Books, Dog bed, Trailer carpet and Nylobone

book, fiction, novella, Uncategorized, women writing, writing

For sale: two signed copies of Filled with Ghosts, (Book 1, Spanish Spectres series)…Eight signed copies of Ghosts Treading Water (Book 3 Spanish Spectres series)
Not for sale: my copy of Ghost Train Leaving (Book 2, Spanish Spectres series….unsigned), dog bed, Nylobone and Trailer carpet. Cardboard to be recycled.Ghosts treading water

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Progress to Date

book, Collating poems, discovery, poetry, Pondering, Uncategorized, women writing, writing

Sixty-four poems remain in the folder I’ve confidently sharpie-penned ‘1st Collection’
It has found a title, which I’m keeping under wraps. Five or six poems are hanging on by the skin of their teeth and will probably be weeded out during the next ruthless round of decision making. I have been very ruthless to date: many a ‘favourite’ has been unceremoniously dumped because it isn’t what this particular book is about. Discovering what the book is about is a big step for me, as I’ve not thought about it while writing individual poems. I’ve never looked at them as a group before and wondered what my obsessions are outside the confines of the poem I’ve been working on. I realise that isn’t how it is for many writers: they write to a theme when working towards a collection. But it hadn’t occurred to me I was……..

Shaping Dreams

poetry, Uncategorized, women writing

 

At the tidal point where ripples run like dominoes
from sea left to sea right, memory offers up decades
of misunderstandings, trying to make things right,
managing to never be right. Reality pounds in my ears
leaving no room for imagination, the crest before anything
happens is the only time our power seems matched.
There’s no turning back, no gentle retreat to look forward to,
just being plucked like a bruised whelk from its shell.
I learn my lesson over and over again, but every wave
is a little different, shifting grains into distinct patterns,
hitting new rhythms, shuffling another set of broken dreams
to fold in on themselves.

First published on: I am not a Silent Poet, 2017

Stream of Consciousness Unedited

Uncategorized, unedited, women writing

Sitting on her doorstep, the neighbour is forming traps out of rusty wire and baiting them with something that  appears to be potato peelings, but could be a more tempting lure. I see the twisting, the pliars busily snapping. I imagine the blood reddening her fingers, the tetanus jab she didn’t have; her shying away from contact with anyone ‘in authority’ makes that inevitable. Her dog, a Golden Labrador, bred to respond, is quietened by a slap of her hands. My dogs are noisy and neurotic, silenced by the promise of treats. I keep coercion close at hand, in a jar.
For days at a time they’re the only living creatures I talk to; they’re easy to understand, uncomplicated, ready to forgive without bearing grudges. The neighbour isn’t so transparent. Whatever it was that turned her against me after the first couple of months, she isn’t letting on.

 

 

 

 

I Know

poetry, Uncategorized, women writing

I Know
That every new notch in my rifle will be
underrated until I arrive, dead. I will never
court fame, never manage to gather people
round me in crowds, on or off line. I know

that I love wine, and it helps in the short term.
I know I won’t self-destruct, because it would have
happened by now. I know I have friends, unenvious,
coping with my dissociation, an incredible son
who has seen me lie down in traffic, and try to
get him to do the same.

I know that as soon as I get well enough, I will
be dragged back into a system that will make me ill.
I know that everything has already happened, and that
this won’t be believed. My planet is ruled by me. You
rule your planet. I don’t find that hard to conceive.

I know that the derelict is as important as the famous,
that celebrity is nothing, and that generous friends,
family and animals are worth more than anything.

First published on The Stare’s Nest, 2015

New Book Out

book, fiction, novella, Spain, story, Uncategorized, women writing

This little fella, Ghosts Treading Water, book three in the Spanish Spectres series, is now out on Kindle, and should be out in paperback any day now. Maybe even today….

https://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/books/book-detail-page?ie=UTF8&bookASIN=B076T8YJJ1&index=default&pn=irid130627640

Full list of books available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B076SZMKX7

cover

All over Jack

poetry

All over Jack

Jack, torn of corner, bitten, no heart. You promise
wealth, beyond the disputing pack, say certain wisdom
can be bought. I demand a wedding feast with broken
ribs, a Honeymoon, masks, whips, riding boots, and Venice.

