Raise your hands, not for them
As an expression, a symbol
A reminder of who you are
Just for yourself

Stand tall, lean
A testament, a monument
To everything that you once stood for
And can stand for again

If you just believe
In yourself, you
That fragile lump of far too
Human flesh

You’re not that bad
Not all that great either
You’re human
You make mistakes

We all do sometimes
Supposedly, apparently
Allegedly, unintentionally
Just you wear yours a little

Too well
Not as armour, not as scars
More like tattoos
Well chosen and you
Paid the heavy price

Willingly, a little too eagerly
Or so it seemed at first
So raise your hands
Above your head

And come along quietly
One foot in front of the other
Follow the painted line


Perhaps it’s time to stop living up there and
Time to start living down here
In the sweat, in the grind
With narrow thoughts, constrained brains

Looking at the smaller picture, or no picture at all
A blank canvas and a concrete wall
Grey plaster, dull brick, utilitarian
Built just to hold up the roof

To box you in and shut out the sky
The light, the air
Everything that’s outside that reminds you
That stirs in you that final hope

That quietened voice, whispering gently
Salacious rumours of another world,
Another way
Shut it out, take the pill

My mind meanders, traipses
Skitters, skips and dances
Through fields and valleys
Flys away at the first stirring of boredom

So brick us in, dig it deep
Throw on the dirt and tighten the shackles
Polish that suit, buff those shoes
It doesn’t pay to think and pay is the way of the world

The Merfoxiad I: Birth in the Brine

Oh, sweet Marianas
Cradle of the deep
The challenge is deep
Dark, down within your abyss
The void stutters and trembles

Marriage in the dark
Marry the death to despair to the prophecy
And how naive are we
To think a god only lives when he is held to be true

Oh sweet Poseidon, biding your time til
The trident, the bident, the mighty fork
Can crawl out from this trench and
Take canine form

As the tale of the tail tells
On one fateful night
Numbered June 14th 2008
But who could tell in the gloom
None to witness, none to watch

Poseidon create, through waves and plates
A great eruption, an incinerating flame
Four thousand feet below good

A flash of red, a shimmer of scales
Perfect form, intelligently designed
And evolved beyond
All comprehension of function and form

The fox floats through the foam
Cackling, crackling, snarling
The beast
Roars and reaches out a paw
To his lord

The god of the sea
Pets and strokes the beast
Checks the jaws, the paws
The claws before its release

And hell in sea and trench will take vulpine form
Twisted far beyond our sight
And set forth again to rule the earth

Those words, a mantra
Repeated themselves and pounded into
Her aching brain
Seraca awoke, a cold sweat
Coating her neck

Lie down, lay back
On your back
The ceiling, cream emulsion with
Those little patterns

Perhaps that swirl is a lion
That twist, a horse
Is that there a cloud
A fish, a fox a sword

And again we’re back to it
This recurring dream
The girl glances at him
Please doctor, what does it mean

Anxiety, he says, pressure at school
She laughs and sighs,
Rolls on her side;
It’s followed me for years
A babe, a child, a teen and now

Seraca steps, glides, floats outside
A waif, a sylph, petite yet hard
Rugged, enduring, a grace and elegance
Of a fencer not a dancer

She steps, stops, stock still
It hits, a splash of blue
She falls to her knees
A crowd rushes to lift
The young girl
Yet all she sees is a cerulean sea
A bolt of red, flash of scales and fur
A birth in the brine, a roar and howl
A call from beyond

The muscle pounds, pauses, stops
Flutters, flickers
The cold steel against her chest
Paddles bring her choking back to life

Young, far too young to fall so soon
Fate has other plans for Seraca

And every night she sleeps
She dreams of scales and fur

A Far Fairer Fight

I still feel the floor
Where I lay that night
Cold, hard
Yet far safer and more secure

Than I’d felt before
Or ever felt since
Rock and roll
Over, back and forth

Cradle yourself, hold it in
Your back in your hands
You’re back, you’re back
And holding on

And every muscle aches
Strains, bleeds for the shelter
Of a timber plank
Coarse and ruddy

Chafes the flesh and chills to the bone
You don’t need bones where you’re going
None of us do
You’ll need eyes and a heart and much thicker skin

We’re all growing tired and drawn out
Hung, quartered and stretched so thin
By this rat race life
That rodents could take us out in any fair fight

They’re smart
Those little furry fellas
With big ears and whiskers and
No free will

We’re the sentient ones and we’re doing the
Shit we resent, day in, day out
So ask yourself, who really wins the cheese
When all is said, squeaked and done

The Lonely Teddy Bear

I read a lot of books as a child, some were utterly forgettable, some were just plain stupid but many have left a mark on my psyche. The more that I think about it, the more it strikes me; children’s literature is the most significant form of literature. It leaves a mark on an unblemished mind, it scrawls on a blank slate, it stamps into the warm untouched mind. Everything that we view as cliched now, we only see that way because we’ve heard it a thousand times. As a young boy, first being read to or reading alone, every story is new and exciting. The first cut is the deepest they say.
I’m now 25 years old and one children’s story in particular has really stuck with me. I can’t remember the name or the exact plot, so what i’m going to do is summarise the story or at least what I remember of the story. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to simply describe what I, as a 4 year old boy, took from the story.

