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flowers for Sarah Everard

Published @



because we have to buzz- home safe – home safe-

yes - me too – home safe

peppering What’s App with the obvious

because we walk gripping keys

between middle fingers

harrying skin

with shelled expletives

hoping the only use of their jagged

steel edge will be to unlock

the front door

we think - can’t stop

thinking of

your last walk home

caught on keyhole camera

casual, then

over Clapham Common


we light candles, Sarah,

watch them blink

in the shadows of ringed shadows

at the base of trees

and lay flowers in a crackle

of cellophane

against the fear

of dark emptied spaces

and words that spit

from a policeman’s mouth

sticking this in you

kidnapping, murdering, mutilating

leaving you in a builder’s sack

only identifiable by your dental records

in Kentish woodland


crimes unlovely as the sick

absence of spring leaves

un-grown on laurel trees.


The Gaze

Published at Writer's Egg Magazine, Issue 6

Silence warbles inside bridge tunnels, their stock-bricks dank with moss and dimness – climbing. Trains percuss above, electric and brittle with low-fi hum then roar. Their interiors shooting passengers to the city. Seated inside, he is dressed in cut denim – slit to reveal his skin –a brightness bulging from the overlaps of wearied cloth, he crosses his legs, boot to knee, and scrolls. Pink scars of healing flesh lope beneath his clothes as he fixes his eyes on her - seeing she knows more than he wanted to share.

Then it is Balham and bodies press into carriages and eat the space to odd intimacies, pilling lives amongst old metro newspapers and tattooing suits to coats and stillness – breathing. Day opens here on the rails, its juice bleeding with sticky segments of bisected time and when she looks for him again, he has gone – the gap he existed in – closed ­- severed with the slide of electric doors, filled now by others and outer echoes.


tracks slice mossy day

jolting with electric darkness

a city bleeds lives

Pair of Jeans

you wear the soft sky
tucked in your jeans' bluest stroll
a perfect day's wave.

The Monument

Rising fiercely from the flat, grey street.

the column commemorating The Great Fire

runs step to step to sky,

its smoky, grey stones

snatching as visitors' breaths

just as the heat brindled, wagging

flaming timber to flaming timber, once.

Above us, the fire is all gold leafed glory,

crafted to a sphere of taut metallic

tongues telling of our almost destruction. 

From The Monument's cage

we can view London and the crawl

of our ashy past still wending with today's 

wash and charcoal twist of Thames below,

etching our gaping lungs with air

and ancient things in flow. 

A Woman Divided. 

(This poem is inspired by a painting by Dali and was read on the radio show Late Night Poets.) 

inside the screech of birds is deafening

soaring and pummelling thoughts to clouds,

my arms fling upwards to embrace the emptiness

of sky and solidity of stars.

ripping myself in two is a daily task.

I tread the yellow shore with care

make lunches and walk responsibly to work

feeling the shackles of life cry at my ankles

as seaweed clasps the crags of rocks.

the horizon snips, snips redly at me,

sails through me as I try to hold myself

to account and grasp the bitterness

of burnt out days and make them fly

from a woman split 

a woman divided.  

Brighton Pier


Over the sea and leading nowhere

the pier soars, its gapped boards

pulling us to its promenade.

Planks are parted with a promised

glimpse of the ocean tumbling

and foaming feet below -

its waves climbing around

the wrought iron red posts

supporting us all

to the end.

Here the fun fair screeches

its rollercoasters into the sky

and the helter-skelter spirals

riders down on their coir mats

through Victoriana to

the pinstriped candy-floss stalls beyond.

The yellow heat of oil

and frying food wanders the air

unhealthily wraith like,

enticing as the ghost train ride's

beckoning ghouls,

their scripted screams

staccato stabbing at the thump of rock music

all around us until we are

full again of swaying knowledge

and vertigo; pitched against 

good sense and firm land

somewhere inside forever. 

Spring Virus

(published at Writer's Egg Magazine, issue 7)  

A sky stretched thin as gum

pans its slow camera at each scene

we run at, this spring, frostless,

eyed with sun, sharp with cursing

and spearing its sugary beams 

at this chew of rationed days

as we repeat and repeat our lives

isolating them to the momentary plash

of water shadowing our hands

and sketching our wrists with stringy,

twiggy patterns of whispered resolve.

