The Wild Hunt

The engine revved with a satisfying growl. John Bolt felt good. Bonfire Fridays were always good - or at least they were on nights when he already had a crate of beer on the passenger seat and Rob and Chris were bringing more - or at least, if they weren’t, it didn’t matter, since he wouldn’t remember it. They’d go out to the quarry, light some shit on fire, crack the cans open and load up their blood with their contents. Forget who they were. Turn animal. - - - - - - - - - - - - - Forty minutes later, they were well out of town boundaries, the back of the car reassuringly laden with cold booze and the warmth of John’s two male buddies’ bodies. The trees blurred past them. He was pumping the accelerator, seeing how fast he could dare himself to take the -BANG! John screeched the car to a halt. “What the fuck was that?” Rob: “It was a buck” Chris: “No. It was a man” John: “What the fuck, Chris?! Why’d you have to say that?” He looked back at Chris scowling, expecting to see a stupi…

Take-Away Tales

I have a very short story, 'The Wild Hunt', included in Dalston Writing Group's 'Take Away Tales' from Tuesday 19 November at Dalston CLR James Library.
Do pick one up if you can - if you can't, I'll post the story here when the display ends [Edit: this is now up, in the next post on this blog]. If you are reading the print version, it's mildly censored to allow for the sensibilities of Hackney Council, so please feel free to substitute 'fuck' for 'hell' and 'shit' for 'stuff' as you read.

Bast, again

This week I am engaging with Arvon's #5DayPoetryChallenge around #NationalWritingDay.
One of today's prompts is called 'Tranklements' and is about finding inspiration in everyday objects.
The object I found I wanted to write about is the opposite of 'everyday', in most senses - it's a Bast sculpture that Erica gave me and it sits in a little shrine on the bookcase. I attribute my one poetry contest win ('Catwoman') to Bast so it has real meaning for me - but it's also something that I see every day.
Bast, again.
Cat of brown stone, hear my vow.
She is smooth like the skin of the one you love. She has heft. She tugs downwards. She could never have been owned by anyone but you. As a gift she can only return.
She dreams of a thousand thousand naked men.
She dreams of a sea of liquid gold.
She dreams of burying her face in the mane of a lion.
She dreams of plucking eagles from the air.
She dreams of prowling and of pursuit.
She dreams of perfume and of pur…

The Naughtiest Thing

Once upon a time in a place called Wheatley (which means wheat field, and is well named)
there was a field of wheat - I tell a lie, there were many. But there was a certain field among these fields, and in that field grew the very finest wheat that ever swayed in the breeze. And when the wind blew over this field, if you listened, you would hear golden bells tinkle in the air. And when the sun shone on this field
it would warm your heart. And when rain blessed this field
the fish in the rivers near it
leapt into the air for sheer joy, their scales glinting like your mother’s best jewellery. Now, you should know that this field was tended by a goblin, and the goblin’s name was Chaffinch, for his father was a bird and his mother was a lie. And Chaffinch the goblin spun gold from the wheat in the field, and the gold that Chaffinch spun from the wheat brought good luck to anyone so lucky as to wear it. And all that the goblin asked in return for his gold was to be told a lie to help him remember his moth…

The Way to Zed: a psychic pilgrimage in twenty-six parts

In 2018 I undertook a fool's journey through the letters of the alphabet, writing a poem a day (more or less) for each of the 26 letters known to English speakers today. The poems were influenced by the shapes and sounds of the letters, and by the ancient symbols - the hieroglyphs and pictograms - which were their ancestors.

The sequence of poems quickly began to take on the form of a surreal quest narrative, with the mysterious letter zed at its end.

After some crossing some hurdles I finally made it to the izzard on the July 1st 2018. I am now (as of February 2019) working on a Tarot deck inspired by the poems with the artist Abigail Jones.

The rest of the sequence is now taken down for editing (and publisher-seeking), but the current (February 2019) drafts of 'A' 'B' and 'C' appear below. The ancestral symbols which are relevant here include: for A, a bull's head (I would also refer readers to Malcolm McNeill's article 'A is for Girl'); f…


Highly commended in the Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival Poetry Prize, 2018 - click the link to read the other winning entries.

Thanks to David Reakesmith for alerting me to the contest, and Billy the Bard (Chaired Bard of Glastonbury) for representing me at the prizegiving.

The Poet's Bridge, Rotherhithe

Cross-posted from Southwark Heritage.

On Tuesday 5 December, the footbridge over Salter Road was named ‘The Poet’s Bridge’ in a short ceremony which also involved the unveiling of twi