27 Nov 2016

Published poems

The Torbay Festival of Poetry
9th poetry competition
October 2009
Highly commended


She demonstrates to her heart how water gladly takes the shape of a jug.
then almost instantly adapts to the shape of a drinking glass.
She shows it how sugar willingly dissolves
stirred gently or roughly
into the warm cup of tea.
Look how red calmly surrenders to violet when brushed against blue
without any resistance turns orange when encountered by hostile yellow
changes mood, character
submits to sensuous maroon when dominated by authoritative
and yet devoted to innocent baby pink when resigning to sinless
How a tulip bulb will grow exactly where it is planted
and if moved with care to another garden
continues to grow and flourish.
How fresh cream and be spread on bread,
spooned and served with cake,
or poured on top of strawberries,
She explains, trying to convince her reluctant heart
how resilience can be a virtue
not to be tethered by painful love
to be shaped and reshaped
the flexibility to be contained, stretched, or fenced might be good for both of us,
she added.
She feels it seethe with anger when someone recklessly says
'anything can be fixed'
'anything can be done'

Published poems

The Journal
Issue 27
Summer 2009

Winter Morning

It was a cold winter morning.

I taught her how to hold the edges of her cuffs with her tiny fingers,
while I screwed another woolly jumper onto her head, pulling her arms through another pair of sleeves,
the rim of the undergarment slightly peeking through.

I wanted to spare her the discomfort of the first sleeve pulled up and gathered at her elbow.

She was almost three and delighted with the new discovery,
she has done it every morning since,

"Shall I let go now mummy?"

Love makes us do that,
spare them the discomfort of things
life's little troubles,
the small anxieties often overlooked.

Published poems

Published in Acumen
Issue no. 64
May 2009


I don't know what to do with these feelings anymore
I've tried painting them, and repainting them,
then I did what any woman would do,
heavy textured, loud print vinyl,
but the poor plastering job did not hold.

I recycled them into something even I failed to recognize,
and gave them to another man,
but they were sent back to me,
more complex.

I shoved them around like an overweight suitcase in a busy airport,
I left them well unattended, with easy access, hoping to get mugged,
excess baggage, has proven an unappealing commodity.

I finally crumpled, and crinkled them into a creased, uneven shape and tossed them
carelessly in the bin sitting next to my desk, the way a writer chucks away a
disappointing page,
I heard them slowly unfold,
the disturbing, haunting sound of wrinkled, dry paper, creeping back from the dead.

my in-disposable sadness.

Published Poems

Winners and highly commended works from Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry and Short Story Competitions - July 2010


She waited for rainbows and butterflies
there were only a few scattered smiles
as she calculates the loss of herself
what she wanted more than anything
is to stand up and shout
'I don't enjoy being a mother'
and be received with nodding heads
not gawking faces drooling stigma
but the fear of betraying the reason of her existence
dawns on her from behind the bars of the cot
big tearful, trustful eyes follow her around like guilt.

She has never felt less human
as skin stretched over nine months
starts to darken and flake
she hears it crack and peel off
her deflated belly
breasts heavy with milk
wrung in the bathroom sink

Dicing vegetables into a blender
she admires the knife in her hand
that cuts unrepentantly.


I sit on this hard cold floor
at least once every fortnight
and I polish them
I burnish them
I wax them until they have sparkled
not that I have ever let them fade;
the reasons why we are not together,
until their luster
so fiery and powerful
ate whatever sanity was left in me.

They are the only ornaments
that stood upright
however they were placed

Then came the arranging
and rearranging
where I let them choose
where they would fit in the story,
a story simple, and reasonable enough
for my dwelling, lingering self to digest.

They sat so quietly on the shelf
year after year,
I brooded over them so
they would not age.

Published poems

Published in 'The Birthday Issue', the fourth anthology by 'Bad Language'

November 2011

After I Hate You

After "I Hate you", "Damn you", and "Get the fuck out of my house"

there is a silence.

A profound, mature, heavy silence,
more sustained than the silences which
separate their routine arguments.

His tooth brush
his shaving cream
his mule slippers lay untouched.

She turns their family photos face down,
their smiling faces too judging.

Everything is divided:

Things he may comeback for,
things safe to get rid of,
things that are hers.

Mutual dreams that have expired,
dreams that survive him,
dreams that are hers.

Mind calculating the loss.
Heart filing memories to be kept
and those to be discarded.
Body lies cold and disconnected.

