English, Poetry

Terms of Service: on a general Condition.

If you do not pay off the full amour outstanding;
If you make only the minimum paybacks each month;
If you lose your balance in full and on time:

For agreements made before 23 March 2011,
even if before the monthly duel date —
Unless you have a specific interest in the subject:

If you wear the minimum armour due 
and the breeches just for the duel date;
If a change is made to your state of grace:

If new insects are made or bees are unfurred;
If you are masked for this illustration either verbally, in writing or via email;
If you use it online, unless you have a special interest in loud men —

If your details are obtained and used without a console table;
If making a garment from a tank or building variety that supports ghastly laymen
(Of little interest, unless for military)

If there is a transcendence you do not recognise;
If you find that your existing credulity limit is insufficient for your needs;
If you are not happy with the way in which we handled your complacency:

You must take up your problem with us fist.
No man will work for your interests unless they’re his.

based on the First Direct Credit Card Terms & Conditions published in 2010

English, Poetry

Two tracks in a cornfield

most certainly from a tractor
or some other agriculture machine.

But could they not be
a roller-skater’s, skating with feet wide apart
or two cyclists riding down the hill side by side
or a man and his dog, a girl with a doll’s pram,
the hare and the hedgehog leaving a trace of their race

or just you and me, coming out of the forest
into the open fields after the harvest,
picking up leftover husks of grain

English, Poetry

Revealed: 18 questions that will help me find my life’s purpose, according to the internet

(a 2-minute read)

Closet, water closet — how are they related?
Why are all perfectly organised wardrobes monochrome?
What’s an easy way to make pinch pleat curtains?

How normal are my opinions on the chocolate that comes in chocolate boxes?
How to clean a litter box and keep it odour free?
How do I speed up the decluttering process?

How to know if I’m paranoid?
What is bitcoin and how do I buy it?
How to make slime?

Where am I right now?
What Manhattan neighbourhood is right for me based on my taste in food?
Why should I be extra nice to a new Mum?

Would I rather skip dinner or dessert?
Why are people who shower at night the right ones?
What historical event happened on my birthday?

What TV show ending annoyed the hell out of me?
Can I name the Jake Gyllenhall movie from just one screenshot?
Am I actually creative?

English, Poetry

Opening: a fantasy

the front of my body would peel back
like the lid on a tin of sardines, 
tightly crowded with the sundries 
that, together, bear a name

that I never chose, never
took personally, don’t recognise except
when I think of my chemistry teacher
who bore the same name

or when nobody’s around me
and I listen to Destiny’s Child,
or when you say it
with feeling

English, Poetry

Memo from Madrid

The sky a true cliché —
the easy open door—
the swimming pool in lunch breaks—
the dinners shared with neighbours.

This is her one true love. 
No sea. Tiled plazas. People. Heat.
“To trace her life back to its adolescent source.”
Your spare room’s not a mute defeat.

(inspired by John Koethe)

English, Poetry

Incandescent Interiors

Another 2017 project with the writers’ group 26 Characters was focused on places and spaces.

The idea was to write…

about somewhere everyday, overlooked or unusual, and to let the writer find their own space.

And, in the best tradition of 26, our writers were given a randomly selected letter of the alphabet as a starting point. They chose a place that began with that letter and wrote about it. Somewhere that held a special interest for them, somewhere, perhaps, they loved or hated. The more specific the better.


We also teamed up with artists, musicians, designers and photographers to create additional media to go with the piece.

I decided to write about IKEA Reading, which had had to be closed just after it first opened — because a terrible accident had taken place. Holger Schüler created a haunting piece of music to go with my villanelle.

Delve into the entire project here or click here to go straight to our work.

A drawn map of where my grandmother lived
English, Poetry

“Where are you from?”

In 2017, I wrote and edited creative responses to that question – as part of the project 26 Memory Maps.

As Neil Baker explains on the 26 website, the project revolved around the following challenge:

First, create a “Memory Map” of the place you are from. It might be a rubbish pencil sketch with little artistic merit. Or a beautifully crafted topographical masterwork. Either way, it will be fascinating – because it is uniquely yours.

Second, write a “memoir” about that place. To provide a focusing constraint, it must be exactly 150 words. Many of the writers also recorded a reading of their work.

Third, tell us about your creation journey. How did you find the map-making and memoir-writing process? This must be exactly 100 words.

And as a creative variation…. if you like, sit with someone else and make their map instead. Then write their memoir.

View the entire project here — or read my contribution here.

English, Poetry

Island in the Sun

There’s a video gone viral about our shared DNA
despite a sea of separating channels: 

lost eyelashes are reminders that you instantly clear
like iPhone notifications — instead, drifting 

through perpetual Monday as you try
to stay untouched by the urgency, to keep

the Gary Glitter of a 1980s Saturday night,
the comfort of shepherd’s pie, of not thinking

that even under your toenail
there’s a merry-go-round on the village green.

Speaking is silver, TED Talks are golden gate bridges.
So let’s stay soft. Be impeccable with our words.

Make the hostile environment an illusion.
We all do our best till we’re leaving.