Sunday, 29 April 2012

Liaison 02

You wrap your arms around me
And I'm breathing hard and fast.
I'm impatient for your touch now
But I want our time to last.

Your fingers trace in circles
And I feel my muscles tense.
Though life round us is confused
This, at least, makes sense.

The feeling's transcendental,
Perfect pleasure held aloft.
While lost in bliss, a voice intrudes
“For Christ's sake, just clear off!”

They told us to make love not war.
They didn't seem impressed though,
When we tried to heed their own advice
On the fish counter at Tesco.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

28 Sonnets Later - Collection Published

In February 2012, I was asked to take part in a cool project with three brilliant Norwich-based poets: Andy Bennett, Adam Warne and Russell J Turner. The aim was simple: four poets, 28 days, one sonnet per day. It meant that each writer had to come up with a totally new and original sonnet every four days. 

We started out on a blog, but soon, Deadbeat Press had offered to publish all 29 sonnets (we forgot it was a leap year) in a collection. That collection had its launch party last night and is now  available to buy from the Deadbeat Press website:

The most exciting thing for me was the fact that Luke Wright, the poet, writer and organiser of the poetry arena at Latitude Festival, wrote the foreword to the collection. I've admired Luke's poems for a long time, so it was amazing to think that he read some of mine! He describes me as 'a rhyming stand-up' and 'perpetually confused by the modern world'. So pleased. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


I wait for you all afternoon,
My flesh is moist with sweat.
Silk sheets crease beneath me.
What I want, I can't have yet.

You slowly slide in close to me,
Our limbs are intertwined.
And though I cannot say the words
Ours is a love divine.

My skin ignites with perfect lust
And all my fears, I shed.
And as we writhe, a voice exclaims,
“Oi! Get off that bed!”

Though young love's a splendid thing,
Context is all, I fear.
Perhaps meeting in John Lewis
Was not the best idea.

Save the Goth!

I've come to speak to you today,
Of a rare and noble beast.
They're threatened with extinction,
Their numbers have decreased.

Once they roamed through shopping malls
But now are rarely seen.
This situation's dire,
It's the worst we've ever seen!

So we've got to raise some money,
or the species might be lost.
We're going to captive breed them:
the Lesser-Spotted Goth.

Their plumage is astounding,
Bright black with a purple hue.
Though females have been known to have
Pink, blue or white fur too.

They are a gentle, noble breed,
With eerie white complexions.
They don't fight for mates or territory
As they just can't face rejection.

In truth, they are a fragile lot.
We must offer them protection!
They'll die out soon without our help
So put a quid in our collection!

They used to be quite common
Around the library
Now there are but few of them
What caused such tragedy?

There are scientists who think that
Invasive species are to blame.
Since the Pro-Emo laws of ninety four
Goths haven't been the same.

But both Goth sexes look alike
Each with lipstick and long hair.
And confusion over who is what
Affects each breeding pair.

They wear heavy clothing all year round –
Global warming isn't helping –
Perhaps the Goths aren't disappearing
But, instead, are melting?

They're important for the ecosystem,
For the townies who feed on them.
Our market towns will fall apart
With no Goths to hang around them!

So can you see why we're concerned?
It's the worst case seen in ages.
And captive Goths aren't cheap to keep
We'll need a few specialised cages.

Each enclosure painted black
With posters of the Cure.
We pump Rammstein in so they'll relax
We'll save them this way, I'm sure!

So come on, cough up all your dough!
Saving the Goth makes sense.
If we don't, then the Hipsters will overrun!
Do you really want that on you conscience?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Poetry Rivals Competition 2011

Last night I was lucky enough to perform at the Poetry Rivals Event as one of the fifty finalists for the 2011 competition. The final was sponsored by the publishing company Bonacia ltd, and first prize was a chance to publish a collection of poetry (or walk away with a cheque for £1,000!)

The standard of finalists was so high, with professional poets standing side by side with first time writers. The themes and styles of poetry were so diverse and accomplished, and the judges - Suli Breaks, Helen Mort, Mixy and Tim Clare - had a tough job on their hands.

In the end, Vanessa Kisuule's beautiful poem scooped the grand prize. Her work focused on her relationship with her Nigerian grandmother and the language barrier between them which meant that Vanessa would never really know her nan. The poem was insightful, rhythmic, emotionally-charged and superbly performed and she thoroughly deserved the prize money.

Dan Simpson scoped third prize with his poem about mathematics and love. Dan's poem was funny and charming, and packed with puns and excellent word-play. He performed it perfectly and really engaged with the audience. 