Hitching up trousers for kisses outside the Greek shop.
you ask how long before police recognise my glossy robes,
pelt of rat. I feel as split open as a pomegranate, red orbs,
waiting to be pricked, my juice spilled extravagantly.

First published in issue 16, Under the Radar magazine, Feb 2016

Ghosts Treading Water

book, Spain

On 27th October the third novella in my Spanish Spectres series is released. Ghosts Treading Water completes the story that started with Filled with Ghosts, shortlisted for the novella Saboteur Award in 2016.

I remember one good party at the farmhouse. Dad made benches and tables, painted them green. I found twin, gold slow-worms under a stone, and in the early hours a badger loped up the path, bigger, more bear-like than I’d imagined them.

The stream at the end of the garden turns into a river, which eventually becomes the sea. There’s a jetty with some planks missing, and you can sit on the remainders, slippery with moss, dangling your feet and viewing the mud below. During fake tides, the brown water rushes over gulls’ footprints and obliterates them. Stiff legged gulls, their footprints spiky like snowflakes.

Leading towards the mud is a grassy embankment carved into by exceptional high tides; the soft earth is washed over and under, the water secretly burrowing, so deep chasms appear. Shallow depressions in the bank fill with water that freezes in winter; stamping on them, cracking the ice, makes a snapping that leaves a satisfying echo in your bones.

Swimming in the river feels incredible; it’s broad and fast-flowing, with no bridges spanning it. Barges crammed with refuse and leisure-boats compete for space in the deepest part, the middle stretch. Hundreds of gulls follow the barges as they push the oily water ahead. Towards the edges, water barely covers the mud banks and the narrow, pebble shore is dry except at high tide. Wharf mud is grey, and objects solidified by it look fossilised, ropes still wait stiffly, though the boats they once restrained are long gone, either sunk, rotted, or taken away. I recall Mum’s favourite expression, “I’m at the end of my tether.”

COVER GHOSTS TREADING WATER

 

The Underground

story, Uncategorized

This is the first time I’ve entered and won a flash fiction competition.

The Underground

I am invited to Rita’s for tea. I am wearing earrings I designed myself: a dead crow with a worm in its mouth. As I pull off my jacket, Rita says “You’re carrying round a Valentine’s day card”, and I say “Yes, it’s from some guy.” It’s actually from my dad. I think I can see him, leaning against the fridge, but it’s just magnets holding drawings and recipes.                  

Rita’s mum fusses around wiping the windowsill and a black cockerel ornament, with chamois leather she brought back from the factory. I love the leather smell. She has prepared salad for us and hands it to me to put in the fridge. Later Rita’s mum goes to put the food on the table, but the bowl has completely disappeared. No matter how much we search we don’t find it, and I am certain a poltergeist has moved it.

We take the pregnancy test to the park, and after I’ve peed on it, Rita pours a bottle of water on the little stick, because there is no running water. When we see it is positive we still don’t believe it, and I say it’s a false result, because we didn’t rinse off the stick properly. The smell of a bonfire makes me sick, and so does thinking about butter and cheese together on a slice of bread.

We buy a crib from a boot sale for £10, and find pram wheels in a skip, that almost fit, though the crib slides backwards and forwards a bit. I imagine what it would be like living with Rita, and fantasise that this will be our child. The only thing I want to eat is Twister lollies and the only thing I can wear are granddad’s long johns The bump grows like an egg, but concealed under a big knitted turquoise jumper, no one notices it.                                                 When he comes to meet me on his bike, Neil asks why I won’t sit on the handlebars, so I tell him I am pregnant. It doesn’t occur to him that it’s his baby, because we only had sex once. I find it impossible to tell him he is going to be a father.

I am walking up the steps at the tube station, with my new-born in my arms. I fall, and can’t use my hands to save myself. My knees slam against the steps and a woman takes the baby from my arms as I stagger to my feet. I follow her down the tube tunnel. I want my baby back, but she is ahead of me, and I think “Am I mad? Is that even my baby?” We reach the tracks and I go up to her with my arms out, and she just steps into a tube carriage.