Tag Archives: prose poetry

NANOWRIMO 2014 – Day 9 – a child sized silver and gold charm bracelet, circa 1935



And in this dream she holds her grandmothers wrist,

Skin translucent,

Bird boned

Pulse racing to catch up with everything else….everything already gone


And her grandmother is wearing her charm bracelet, her wrist so thin, so tiny that the bracelet has never needed to be re-sized.

This fact a boast in adult life

” my wrists are the size of a 6-year-old child”

Spinning around on feet, lotus flower feet, hardly filling the black patent shoes she wore all her life.


Everything about her tiny

But tiny like a razor blade, able to give more hurt, more blood than seems possible from such a tiny, tiny thing.


The first charm then, aged 6, a single ballet shoe, hanging in splendid isolation on the thin silver chain,

But she knew more would come, birthdays, Christmas, a first communion, bridesmaid gifts and all chosen by other people, all to tell her something about herself, something about their view of her, something, a blueprint, on how to be a good 7 and 8 and 9 and 10-year-old.


The charms multiply

A horse’s head

A tiny ( see, here’s that word again ) crucifix

A car

A handbag

A lucky clover

A horse shoe

An ornate key


And more and more and more

Until, in adulthood, the bracelet weighs her down, keeps her earthbound, a tracking device for high days and holidays.

Just follow the chink, chink, chink, as reliable as thread or stones or breadcrumbs.

Fairy story themes for the least fairy story grandmother of them all.


And in this dream, as she idly picks up the charms and lets them hit against each other, she sees another bracelet, another grandmother, another wrist.

But this wrist is fleshy, soft to the touch, warm, inviting and she cannot help but rest her cheek against this flesh and carefully, slowly touch and stare at these new, these other charms.


With the absolute truth of dream logic, she knows that these are the other charms, for the other life, the tiny ( see, here it is again) talismans her grandmother would have chosen for herself.

A pair of silver wings…no longer earth-bound, flying free.

One hob nailed boot….in this life, this dream life,  her feet will hit the earth, stomp, stomp, stomping. Each step sending a jolt of potential through her bones, making this, this other bracelet rock and shake and fill the sky with noise.

A pair of golden scissors, able to make the first cut, the deepest cut, the cut that tears away the traces….setting her free.

And, a single solid pewter heart, no cutesy cuts, no need to join it to another to make a whole, complete in its own shape, it’s  weight in a palm, comforting,finished.


And finally, hanging in the very centre of the piece, a slice of cake, silver swirls of icing, a chip of Ruby to represent a cherry.

Fairy sized for fairy appetites, but in this life, the grandmother takes up more space, makes more noise, has more hunger and more right to fill these hungers.


When the woman wakes, she finds her own fingers encircled around her wrist,,thumb and fore fingers not quite able to meet and full of hungers that she knows can only be filled by


And long walks in shiny red doc martins

And noise, much, much noise.


Strategies to Survive a Summer Storm

1. Make no mistake, this is a snow day, sans snow.
A day when all bets are off, routines abandoned, rythmn lost.
This is not a day for useful enterprise, cupboard mining, tax return or improving books.

2. Before it breaks, before the sturn and drang, stand and wait, wait at the window, on a balcony, in a garden.
Wait in air so leaden with promise, with threat.
Dragged down, earth bound, in bondage.
Smoke a cigarette and watch the smoke, hang in the heavy air.
Familiar tobacco scent cutting across a hint of metal, electricity in the air.

3. The first flash, first fork is a signal.
Gather together small children, pets and adults of a nervous disposition on a life raft of duvets on the largest double bed
It is permissible to collect extra pillows, soft toys and snacks of a comforting nature for this voyage.

4. Priority places should be allocated to those who can remember the techniques for calculating the exact distance of the storm from your roof top.
This calculation can contribute to the primary numeracy curriculum and therefore this storm day is technically a learning day.

5. No food or drink consumed on a storm day has any calorie, fat or sugar content, but choose carefully, ensure that all snacks celebrate the spirit of summer storm.
Consider rum, hard bread, small fish.
If all else fails, consider crisps, conveniently packaged in water-proof bags.

6. Tell stories of storms gone past, remember to embellish.
The horse hit by lightening, its’ metal shoes quadraphonic conductors.
The man drowned when the stream became a river, became a torrent,became the sea.
Mr Noah
Mrs Wolf

7. Be kind to those who become fearful, they are right, the gods are angry.
Do not share the statistics of the likelihood of lightening strike.
It will not help.

8. Exile, exile immediately, anyone who, peering into the sky, suggests that
“It seems to be clearing up”
This is a day to catastrophise,
To watch the world wash away.
Street by street.

9. Eventually, you will have to succumb to the irresistible rythmn of the rain on the roof.
Open the door, deep breath,
give yourself up to the storm.
A shower of power.
Stand and wave a fist at Thor and all the gods whose names you have forgotten.
if you are less heroic, more self conscious,
sing quietly to yourself
“I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling” and as the words peter out, find a puddle to stamp in.

There is more to your driver than meets the eye – On the Night bus – 17

There is more to your driver than meets the eye.
Look carefully, look beyond the perma press shirt, the company tie, the faint hint of tobacco from illicit smoke breaks.
Look beyond the graying face, eyes tight with exhaustion.

This one got home at 6am, walked his son to school, toddler on his shoulders, crowing with delight and then watched the boy, his first born, play a shakey version of silent night on an almost tuned piano and felt for one second as though he would burst, burst right open,in front of all the other parents, with pride and love.

This one is waiting for the world to end, waiting with a quiet certainty.
Sometimes he hopes that rapture will happen right here, right now, at 2, 3 in the morning, the bus rowdy, packed to the rafters with sinners.
And in his mind, he sees himself and the bright red bus floating into the sky while unbelievers drop from the windows, fall out of the door and he is left in silence and white light.

This driver is trying not to lose the magic from last night’ dream. She wants to close her eyes, rest her head against the steering wheel.
in her dream she is sitting on the wooden roundabout in the scrappy patch of mud and grass and broken bottles and used condoms in front of the flats and she is looking at the unicorn who is unsurprisingly bathed in moon light. She stretches out her hands to reach him, his eyes consider her and just as she is convinced that he will step forward and that she will be able to bury her face in his coat, she wakes and finds herself crying into her pillow.

This one has been learning Esperanto from a book he found when the library closed down.
He has started writing poetry and translating it slowly and probably badly into his new half grasped language.
He wants to lie in bed and read these poems to his wife, secure that no-body he has ever met, will ever meet will have any idea of what he has written and this knowledge frees him, allows him to pour out a litany of love and desire to the woman who has shared his bed for 27 years.

This driver knows that when he dies that he will, finally, be re-united with every dog he has lost.
The after life holds no fears now and he has left instructions that the leads of Mungo and Badger and Molly, kept safe at the back of the cutlery drawer, should be buried with him.
Death seems quite welcome now.

This one has posted her photograph on an inter-net dating site.
The photograph, heavily edited, bears almost no relation to her every day appearance and she is terrified that someone she actually knows, in this real world, another driver, an ex-husband, will want to meet her.
she wonders if it is too late to pull the profile.

This driver is loosing a custody battle to see his son.
He has bought a superhero costume.
He has talked, late at night, to other angry men.
He knows once he takes action, that there will be no going back.

This one weighs herself 3 times every day.
She would like to stop, but doesn’t know how.

And this driver

And this driver

And this driver

There is more to your driver than meets the eye.
Look carefully, look beyond the perma press shirt, the company tie, the faint hint of tobacco from illicit smoke breaks.
Look beyond the graying face, eyes tight with exhaustion.