My mother has the softest hands,
I can still remember her gentle caresses
before hard labour carved its marks
on her fingertips, like a sharp reminder
of her existence, my existence,
our palms meeting to carry the flowing lifeline.

Your fists dwarf mine in comparison,
the length of your hands wrap around mine
to draw me home, entwining around my
lifeline more and more each day.

I am so young, I have the soft palms
and strong grasps of a toddler who is
still afraid of the hard tarmac beneath.
Your hands feel like safety but also
infinite darkness, and my mother is the
beacon lighting my way.

Brightlights and Cityscapes

For landslides and masquerades,
the beat pounding in my ears
as I pound down the pavement,
the concrete quivering beneath
with my every step, every movement,
shattering skyscrapers and shattering hearts.
God bless this rhythm pushing me on,
god bless it syncing with my very being,
keeping me awake.

For bright lights and cityscapes
singing me home, guiding me through
the monotonous tune of this desolate place
into a crescendo; a lonely
soprano finally on centre stage
for her swan song,
with her happiness shining as a spotlight.

A.N.: Written as part of a freewrite exercise with Barbican Young Poets with the prompt of music and location. Lyrics are taken from Sara Bareille’s song ‘Brightlights and Cityscapes’ from her EP ‘Once Upon Another Time’. 


The sharp lines of your suit
is giving me a frontal lobotomy.
My body aches with the need to
be near you, so please,
put me out of my misery.

But do not pity me,
is there a kinder way to go than
be surrounded by the soft cotton
of your shirts until my last thought.

Still Learning

I remember that night:
you were shaking in my arms but
also burning up and melting my layers away.
My nude body clutched to
your shivering form, I wished and
prayed for the rain to come,
to wash away the sins.

I remember, but I don’t love you any less even
when your frustrated rage meant that you
hurt me; my skin is a collage of sorrows,
painted by your pain.

Bless the rain that floods my boots,
bless this cold air slapping my face.
You are with me forever, so I am learning
to love this part of you.

Still learning.

1st June 2015

The gentle smog settles in the morning air as I
blink awake to the rhythmic slap of feet on concrete.
Through the fog of my hungover mind, it dawns that I
missed the sunrise, the one I stayed up for.

The bench is unforgiving beneath me and
I look up just in time for the first drop of rain to fall.
It seems the universe is not with me today.

A crushed can floats along the Thames, carrying the memories of
shattered hopes in a blow of anger, or the triumphant
cries of a distant stranger. The cold air settles
in the groove of my bones, yet I move to follow the alcohol down.

I pray for the hangover to leave me as the first tear slips,
hastily chased away by a discrete sleeve. Numbness finally dominates
with the first sip of black coffee, the dark roast a punishment to
my lackluster self before I conform with the rest
of the city, together in the great pretend of being okay.

Architecture For Beginners

I raise a toast to you my dear,
our happiness big enough to tear the walls
that stand blowing in the wind, flying away
like a murmuration of birds,
wings spreading and leaving and gone.

We built this house out of fear and loneliness,
I found you in the darkness while I was nursing my wounds,
you had a match and I, a candle.
In hindsight, we can lament over the missing spark
that would have ignited our tomorrows,
shone the path to the foundation of a stable home, with
walls that contained our secrets.

Only the desperate would find comfort in
the moonlight piercing in through the ceiling.
Two bodies caressing under the stars,
two idiots too blind to know better.