I remember well the stretch of his vest
as she pulled him towards her, across the school desk:
a little woman, with thin purple lips.

You are bad, she mouthed –
at six, he would have smelled her hot breath
and felt her spittle on his skin.

I remember then how miss told him:
You will never amount to anything.


The Goodlife

The music laughed
and the dancing played
when the little girl
tossed back her braid
and ran into
her daddy’s arms,
he took her up
and twirled her round.
The crowd we clapped
and raised a glass
to the love of a dad
and his lovely lass.
We took our places
on the floor
and when it stopped
we asked for more.
Oh, clap your hands
and stamp your feet
to the tune of Saturday’s
goodlife beat!


I saw those ships
go sailing by…

When the boat drew near
it brought a boy
with long black hair
that caught my eye
and a woman who lost
her first born son
to falling walls
and angry men.

I saw those ships
go sailing by…

I watched the boat
list hard and tip
the little boy
off from the ship
and heard the screams
and smelled the fear
of mothers washed
with salty tears.

If my waves pushed high
my current strong
I would push the listing
boat along
then dip to lift
the drowning boy
and place him on
the sand to dry.

I would land those ships
and drive the trains
and welcome people
when they came
to share the shelter
and daily bread
that is not mine
but ours instead.

And though some say
it is naive
to practice what
our hearts believe
my hand is held
by others who
would reach out arms
of welcome too.


Thursday is awkward,
bookmarked by too many elbows,
constrained in its choices,
pinned between Wednesday and Friday,
hemmed by projections from the rest of the week.
This extract, squeezed from the page of its incarceration,
doesn’t begin to express Thursday’s vast potential
as a story in its own right.