Hung words


My sword thrusted, point piercing mid-way the word ‘TRUST’ which hung taunting across the path. The ‘u’ mewed, tears seeping onto dry ground parched by years of the antonym. Each drop reformed, reared and roared a date, a time, a lover. Sounds pierced the outer coating of my shield, stuck darted on layered wood and leather, each forcing a back step in the slow stride of my denial.

Slashed right and left, letters tumbled without meaning across the musty air, voices escaping from nicked sides and surfaces, each whispering accusations and Siren symphonies of desire and deceit. Names cascaded across years, places, times, excuses, all timetabled in linear formation, each stabbing through armour to draw my guilt in coughed confessions.

The path steepened, with fogbanked slopes treacherously entreating mis-steps. Five letters swung back and forth, hide and seeking through the gloom, ‘BLAME’ pendulumed with teasing tautness, red flames of embarrassment letter licking. Shield raised to block the blaze of an accusing sun I pressed on, a single manned phalanx. Heat seared through, burning black my faults. But remember, she did not talk, she did not give time, she did not make the efforts demanded of a shared life. I pierced the ‘B’, shredding the double curves, leaving ‘lame’ a mocking commentary on my own excuses.

A soft glancing blow, a caressing killer rested on my shoulders heavyweighted with weary worries self-inflicted, ‘TOUCH’ featherlight alighted, wrapped around a body shivering to loosen itself from feared intimacy after the bed-bounced closeness of another forbidden love. I parried open-bladed, countered these tease touching accusations: for she had stepped back too, withdrew skin from contact, lips miss-kissing half hearted offered cheeks, back turned on a bed once consummated with the passion of the innocent. Who stands now in the glasshouse with stone in hand? My stab caused ‘TOUCH’ to convulse. No one-sided defeat here.

Forward stepped I deflected and bounced harsh truths into the gutters of regret, found my way blocked by ‘SELFISHNESS’, long strewn as a Cheshire cat with grinning teeth foul fetid dripping tales of familial dates ignored, commitments uncommitted to, evenings long consumed in matey orgies of alcohol and unbrave bravado. Late long working hours stretched to incredulity as slipping masks for backslapping heartiness and raucous chauvinism, chasing skirt-clad victims across glass-lined tables.

Hacked letters fell, ‘fish’ causing a rueful smile under cheekguards which chaffed with swivelled wariness. ‘S’s snaked my legs, hot forked tongues nipping infected bites into veins long since dead to empathy and sympathy. I stamped, hobnailing the vicious barbs into powdered pleas.

And lastly LOVE dangled gloss shred and abused. It flickered images thought lost in memories stored behind cold-hearted locks. The true love of first meeting, recognition of soulmated possibilities, tingles of eternity surfacing when touch touched more than skin, eye contact finding depths impossible to measure. LOVE hung, shaming my defence, drinking dry a moat of liquid lies, crumbling paper-thin walls of self deception, undermining a castellated keep of rusted excuses.

And I fell, in a final act of reconciliation and recognition, upon my upturned sword.


Music to write by – 3

Poco – Rose Of Cimarron

Rediscovered this tune only yesterday when it was played in Simon Mayo’s programme on Radio 2, as part of his ‘Five minute or longer’ section. What an astounding song.

In fact having listened to it again this morning maybe it isn’t a good song to have on in the background as you write – my eyes blurred over within seconds and all hopes of writing disappeared into a handkerchief.


Slow edit

Just an update on the editing of my novella. It is hard-going, particularly when you’ve gone over the story several times before. And there are so many other things to be done and you’re in the middle of a house move where the solicitor moves at the pace of an arthritic snail. I manage a couple of pages a day, usually in the morning, then that’s it. I may get to the end by Christmas…

Once a fortnight I go to a local writers group. Usually they are fun, a welcome break from sitting in front of the laptop and the source of many good ideas. Unfortunately you do need a strong chairperson for the meetings to be worthwhile. if you don’t then the people who are there primarily to have a good gossip dominate and others sit there becoming increasingly annoyed and frustrated, so much so that you start to wonder if it’s worthwhile attending. I hate to define these people who waste our time but they do seem to be widows. They are often members of various other activity groups and I get the impression the socialising is the main reason why they go. Chairing the meetings can be hard work, keeping everyone on the agenda and making sure everyone has a chance to comment and read out their stories or poems. I can see me fading away from the group unless the house move goes through which will necessitate a change anyway.

Presently listening to Yes’ The Yes Album on YouTube, bringing back happy teenage memories of the ’70s. Having got rid of my vinyl albums some years ago I have started looking to replace some. I think going round boot sales and secondhand shops may be the cheapest option as online the records seem very expensive, understandable I suppose.

Going back to the editing…as I remove the made-up hyphenated words in this ‘edition’ of the book I am realising that I could lengthen the story up to novel length, but I don’t think I have the appetite for that right now. With the hyphenated version I think 100,000 words would be too much to endure, both for the reader and the writer! I shall plough on as I am.


My Cold Heart

(a poem written back in 2010, one of my ‘dark’ poems)

My Cold Heart


My cold heart

Calls for you,

Speared by the icicle

So eagerly thrust there,

Torn apart fervently

With glee by your hatred,

Flayed repeatedly with

Spiteful decaying words.


My cold heart

Shivers me,

Fearful and excited

By your touch and aura,

Soulless tears frozen still

In icy meander,

Torments scattered nightly

By cruelly wicked mouth.


My cold heart

Seeks reheating,

Your kisses to renew

Its bright bloody red flow,

Your dark eyes to long gaze,

Endearingly revive,

Your arms to encompass

My blizzard-blown winter.


