The hole

So where are we now?

It’s hard to see

if there’s anything left

here waiting for me.

Trying to look past

my next warm beer

at what needs to be done

to make a change this year.

Eat healthy, stay fit,

quit everything that kills;

Move on, get a job,

develop management skills.

And today doesn’t end

until she texts me back;

It doesn’t end, it won’t end,

until I’ve smoothed out the cracks

Which have formed in my mind

and stopped it working;

Forced numbness all the time 

which stops me hurting.

So where am I now?

Left outside your home;

Sad shapes against the sky,

Standing within myself, alone.


A cheeky wink and a smile

Four pints for a score;

The beer’s always flat 

When it’s rammed to the door.

Pushed up, pints up

pressed into my chest,

craning my neck out

to a view that’s best.

Watching the game

with roast peanut fingers

next to the toilets

where piss-air lingers

At the back of my throat

because I open my mouth

so I don’t nose-breathe 

until I scream and cheer out

Because my team has scored –

no wait, it’s been disallowed –

Fuck off, I say, 

to the chorus of the crowd.

A fight breaks out

between a pisshead and his dog

so we all have to leave 

and wade out through the fog.

I return to the flat,

stacked cans and a twenty deck,

and think about all the goals

which haven’t been scored yet.

It’s another day, another loss

and it’s hard to see

if there’s any way out,

any way to break free.

Daddy’s girl

Daddy was sleeping

In the kitchen today;

So we dressed ourselves

and we were on our way.

Mrs Taylor asked why

our shoes were on wrong;

I went all red and shy,

Tying laces takes too long

and we were late

and there was no car

to take us to school,

to take us so far.

And still, and still

I wonder for awhile

if dad is still still

on the kitchen tiles.

I hate needles,

but daddy is brave

he makes them stay

all locked away.

Once I got one

stuck in my tongue,

and the doctor asked me:

Is anything wrong?

I went away for many years,

crying and confused,

giving empty hugs

and feeling unused.

But now we’re back,

and separate no more;

So, no, Mrs Taylor,

Daddy is not sleeping on the floor.

The bad boy

I was a bad boy today,

the teachers are right

because when it’s home-time

I always start fights.

The walk home is long

because I walk the long way

because the door won’t open

Until mum is awake.

I’m ugly 

because my clothes don’t fit;

They’re old and sticky

and smell like shit.

My hair is messy

and sometimes dirty

and this is why 

all the big boys hurt me.

And if daddy is home – 

well, dad’s never home –

but if he is,

he’s on his phone.

He moves through the house,

not smiling or talking,

eyes on anything but me;

Just texting and walking.

Yesterday, I was angry

and I don’t know why; 

So I swung my arms about

because it’s naughty to cry.

The canteen

Hospital food is so cheap. Well, it seems it to me. I suppose it has to be when it’s cheaper to park on Mars than within a mile of the A&E. The food tastes good too. Great, even. Tastes like it could soften the pain. Or at least take your mind off of it for a while. 

A ginger sponge pudding with custard. Yum. I never usually like ginger, but on this occassion, this very minute, it tastes like the best thing I’ve had in a long time. Such a long time. I don’t even mind that no-one will sit across from me to hear me complimenting the menu. They have their own things to worry about. Like me.

The vegetable chilli is nice too. Very nice indeed. I’m not a vegetarian, but I thought I’d try something different. Something healthy. I suppose I have to start at some point. People keep telling me I need to change, that it will benefit me in the long run, it will help lift my mood and enable me to live longer. And I’m told that this is important. A healthy life. A long life.

The lady comes around and picks up the trays. She asks to take mine. I decline. I’m finished but I’d rather put it away myself. I like doing things for myself. It helps me feel in control. It’s all you have really – control over your actions. Nothing else.

My appointment finished 5 hours ago, yet I can’t bring myself to leave. I’m trying to work out why. But it’s difficult. Maybe it’s the delious food, which is affordable too – such a delight. Maybe I don’t want to bring the news home. Maybe, whilst they don’t know, my family will assume that all is well.

