Those eyes

It isn’t ‘natural’, I know,

To be this close and, bending low,

Inhale, exhale, and match her breath,

Without the glass, that’s likely death.


And yet, meeting those eyes, sunk deep,

Breathing in, out, it’s no great leap

To feel like we were born the same

And just grew up with different names.


Some daft mistake at birth, we’re told.

The glass is gone – so, feeling bold,

I step into those ancient arms

And all at once, it’s all so calm.


A heart that’s beating just like mine

Starts thumping faster as we climb.

The ropes are branches, walls are trees –

It’s not just her who’s been set free.


With our long-limbed dexterity

We eat, and rest and simply be

Together, triumphant, we are here.

And all glass walls will disappear.


What’s this? I’m gently nudged aside.

I’ve had my time on this fair ride.

But deep and true I know I can

Believe in an orangutan.

Scared of the what

(based on a true story)

When I was a nipper, a bit younger than you,
I wasn’t afraid of things that went ‘boo!’.
Creepies and crawlies didn’t scare me one bit,
I once licked a slug – Mum had a fit!
Was I frightened of spiders? Or big kids in the park?
No way! I wasn’t even scared of the dark!

But there was one thing that set me a-quiver.
A certain creature that sure made me shiver…
“What was he like!?” I can hear you shout,
“Describe him to us so we can look out!”

Well my friends, I’m sorry to say,
This creature was smart, he gave nothing away.
He probably had big teeth and green eyes,
And he probably knew how to make little boys cry.
He probably dribbled and drooled everywhere,
And he could probably give anybody a scare.

But if you asked me to pick him out of a crowd,
I’d just have to guess, and that’s not allowed.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking, tucked up in bed,
“If I’d never seen him, why was I scared?”

This creature caused mischief with unseen glee,
And did two things that really spooked me:
One: he’d sing (but it didn’t sound nice),
Two: he’d make everything cold as ice.

When the sun went down, he’d start to moan,
He’d whistle and whimper, and grumble and groan,
He’d tap on the window and rattle the door,
I’m sure I could hear him cleaning his claws.

He had long chilly fingers, and long icy toes,
He’d creep right past you and blow on your nose!
He could make you shiver or go ‘brrr’ with your lips.
Try to catch him and he’d give you the slip.

His mission in life was to live in the house,
So he tries to sneak in, quiet as a mouse.
He lived in the garden and out in the shed,
But I knew that he’d rather be under my bed.

I hope you’re not too scared – I’m so pleased you came,
Are you ready to hear this creature’s name?
Promise not to call me daft?
Alright. This windy beast is known as the DRAUGHT.

So if a curtain rustled or he rattled the bins,
We’d shout, “Quick! Don’t let the draught in!”

Spooked by this beast, I’d have sleepless nights,
Any bangs, creaks or groans would give me a fright.
One evening, I told my mum what was wrong,
She chuckled, hugged me and then sang a song.

“My little pickle, don’t be scared,
My little pumpkin, we can prepare!
I’ve got an idea to keep out the draught,
My little pip-squeak, we’ll do it with craft!”

Mum’s idea was super-dooper
We were to make a draught-excluder!

The next morning mum sent me upstairs,
“Get lots of socks, don’t worry about pairs”.
We spent the morning drawing and cutting,
And the afternoon stitching and stuffing.

We finished by tea just in time for some cake,
I had my very own draught-busting snake!

That night, the draught crept up to my door
But there was Snakey, ready on the floor.
The pesky Draught didn’t stand a chance,
Snakey barely gave him a second glance.

These days we keep snakes all over the place,
Warmer, cosier – it really is ace.
Outside, the Draught still rattles the bins,
But I know for sure he’ll never get in!

A few Greek words

I love an adventure that creeps up and bites you.
Distracted by everyday nonsense you can be
caught unawares. Then, suddenly bam,
Passport in one hand, good book in the other, a bag on your back and it’s time to be gone.