My cold heart

Slides away,

Alone in its death,

Old, strong, wild beat stilled

By bitter sweet reply,

The last spasm convulsing with fear,

The deafening pulse of my life strangled,

The searing hot lifeblood chilled alive.



Music to write by – 2


This was a great discovery when I was writing my novella set in 1950s America. I had never been keen on Sinatra’s ‘anthem’ type songs in the ’60s and ’70s but these three albums are superb. You can just imagine him leaning against a piano with a glass of whiskey in one hand and a cigarette in the other effortlessly singing these songs. I tracked down the CD and bought it and the sleeve contains interesting information about the three albums, how one was recorded when Sinatra had broken up a relationship and the other two when he was much happier. The production is excellent on all the tunes and the arrangements of Nelson Riddle unbeatable. Give them a try!

Book review: The White Devil by Justin Evans

The White DevilThe White Devil by Justin Evans
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started this book I wasn’t sure it would hold my attention. However I have to admit it did grow on me and after a couple of lengthy reading sessions I was quite addicted to it. I raced through the last fifteen pages or so as I was keen to find out the ending.
It’s a fairly conventional ghost story, there’s nothing new or novel in the plot and early on I found some of the erotic scenes a little voyeuristic and unnecessary – although as the story unfolded I did see why the writer included these brief, really quite innocent scenes.
The POV does alter throughout the book although Andrew is the main one used. It is a little distracting switching the POVs but I suppose it was done to show us the motives and ‘baggage’ of the other characters. As Andrew is in his late teens I suppose he would not have understood or guessed at the other characters’ motivations.
Andrew’s relationship with Persephone did strike me at times as just a grown up version of Harry Potter and Hermione but again, as the story unfolds, I could see why it was there.
The ending was well done. I’m sure readers will immediately think of an alternative one as I did. But the author probably got it right with the one he went for.
A surprisingly enjoyable read. Strange Justin Evans hasn’t seemed to have written anything else since 2011.

View all my reviews


(something I wrote back in 2015 and which has been posted on one of my earlier blogs)


Deepest dark downtown, alive when the sun dies. My home, my hunting ground, populated by myriads of unchosen people. Shops, like whores, offering their weary wares, backlit and foreshadowed, cheap, and dead smiling to fake out your cash. Towers, Morse-coding with lights, messages of profit and greed, solitary security circumambulate corridors like the down-and-outs down here. The sky, starless and black-fogged, trapping the hot air of a thousand expelled exasperated sighs.

Here the homeless, bootlaces scraping grimed sidewalks, bags dangling, heads nodding with unsleep, circle the streets like vengeful vultures, seeking out weaknesses in doorways, alleyways and arches. Balaclava-hatted, with lip protruding tobacco stubs, green-eyed eyes greeting co-habitants, they judge rivalry and comradeship. Lines line from charity vans, scolding soup sipped by burnt numbed lips, shuffling dancers vigilant not to spill their guilt-laden manna. Groups congregate, unholy but brotherly blessed, out of wind and rain, comparing cardboard, exchanging newspaper, swapping mythical histories.

Walking the erotic walk, girls balance heels and lives, both precarious, long cigarettes pretending poise, smoke clouds concealing fear and shiver. Cars glide, drift and dive, offering new life, or the death of this one. Officers stop and smile, knowing names, rap sheets and preferences, elbows hanging out wide hulled cruisers, only a uniform division from clients hovering in shadowed queues. Women walk on, spirits momentarily innocent, dreaming of stage careers and red carpet posed poses, knowing one room awaits, with dead-sprung bed and coughing pipes.

Young lives cavort uncourteously, voices vocal and decorum low, giggling away the best of years, memories etched in alcohol and amnesia. Arms linked, all one against an ageing world, courting lovers and disaster with abandon, congaing lamp posts and crises, timeless under sun and moon. Quoting literary giants while behaving as illiterate dwarves, gushing mouths pour out unique youthful lives, never to return as they disappear into the dawning day.

Lonely spouses tread the sputtering gutters, lost in past, befuddled in present, hands deep-pocketed, eyes sidewalk skedaddled. Free of wails and feeds, remembering single happiness and envying passing youth, aching with heartbroken heartaches for the one they missed, so long ago, so far away. Bar-driven plight, counter-end seated, nursing the one shot, target of the waitress’s demure gaze. Music old school echoes around empty glasses, as clock hands tick to dangerous times; they leave, shuffling the deck back home.

The stalker shadows, silent silhouette shifting, gaze preying on herds of the inebriated, watching stilted stilettos meander and stutter. Doorway camouflage concealing demented lusts, eyeing the slow or lonely, dogging tracks ever closer, a life nearer to final curtain. Bewaring quietly drifting bluecoats, avoiding big brother’s prying camera, breaths rising as distance falls, selecting perverted love’s desire. A crumpled coke can cries a warning, a head of tangled tired locks turns, widening pupils alerting senses and pace quickens with heartbeat, the safety of the pack swift recovered. Thwarted passion scuttles home, hungry and unsatiated.

Motherly smiles beckon and warm, church vans offer soup ministry, scooping flotsam and jetsam of misjudged lives. Congregations collect, hands cup-warmed, receiving the Word, a small price paid for subsistence. Preachers enthuse self-believed words, misunderstanding listeners’ plethora of plights, dreaming of cosy home comforts and a bed made in heaven. As the sheep wander wayward, nightly fields to find, self-congratulated do-gooders hug, unspokenly saying ‘But for the grace of luck…’

I turn and retreat, leaving the night city to settle, camera shot, notebook noted, espying the creep of dawn, removing from visibility the city’s viscera of nocturnal life.