The Twenty Minute Date

He was on time. He had texted me, a lot, I put this down to his nerves. I was calm. I had stipulated in my profile I wanted a man who felt comfortable in his own skin. He greeted me with wide open eyes. I took this to mean, he liked what he saw. 

We walked towards the old part of the city. He said he didn’t drink tea or coffee, nor did he understand my request. Going for an afternoon coffee was standard dating procedure. We walked to the Cathedral and sat on the wall. The Holy place towering above us. He had never been to this bit before. 

He was a southerner. He didn’t like me questioning him at all. This raised his discomfort levels. I can not remember exactly what came first, the pursed lips lunge for a junior school style kiss or the comment about my good set of knockers. Either way, this was a cringe worthy date fail.

Prior to this social code failure, he confessed his children didn’t speak to him and he was bored of travelling.

We walked back to the centre and went our different ways. I, to a coffee shop. He, to his car. Twenty minutes of dismal dating.

8th August 

8th August,

Peculiar as it may seem, I am grateful to be dreaming of being socially inept and incompetent in large public buildings. A hotel perhaps, or a department store. The lighting is dim. Very little natural light. There is a definite maze like experience going on in my thoughts in my head in my dream. It is a dream, close to the border of nightmare, but not; 

Thankfully the terrifying water themed dreams have gradually ebbed from the shore of my sleeping psyche. Being trapped in a concrete maze is grateful relief in comparison to the inevitable death by drowning in previous nocturnal adventures.

I thank God for these small mercies.

I am with an older distant male relative who seems to have a purpose for coming to this odd venue. There are a lot of people around and there is an air of expectancy. 

I search the dark walls and wallpaper for exits. I can see none under the amber glow of light and bustling social activity.

An auction or sale.

I need the loo. Yes, those foreboding loo dreams. Needing to urinate or defecate in an overcrowded place. An inevitable long queue, filled with awkward and embarrassed and uncomfortable people. Myself included. Public conveniences are not that convenient, especially in a dream where there is no way out.

I am in the queue forever. Long enough for my relative to have disappeared into the dark and amber recesses of this sinister department store.

I lurk around. Trying to inconspicuously slip down a badly lit staircase that either I can not find or does not exist.

Instead I find a relatively quiet seat. Burgundy velour upholstery. A wood table in front of me under which I place my legs. I observe the scene of darkness ahead of me and other than an intuitive knowing that there are fewer people in the building, I can see only the yellow glow of the ladies toilets. Urine yellow to be precise, shining apologetically into the dark, black maze.

I am grateful to be sitting. Grateful to feel unease. The unease of being trapped in a strange place with strange people is much more of an attractive prospect than the gasping and the swallowing involved in the drowning process.

I am grateful for being uncomfortably alive.

But only just.

Only just grateful.

And only just alive.


Despite your mother’s bold attempt to save you and make you impenetrable to 

That arrow 

Of youth 

Of age 

Of death 



Stringy, inflamed and swollen like the tidal river mouth 

And even these back streets 

These Georgian streets 





For the life that could not bear you




For the dreams that did not sustain you 




For the mistakes that tried to tame you 




For all the woven words that claimed you 

And the life to come that blames you




Goodbye Grief

I feel like I have failed. I feel useless in a dynamic world. I feel like I am stopped. Stopped. The world on its axis tilted and turning. I stay. Rooted. Reluctant. I breathe because I am made that way.  It doesn’t feel like a jolly choice these days. I fell from on high. Directly down. Naturally down. Flat splat on the pavement. The sound of extreme grief, an undignified and messy landing. I grieve. A wild and unabashed grief. The type of grief that almost gets you arrested. The type of grief, that when the fury has passed, changes into a dismal miserable quiet. A sadness of large mass. My body heaves against this mass of sadness. Breathing is all I can do. I detest gravity and all its pitiful laws.
I like my psychosis. That was said to me recently. 

Liking a mauling tiger. This is a suitable analogy. Great excitement and thrill and danger. Until it turns and eats itself. 
Combine this with grief. Psychotic grief. I found my brother dead in a pool of his own blood. The ‘anger’ phase has been truly sensational. A lifetime of hatred and injustices soared through my soul.

