There’s no question about the origins of this one. At 18, I had what I would label my first ‘serious’ relationship. I thought I was in love, despite all the difficulties, and this was simply the result of a weekend with O ending. I was such a melodramatic teenager.


Stripped of my wings
I’m grounded –

The nocturnal void
Cannot compare
To my empty arms.

I sought no release
From your chains
Yet was granted bitter freedom:
No release for the enchanted.


Assumed Dignity

My therapist (T) has tried to convince me that this poem betrays my ‘true’ views on the world and expectations of it. It may be very deeply subconsciously, but I remain unconvinced.


She steps into place,
Her heart beating faster than ever before.
She thinks of her loves,
Impatiently waiting out there for her,
Hidden from her view.
She sees the light change
And suddenly she can see,
But is blinded by the glare.
Her mind goes blank
And all she can think of
Are the people staring back at her,
Her lip quivers,
Her breaths shorten,
She trembles
And feels somewhat outside consciousness.

As if treading on glass,
She stumbles forward
Almost to the edge,
Almost falling.
Her mouth opens,
She inhales hastily.

Snapping back into life
She hears the music start,
Kneels to look into their eyes
And feels the first dollar against her waist.


I went to an expensive boarding school, but not from a rich background. I had always gone to private school, thanks to a lot of hard work from my parents, but I had never particularly enjoyed it, so when I had the opportunity to go to a fancy public school with both a discount and a scholarship, I couldn’t protest, nor could I fit in once I arrived. I made a few good friends, some of whom I still keep 7 years after leaving school, but for the most part I spent 5 years feeling out of place and unwanted.


When I go back to school
I disappear
And a vacuum replaces me.
Ignored by all I sit and stand,
Abhorred by my surroundings.
I try to speak,
My words come out
And your blank faces show me I’ve achieved nothing.
Thank you, friends, for ignoring me so.
I’ll never forget it,
You already have.


I am a film lover. I did a degree in Film Studies, I am an aspiring screenwriter and this week I am getting my second tattoo, depicting the origami unicorn from ‘Blade Runner’. It has been one of my very favourite films for years, ever since my father took me to a special ‘Blade Runner’ day at the BFI for my 17th birthday and I saw it on the big screen for the first time. This poem, if my memory is correct, was written shortly after that day, inspired by (and written while listening to) a track on the special edition ‘Blade Runner Trilogy’ soundtrack entitled ‘Piano in an Empty Room’. I’ve embedded the YouTube video of the track below.


A piano stands in an empty room
In grandeur.

Strings taut to resonate,
Hammers poised to fall.

Seen only by a ray of dusty sunlight,
No stool shelters beneath its cool ivory.

Not even piano –


Dry Eyes

I must have been 18 when I wrote ‘Dry Eyes’ because I remember having a certain girlfriend (O) at the time. This wasn’t knowingly written about O, but she was the person in my mind’s eye when envisaging the subject of the poem.


The droplet that ran over your shoulder
And down your spine
Left a silver train behind,
The slug of water.

It wasn’t raining –
Was it a tear
Tearing across your skin?
Some symbol of sorrow
Sorrowfully symbolising some
Strange strain on the senses?

Yet I saw no sadness in these eyes,
Nor a gleeful twinkle,
Nor any emotion at all,
Simply a droplet
Sliding down your back.


In retrospect, I can see how my relationship at the time inspired a poem so filled with and lacking in emotion. It was a strange relationship, ended (by her) with little reason given and little remorse, when only a week beforehand one of her best friends had told me how much happier O seemed with me in her life. It was a time of confusion and strange new emotions, and O could swim happily between emotional outpouring and coldness. Perhaps that inspired ‘Dry Eyes’.

All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter

My school published arts collections featuring student writing, painting and photography, and I was always keen to contribute. The theme for one collection was ‘Synaesthesia’, defined by as “The production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body.” In layman’s terms, that is when senses are muddled and, for example, smells induce hearing particular sounds, or, in the case of this poem, sounds induce visions of colour.

I read this poem to a school hall of parents, teachers and other students. I was nervous, I faltered slightly, but afterwards the father of a peer told me that he had not truly understood the concept of synaesthesia until hearing my poem, so that’s something.


The doorbell rang
Red; harsh against the soft,
Green mist of the traffic outside.

She got up, her chair creaking
Violet in her ears, and walked to the door,
Her footsteps echoing in light silver.

She turned the yellow latch;
The door showed her the bright white screech of a mouse
And she beheld the deep blue voice facing her.

But there was something else:
A glorious gold she had never before heard:
The voice of God serenading her soul.

She felt herself lost as the gold washed over her,
Like music to her eyes, as she swam in it,

Reawakened by the deep blue of the man before her,
She gazed upon his voice intently
Lest she be ensnared once more.

At last, she acknowledged the man standing in her
White doorway, supporting under his arm the magnificent, whirring
Golden window as he spoke in blue:
“Could I interest you in a skylight?”

Pub Culture

Here is a poem written in my dad’s old local when I was around 16. He was quite a known figure among the Lewes community at the time and so rarely did we go to the pub without an interruption from an acquaintance. This came from one of those interruptions.


Regulars sit around the bar
Discussing the same old rubbish.
Not-so-regulars sit around tables
Discussing abstract, notional rubbish.
Staff wander around working non-stop
Discussing small talk rubbish
With the regulars and the not-sos.
A dog wanders around
Looking for a crisp
Barking sense.