Between the Cracks

Between the Cracks - A Decima

A northern autumn. There's no light
to show where land and sky should meet.
The midday sun, beneath our feet,
impersonates a moonless night
where we fight off ideas of fright,
fear of darkness, what it will mean
to fall into the cracks between
the things we think we know and those
tempting treats that we somehow chose
to shun, that trick of Halloween.

Categorized as Licks

Closing Time

Responding to the Ronovan 13 ‘Spooky’ Writing Challenge, here’s my piece of 313 words:

Closing Time

    Entering a pub is a challenge at the best of times. In these days of disease, striking down both the weak and the strong, Dymond was uneasy at the thought of it. Masks were the worst of it, the way the barman looked at him from behind his. Were his lips pursed, in that sure sign of disapproval? He couldn’t tell. Were the lights slowly dimming as he faltered over his pint? Whose eyes were those, flashing from the gloom in the deep corners of the bar?

 “Never seen you here before”, the barman growled as he attempted to order another beer, “You sure you haven’t got it?”

Dymond thought he knew what he meant. These days meant a stranger wasn’t welcome here. Probably not anywhere. He’d never felt more alone, more exposed.

    “Well I don’t think so. I hardly know. So many are asymptomatic.” He knew immediately this was a mistake.

   “You trying to be clever?  Bub, we got a wise guy here!”

Bub, who had been lounging at the far end of the bar was puzzled.

    “I think you’ve been watching too many Yank films”, he said, “just like this Halloween crap, all commercialised with it’s trick or treat bollocks.”

  Dymond wanted to hug him for taking down the barman like that. But as he began to feel better, Bub continued from behind his mask,

    “So it’s All Hallows Eve, right? When the spirits are abroad, folk dressing up to ward off the ghosts. ‘Course this year we’re free, with everyone locked down, free to roam wherever. You like that mate?”

  Dymond was unsure how to respond but felt his skin starting to itch as the uneasy feeling returned. He realised now that he’d never even seen this pub before, never been in it. He knew no one. Could he get out before closing time? Or was it already too late?

Categorized as Stories

When Rain Falls

When Rain Falls

When rain falls I find you
confounding conventional wisdom,
countering expected frowns
with a smile as wide as the world is.

You're not long to lie a-bed
listening, expectantly smug
with thoughts of snuggling down
further to your dreaming.

No, I watch you rise, slipping
the duvet back to cover me,
cavorting quickly into your clothes
and two steps a time on the stairs.

When the backdoor clicks I settle
into sleeping. Dawn's just beckoned
when back you splash into bed,
hair sparkling with morning rain.
Categorized as Poems

Edging Spring

Edging Spring

We issue small blasphemies
when weather palls, changing from what we
prefer to rain or to sunshine,
perhaps to snow, peculiarities
of cloud casting gloom, or this
stark light on a wet road.

Our skin likes the weather it likes,
drawn in, mingling with our blood
and the windlessness of pulse.
So how, then, can we somehow mind
when Spring edges it's white lines of crocus
beside the salted roads,
sparrows foraging for twigs,
a confusion of pigeons dancing?
Categorized as Poems



Inside the hall a soprano sang,
her lieder deluding us,
our somnambulism mocking sleep.
In her voice a sadness grew
like rainclouds without rain.
Someone coughed,
someone scraped a chair,
as a mild explosion of applause
muffled the roars from the Falls Road
where songs of freedom
encored their farewell.
Categorized as Poems

The Fates

The Fates - A Decima

Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos,
they spin, they weave and thus create
Ancient Grecian Laws of Fate,
the mythos of all gain and loss.

Their Mum, Ananke, Dad, Chronos,
sired these adolescent spinners
crafting for the good (and sinners)
lies of self determination,
camouflaged predestination.
They fete not losers nor winners.
Categorized as Licks

Weed and Dust

Ronovan Haiku Challenge: Prompts – Weed and Dust

Haiku - Weed and Dust

   The symbol was clear:
a perfect ellipse where I
   had weed in the dust.
Categorized as Licks


For St. Patrick's Day and my ancestors who made the long trip from Ireland to New Zealand in the 19th century.


However tall your ships were, how long
they took to reach your chosen shores,
could they contain intact your beating hearts,
swollen with leaving, aching with imminent 
arrival; the slow salt haul on following seas?

Were prayers said daily, attempting to appease
those catholic saints, their shapes reminiscent
of wet lands you left in colder parts
particularising rain? Did you pack your laws,
clutch them closely, like an Irish song?

How do we gauge the sorrow leaving brings
but by a return in our imaginings.
Categorized as Poems

The Rock and Basalt Lava Party

The Rock and Basalt Lava Party

Here's the politics of it -

An election every million years,
manifestos erupting in white heat,
volcanic debate, a honeymoon period
the birth of a small star.

The electorate canvassed
among bleached stones;
polling on cadaver care,
how crematoria perform,
were targets met for erotica
in Pompeii and was
Krakatoa merely PR.

And when ash,
like a broken promise,
settles on still, silent lands,
who will ask for a recount
to trouble democracy's sleep?
Categorized as Poems



The garden is sodden now,
these days of rain creating
pools our boots splash in.
I see you watching the falling
rain from our bedroom window.
The electric blanket's on.
Perhaps we'll winter here.
Categorized as Licks