I have been lucky to be selected to be published in the Daily Drunk for my poem ‘The Off-Vengers’. It’s a poem based on if the characters from The US Office were cast in the roles of some of The Avengers.
One evening in the Scottish Borders during a break away with youth club when the air was glue-thick and soup-warm and the sky bruised purple-black
we sat telling ghost stories – not scary in the slightest – while the youth workers and chaperones drank cheap lambrusco from mugs until we witnessed the awesome temper of the sky as death-white splinters thrashed from cloud to meadow cracks booming louder than screams of tweens and young teens most of the lads and lasses ran for shelter in the bunkhouse sharing safety in numbers and the comfort of cuddles from terrified friends.
I stayed out until the last of us were told to go in – once the adults had took the last long draws of their roll-ups and regal king-size so i went and watched by the window mesmerised in the maelstrom of pines and ferns getting whipped in the nearby wood.
It took me a while to hear a young lass screaming and shrilling ‘we’re all gonna die’ repeatedly between sobs and falling tears as heavy as the rain outside I felt bad for enjoying myself while she was terrified.
One of the older lads said we’d all look after her and that – or the storebrand ovaltine the youth leader made – seemed to calm her to sleep and, as the thunder rolled back the bruised horizon gave way to star-flecked inky skies and a pure pearl moon she slumbered soundly while we told tales of nature some more scary than others.
Thanks for taking the time to read ‘Thunderstruck’. I hope you enjoyed it. While you’re here, feel free to check out some of my other work.
I remember the things I learned watching Grandstand on Saturday afternoons at my Great Grandad’s house like the rules of snooker, darts and horse racing how to pick a winning horse out the newspaper (look at the jockey) sound like Woody the Woodpecker how to use a mangle to dry out clothes still steaming from the old washing machine I found that snuff tobacco was minty and cured a sniffle that I preferred my squash diluted and scotch eggs and ‘black bullets‘ are the food of kings The most important thing he taught me and many others – was kindness.
Although Grandstand Saturdays came to an end I still keep what I learnt sacred in my mind and heart except the food I eat that.
Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. A little letter to my Great Grandad who used to have me round when I was a kid.
A September Saturday in 1995 the four a.m. sea air is salt-sour silicate sand shimmers under the after-midnight-blue canopy the waning moon a spotlight on discarded worm skins
I dig since I’m the youngest – because even morning fishing trips have hierarchies – success arrives after ten minutes of shovel and scoop we loot the fresh bait they can wriggle all they want we own them now
we march in early morning muteness preserving our energy until we can cast off and pour ourselves a flask-coffee topped with a nip of whisky
destination reached we pick our spots wisely or not our rods are set with hands stained with dying worm-dye
waiting for the first ripple or bend of pole the craic is quiet about the things men like to talk about as dawn passes over us
an hour passes by then three of five rods begin to quiver the ancient part of our hunter-brains spike our natural instincts
we let our rods sway luring in the line tenderly then reel rapidly drawing in a decent-sized pollock the crack of the baton gives me the first of a few fish caught before the nearby B&B’s serve their breakfasts.
After some further success we head back to the van our shoal are all fair sizes my pollock glimmering longest in the bucket but hierarchies exist and I may get landed with a small plaice but where there are hierarchies there are rites of passage and it’s the first fish i’ve caught so I get to keep it
I also get to gut all the catch my fumbling numb fingers dyed crimson by dead fish find their rhythm and I’m proud to be on the first rung of the hunter’s hierarchy.
I used to go fishing in Northumberland regularly, this poem is about when i first started out, I was 12. One of our neighbours took me with his friends, it was always a great experience.
Instead of sleep in the early hours I sit and listen to the siren song of the starlings and finches at four am they gather on the dew-kissed fencetops when the delicate new day is climbing from grey earth to sherbet-pink sky and I wonder what’s to come in the next 19 hours before my head hits the pillow because – although most days are the same – like the dawn chorus everyday is different.
Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. If you want to read more, please explore the site.
that thick cotton shirt shade of deep midnight with moon-silver thread glistening ethereal under streetlights wearing it felt celestial so I only wore it once for our first date drinks and pizza looking at each other over red gingham cloth and flickering candle wax dripping down an empty bottle of last week’s house wine conversation mostly answers to silent questions asked with eyes and the curve of nervous lips I tried to be a gentleman and pull out your chair as we were leaving the waiter saw it as an affront for which I apologised to show I was a gentleman and when we hugged goodbye I felt our cheeks touch both warm with wine and affection so when I see the same shirt folded neatly in your drawer close to the memory box and wedding album I catch a glimmer from the moon-silver thread that helped stitch our lives together I believe in magic.
Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, dedicated to my beautiful wife.
a dispassionate mound of glaucous ash the warmth lost ready to die out at any moment
a scattering of embers the reminder of warmth we shared when flames flickered in frivolity kissing and caressing kindling and coal when white,gold and ochre danced as strong as they could for as long as they could to the gentle chaotic rhythm of crackling shades of silver in the hearth silently whispering Live Life Like The Fire.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this poem and are having a great day.
I felt it was an insult that each new street was named after a different species of tree they chopped down a lasting dedication to rapid decimation of the ancient woodland and hedgerow their deaths were dealt so swiftly that the hawthorn berries didn’t even get time to bleed.
Now when I walk past Oak Avenue, Ash Drive & Beech Terrace each brimming with life I think of the bricks, mortar and glass I believe the woodland remains just in a different guise and the dedication isn’t an insult but a celebration of what came before that the trees that once thrived there are a solid foundation for new roots to form.
Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, feel free to leave a comment if you wish.
Zero degrees C in the peak of midwinter we wrapped up warm in wool and polyester pulled on our boots thick with suede upper and gripping rubber soles primed and ready to walk the forest its floor frosted white glamourising the natural litter of fallen acorns and amber needles we held each others hand through our scandi grey gloves a) for support since I was clumsy and b) for love we looked out over the blank frozen fields and into the feeble glare of a weakened winter sun some chimneys breathed in the distance a sign of life going on while time stood still as we tightened our hands our minds raced to what the future would hold luckily for me I still get to hold you.
Thanks for reading. Thanks to freestocks on unsplash for use of the image.