has a band too. They were in the charts last year with that song that goes, di dum di dum. You remember? The drummer of the band had no toenails. Surely you remember him?No, the drummer wasn't here. But the guy who was in the film about the ski instructor was.

He was absolutely dreamy! Much taller than he seems on the telly. And he'd grown a bread. Really tangled and matted it was. I think it was a disguise, so the public wouldn't recognise him. But I knew who it was straight away. I went straight up to him to take his order. Honestly Cherise, I was more nervous than when I saw Jimmy Saville in Ikea!

He must have been researching a film role. No, not Jimmy Saville! This film star. What's his name. American guy. Though he hid his accent pretty well. Yes, he must be doing a film over here, because he was trying out his Glaswegian accent on me. But I knew it was him. He must be researching a film role. Why else would he be in Chiswick? He must have been working hard too, because he smelt really musky. You know, like he'd been working out with a personal trainer or something for hours. He must have to take his shirt off in his new film. He was looking a lot thinner than he does in the films. Though I suppose he must be playing a down and out. I think it's called method acting. You probably haven't heard of it.

We discussed his films. We, I spoke and he listened. I think he must have found it refreshing to meet someone who knows about art and culture like I do. He said he was just in the café to avoid the rain and that he hadn't any money. I knew what he meant. He was hiding out from the paparazzi and he'd probably left his wallet in the limo. I got him a coffee and a muffin. I'll pay for them later Cherise!

We were getting on so well, so I asked him for his number. He said he didn't have a phone. Which is a bit weird. But then I suppose he's one of these celebrities that's into those weird cult-y religions where you shun worldly possessions and give all your money to charity. His clothes were certainly second hand, and really, it's nice to see successful people giving back to the community. Honestly Cherise, I'd like to see you give some of your Addidas knock-offs to Oxfam one day – give a little back you know?

Still, I got his autograph. Three times. Well, my little cousins would kill me if they knew I'd been talking whatshisname without getting his autograph! I was just nipping into my bag to get my phone so I could have a picture with him, when Elise shouts at me to clean the milk frother. When I came back out the front, he was gone. I suppose he had a showbiz premier to get to. Shame really, we were getting on so well.

Yes Cherise, that guy with the blue eyes and the black hair. He was in that film about that horse that could tap dance. Yes! That's the one. God Cherise, you're finally up to speed! I've only been talking about him for the past five minutes!

You what? He died? Four years ago? The guy in the film about the ski instructor? Are you sure? Well, yes, I suppose a helicopter accident is nothing to joke about. But are you sure we're talking about the same person?


So, who just signed my left breast?”

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Ironically comparing an obese nation's obsession with food to a warped religious fevour

Worship at the Church of gluttony,
Where hymns are bacony and prayers are buttery.
Chocolate and crisps are never missed,
By pious fizzy-drink recidivists.
Burgers and beer are our deities,
A parishioner's badge is diabetes.
We live in abhorrence of the diet,
Only sticky buns will our spirit quiet.
Eating just to fill the hole,
Till biscuit crumbs encrust our souls.
Our minds shrink down as our stomachs swell,
But an empty buffet is our hell.