She asks which soup I’d like.
Decisions have been made faster.
When to ask her on a date,
when to plant a kiss,
when to ask if she’d like to live
in a flat together, to share a sofa,
a television, a bed every night.

Each thought required no thinking.

It’s the way she reads them.
The soft syllables,
a hunger in her voice.
I can’t decide.
Oxtail. Cream of mushroom.

Red Rex

There’s a photograph of three men stood under a tall, redwood tree.
They hold a banner above their heads. In thick, black letters,
It reads: Stop the chop! Keep the giants! Red Rex lives!
Six eyes stare deep through the lens that speak
Determination, resilience and strength.
Although the three men took on their duties,
To wars, to work, to women,
Although the three men returned together,
To friends, to family, to feed,
Although the three men succumbed and fell
To old age, to accident, to cancer,
The grainy photograph remains on my mantlepiece,
And the tree remains the king of the forest.

Saturated Colour

I’ve just finished The Doors of Perception + Heaven and Hell by Aldous Huxley. The book is incredibly detailed about what it means to really appreciate and understand something – anything- we come across. Huxley explored this after taking mescaline; the values and ideas presented were thought provoking and still are highly relevant, with or without being under the influence. I underlined and saved a lot of quotes from it – it’s very well written – and this one stood out the most. If you’ve thought of giving it a read, I’d recommend it. It’s heavy, it did require quite an awake and caffeinated mind to absorb but it’s short, inspiring and greatly illustrates what art does for us.

Familiarity breeds indifference. We have seen too much pure, bright colour at Woolworth’s to find it intrinsically transporting. And here we may note that, by its amazing capacity to give us too much of the best things, modern technology has tended to devaluate the traditional vision-inducing materials. The illumination of a city, for example, was once a rare event, reserved for victories and national holidays, for the canonization of saints and the crowning of kings. Now it occurs nightly and celebrates the virtues of gin, cigarettes, and toothpaste.”

Nesbit Likes: Grass by Carl Sandburg

Perhaps a sombre poem for a Friday feature but it certainly got the creative juices flowing. For those staying in to write tonight, it may bring some inspiration to the evening of verse moulding. It was a first find and a first read for me and I think it’s brilliant.
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
                                          I am the grass; I cover all.


And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
                                          What place is this?
                                          Where are we now?


                                          I am the grass.
                                          Let me work.

See the cat? See the cradle?


“When a [person] becomes a writer, I think [they] take on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed.”

I’ve just finished Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and it was brilliant. The quote above really stuck with me and I think, while there is irony in the context of it being said, it encompassed what the writing profession was really about.

The Boss

The Boss – We’ve all got a boss. Sometimes they just try to fit in but can’t shake off what earning their title has made them.

The Boss

Values, service, desked elbows,
Red, raw and sore,
He holds them close to his sides,
And keeps one eye on the door,
The other on the clock, eager for it to reach four
And taste the fresh air outside.

They gather in the hall,
Receding hairlines, ties off and all,
Double doors slide, wearing their pride
“Seniors and peers, the weekend is finally here!”

Sleeves ups, earrings round, now it’s time to hit the town.
Unleash the hounds! Five shots for five pounds,
They talk about work for a change,

His cuffs unbuttoned, his collar releases his chin,
He holds his pint close to him, calls the beer piss and grim,
But to his mouth he brings the rim,
And downs the golden lager.

His speech lacks formality, his tongue hiccuped and slurred,
He tries to speak the common word, jokes and banter, bitter, absurd,
He calls the technician a skinny nerd,
And laughs the hardest.

His dart soars and nails the 180,
He calls his team the best of mates he’s
Had and glad he holds the top score,
Wants to play one more
But follows the herd out the door.

His ring comes off, as before, with ease,
Now he’s up for a bit of tease,
Without the guilt.
Holding his glass as a hilt
At his waist, a blunt blade,
His best efforts to persuade
Anyone drunk enough to see past
The man who sits alone at lunch.

A platoon leader in his eyes,
All for honesty without the lies,
A person no one could ever despise,
The one who has his own desk.

But you misinterpret what he meant
All of your awareness has been spent
On an image waiting compliment,
They’re calling you David Brent!
Which is highly evident
Because you dance like a cabbage.