The tiger leaping through time. A regression of sorts. The eye of an enraged tiger. Bouyant in a spiritual dimension. Floating, soaring and preying in my mind as a multitude of lensed spheres. 

Eyes. Cameras. The unenviable vision of a half assed clairvoyant. To be offered such a spiritual gift and not to be able to use it, begets a very specific style of incompetence.
Some things you are not meant to know. I hear my dads words repeat in my head. Then why have I been offered the sight? For what purpose? Mental illness? The cursed blessing. The blessed curse.

I feel a very particular kind of ineptitude. A rage of emotions.  Socially destructive behaviours. Fury in a local street is particularly humiliating. I now shrug sad shoulders about the politics I was ranting about and feel indifference again at the people who in my deluded outbursts had the audacity not to even know who I am. My grandfather survived the Battle of the Somme. In my heightened deluded state, my grandfathers’ sacrifice in two world wars was to bring me a status in life. A staus that eludes me still. 

I am psychotic again, but sadly, I am not able to recognise my symptoms. The terrifying nature of this particular beast. Shouting, swearing and screaming does nothing to endear me to the locals of the town. I am refused a glass of water in a bar. I am outraged. Every cell. Every neuron firing out anger. Grief. Anger. Grief. Furious grief. 

I notice I  have pissed myself from the exertion. The bliss of the involuntary. A work out of sorts. Psychotic screaming and shouting. I sit in the back of the cop car. I lock the back seat so the friendly cop can’t sit next to me and talk. I am done talking. I am bored with talking and not ever being able to express the magnitude of my pain. 

There is a moment of levity between the cop and I. I locked you out, I say with a smile. I’m naughty like that. Meanwhile the whole town stares. My cousin speaks with the cops and then they drive me to the cop shop. The officer says I am to be searched for weapons. I find this ludicrous. You don’t want to be touching my knickers,  I say, I’ve pissed myself. The cop smiles again and let’s out a giggle.

All the while the cameras and lenses record all the details. As do the cops with their variety of digital recording microphones and cameras. In the raised intensity of the situation, I can no longer tell who or what is recording me, it is a complicated digital paranoia array. They drive me home. Kindly.

Grief. I have talked to counsellors,  psychologists and shrinks. I have approached those who walk close to spirit for their wisdom and guidance. I have given up my soul to those and to all whom I believed who would heal it or simply have it. The job too excessive for my wit alone.  The job nobody wants. I neither. 
All the sense I can make is this, there is no cure for love. A simple and pure lyrical sentiment from Leonard Cohen. Fool I am. Fool I was for not accepting the fact. 

Grief is excruciating. Facing the pain is excruciating. Acknowledging how my brother died and living with that memory of him has been excruciating. Extreme grief is excruciating. 

I grieve for him and my soul and spirit feel oddly cleansed. The tiger naps in the quiet jungle, but I now live with the after math of yet another psychotic episode. This is the official terminology used for the freaky shit that is outside of regular human cognition and inexplicably difficult to describe.

 The flat splat on the pavement of life is the inevitable come down. The ground. The gravity. The living on the earth. The comparatively uneventful three dimensional space.

The goodbye grief.


Tiny buds that so quickly ignite and the flashing yellow daffodils under a neighbour’s dried hydraenga.  These signs speak of spring. There is much talk at this time of year, as there is at every time of year. It seems everybody got a word or two to say and those who don’t have ventriloquists who do the talking for them. I don’t know if I prefer his monocle on or off his face, both options look initially viable until the square chin and peeling paint can go no longer unnoticed.

I was never handsome. That had never, (thankfully for me) been my ambition.  Ambition of any kind was not expected of dummies, though they were exceedingly good at distracting the eye from that which should have been watched closely; the creeping up of spring and its gloriously inevitable pounce.


The curious child’s face when the weasel pops couldn’t detract me from the strange scent of hyacinth pulsing in the yellow stained kitchen. An acquired smell, akin to rodent mating spray with a high note of ammonia.