The virus invisible and washed

with stories flooding faster and faster

between us as we gather all that means any

and abandon our cities, trailing to the path. 

Kicker Poem

Published at Writer's Egg Magazine, Issue 6


Our elm tree kicks with the breeze,

its branches strung

with old trainers,

their treads worn to frayed slopes

curved with the smile

of completed journeys,

flung by their one-time owners

to the sky and its skitter.

Here, skateboarders rush the path

with their slide, jigging the road

to an ocean alive with rippled

sun and the wink of poems

grown from the emptiness

of streets and shadows

straddling sidewalks

with a simmer of ideas that tear

themselves like sprigs from a forgotten paradise;

selling scent from the dusty pavements

and buttonholing bystanders with words,

that say the stuff they want

rather than what they should.

The Visitor

 I open my door and find you waiting

amongst autumn and failing, falling light

dressed in the thickness of a dun overcoat

the verdurous twine of ancient forests

un-scrolling as you speak.

Your cracked lips shape islands 

to a spoken cellophane

of sickness that churns 

plastic and grey in our ocean guts.

Inside I offer pain-killers and recycle

panaceas of wisdom.

We untangle numbers from choking twine

and watch the points of decimals 

shift, unfurling fins

as we skate through thinning ice against

the glowering night; the drift of damp moss

growing through our voices and clinging

to our shadows' lean 

against the fumy highway.

Did you call too late?

Outside the concrete is spread and setting.


Published at Writer's Egg Magazine, Issue 6 and online @InkPantry

Poetry Drawer: I’m the Writer and the Woman Buying a Bus Ticket: Trauma by Jenny Middleton | Ink Pantry

She has no words in school today.

To match, I make mine tiny,

firm stones; imperatives placed

next to pictures

to round their requests,


balancing the real on a surf of

swaying meaning. She responds,

tracing sounds to her own.


Reading opens and closes

its booked meanings.  She decodes

words into elephants, heavy, andante,

stepping sense slowly from the page

to something

new from thumbed pages.


Her body folds beneath a uniform

of crumpled grey polyester,

as she hunches at the desk,

skin prickling with webbed scabs,

self-scratched; still raw, still red.  


The bathroom’s razored blur

smudging at the back.

Haiku String: Mirrors.

Reality's mirror

silver image smiling pretence,

homage to the world.

Inside a heart lurches

uneasy with its daily task

blood ribbons unfurl.

Windowed city streets

people wait, concern ticking 

slow behind glass eyes. 


Digital Selves


Dials shifting with digital tides

Throb inside our unblinking eyes

Data coded irises encrypt

Identities with sky scanned script

Secrets shift amid security

Beneath each programmed byte

Powered nanoseconds green light

The home with wired wonderment

While hovering optic mirrors gloat

With messages and smooth drones

Deliver messages to phones - 

Emotions breeding emojis. 

Tales I Tell My Children

Fairy realms linger; longings whispered to a child.

Heads full of hoods and wolves howl lonely on a moor,

While the yellowed pages guide a brittle mossed path

Back to bedtimes beyond and now freshly buoyant

With my own children's chatter and clutter of stairs

Climbed.  And I the teller now light incantations

Of the darkness and of the dreams hovering 

Freshly born tonight, ancient and again new

Brimming with technicolour misty murmurs 

Laid through the years so we bite again apples

Snow White's blood red lips knew and poison kissed.

And feel Rapunzel's starry, salty tears stray

To cure princely eyes and cut our own computer

Devised reality to size.

Dark comforts offered word by voice in these tales

Ensconce us; wrapping pain and reality in duvets

And towel damp hair; all beauty filtered to our bleary

Beds and so it is the children sleep.

Cut Flowers

The cut carnations blare

A luminosity.

They have become flares

Floodlighting the dusk cloaked city,

With a cultivated fluorescence.

Their blooms pirouette

Tutu ruff heads,

Twisting in the creeping night,

Their petals trembling

Like pantomime comic clowns,

Yellow wigs out of place.  

Ungainly, quivering and nodding

Bowing knobbly stem bodies

Against the glassy chill 

Of the listless vase.

My eyes clamber to them,

Like two dying bees desperate to hug

Their brightness, eager to offer

My body up to the imagined heat 

Of these dissembling Olympian torches;

Pyres of summer light.

So aloof, so aimless and absurd

Bunched together in the throes

Of certain death.

And so it is we travel. 























































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