How to find joy

  1. Walk with a dog, more people talk to you than if you walk alone
  2. Use the ‘golden hour’ to take a photo and marvel at your skills 
  3. Wake up just to see the sun rise and do step two. You’re allowed to go back to 
  4. Laugh really really hard till it hurts. Friends and YouTube videos help
  5. Make someone cake for no reason and share their joy 
  6. Show a child ‘wonder’ and watch their joy, it’s infectious 
  7. For slow burning joy plant some seeds and feel joyful each time you see them grow a little bigger, and think ‘I made that happen’ 
  8. Light a fire, indoors or out, and spend time roasting parts of your body till they go red. Decide it’s probably bad for you so sit and stare and getting lost in the flames 
  9. Eat cheese and don’t feel bad
  10. Climb as high as you can to get a really good view

Shabby Wisteria

Planted with hope and a twenty year wait,

Then pastel and fierce for only a blink of a year.

Beauty that flourishes then sleeps till next

Wise branches that lean with a mutual love.
The season turns loudly to spring

And the soft grand display begins. 

A mask of beauty shouting from the walls,

Glory in which the inhabitants hide behind.
Slowly it climbs and it reaches for sun,

Stealing the light as it casts it’s shade.

Delicate and twisted boughs that some say damage,

Buy look again; they twine not grip, the strength is within.
Notoriously difficult to tame and left

To spread beyond it’s borders.

A fragile dance between conquerer and artist,

This year it could have bloomed better with just a little care.
New people come and go behind its wall.

It’s fragile existence is in their hands,

Each time it drops it’s shabby confetti,

But it promises you to always bloom after the darkest winter.

A spider in my eye

‘I’ll blow the cobwebs from your eye.’

I reply ‘Please don’t they’re not dry and old,

There’s a spider living there,

In my eye is a spider’.

SHe sees the world and remembers each frame  that flicks by.

SHe feels the same feels as I, right there in my eye.

The web SHe turns is a home and not a cob.

Sometimes I forget SHes there and almost wipe her away.

Sometimes she forgets it’s my eye and her feet leave scratches on my lens,

The world clouds over and it’s hard to see the truth.

SHe sews my eyes closed after a restless night of weaving.

SHe chatters insenently and questions everything.

Sometimes we disagree

But shes welcome, my little killer friend in my eye.

Blink and you’ll miss it.

The sun barely shines in the bright cold sky. The cold creeps in every gap and forgotten tuck-in.

The bonfire burns old whilst the smoke writes the memories across the sky. Warming the sun bleached snow as it melts into clear furrows.

The land sighs as it sleeps, turns over, seeing the Sun isn’t shining she goes back to her dreams. The excitement and magic melts away, the only day you wish the sun took leave.

In a day the stream flows. Playing it’s cool melody on the slowly warming rocks. The pond might be frozen but it’s path is too risky to find out.

With fingers wrapped in gloves that make them too cumbersome. Take off the gloves, use your hands briefly before they freeze and become just as clumsy.

The crow carries the sound of winter on its breath, Its black heart never dies.Only chased away by birds of song, shrill and tinkling, dancing in the fragile sun.

All that’s left of the snow is the snagged fleece in brambles; fake snow that sparkles with dew. My fingers bleed on it’s purity as I snatch it from the branches.

Pines that defy the cold breathe their sent into the warming air. Something is afoot, but blink and you’ll miss it.




You say we were two lives that need to disentangle.

But really some of each other became the other one.

That’s the problem. Where do you stop and I begin?

It’s less un-knotting and more a case of cutting it out.

It’s not like cutting out fat, sugar and carbs for my diet to make myself more attractive.

If I do this then I crave the bad.

Maybe I let a remanent of us remain?

It’s a dangerous game, I binge then purge.

More than that its like something that’s diseased.

You cut the tumour out stop it spreading.

I find rancid places to cut you out.

A surgeon, a butcher, a self-harmer.

I peel the taste buds from my tongue

because they shared a love of flavours,

that only we could understand and create.

A menu bittersweet.

I gauge the black place in my heart.

Like cutting the mould from cheese to preserve the rest.

Yet you always worry there’s some you didn’t remove,

and you’ll end up all bile inside.

