stars in disguise

The melancholy moon, with a

bite out of its side,

does a smiley for the stars


The constellated night jewels

catch my breath,

lining up for their sightly


Minor. Major.

Who cares what key

they play their twinkly

chords in.

Their well-placed face,

their bling, their show,

will make the dark more


Yet the brightest one

I only have eyes for:

It squeezes my heart’s


For Day Two of NaPoWriMo: a poem about stars

I can’t find my mother

I can’t find my mother in work,

but I can locate her

in the deepest of hurts.

I can’t find my mother when I drive,

as people cut me up, in the

conflict they contrive.

I can’t find my mother when I cry

for what I’ve lost

and my lungs are turned dry.

I can’t find my mother in love

that’s pretend; a glamour

that’s just a rubber glove.

I can’t find my mother when

betrayal means bereft.

There’s nothing left then.

Why I’m tired of being bereaved

 It’s fifteen short years – today – since my dad passed away.

Five long months since my mum did the same –

and two sets of grandparents, before and in between.

My black suit’s hung up, hopefully for a while.

I’m clearing out cupboards, releasing old bones

from my present day guff to stuff from my teens.

I’ve been grieving, on and off, for twenty-five years:

funerals, death, and the emptying of heart,

that beiging of walls that one’s small life becomes.

But my eyes are tired of closing to what’s vibrant.

And I’m done with that greyish half-life not lived.

The anniversary today, I wanted quiet to think

but what I got was the buzz of life and a blocked sink.

I wonder if it’s finally time to colour my house

with the glories of living, not the shadow of a hearse.

Loss: the unsaid

 Loss speeds alone; angry car drive

unpleasant. Duck, dive, dodge;

sneaky sideways swerve

leaves the South London visitor

outmanoeuvred. In the funeral lodge,

wishing she’d ever had the nerve

to address the issues she’s never dared.

Long-gone relatives leave memories dislodged.

Maybe black and bruised was all she deserved.

An imagined apology from my abusive mother

My love in life was seeing the world.

To be precise, it was sunning my soul.


I came alive on my summer holiday:

my skin could cope with all those rays.


My problem was, I couldn’t see beyond

those speckles of sun. I was just too fond


of easy-bronzed skin to see that my girls

were curled to wizened, before-their-time whirls.


A strip of hurt they might just tolerate

but, in later years, they felt victims of Fate.


It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t really know

that love and abuse could be bedfellows.


I thank the wisdom of my first-girl is called

to cancel the bits that left her appalled.


She learnt from me how to be what I’m not:

she’s now reaching out to heal what I hurt.