We Live as Once We Did

This poem’s written in the voice of a teenage girl from a kind of post-apocalyptic tribe of Native-American type people – think like a hippy version of Mad Max…

We live as once we did,
Together amidst the trees.
A people protected by sheets of green,
with roots that reach deep and stay strong.

The rise of the moon brings the safety of night.
The chance to hide away,
Deep in the forests
Where our weavers dance the stories that bind us
to the space within,
And allow us not to drift
into waking-dreams of times long gone.

The Melancholia
is an illness that draws our gaze from the moment;
and the moment is what we cling to.

The weavers dance the stories that bind us
to the space within;
Not tales of strangers, who we never knew,
Or dreams of far of places that can never be;
This is not like the old days.
Here, we hear the stories that celebrate
those we know and love.
For they are who we stay for.

The weavers dance the stories that bind us
to the space within;
Our celebration is the life, the moment,
Not the dream.


The night brings the familiar warmth of fire,
a chance to rest from travel.
We make camp,
Heal wounds,
And find peace
within the embers.
We talk amongst ourselves,
And we live amongst the trees.


But I stay close to those who protect me.
For at night, fears shake my sleep.

Not fears of those beyond our realm,
Or of those with whom we share our home.
My nightmare is those who remain blinded to the truth;
Those who wander our world
hoarding and chasing
and seeking to own.

Those who learnt nothing from the fall.

They are who we hide from in the days.

They creep out from their concrete jungle
in stinking steel, and steal anyone they can find.
They try to restore what had fallen
and want thanks for bringing it back.
Their belief is a kind of zealotry,
Their faith is a form of oppression.

We have offered peace to them
but their hunger cannot be reasoned with.
They dream of the past,
And promise the future,
But never see what’s here.

And so, for now, we must hold our own:
Fight back when needs be,
Defend our space
And continue…

To live as once we did.
Together amidst the trees.
A people protected by sheets of green,
with roots that reach deep and stay strong.



Audio from Opening Lines, Brighton, December 2018

Just a little reminder to take care this Christmas… xx

The Victim
There’s a blackness so deep it almost glows. And that’s all there is. I’ve an awareness of myself, but nothing more. It’s as though I’m surrounded by an emptiness, a vacuum, that draws me outward to fill it, and it stretches me so thin I almost don’t feel like I exist; and I know that I haven’t the strength to fight it forever. For a half a second I am enough to reflect on what had happened: I remember, like the memory of a dream, the warmth of a fire, presents unwrapping, a scooter I could ride; and then – from out of the darkness – I see the lights of a car, made ghostly by the cloud of wet sleet and snow that’s being whipped by the wind. The lights approach me, faster and faster; and then a dull clunk like two stones clashing. And then I’m alone again, in a blackness so deep that it almost glows…

The Driver
I shouldn’t be here. ButI can’t leave. It wasn’t my fault. But I know I’ll replay this again and again for the rest of my life. I’ll live this forever… I was driving to my parents’ house; there was incessant noise from the backseat; the snow and sleet flew so thick it was like a fog. And then, there was a moment where it parted, as though some divine wind had passed, and by then it was already too late… I can still see her face, strangely frozen, in an eyes-wide-open moment of pure terror.And that’s the image I’ll take with me, branded into my mind. And when I close my eyes to sleep, she’ll be there as well. I curl up and cry.

The Nurse
I check the instruments, but nothing’s changed. She’s in a coma and unless she wakes up soon she’ll stay that way until we shut it down. The man who hit her looks awful– thank God he’s sober. I feel for him, I really do. I feel for her as well… and the family. God, the family! But in this line of work, it’s hard to hold that care and my mind begins to wander. I keep an eye on the readings, there’s not much I can do, and if I’m honest, a part of me is itching to check my phone and see if Hannah’s still on for Thursday. I know it’s insensitive, and so concentrate to hold back a smile at the thought of her… And then I feel a cold wash of guilt as I look back at the girl on the bed, her skin as pale as a ghost, and remind myself that there’s nothing I can do.

The Messenger
I know they’re in there. I spoke to them earlier. I reassured them as well as I could. Over the years, I’ve learnt the knack of that: if you’re too hopeful it makes things harder later on; it makes for an easier shift if you keep expectations low. I resent the times when I deal with this like it’s a job, but it is. Their only child, and she’s gone. Is that a job? Carrying news like this. Is it something you should do so often you’re good at it? Before I open the door – every time – I remind myself that although this how I pay my bills, this isn’t a job. This is about life, and I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta to do, because someone’s gotta do it.

The Family
She’s gone. There are no words. There is only grief, and the memories that burn.

The T-Shirt
Shit happens.



He placed a small box onto the table.

Ornate carvings it had none;
Gilt and gold was not its thing.
In fact
It was hard to see the colour really;
It was almost hard to see.

But it was there:
A small box, sitting
on the worn green leather top
of a wide wooden desk, before
the most powerful man in the world.

“It’s yours, if you want it,”
The traveller said.
“It has the power to create
anything you desire;
the power to control people;
it has the power to meld and mend
consciousness itself
and as such,
it creates reality.”

The traveller sat back:
“It’s yours, if you want it.”

“What’s the catch?” asked
the most powerful man in the world.
“There must be something.”

The traveller shrugged:
“I have one myself.
And no-one needs
more than that.”

There was a moment’s pause
Where the man’s hand itched to reach out,
And snatch it,
And be damned with what else.

“What do you want?” asked the man.

“You have a choice,”
the traveller said.
“My asking is only curiosity,
But I want to know what you’d do:
You can have this,
I’ll give you ten;
Or I’ll give you one for everyone
On the face of your planet.

The decision is yours.”

The man thought,
in the way we often do,
not rationally or logically
but dreamily,
He played out hopeful scenarios,
Pursuing an end to a point of comfort:
If everyone had one,
What would that be?

The endless consumption;
Street corners riddled with drugs
And debauchery.
The population losing focus,
Chaos reigns.
The lecherous mob,
drowning in their luxury;
Humanity sinking into sand.

Or he could manage it,
Help them,
Distribute it fairly,
And see the future through.

And he knew what he must do.

The traveller left that afternoon,
His ship slipping silently into space,
And the man was left holding his box:

Ornate carvings it had none;
Gilt and gold was not its thing.
In fact
It was hard to see the colour really:
It was almost hard to see.

And it never seemed to work.
And he often looked back and wondered
If he’d simply chosen wrong.