My poem, Self Service Seduction, came second, which was so amazing, given the high standard of entries. I was one of only two people with a comedy poem, which is always a little nerve-racking, but I'm so grateful that the judges liked it! I was so nervous performing my piece on stage, and I didn't expect to be placed at all. Every single poem read on the night was worthy of a prize, but I was really pleased with my performance. (Although, the mirror at the back of the room gave me a less than welcome view of my own face-pulling skills!) I feel like I'm becoming increasingly more comfortable performing in front of audiences, which can only be a good thing.

The poem is below, let me know what you think!

Self Service Seduction

Press her touch screen,
touch her dials,
a velvet-voiced vixen,
with artificial feminine wiles.
You've got your favourite,
the one by the door,
you've tried to keep away,
but always go back for more.
She's a dogmatic dominatrix,
in tones of harsh insistence,
she'll mock your prowess,
'please wait for assistance.'
If you go too fast, she gets quite cross,
she's impatient if you're slow,
and if you treat her badly,
the whole shop has to know.
She's a temperamental nightmare,
a machine that's hell-conceived,
and her obsession with the clubcard
has to be seen to be believed!
You've tried to live without her,
but real assistants aren't as great,
and there's something weirdly satisfying
in the way she makes you wait.
She's a supermarket sauce-pot,
she makes you feel inferior,
But the way she beeps so teasingly
makes you long for her interior.
You want to put something unexpected
into her bagging area.
It's self-service seduction,
a plain and simple fact,
And since you were caught with your tongue in her coin slot,
you won't be invited back.

Friday, 20 April 2012


Look, William. (It is William, isn't it?)
Without nudity, this film just won't be a hit.
Can't Lady Macbeth show a flash of her tit?
Can't you write a sex scene? (And make sure it's well lit.)
There must be some action, do you catch my drift?
Maybe Banquo and Duncan could have a gay tryst?
Like Broke Back Mountain, with a spectral twist.
Audiences love it when two grown men kiss!
If you'd rather not tweak it, let's read the next play:
You've set it in Denmark, can we call it LA?
This dialogue's terrible! Hamlet talks in cliché!
And Ophelia's death means we'll lose the 12A.
And there's far too much soliloquizing.
(Mad monologue muttering that'll need revising.)
A cartoon pet buddy is what I'm advising.
Perhaps a large talking cat? Get the CGI guys in!
Othello looks good, but could be made better:
If he were a robotic cyborg with a mindless vendetta.
Add an alien love interest and you won't regret her.
Do we really need to follow the script to the letter?
Of all of your work, I think I like Twelfth Night the best,
But can we give the whole “girl dressed as boy” thing a rest?
(It was poorly received in the audience tests.)
I can tell from your face that you're less than impressed.
Ok: make Shylock a zombie, who hungers for meat
And Antonio our hero, who he'd just love to eat.
(Though all reference to Jews I insist we delete;
Your blatant racism must take back seat.)
Not keen on that? Right, well, this one needs rehashing,
There's potential and fire and plenty of passion,
But the names of your stars are a little old-fashioned.
So for Romeo and Juliet, read: Chantelle and Ashton.
Much Ado About Nothing needs vampire hoards!
And King Lear with explosions will smash box office records!
Porno versions of The Tempest simply must be explored!
(Some wordier scenes we will have to ignore.)
William? Don't go! You have so much to gain!
You've just got to play by the rules of our game.
We could give you such power and money and fame!
Fine! Go! But you won't work in this town again!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Disapproval Disguised as Concern

I see men in cut-off trousers,
And girls in hotpants too.
Their teeth are all a-chatter
And their legs are turning blue.
And though it's not my business,
My face, with rage, contorts.
It's only bloody April!
It's far too cold for shorts!
They're determined not to heed me.
(Though their skin is chapped and frozen.)
I see culottes and swimming trunks
And even lederhosen!
It's bad enough in Summer time
When dress codes are thrown out.
The high street looks like Bondi Beach
(But for the sunburned and the stout.)
And even though I shouldn't say,
These things that I have thought,
I cannot help exclaim out loud:
It's far too cold for shorts!
A skinny lass with willowed limbs,
The teens with knobbly knees.
You must understand, I'm not a prude,
I'm just worried that they'll freeze!
The bigger bloke, in too-tight trunks;
His muffin-top resplendent.
A premature and foul eyesore
That might make me drug-dependent.
I do not wish to see tattoos
blurred on fleshy thighs.
I don't want to look at goose-bumped pins
But I can't avert my eyes!
I will not keep this to myself,
I must share, with you, my sorrow.
For, when the knees appear, my dear,
Midriffs are sure to follow.
My mouth is numbed with horror,
But these facts, I can report:
It's only bloody April!
It's far too cold for shorts!
I'd rather keep the Spring demure
And I could do with some support.
Isn't anything sacred any more?
It's far too cold for shorts!