Conversation With My Thirteen-Year-Old Self

A collection of auto-biographical poetry.

Cherry

Games People Play

I'm looking down through the blue gloom to a heart-shaped sea anemone that blooms purple like a familiar bruise.

"Verboten"

With a grin you dubbed the subject "Verboten" - surprised me with your German; but then again, everything spoken between us is in a different language.
Cherry

A Home-coming

I don't feel particularly prodigal, nor do I really wonder if I'm a lie coming home to roost - I'm past all that.
Cherry

A Study in South Street

I know where I want to live when I grow up.

A Supermarket in Keighley

(After 'A Supermarket in California' by Allen Ginsberg) Revision is making me see some strange things...

Abomination

You are the poem that will never see daylight.
Cherry

Acceptance

My mother drew in my cries in a glittering net from the pit of my stomach.
Cherry

After You

I'm spinning back round, banging my fists on the door. I want to go back. I WANT TO GO BACK! There are sirens in my head, screaming: "Relapse... RELAPSE!"

Aftermath

The plan failed. Finally bored with burning, I pulled the plug. Sweet, certain gravity; a tornado tangoed over the hole.

An Insomniac's Dawn

The hands of the clock wave stiffly through the small hours; a lengthy, bitter goodbye. I sit in four-cornered dark, so awake yet wrapped in a shroud that slowly slips from black to grey.
Cherry

Anniversary

This time last year, I was in Moscow - trapped in a vast snow globe - and half way across a continent from you.

Anticipation

Tomorrow I get my AS level exam results so I guess my phobia is the grades ;) Grades! Grades! The envelopes shriek at the irony that a poet should be afraid of letters.
Cherry

Block

Because writing about writer's block is so in right now ;) 'My tongue fell hardest of all. This muteness spreads inwards, anger'
Cherry

Blossoming

A very personal poem for me. 'At fifteen I stood alone in my bedroom. Locked the door.'
Cherry

Cambiare

A heart-shaped jellyfish melts into the sand. Like a marble, it is glassy blue with green and purple tendrils twisting at its centre.
Cherry

Captive

So much light and colour - and the promise of spring. And it feels now as if nothing in this life will be as perfect as this moment ...

Clean Slate

New year - new start ;) Another Tanka! (Haiku + couplet with seven syllables in each line.)
Cherry

Coming Home

The poetry has dried up as of late, so here's a bit of prose about my last week in Durham.

Conversation With My Thirteen-Year-Old Self

You sit on your dad’s desk chair prodding that pale star-shaped scar on your right thumb, trying to mould it back into the skin. But still it reappears, shining just as before.

Star Struck

A contemplation on the world of celebrity. It is dedicated to Michael Palin as this poem came about because I was writing some fanmail to him.

Insomnia

Unfortunately I have suffered quite severely from insomnia. My midnight expereinced inspired this poem.
Cherry

Infatuation

About a boy. He made me realise that obsession isn't love, and we can be blind to what we really want.
Cherry

Rain in July

She taps her red pumps On the stool as she gazes Out of the window of the Samaritans Charity shop. She stands out Like a snow white moth Against a grimy window pane.
Cherry

The Pianist

Her hands shake. Scarred Like withered bark of trees. The veins twist in purple vines Through knotted knuckles. Her fingers are stiff and crooked Like old women in shawls.
Cherry

Flashbacks

When I was two my Mum paraded me along the canal Where the emerald-headed mallards gossiped amongst the bull rushes.
Cherry

Pear-Shaped

My body is wrong. Every crease, every curve Is a contradiction, Like a figure eight Seen in a warped mirror.

Resolutions

I have made my resolution; no more, no more crying over you. Not now, not ever.

Until Spring

They sleep in the bunkers of bulbs, nestled in wombs of soil. Buried deep within the red earth of me.
Cherry

Peter Pan Poems

They are Peter Pan poems; they refuse to grow up!