The Lonely Teddy Bear (definitely not it’s real title)

There is a young boy who is given a teddy bear as a baby. The big teddy bear shares the boy’s cot, then his first bed. He plays with Teddy during the days and cuddles up to him at night. As the boy gets older, from baby to toddler to child, Teddy goes through life with him, always at his side. Teddy is the boy’s first friend, loyal, warm, cuddly and sympathetic.
They play at camping, cowboys and indians, spaceships. Teddy goes on holiday with the boy and always sits in the seat beside him in the car when they go out. The boy, now five, starts at his first school. Teddy can’t go to school, seeing as he is an inanimate stuffed toy, but every day the little boy gives Teddy a big cuddle, sets him down on the bed and scampers off to school.
Soon the little boy mixes and makes friends with some of the boys at school and one saturday he has two of them come round his house to play. The boys decide to play cowboys and indians but there are only three of them and one of the boys points out that the teams are unfair. The little boy has an idea; Teddy loves playing cowboys and Indians and nanny made Teddy a little jerkin and a feather headdress for the little boy’s last birthday. The little boy brings his new friends into his room and shows them Teddy, all dressed up as a brave chieftain. The other boys laugh at the little boy. They call him a “baby” and “mummys boy”, they call Teddy “stupid” and “a baby toy”. One of the boys even punches Teddy. The little boy crys and his mother, seeing that the children are cranky, takes the other two boys home.
That evening the little boy brings Teddy to mummy and daddy and tells them that he’s a big boy now and he’s too old for Teddy. Mummy tells the little boy he shouldn’t be silly and Daddy doesn’t understand but the little boy crys and yells and eventually Daddy takes Teddy up to the loft and puts him in a box with the little boy’s first clothes.
The next time the little boy’s friends come round they all play games and have fun. The little boy likes his new friends but every night he misses his Teddy. The boys become fond friends and spend lots of time together.
A new boy joins the class and the other boys think he’s pretty cool. One weekend the little boy doesn’t see his friends. They said that they were coming round but they don’t. Back at school on monday the other boys are all laughing and smiling and talking about bowling. The little boy is confused. Confused and sad. He asks one of the boys why they didn’t come round on saturday and they other boy tells him that the new boy is cooler and fun and they do big boy things like go bowling and went to the cinema, not play stupid cowboys and indians.
The little boy is sad and cries all night at home. Daddy sees this. That night, when the boy has tired himself out from crying, he falls fast asleep. Daddy sneaks up to the loft and finds Teddy, Teddy is very cold and dusty but Daddy brushes him down and warms him up on the radiator. Daddy very gently lifts up the quilts and places Teddy, tucked up, in the little boy’s bed. Later on, the little boy puts an arm out and finds Teddy, his first and most loyal friend, who always loved him and never said mean things, warm and laying beside him. They snuggle up.

I hope I’ve managed to convey the story as well as I can remember it. This is why I have separation anxiety with inhuman objects. I can’t even throw out a sweater without sitting up at night and agonising over it. I feel guilty about not playing an Xbox game enough or paying enough attention to my laptop; I need to wear t-shirts an equal amount of times and selling my car was like losing a brother. Children’s stories; far too powerful

“No one is on the other side of this issue!”

Just a short thought; why the hell are there several posts a day in my newsfeed on Facebook
‘Like to show you care for this dying child’
‘Share this if you hate cancer, keep scrolling if you don’t care’
‘Like if you support our troops’

Seriously. Just…c’mon. I mean if there was even a chance that the issue in question was divisive or thought provoking then maybe I would give a shit. There is nobody in their right mind who sincerely supports the mindless biological mutation of cancer causing cells.


Your biology defines you
All of us, every one
It’s cold, sad and dark
But it’s a fact

You can never rise from where
You began, not truly
There are always reminders
Of frailty, weakness, mortality

Even when you break down every
Single barrier, the wall falls,
The bonds tear, there will still be
That link, that chain, binding you to

Yourself. That sick, twisted.
All so ordinary
Oh, so you’re bi-lingual?
Well schön für dich!
A toast to Schadenfreude

I raise a glass to my bleeding lips
You can nip, tuck, butcher
All you like

But this was never about physical form
Your scars always live, you can’t outrun
Your past, or anyone you’ve passed along
The way

Run along country boy, your reach exceeds
Your grasp, you gasp and fall from the ledge
Yet you don’t believe me, maybe all that means
Is not that the glass ceiling doesn’t exist
Just that you’ve yet to smack your clumsy
Anglo-Saxon skull against it

The Feline Oak

There is only void and darkness, the rumbling inevitability of time and the yellow glint of feline eyes. That is all that is certain. Said his father as he turned away and his shoulders grew branches with leafy hands. The field scene was upon him, opening up and welcoming him in. He ran in, charged in, as he always did. There she stood, as she always did, in the middle of the field, beneath the old oak. Her delicate face breaking into a broad grin as he approached. Then fading, first the smile, then the girl, then the meadow. The yellow glint of feline eyes, he heard once more.
Michael awoke. Covered in that familiar cloying, clammy sweat. He began to sit up but the fever made itself known, the room spun, as though his mind could find no calibration with his head. Nothing was where his eyes perceived it to be. Not that there was much in his room to lose track of, the farthest wall being perhaps four feet from him and the room long enough to hold his battered bed. The small desk, with it’s chipped and scarred top, was just about large enough to fit a sheet of paper on and held an inkwell. The small wooden chair nestled beneath it completed the itinerary of furnishings. The mess of scrolls and ragged shirts on the floor by the door completed the decoration. Michael tugged at the sheet by the window and the sun, already low in the sky, flopped into the tiny room.