I’d had a high week riding skywards on wisdom
So, sis by my side, we skipped through the rain.
London’s dampest affront couldn’t wash the grins off our faces
The deepest of friendships, the richest of times.

But not literally.
It’s with cheap cheerful tickets that we bolt to Victoria,
Pick up some food and bump our backpacks around.
Then ‘to Paris’ we’re summoned and it’s all of a sudden and we bundle aboard and we’re on our way.

To Paris. By bus.

A surreal midnight voyage, surely a dream
But surly Paris’ here too, ‘greeting’ the day.
The weather’s no better, greyness taps at the window.
Oh, god, please let me stay in this furnished cocoon!
These fellow adventurers , so silent so still.
My brothers, my sisters, how far we have come!
But as we stretch out the cricks, as we rattle and shake,
And rescue our packs from elbows and dampness.
In less than a minute we’re separate,

Our first French exchange is truly dismal.
Ems loses her nerve and just whispers ‘two’.
‘Two what’ sighs the French dude.
‘Tickets’ we mumble.
The disdain on his face as we stumble away.

We clock off the sites from fifty feet under
– the Bastille, the Louvre, ooohh the Champs-Elysee.
Impressed by the power, speed and girth of M1,
We respectfully roar into Gare du Lyon.

With two hours to spare and food on the mind
We take a stroll, then a walk, then a hike by the Seine.
We want proper coffee, and proper croissants,
At proper prices that won’t curl our toes in embarrassed compliance.
And you know what? We find it.
And it’s fantastic.
We scooch down by the river and breath steam from our cups.
A cormorant dives, sharing breakfast with us.
Joggers and dog walkers nod at our discretion.
Right now: we’re unstoppable.

From Paris to Milan. By train.

A little hollow eyed and giddy with our shared excitement of a life lived well, we pull ourselves on board the TGV.
Comfortably slotted into place I drop off almost instantly and wake to streaming views of French countryside.
Wonderful Ems has packed a feast of rice cakes, figs and parma ham.
We eat with gusto, carefully avoiding the eyes, knees and feet of the lanky young men opposite.
It’s like a school disco – boys on one side, girls on the other.
Inadvertent footsy here
And opposite a lady feeds her never silent brood.

The journey is long but we have compartmentalised activities to pass the time.
We read, play games, make stuff,
I write this – thinking of the future and the past and how they meet on top of us.

Milano-Garibaldi is our destination
– a strangely flat name that makes me think of Milton Keynes or Bradford.
The station is not much to speak of – a shiny replica of modern architecture,
but oh the people!
With their sleek coiffures and tucked in shirts and effortless high heeled saunters.
So with backpacks, day-old clothes and a map in hand we gawp and sigh our way to Centrale, along streets that alternate between back alleyed rustic charm and towering banks that reflect each other infinitely.

We picnic on olives and anchovies outside the station
– a little nervous of the night ahead, an overnighter with no cabin booked.
And so it with slight distraction that we enter cavernous Centrale.
And so it takes a step or two and even half a beat for our eyes to tell us of the grandeur of this place.
A sweeping staircase beckons (no escalators here), but instead we circle, chatter silenced, head resting on our packs.
It’s beautiful.
Humbled, we quietly climb the cool stone steps and emerge upon a plaza.

To be continued…

No name

Suddenly, thoroughly, utterly bored!

Why do I spend my time trying so hard?!

What madness this is! What folly, what strife!

This poxy half-backward, half-forward life.

One eye for nostalgia; one cast ahead

to somewhere that hasn’t been thoroughly bled

of all of the things that I kind of like –

Like trees, big skies, silence, black cats, and bikes.

My precious depressives

Ever so witty,
Ever so smart.
My precious depressives,
Keep falling apart.

Always so gentle,
Pulped to the core,
They love me so deeply,
They always want more.

Once, they were fearless,
Fought every fight.
But darkness keeps creeping,
And they need a light.

I’m not a hero.
They know that too,
This isn’t a game though,
So maybe I’ll do.