You’re the backdrop to every photo,
Keeping your voice quiet and low
When talking about people you know,
There’s a quiet mutiny against the CEO
because you have your own desk.

And your every effort and every try,
Has made your mouth hungry and dry,
Your thought is lost and you seek the food
To bring you back into the mood
For attempt number two.

Believe or not, she’s taken.
You’re massively poor and mistaken
To think you were breaking
The ice.
It’s not that easy to be nice when you’ve
not spoken more than a ‘Good Morning’ to her.

Monday, values back in place,
Returns to his confided space,
Finishing coffee at a pace,
To gather by the vendor.
To catch up, converse and hear the mess
Of everyone’s attempt at success.
But you’re just there, like the press
To comment and asses
What they’ve done.

Jokes are lost, emails sent
“Next time, let’s not invite Mr. Brent
And everyone can come to mine.”

His tie is collared and his collar tight,
He’s going home late tonight.
Teeth are sparkling, white and clean,
The rage against the fax machine.
His sleeves are down, headache and frown,
Forehead almost facing the ground.
His words mechanical, far from cynical.
Nothing more than computer bleets
As the working week repeats.

The Drought

“I said goodbye to my Father today. Never got on with the man, to be honest. I probably did, once, when I was younger. Never considered him family. But for raising me up, for the shelter and food, and for my first car, I felt it was necessary to see him and thank him before he signed off.”

“I’m sorry to hear.”

“Left me with some last words.”

“What did he say?”

“You remember where we used to sit under that bridge? We took down big crates of Hollor’s and drank them all, lit up a big fire and tossed the empty bottles into the river? We tried to smash ’em on the far bank? We – we never reached it. Every single one sank. I think we went there every Sunday for seven months. Never missed a single Sunday, not until you had Joey, we stopped doing it after that. You being a dad and all.”

“I remember drinking with you every Sunday, of course.”

“One day, Father told me he could drop me off at the station. I was going up to visit Parker, this was before he got cancer. I agreed, you know, my car was still busted from Marcus slamming his bat into it. On the way, he took me to the bridge instead. Now, this was in ’82, back during the drought. And I knew I was in trouble when I saw the bottom of the river. The mud. The sand. There was a mountain of beer bottles that never got caught in the current. Instead, they were piled against a thick, concrete ridge on the river bed. There were hundreds of them, hundreds. And he knew half, if not more, were finished by myself and then tossed into the river.”

“He parked the car and told me to get out. He took me to the edge, right onto the black spot where our barrel fires scorched the earth, and he spoke to me in a very calm voice. “Remember kid, when I was never home? You were always angry at me. I was paying bills, you know. Paying for your tuition with Mr. Ronald, paying for your piano lessons, paying for you to be social. I paid for you to have occupation in your life so that in your life, you could get an occupation. I gave you the chance to be someone. But all I see now is a river bed. No water, nothing flowing, no current. Just dirt. Don’t come back until this river is full as are you, with talent and prosperity. I’m don’t expect you to.”

“Jesus, that’s quite dramatic. Just for drinking on a Sunday?”

“Every Sunday. He was a hard man. Strict, disciplined type. I still have the scars from sneaking sweets after dinner. ”

“How’d he know we’d been down there?”

“I guess he followed me one night. Probably thought nothing of it at first, kids being kids, underage drinking isn’t the worst thing he could find me doing. But seeing how often we’d done it when the drought kicked in, polluting the river and all, not a happy man afterwards. He probably knew as well we’d pissed into the river whilst drinking them. No respect for nature, as he called it. Anyway, didn’t see him for a week. Then a month. Then 25 years. I knew I’d see him again. I wanted to show him.”

“Show him?”

“That someday I would get an occupation, you know? I would get a job. Get a wife. Have kids. Get bonuses. Get a promotion. Wear a suit, wear a tie, shine my shoes, sit on a fat wallet in my office chair in my skyscraper, go to meetings, pitch ideas, talk business and make jokes by the water cooler. I would get what he prepared me for. I would have the water flowing in that river again.”

“So what did he say when you saw him? His last words?”

“He said, ‘I can still see the riverbed.’ I hate him for it.”


“Because he was right.”