All his working life, think outside of the box, he said, all that blue sky thinking, he said and he said it all without once moving his lips. Jaw ache. Keeping him amused. Guess he’s lonely. Needs somebody to talk to, as he folds over my legs and closes the lid.

The larfs aren’t the same anymore, he’s out-said his repertoire and I hear him wanking, then crying, then speaking in my voice, practising religiously. I Glaswegian Kiss the lid with my wooden forehead. Let me think outside of this box. If I had a head it would ache, like the jaw, like his heart, for anyone to believe he has what it takes.

Revolutions of the same song, slurred and skid marked on the toilet bowl of life. It wasn’t even a real hyacinth. It was a car air freshener he had hung on the handle of the window. There were no favours to be had, only head pain from the sound of his own voice. He was so used to speaking through somebody else’s lips, so used to tasting through somebody else’s tongue, he had no senses since Guenivire left.

He had taken his eyes of her balls and the rough talk and the small talk had somehow become one in the same. Guenivire had had enough and even though I was in my box, I heard her joyfully slamming doors as she skipped out of his life forever.

His narcissistic ego initially had him convinced Genny would come back, but she didn’t, he even kept me out of my box longer, waiting at the stage door. She was much more in demand, her lady boy features and coral lipstick. At first he laughed it off sardonically. Then he started chain smoking again and spitting; most of all I hated the spitting.

Life is unkind, particularly in spring, as the heart withers and the soul retreats in direct opposition to the natural order of the season. The pigeons bonking on the nearby rooves reminded him of Genny and their awkward copulations. I can hear his sighs of regret like a flat lining hospital monitor, as I pretend to sleep, colluding with this box, where his voice hides, knowing full well through this lid and that monocle, without her we shall never see a blue sky.

A Letter to the Children of Syria

You are ours too and we belong to each other and to the earth and to all the stars in the universe. Sadly, not all of us here know that, some people think we are strangers even though it is so easy to make friends with children just like you.

War becomes a kinaesthetic experience. I feel the bombs dropping in and around my body.

Does this insult you? I speak metaphorically when it is actually you who gets the literal experience. Your tiny body is where the bombs explode.

I try to express my empathy with you and I want you to know if I were there I would cover your body with mine as a shield.

I have nightmares about nuclear bombs and surviving. I am unlucky enough to live through the agony and suffering of nuclear fall out. In the dream I am covered in a toxic ash, like from an Icelandic volcano eruption.

Somehow we are all responsible for the decision in parliament today. The lucky ones (in my dream), were vapourised at ground zero, but not me, I got covered in the post apocalyptic guilt, where the cliché ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’, ‘simply does not cut it’ and I am so sorry, really sorry for endangering your life with the metal of the British Empire and an old historical document signed by the United Nation before you were even born. It was signed before we could even conceptualise the kind of terrorism that exists today with Daesh.

You can not understand why your street and house and possibly school must be dessimated. I am not even sure if you will ever recover from the military action. I can only ask that you forgive us our trespasses. As indeed we should forgive too, only forgiveness is not profitable. Forgiveness is for fools.

I want you to know I abhor any decision founded by profit that hurts you. I apologise for the men in power who immorally profit from war. I am sorry that we didn’t ask for a peace agreement first and I am so sorry that we didn’t sanction the countries selling arms to the extremists with whom you have a civil war.

We mean well. We aim to create a safer world. Sadly I believe we are misguided. If you grow up with hatred in your heart then we are to blame too and history has even more reason to repeat itself, again and again.

Tonight I apologise to the people of Syria, to your mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandparents, because I believe the air strikes will not make them safe and perhaps the only consolation, is that it will not make any of us safe and this pitiful offer, is all the solace I have to offer you right now.

A miserable attempt a Solidarity, becuse I will wake up from my nightmares, whereas you are living in one right now.

Writing this here is all the power I have to say that I truly hope peace will prevail and I am truly sorry for the violence we are subjecting you to. Your young life is very precious and I am sorry that my government has not found another way.

Please forgive us.