Seventeen Going On Twenty-Five

IP: 25 things about me At secondary school people told me I was posh because I used big words; I told them they were being hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobic.
Cherry

Tuesday's Child

My dear sweet, little sister; an annoyance sent by angry storks. Oh, how with floppy tongues they flock. She is a nymph and I, Medusa. If only they would love me the way they love her.
Cherry

This Poet's Hands

IP: 30 word poem My thumb, tectonic plate with a scar, sitting quietly like Australia.
Cherry

Writing Poetry

IP: 30 word poem Our bodies curve into vowels and mouths shape soft, exotic verbs.
Cherry

I Remember

I remember a time when the names didn’t hurt me. That hazy untouchable feeling of a strolling concrete block.
Poem of the week

Une Nuit Blanche

Message from a veteran insomniac ;) I move from mountain range to foetal - twisting turning. Turning in the grooves of this grave - arms as wings, waving, waving.
Cherry

Something to Say

I warm my bare feet on the dash board, sitting in the boyish manner that makes you laugh, as we drive up Avondale Road.
Cherry

Perpendicular

Flickr IP. I am the room's fifth corner. You stretch yourself along my back - I am perpendicular.
Cherry

You Are

You are the word that never rhymes with anything. You are the clumsy simile that sits and grins.
Cherry

Dream

Unfortunately this poem was inspired by some bad news; a week ago I was rejected by Oxford University. But I want to thank you all for your support these past few months!
Cherry

Losing It

Losing your faith is not like losing your favourite scarf or your mother's brooch. (The one with the golden peacock feathers.)
Cherry

Inner Demons

There are … things stirring within me that I try to hide, won’t set free.
Cherry

Post-Trauma

I haven't been sleeping so well this past week ... 'Somewhere a woman is screaming, clinging to a bundle of blankets - fumbling with the fraying fabric ...'

Dreaming Spires

A collaboration with a great guy and dear friend of mine ;) 'Sleep-walking, last night, retraced my steps to Oxford.'
Cherry

The Prodigals

She crushed us into boulders, curled us into roses. Rejected. Not the perfection she wanted. In this sin-bin we strike cubist poses.
Cherry

Lucid Dreams In Moscow

Part One of a two-part series of poems on my experiences of Russia. 'Looming before me, St Basil's basks in camera flashes, with its candy-cane swirls and pretentious pastels,'

Libra

Only cautious Capricorn can make me lose my balance.
Cherry

First Letter Home

Wotcher stranger! Remember me? Yes, I am talking like a born and bred southerner already. No more ‘blooooke’ or ‘poooost box’ – I’ve learnt to speak properly...
Cherry

Foreign Country

"The past is a foreign country..." - L.P. Hartley
Cherry

Simon Armitage at the Gala Theatre

Like two giddy schoolgirls, off to fawn over rock stars at Wembley, Alice and I half-run, half-stumble, down Elvet Hill. Fast leaving St Mary's behind, we are town centre-bound.
Cherry

Hall of Mirrors (Durham Ramblings)

I'm good at brooding. Seriously, no one can brood quite like me - when I'm sat on a nameless bench and the sky is just as moody.

First Snow

Silently, slowly, it crept in to complete the snow globe illusion - begging Petersburg to eat its heart out.

Full Stop.

It's true: we've co-authored a masterpiece. Our imagery, our perfect symmetry can't be matched - we moved as one entity, attached for so long.
Cherry

Homesickness

You know, I’d convinced myself I was actually crazy...this time I’d resigned myself to the fact that I would end up in a strait-jacket by my mid-twenties.
Cherry

Postscript

In all our fanciful talk of crisp, white bed sheets, Romania, and teaching English, I never thought to mention we would call our son 'Ted'
Poem of the week

Hide and Seek

"In a daze of lavender oil and mirtazapine dreams, I go looking for her. Having wandered on the wrong side of the River Wear for weeks"
Cherry

We're All Mad Here

There's a girl at the table to my right, curled up in her chair and retreating into a bottle-green hoody like a snail. She must be at least my age, yet she's clutching a soft toy penguin.
Cherry

Miles to Go Before I Sleep

Written on a platform at Durham train station, 21/01/11. I don't ever want to feel like this again.
Cherry