I remove objects and reminders from my home.

Like cutting the pieces of a stencil,

to make it make a new pattern.

I like the way it looks better than before.

I cut poisonous people out of my life,

it’s an attempt to make it happier, but really I’m afraid.

Scared of their judgement,

because that’s what I became.

Some cut the story from the paper

in order to remember and celebrate.

But the card from last year which says ‘I’m still glad I’m in love with you’

is better forgotten as a manipulative lie.

I cut the nails from my toes,

to stop gouging out the flash at the sides.

Occasionally I don’t do it straight enough,

those feet that danced together become hot and infected.

I dig at my flesh, open wounds and peel back scabs.

I cut you out of me but I keep forgetting where me ends and you begin.

I bleed a little to prove I’m still alive,

and it’s still possible to hurt.

Maybe I’ll let a small piece stay,

like an inked scar to mark the moment we were one.

Is this violent act self harm self-preservation? Cruel to be kind?

I cut away part of myself to make room for more.

Shadow People


She stirred and before she properly awoke, she sensed they were there,

Shifting shapes swam on the ceiling,

Their constitution nothing but swirls of sooty smoke.


She listened to their whispers and knew one day she would be the same,

Their path was blocked, that was all,

With tenderness she willed them on to their next.


Another time she stirred from her slumber ill at ease,

The acrid smog oozed from the walls,

It ran down the paint and slithered by her side.


She listened to its husks as it dripped poison in her ear,

Changing form it flitted between the faces she knew.

She thought of love and banished its black soul.


She sat up in a sweat, a dark figure lurked with lantern held high,

It shuffled and creaked and showed her no light,

Instead she saw a vision of unspeakable truths.


She fell back into the grips of flu and fever,

The night gave no mercy,

Not till morning came was she safe again.


The noise roused her from her sleep as it tapped on the window pane,

It’s face looked in and searched the seals for a gap,

Downstairs a record played.


She checked through every door, searched all the spaces,

But there was no one there,

Just the ghost of her childhood and something buried deep.


Sometimes the Shadow People came,

Each a creature of the night with a distinct intent.

Sometimes the Shadow People came and went again.

I fell from a mountain.

I climbed higher and higher,

The air grew thinner and thinner,

Head spinning, chest groaning, heart bruised.


I tripped once or twice,

I’m sure my keys fell out in the night,

It was the longest day but still it’s dark.


We dined on food that looked as though it were made for gods,

It tasted sweet and hollow, we laughed,

The joke was on us, sickly and open.


I slept, napped, curled in a ball.

I woke and all the triumph shattered.

I knew once again what the last words were.


I practiced words across the bough,

I worked on self restraint.

Underneath I hated myself so much it let me love you.


The moon couldn’t wash it away,

My companions stared into my soul,

I’m sorry I whispered, I am.


The brass and beat reached the most it ever would,

I ruined the moment chatting about books in a portaloo.

I laughed when you slipped in the mud.


I fight the war you started,

I always saved you, you should have gone, I’m too far,

I’ve climbed out of reach and feeling wrong.


I am washed raw by the moon,

A storm rages in the morning light,

And I’ve got nobody on my side.


One rejection too many,

Why can’t anyone see I’ll never find my way?

From this moment I am lost.


Sunday is so far away,

All hammers and cursed mistakes.

I crawl on knees bloodied by moods.


I reached up one more precipice,

My hands are weak and cold on their own,

The nails ripped as short as you’d bite yours.


I love that hand, perfectly imperfect,

It could comfort when your being dished out pain.

Just scraps of memories, I can’t tell whats real.


I lit a candle to shield the shape shifters,

they spit vinegar into my ear,

I watch it burn away, the world long gone.


I close my eyes, I see all the mistakes,

I try to be wise, but I’m always learning.

See me at my weakest always.


I numb the pain till I cannot see,

Vomit rises in my mouth,

Something rushes in my ears, I cannot hear.


Are you feeling better now?

I don’t know, I stumble, I fall,

Over and over the way I came.


Sticks and stones break my bones,

Your words rip my skin,

It’s over, and over, it’s over.


This bit I can only do alone.