The Extra Hour


The way your hair sparkles in the moonlight while the twisted breeze plays. The blue of your eyes always melts my mind. The touch of our skins. My flesh has hungered for you, the same as it did when your heartbeat walked with mine. When we dreamed and planned and held each other together in this world. Before you went away. The familiarity of you never fades, even with these days apart.

Why we are given this moment once a year I do not know. I do not question something so precious, even if it is inexplicable. The clocks adjust, and our hour begins. The extra hour. The only hour I live for. We just stay here. Remembering when our days were spent together. Remembering when the universe took us from each other and you began your new existence in some other time, some other part of space. Time has no master within your smile. I know what forever feels like now. Even though it ends.

Once a year is all we can have, and that fleeting time is nearly up. The clock edges to the end of these anomalous minutes. Until the next time when the hours cross and I can exist with you once again.



The Interview


“And what’s your favourite colour?”

The question was a weird one, Mikey thought. But then the whole interview hadn’t been exactly normal up to now. The room was very…well, very vague. It seemed the more he tried to look at the details the less the details stood out. He thought there was a window, but every time he looked for one he couldn’t see it. He knew there were walls, but he couldn’t quite make out their colour. He felt that he was sat on a chair of some kind, his buttocks were telling him so, but he didn’t know how he’d sat on it when he didn’t remember actually seeing it.
“My favourite colour?” asked Mikey.
“Yes,” said the interviewer. “You know, red, green, purple, that sort of thing.”
“Um,” said Mikey, “Blue, I suppose.”
The interviewer wrote something on a brightly coloured pad in front of him, with an oversized pencil with a big fat pink rubber on top.
“And do you get angry easily?”
Mikey felt his eyebrows gave away the confusion he was feeling at these strange questions. The interviewer stared expectantly. Almost intimidating in his demeanour. At least he would have been if he wasn’t wearing lime green dungarees and sitting in what seemed to be a high chair, with wipe clean plastic table.
“I don’t think I do, no,” replied Mikey.
The questions continued, mostly about how he liked to play, places he liked to visit. Did he like zoos and slides, did he like ice cream and cola cubes. He answered. He felt somehow it was important.
“And Cheshire Cat grins. I hear this is an issue for you.”
The interviewer’s eyes bulged. Mikey felt this was a make or break question, the answer of utmost importance. He felt his heart rate rise. His palms starting to sweat. His eyes darted around the incoherent room, trying to make sense of the fuzz that surrounded him, this strange interviewer, this even stranger yet very important question. Cheshire Cat grins? What did that mean?
“Well, no. Not really. Not that I’ve ever noticed anyway.”
“Not a general aversion to Alice in Wonderland or any other made up fantasy world then.”
“Ah good. Good. Good.” The scribbling of big pencil filled his ears and the darkness took him once again.


She woke him with a cup of tea that only she could make. The first thing he felt that morning was love. He’d felt that every morning for the last year and a bit.
“We’re going for ice cream today, remember? At the zoo?”
“Oh yeah!” he said, and kissed her forehead as she lay on his shoulder. But there was something else. Something in that cheeky look, her eyes that shone slightly brighter than usual.
“What?” he laughed, holding her close.
She giggled back. She had that grin on her face. The one that she could sometimes keep for hours before she’d tell him why. She said she enjoyed the feeling and wanted it to last, the feeling of knowing something exciting and that she would be the first one to tell him. It wouldn’t feel as good if she didn’t love him as much as she did, she’d said. It was like the cat that got the cream. A Cheshire one maybe.
“Oh I can’t keep it in much longer,” she laughed, beaming a smile that exploded across her face like a supernova. Mikey couldn’t help but do the same.
“What? Tell me.”
“I’ve got something important to tell you,” she said, smiling with her big brown eyes. “It’s finally happened, what we’ve been waiting for.” Her soft hand cupped his cheek as she brought her glowing face to his.
“We’re going to have a baby.”




Yellow Brick Road


He drowned in the relentless rain. Streams trickled from his inadequate hat, down his unshaven face, into his ears. He felt the drip, drip, drip from the top of his nose. About right, he thought. If he wanted cake, he’d get broccoli. If he needed a holiday, more work piled in. If he fell in love, she’d be already taken. If he thought it would be sunny, it would rain. Typical. Everyone else seemed to know what they were doing. He watched the people eating cake in the cosy cafe he couldn’t afford. He saw the sun blessed pictures in the travel agent window proclaiming cheap holidays full of laughter, love-filled couples, and blissful half board happiness. He was hit in the head several times by passing umbrellas remembered by those who knew it would rain. Why did he never get what he wanted? Why was he the one who always got it wrong? Why was he the one destined to be alone in this world?

