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.