The salt sachets never really hold enough salt. Well, that’s just my opinion, I’m sure I just eat more salt than others so I suppose it might be enough for the average person. I used to add salt to my vegetables because my mother had a talent for boiling the taste out of them. She did her best though. A better cook than me. Definitely. I would start cooking more if I had more time. But life is busy. Life is complicated now. So, no new hobbies for me. Yes.

I get up and walk to the exit of the canteen and, just as I’m about to leave, I realise I still have today’s newspaper in my bag. What a lovely surprise. Unread too. I return to my seat, open it up and dig into the articles. Cuts, cuts, cuts. And they wonder why we’re all dying in the waiting rooms? The cap doesn’t help either; it’s just pushing the poverty line higher. Too high. Kids are going hungry because the money’s gone after the rent is paid. So mummies and daddies everywhere are  now being accused of neglect. That ain’t right. Neglect doesn’t means poverty. I guess they’ll have to hire more social workers to blame. It’s all broken. Like being shit on from a great height. You can’t see who did it, but you know it was by someone with the power to decide not to fuck up your day. Shame on them all. Such a shame.

The news makes me angry. It makes me sad. But I can’t stop reading. It’s killing me. With each word I feel this itch within me become more numb. It feels like it is sinking. Being buried. Dead. Every word. My brain loves it: reading. Learning about things that are separate from this day. This day in this hospital. This day that is the end of everything. Where I can’t stop reading. Burying that itch. The news is very interesting today. I better call the family and let them know this could take all night.

Ending the cycle

This old and rusty tongue,

The one that made her come

Out from all the darkness;

And left her in space for days,

Heartsunk and drunk – a dirty haze;

Eyes moving, stareless.                   

This love has no life,

It chose an unborn wife,

 A mess of bones, twisted;

Chained to his house and his name,

Fingers pressed on her brain;

Lips shut by a fist.

He is the lover’s joke,

Written from lines of coke,

Desireless with each sniff;

As the blood drips old,

A burning cold

Dissolves his mind into a myth.

She saw the darkened nights,

The day she chose to fight

Out from the water, trembling;

She then turns back to him

Takes the blade to the skin

he’s dripping in. 

Just clothes and broken bones,

Covered by dirt and stones

As she finally buries him;

She paints the purple on her face,

Standing, not a hair out of place,

And waits for life to begin.

Sent from my phone

Who says hello these days?

When we swipe faces 

Whilst toilet-perched

Or numbly nodding in public places

To the half-heard words

Of people who matter;

Yet, amongst this chatter,

We remain sat,

Semi-present, like shadows

Clinging to corners 

And smiling inwards

To no-one in particular,

About someone far away,

with a faceful of phone.

Wasting time

If I could have it back, all of it back. Eyes, face, the smile, the memory of fights after wine and kisses after more wine, the gifts of happiness and pain within two seconds of eachother, the times I pressed her buttons and she would say fuck off, Matt; you’re a dickhead, Matt. If I could have it all back. The silence to questions I already know the answers to, the answers to questions she never asked, the roll of her eyes, the smile once again, the snide comments about her parents, the playful slap on the arm each time I said something inappropriate, the way my eyes could only see her when others were in the room, the days I didn’t want to see her, the days she hated me, the moments of comfortable no speak, the days we wasted. If I could have it back. All those days we wasted, living dead in bed with the tv roaring, the eyes forward and our heads sore from the night before. All those days we wasted. And if I could have them back, I’d only waste them again. If I could have them all back, I’d only waste them with you.

Six word stories: Rut

Order wine; drink. End day. Repeat.


Sitting idle, alone,
Remembering a time when
This home felt right
To return to again.

There are ghosts which occupy
Every inch of each room;
They whisper words of history
Spoken too late, too soon.

It is hard to feel present
In a place swollen with the past
Regurgitating memories,
Repeating them, so they last.

Home is where time
Deviates from a line
And folds onto itself
Usurping what is mine.

We fall into the shoes
Of those above us
By walking in circles
And speaking in dust.

Home is a circle,
Home is a tide;
To say you won’t follow
Is not resistance, but a lie.


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