Published in 'Electric Sky' the third Anthology published by 'Bad Language'

May 2011


He hides somewhere
between the skin and the skin,
and pressing my warm cheek against
the cold window I dream I've somehow
narrowed distance,
I hold him between my lashes when I sleep.

Each thought of him an autocrat
oppressing my every other thought
moving my hands in a knitting motion
composing him a little verse of longing
tying them in red velvet ribbons
blowing them gentle kisses in the wind.

Published poems

Moving again! I can't take a lot of books with me. Instead of taking the poetry anthologies in which some of my poems were published. I'm writing them here, a record of when and where they were published.

Specially commended 2011 by the Welsh Poetry Competition.
Published in 2011, The Welsh Poetry Competition pamphlet.


Giving birth to her
I was torn pieces of flesh
sewed together with nylon thread
between blood flooding and cord cutting
skin slipping away from skin
untidy cross stiches done with haste
new thresholds of pain and love missing,
peaking, dancing a sloppy waltz.

It took a while before
two rivals of slit open skin
forgave and forgot,
integrated beautifully with nylon.

Five years later
sitting on the edge of the bed
last chore of the day
hands tired
I unpick stiches
pulling with my teeth
redundant binding
messy hemming done with haste
end of string refusing needle's eye
making her school skirt fit.

baby growing out of her clothes,
mother ageing

another stich undone,
another knot released.

4 Nov 2016

Going through it

I woke up with the saddest thought. Ever since Jori and I moved to Dubai, I’ve been locking my bedroom door at night before I sleep. The door to the bedroom does not close shut, and the cat can just push it open, our cat Ty jumps on my bed and frequently disturbs my sleep, so the only solution was to lock the door before I sleep. But this morning, waking from another sad dream, full of pain and despair, I realized ‘what if I die of a heart attack in my sleep?’. Jori wouldn’t be able to come into my room, the only phone in our apartment is my mobile phone and it’s always on my bedside table, I use it as an alarm clock. Therefore, if I died she wouldn’t be able to come in my room, she wouldn’t be able to phone anyone, and then of course there is the question of who she can phone? We don’t know anyone, we’ve met some people, none of whom we are particularly close to.

There is so much pain, fear and sadness in living and I have been here, in this place of foreignness and detachment for so long. I am tired of my nightmares, tired of waking up in tears, breathless and panting. Tired of feeling too afraid to fall asleep and see the gruesome violent dreams. I’m tired of not knowing where to turn, tired, tired, tired beyond words. I had hoped the move to this city, this laborious relocation would bring me refuge, answers, a sense of security but sadly it has only heightened my sorrows.

Still searching for a job, living on dwindling savings, having to care for my daughter, dealing with my disappointment and depression at every job rejection, and the fear of not being able to pay next month’s rent or bills if I don’t find a job soon, and the massive loneliness and isolation that engulfs me every minute of everyday. There is nowhere for me to turn from all my troubles, nowhere to go. My predicament has become my universe, I live inside it, it is possible to leave my flat, buy some food whilst worrying about how much I am spending but I am always in it, I may use the gym at the building where I live but I am still in it. I may take my daughter to school or pick her up again but I am still in it. I am in it when I am cooking, sleeping or cleaning the cat’s litter. I am always sinking, in my wakefulness and in my sleep, I am sinking, I am drowning.

I dream of a warm gentle hand kindly stroking my aching back when I’m finally in bed at night, after a long tiresome day full of endurance, a loving voice telling me all will be well in the end, but there is no gentle hand, there is no loving voice, there is only my abusive mind. My mind the tyrant that ensures I am always sad about my painful past and always worried about my uncertain future.  

I can’t afford therapy so I search for some relief in spirituality. Like a Buddhist, I try to let go of attachment and expectation; attachment to the past, attachment to money, attachment to what I expect my life to be, I succeed for a few days then I flounder, but the fall is steep, I fall a million stories into my grief, lightyears into my despair. I try to meditate, to silence my violent mind but it does not work.

I have never endured such a difficult time; financially, emotionally, and mentally. I wish I could face it with more grace, with more patience. I remind myself that I am physically healthy, that I still have my healthy legs, my healthy heart. That my child is healthy and although she endures with me, she is still able to smile and play and be a child and that is a blessing. But my diseased mind is unable to hold on to any solace, it convinces me that my losses are bigger, so much bigger than I can fathom, the sword of blessings I draw in the iron face of my failures and misfortunes is but a flimsy stick.

I wish I was stronger.