Showing posts from July, 2016


Ellie stared from the stands, dreaming of the goalkeeper. He was diving around, squelching the mud into his body. It wasn’t the first time she’d gone to watch him play; she knew there was something about him, something that entranced her. A tap on her shoulder broke the spell; she'd forgotten that she wasn’t here alone. Ellie could tell Chrissy didn’t want to go watch a local football game in a soggy field; she’d been promised shopping and calamari. “Which one is he anyway? The one you fancy.” “I never said I fancied him; he’s just, he’s interesting.” Ellie pointed as discreetly as possible at the goalkeeper. “Him.” Chrissy huffed. “He’s a six, a seven at best - what’s so interesting about him?” “Just watch.” They watched him in silence. He jumped and floundered; he wasn’t a good goalkeeper, and he was getting desperate. He was letting in goal after goal until one rebounded straight off him like a cannonball be

A Penny For Your Thoughts

‘A penny for them,’ Agnes says, just as she had some thirty-plus years ago when out on their first date. She’s said it many times in between too. It became their thing. And whenever she said it, Jimmy’s thoughts returned to the icy winter night of big city bright lights – to the Italian restaurant – to the night he tried a little too hard – to the night he got himself into a tongue-tied tizzy that caused the wrong words to come out in the wrong order. Jimmy had retreated to the sanctity of his shell, sure only of one thing: that he’d blown his chance.  He felt marooned sitting there, alone amongst a hubbub of happiness. So they ate in silence.  It was Agnes who broke the spell. ‘A penny for them,’ she said, ‘for your thoughts.’ To anyone else he would have replied with a little white lie: ‘Oh, it’s nothing… really… I’m fine… just a little tired.’  Her voice was gentle, soft, and calming, so he told her the truth. Agnes listened, and her eyes smiled at hi

In Kowloon

In my mind there is a bed, starched and white and you lie there, stirruped. I can’t look. Standing at the window my eyes fumble for a view, and fake a movie cityscape: the glamour of a highrise Hong Kong skyline, non-specific urban sprawl; hanzi hurled across the fishstink of a market- place in alien humidity. They have sapped your strength, tapped you with their needles, drugged you blind in this British military hospital. The pain is a balloon; you let it go, watch it bump across the tide-washed sands of Perranporth, puddled huge with sky, float over the black rocks at Gwithian, the littoral of home, hang at the limit of a cliff edge, where the thrift cling on for dear life to their babies bonneted in pink. It is September; those lanes - bordered with a cross of hedge and granite bank - are beaded red with bryony; sand between your toes, walk down them now and knock. It is tea-time at Trevalga and they wait to hear the answer: boy or cheel?

Waiting to meet Dylan Thomas

They mill around the desk, crotchety wasps, all of them, calling to the receptionist, making caustic asides, until finally relieved of their luggage by capable young men in tall hats, they stretch their livid lips into smiles and cross-fade to their rooms. I do not smile. I’m waiting for Dylan Thomas. Feeling distanced from my own narrative, as if reliving a demoralising flashback, I’m waiting for a poet whom I love more than life itself, in order that we can speak, soul to soul, artist to artist.  Yesterday, the managing editor of Mademoiselle introduced Candy Bolster to him. To Dylan Thomas! Over lunch they talked poetry and the rights to Under Milkwood. Candy mentioned all this with a breathless flourish in the elevator at eight this morning and a sob crawled from my throat before leaping, lemming like, into the space between our feet. Tears brimmed as I slid through the yawning lift door and sped towards the restroom. I’m in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel, waiting. Per