Sunday, 30 October 2016

Everything is Write

When you hold me everything is right. We are wonderful. It doesn’t matter what we do together, it is what we are together. I glide, you push, I slide. We enjoy the shapes of each other, the feel of each other and occasionally we create magic.
Oh, we’re not neat; I’m almost entirely illegible, often deliberately so. Well, everyone wants a bit of mystery in their lives, don’t they? I can’t have you reading me that easily. It’s not attractive to be an open book.
   We make so much. Sometimes it’s just a shopping list, but sometimes we capture a scrap of an idea or the shape of an emotion or a furied-out first draft.
   I have rivals. The laptop and I have an uneasy understanding. I am the beginning and he is the end. I’m the creation and he is the conclusion. I know I have to share you, can’t have me in your hand all the time. There are some that I find harder to forgive. You might be neater with a biro or pencil, but you’re a lot less free. I’m sliding and smudging and downright messy. And you love it.
   It’s because of my rivals I have to disappear from time to time. I’ll slip into unused pockets and to the bottom of bags quite deliberately. I enjoy your fevered hunts for me, I like that you have to grudgingly use others. I leave so that I’ll be missed, so that I remain special. But I’ll always come back to you and, oh, the reunions, how I dance in your hands.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Nursery Crime: How Are You My Friend?

Oh dear,
I fear
My friend
Is on the brink

Sparkle and sunshine
Overlay the grey,
A pretty disposition
Hides lying again

The veneer of good cheer
Has worn eggshell thin,
Cracked china laughter
Hints what’s within

I try to decide
If it’s my business to pry,
Break you with a well-aimed question
Or wait till you slide

As I observe I look I see
Your fa├žade fragmenting
To reveal
maggoty anxiety

A subtle nudge is all it would need;
You think I’m your friend
But its forensic intrigue
That draws me in

So paper over your cracks
And consider who surrounds you,
Now horses and men have left to
Fight more important wars

Circular thinkers can’t tell a fake
And only the desperate
Subconsciously take
A devil for a friend

Oh, I promise I’ll put you
Together again
But, my dear,
You’ll never be quite the same

Maybe I pushed you
And maybe you fell
But there’s nobody left here
And no one to tell.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


I know I’m one of a string, not the first, not the last, just the present. I know you silently compare me to my predecessors, unfavourably. I’m trying to mould to you, to fit but I’ll never be quite flexible enough.
We both tried. You were making an effort when you bought those expensive in-soles. I took your fluctuating weight in my stride. We both know I cost too much for you to discard me but it would be so much kinder to charity shop me for someone with less fussy feet, who wouldn’t always put me on with a quiet sigh. Who’d shine me on Sundays.
You were in love with your last ones and those before them, were distraught when their souls escaped your heavy trudging. With me you are making do. You think I’m not the right shape, well maybe I’m fine and you’ve just got weird feet. Your bloody feet; over-sensitive, under-arched, skinnying-away, bony, corpsy feet. Why don’t you have done with it and go barefoot?
Serves you right for buying me online, not even trying me on for size, like a mail-order bride, never quite like the photo. Just because I was the same make as your previous pairs, I’ve got my own personality and we, at the end of the day, are incompatible.
You’re making do but have you ever thought about me? I’m trapped, no escape. Long suffering, with you thrusting your horrible socked feet into me every day. Heavy-hearted, heavy-footed. God, I can’t wait to wear out.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Little Friend

Little tiny tortoise; so small, so perfect. You have hatched out of my Christmas stocking. Almost too fragile, too pretty to be put on. I shall carefully play with you even though you have a metal spike in your tail. Tortoise climbing over wrapping-paper mountains, slowly traversing the landscape of my bedspread.
   Gold and greying turquoise, the texture of your shell intrigues me. Amongst the toys and books and satsumas you stand out, you are special. My magpie eyes keeping coming back to you, after I open each other present. Jewellery is grown up, glamorous. My most sophisticated gift. I nod to myself. Father Christmas knows I am old enough not to spike myself on a broach. He is a wise man who knows my taste.
   Eventually I hear others stir; the house is waking up. I pin you onto my pyjamas and go and show you to Mummy.
* * *
Life is full of special things. The pink Parker pen I did all my exams with, the Christmas-cracker half-bitten red setter, the eraser I swapped with the boy from Blackheath, metal studded boots with swirling embroidery, that double-fringed haircut. Many are transitory, most disappear, tastes change and feelings are forgotten but somehow my tortoise travelled with me.
   My Mum remembers my tortoise. She remembers finding him and loving him and being so glad that I loved him too. I always feel strange when I think how much effort she put into our stockings and how Father Christmas took all the credit. We never thanked her.
   I’ve had three jewellery boxes, and that tiny tortoise went from musical ballerina, to fluorescent flowery number to the current plain wooden one. He always made the cut. I didn’t wear him until my forties; he finally fits with my sentiment and aesthetic or maybe I finally fit with his. Now he lives on my favourite jacket, fulfilling his purpose. He gets lots of compliments.