Pay Day NaPoWriMO

Black eye

Pay Day

In the bed
in the locked room
he calls spare – she calls safe

she trembles as his feet
thump up the stairs
breathes deeply

prays he’ll give up
knows he won’t.

she unlocks the door
goes down and tries
Is that you? I was asleep.

Fucking bitch, he screams,
Lying cow! His fist connects.
Her face cools

on York stone flags.
Granma’s dinner plates
fly around the room.

Later, collecting porcelain pieces,
she knows

he won’t remember. She wakes
to the smell of frying bacon
the sound of his whistling.



NaPoWriMo Tiny Things (Remind Me)

English: Magnifying glass renderered with unre...

Rainbow fish sugar cookie.

Rainbow fish sugar cookie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tiny Things

I remember
when I got a miniscule splinter,
you tweezed it, made it go away.
How you sat me on a rug outside,
made fragile necklaces from daisies,
pierced the stems to make them link,
placed the chains gently round my neck.
When my butter-fingers tore them
I watched you comb the lawn
seeking magic four-leafed clovers
for me to make a secret wish.

And, when I was six,
how you sat at night sewing sequins,
like rainbow fish scales, on a dress,
you made from one of yours.

Now, watching you reach
for the magnifying glass

I still remember





NaPoWriMo Just You.


Conker (Photo credit: Danny boy no-yes)

Just You

I hate it when you lose things,
car keys…wallet…mobile phone.
And the shouting…

As if I ran behind you
hiding them.
But then silence… and the room lights up.
Your smile as you find
what you’re looking for!

And you’re transformed;
become the six-year-old your mother knew.
Scab-kneed in grey school shorts,
pulling mouldy conkers from a pocket.
Found them!



NaPoWriMo Estrangement

Medicine Drug Pills on Plate

Medicine Drug Pills on Plate (Photo credit:

One of the worst things I found after relationships broke down was the sudden lack of contact with people I’d learned to care for in my life. (Ex’s parents and family etc.)




I imagine you laid, low and pallid
against harshly starched white sheets
in a room full of strangers
tended by perfunctory hands.
Not knowing I care.
I saw the card he sent you,
coldly omitting my name.
I should have spoken out, but
words won’t erase pain
left by bitterness.
Let it be enough, I know I care

though you’re unaware.




Pre Echo NaPoWriMo



I remember,
days before your funeral,
driving up I saw her
through the window.
Saw her hand falter
as she reached
into the cupboard
for the second plate,
again when she took
your favourite mug
and put it gently
back in place.
As I parked the car
I saw her smile,
look towards your empty chair,
start to speak
then turn and stare
unseeing through the rain-stained glass;
pale face ghost-like in the day’s late gloom,
her features fading like a sepia snap.

And knew that I would lose her too.


NaWriPoMo Disregard

A camp-site at Lyman Run State Park. Disregard...

A camp-site at Lyman Run State Park. Disregard title (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




A sapling swayed

by stormy bluster.



How you talked

at me.



what I ought

to be.



If you really look

you’ll see


I’m just fitting in.



That’s why

smiling, I pretend.


Twisting to your truth.




NaPoWriMo #10 Mother

Jewelers Tissue Paper

Jewelers Tissue Paper (Photo credit: Premier Packaging)



I lead you,


as I can, into the shop.

We find a wooden chair, by the glass topped counter tempting

with wares in cashmere, linen, silk.

In the shadowed space, young Mr. Neville

rubs ringed hands, and fingers socks.

We take six pairs. ‘I have this,’ he says,

reverently unwrapping silver tissue paper

to reveal a sliver of paisley silk.

Just the thing for a gentleman to breakfast in.’

You stroke it longingly as I pay,

but know it’s lustre will be lost

under cereal, toast crumbs and drips of tea.

Maybe, if he get’s better…’ you say,

and I agree, but know he won’t. Outside,

as dusk sucks the light from day,

I wonder when I became

the one to lean on –

that imperceptible shift.

I watch you


crowds of giggling teenage girls.

Loud, brash, nearly dressed in acid colour:

rhinestone rock motifs: skinny jeaned

or spindle legged in tartan tights:

ladders reaching sky-high denim skirts.

Mobiles clutched to ears, shrieking, What!

Omigod! That’s mad! Wicked! You’re so bad!

They swagger on insensible and in the calm

that spreads behind them like a bridal train

your hand finds mine, you lean on me.

I could explain, tell you, as we make our way,

that they’re just kids as once we were;

you the flapper, me the hippy-chick.

But what’s the point…You and I.

We’ve forgotten how it feels

to still have dreams

and time.


NaWriPoMo Hull Royal

I don’t know how long I stand
at the hospital’s tenth floor window,
watching headlamps, like fairy lights,
blur in rain stained windows
Hearing the intermittent sounds

of sirens and soft-soled, respectful, feet.
Your jagged breath.
Stifling thoughts of gently
forcing a pillow, over your mouth.
Reflected in the pane I see

a littered table ..Swabs to unparch
your mouth, unstick your eyes.
A booklet titled ‘Pathway’
detailing the course from living to dead.