The streams turned to trickles, and the trickles to drops. The skies changed from dark grey to white, and as the sun ventured a peek he saw it right in front of him. The once dull concrete that had been running like a murky river suddenly reflected a bright yellow path. He peered through his straggly hair, following the light that drew his feet, and walked.

The path didn’t lead to anywhere, so it seemed. It went on and on into nowhere. But he still followed. Then, just when his feet started to complain, there she was. In the middle of the yellow path, the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen, holding a large piece of chocolate cake and a train ticket.
“Where does that go to?” he asked.
“To the rest of your life,” she said.



Remember Tomorrow

He knew he hadn’t replied. He’d meant to do it yesterday. He’d put it in the mental list he’d made while eating his toast that morning, laden with thick cut marmalade – the one she hadn’t liked – just before a blob of it landed on his tie. Then the car hadn’t started, which added engine grease to the same tie, and made him late for work. His boss hadn’t been understanding, and it was only after he’d managed to look at the clock for the first time through the slowly diminishing paperwork piles on his desk that he realised it was in fact quarter past five and he was late picking up his son from after school football – something he hadn’t had to worry about before she’d gone. Fortunately his son had company when he’d got there, and hopefully the friend’s mum wouldn’t tell his now not-sister-in-law. He’d burnt the tea, broke a plate trying to avoid the glass he’d just broken while he was loading the dishwasher, and then, as if by way of encore, stubbed his toe on the kitchen table leg in his efforts to avoid the shards all over the floor. This meant that he impaled most of them in the soul of his socked foot anyway as he struggled to balance himself and not yelp in pain within ear shot of his son, whose X-Box was the only thing consuming enough to forget this life they were living right now. He’d avoided spilling wine all over his catch up paperwork in the evening, but realised later that he had made a chocolate cake smudge on most of the corners. Moist wipes can only do so much.
When he’d fallen into bed that night, just before he dropped off, he remembered he still hadn’t replied to her message. After their first meeting in the supermarket, when he’d knocked the box of cakes out of her hands leaving them jumbled and smeared across the cellophane window, he didn’t quite believe she was interested enough to ask for his number. She’d chuckled as he’d picked them up and replaced them with fresh unjumbled ones, and she had thanked him again when they met in the lengthy checkout queue a few minutes later. A ‘happy accident’ she’d called it, while the shopping waited in neat reusable bags in their respective trollies as they’d swapped numbers. Her smile told him she meant it, too, somehow.
I’ll remember tomorrow, he thought, before the snoring made him forget again.


Dancing in your fog. In the wonderful world you vaguely make, where I fill in the gaps you leave. The gaps you deny you made. So it is my fault, again. Of course. Guilty of my gullable self. Wretched with love in my soul. You never asked for it, even though you laid the path and walked me down it with such ease. Edged with the unsaid, that which cannot be trodden on, that which I know is there but that you steer me away from. But look at the view, you say. Look here. Look up. So I do. So I ignore that which you sweep under my feet. I can feel it under my toes. In the blissful high I still know it’s there, like soft pebbles prodding at my soles. My problem. My fault. Half a gift given. Half a truth told. Half a step left. And still I am led. I am hung by your strings. I am savaged by your song. How can I unsee? How can I unknow? How can I unfeel? How can you break what you’ve already broken? 

Little Death

That pain no one sees. An invisible emergency, without medication. No one notices the death before them. And so they stoke the fires.
It burns, that ball of pain. Sometimes so hard that it releases flares into the world. The visible tip. The end of an internal reaction that feels so all consuming and powerful, the result unfinished and limp. The rage of motivation. An engine of raw splutterings that leaves a thin vein of gold amidst its blinding smoke. If only you could drill down deep enough to see.
Sometimes it goes out. Then there’s just the pain. The choker. The grinder of madness. The visceral mincer. Hurting so hard. Too hard. The only hope is that it will light itself again. And that hope has the last of life’s consequences at stake.
Everyone needs a little death sometimes. To fail. To fear. To be killed and left. Unbloody and tired. Knotted and weak. Humiliated. Ashamed. Abandoned. Utterly naked with truth. Waiting, starving, as the longing seethes and begs. Grappling at the feet of courage’s own death, before there is nothing left. Before it’s worn out and too rotten to care. Before the skin can rip enough to tear through the thick endless time while the dust settles a new layer and the ashes begin to shift, ready for the next blinding spark. Until then…


You incomplete me.
You hide and I am compelled to seek.
My weakness wins.
Like a cut that needs to bleed.
Unimportant death.
Unstoppable craving.
For you. Only you.
So you may lick at the wounds you make.
Chew on my heart.
I don’t want you to starve.
Dictator of a tune with imperfect notes.
I will dance.
Thirsty with desire.
More alive than in the death of life.
I will feel every pain you share.
I will carry it with mine.
Then hide away until you need me again.
Broken, but still craving.