Reading at the Lowe Library

Here, the sunset hangs like strips of ripened honeycomb, dripping fire onto the sill.
Cherry

Lindsay

I don’t know why, Lindsay, but last night, smoking in the stone cloisters of the quadrangle, I thought of you.
Cherry

Unexpected Intrusions of Beauty

the shrunken envelopes and newspaper are brown and crinkled like the underside of a mushroom, and the slender black sticks are curved with the symmetry of bones.
Cherry

On Turning Twenty

A lad who once dated the baby's mother got married last month, has a kid of his own, and is off to serve in Afghanistan. My mother was married at twenty.
Cherry

Pour A Little Salt, We Were Never Here

October sunlight stumbles into the room as I rise, shrugging off the curious telepathy of dreams. Dandelion prints chase their yellow tails across the walls; it is as if you were never here.
Cherry

Thank God I Didn’t Inherit My Father’s Nose

Just an archetypal, middle-class life with a dark-haired lawyer husband who looks remarkably like Ed Stoppard... OK, maybe an accountant who looks like Martin Freeman.
Cherry

Misanthropist isn't in my predictive text.

(Written on my phone, November 27th, 4:30pm) I wonder what people did before they could stare broodingly out of train windows... Wrote poetry, I suppose.
Cherry

The Last Liberal Democrat

I understood that Grandpa had been a militant Liberal Democrat who would have painted himself yellow and run naked though the streets of Shipley for the cause.
Cherry

The Underground Is So Mainstream

I wrote this to entertain myself when stuck on a train between Kings Cross and Leeds. "And the dark blue straits of the Piccadilly line, seeping towards Heathrow like spilled ink."
Gold cherry

I read Bukowski and Neruda in the early hours

Radiohead is playing on the overnight train somewhere between Moscow and St Petersburg, and I ask you to lay your hands into the soft cement of my stomach like a film star.
Cherry

Smoking in the Bath (A Pantoum)

My first attempt at a pantoum - rules on structure seem to differ greatly from source to source, but this is based on the structure we looked at in a Poetry Society session last night.
Story of the week

The Secret Life of Dragonflies

I appeared from the coffee-cup-cluttered cocoon of my room as a summer-blue dragonfly, sporting a summer-blue painted poster tube tail and paper-white pipe-cleaner antenna.
Cherry

Don Paterson Didn't Eat His Venison

I bake her a tray of shortbread and tell her the more explicit version of ‘The Secret Life of Dragonflies’ to try and take her mind off the poisonous, unwanted orb swelling in her side.
Cherry

Epigraph

Now the days are as sunny as peanut butter, but I stay inside watching re-runs of Blackadder, because I loved Captain Kevin Darling before I loved you.
Cherry

Espresso Martini

"a triangle of black ice with an archipelago of coffee beans dotted across its thin layer of cream. A small miracle of vodka and coffee combined - I hold it aloft like the Holy Grail."
Cherry

On Leaving

I am not as sentimental as I used to be. Like waiting for a delayed train, I teeter on the edge of the week, wondering if the freight load of feeling will ever arrive.
Gold cherry

My Family and Other Animals

Most mornings I wake at dawn. My sister snores opposite me in the double bed she claimed. "But I sleep diagonally!" "That's not a disability." There's no reasoning with some people.

Notes on a Long-Haul Flight

Bucharest is a spider's web heavy with dew. It mirrors the sky; a black expanse littered with glass, the blight mark of a fallen chandelier. A cracked wind-shield.

Ithaca

I sit in the trees that are made from amber glass, making notes, and think of another tree growing in Jerusalem for those who invented God.
Cherry

So it goes.

I stand amongst a wreath of antlered trees. The hills, cave-coloured, blue with rain, seem to sway like kelp.
Cherry

The Obligatory Snow Poem

I have spent the afternoon in 1961, and out on the quad I think I witness Adolf Eichmann building a snowman.
Cherry

The Retreat

"The stray corpse of a snowman sinks into the mud. The rain has stolen his face and a testimony melts in his mouth"