I see your bony angles
throw unnatural shadows.
the wet-sand colour of your skin
the heave of your chest,
Your jagged breath.

©theeditoffice 2013

NaWriPoMO HalfTerm

NaWriPoMO  HalfTerm

Half Term

Behind our house
there is a swing over the river
A lath of wood on plaited string
above the gloomy green
in which we plunged.

We’d stand together and push
in looping arcs
until the moment came to launch
ourselves in space,
hand in hand, knowing

that soon, we’d be gasping,
bursting through the blackness,
giggling, shiny-eyed,
mud streaked faces spittled.

That day
I surfaced, trod water,
waited for you.
Trod water
until my cries frightened

nesting birds from trees,
brought parents running.
Staring at the empty swing
moving gently
like the tug and pull of the tide.

Where I’m writing from…

A Personal View of Creativity.


 What’s your take on creativity? Some people consider themselves ‘arty’, in effect born with it; many believe it can be taught.  Creativity, for me, evolves through divergent thinking; the sparking, at tangents, of new ideas.  I believe that creativity is starting with the germ of an idea, something I’ve seen, read or heard and thought ‘I can use this!’ and to watch the piece come alive as I’m writing it.  Often moving in an entirely unexpected direction, but fleshing its bones as it runs.

Much as I’d like to sit, pen poised waiting for inspiration to strike, I’ve discovered my reality is that I needed to approach writing as a ‘job’.  My days are intensely busy, but luckily, through trial and error, I have concluded that the time I ‘flow’ best is early evening, when I’m relaxed, and my ‘bread and butter hours’ are behind me.  A glass of wine and music are now an essential part of my preparation ritual.  Most importantly, because I’m  tired, I’m slightly detached and not so hung up on feasibility.  (Or do I mean reality?)  I can go with my ‘flow’, often losing myself entirely in my work.  Sometimes, when the work is going well, I am surprised the next day by the inventiveness of what I have written; it is difficult to explain coherently, but I refer to this procedure as ‘ghost writing’.

A slight draw back to working in the evenings, is that sleep can be difficult.  Having found the circumstances in which I write best, my mind is then crammed with ideas.  Like a jam jar full of squirming tadpoles, all clamouring for the attention necessary for their further development.  Unlike nature, I haven’t yet decided on how to ensure only the fittest survive!

During my working day, I have the opportunity to think about characters, investigate story lines, plot and more importantly reflect on what I’ve written on any piece so far.  This means that when I next have the opportunity to write I can look at my work afresh and with a critical eye.

We all meet people all day long and for me it’s the little things that people do and say that can be built on.  The few loving words clinging to the breeze after an elderly couple passes by.  The muted dissent between the lovers sitting uncomfortably close to you, in the pub.  The indecisive decision of a young couple prior to making an expensive purchase.  Is it the cost of the piece or the long term commitment to each other that the purchase may entail that makes them hesitate?  I have spent a lot of time working on trying to see things ‘outside the box’.  Probably every possible thing has already been written, but we can use the same themes and, using a different perspective and words, our work will still be fresh and original.

A few months ago, I overheard a customer remark to her friend, ‘I’d rather leave my husband than leave my house.’

I had just finished reading a biography by Madeline Masson on Christine Granville (George Medal, Croix de Guerre and OBE) The final words uttered by her lover, Dennis Muldowney, after he killed her in a jealous rage and was sentenced to hang, were ‘To kill is the final possession.’

Bearing the customer’s and Muldowney’s remarks in mind, the idea for a story took shape. I was intrigued that objects could mean more to my customer than people and then thought what if the house doesn’t hold you in the same esteem?  I started thinking of houses (to which people already attribute sentiments, for example ‘it’s a really friendly house.’) as having real feelings. What if a house wanted the current occupiers to leave?  Or not to?  I was fascinated by the idea that a house could love its occupant so much that it wouldn’t, at any cost, let her go. I imagined the house feeling that if it couldn’t have her, no other house would, echoing Muldownings last sentiment and loosely based its machinations on the behaviour of several males I’ve met in the past. It was the impetus I needed to start writing!

I have also realised that I need to pare my writing down, what I had previously regarded as necessary use of language now appears to be over indulgent. Possibly, I have been influenced by attempting poetry where I gain huge satisfaction in finding a single word that precisely conveys all I want to say. For me, writing poetry is an exploratory process of personal experience. Yeats wrote of Wilfred Owen that ‘strong feelings are no substitute for poetry’ however, one can argue that poetry only truly comes alive when there is an emotional connection, albeit pared down and controlled. Writing poetry, for me, requires painstaking honesty and the poetry I admire most gives me a ‘snap shot’, but also leaves me with questions. They lead me in and then enable me to look ‘behind’ the words, to ‘feel’ my way. This has taught me that often unnecessary clarification is merely a way of control and if a poem resonates and is technically competent, it works.

One thing I have realised. I need to write. Like everybody else I have a lot of false starts, but my own internal editor is improving and – perhaps sadly -I’ll never stop.

That’s pretty much where I’m writing from.

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