fly the flag

fly the flag
fly the flag higher
fly the flag high in the sky

tear the flag down
tear it, tear the flag down
tear it, tear the flag to the ground

burn the flag
water the ashes
wash the ashes to the waiting sea

one day
one day
the flag will fly
fly high

The Child ran out

The Child ran out into the road, monkeys in their arms. For the adults nearby time stopped. The sound of the breeze through the trees was silenced, colours faded and hearts froze. For the Driver thinking of arriving home soon the world would never be the same.

The Child walked into the room, arms full of two toy monkeys, and sat down.
Adult 1 smiled. ‘I like your monkeys.’
‘It’s one monkey and one ape’ said the Child.
‘Oh?’ Adult 1 smiled again. ‘What’s the difference?’
‘Monkeys have tails and apes don’t. And other things.’
‘I see. Thank you. I always wondered.’
The Child smiled and Adult 1’s heart broke.

Adults 1, 2 and 3 introduced themselves. The Child kept turning towards the door.
‘They’re not coming, I’m afraid,’ said Adult 2. ‘They were halfway here when they changed their mind and asked to go back.’
‘But they said they would!’ the Child shouted. ‘They promised.’
‘I’m sorry but you know how it is,’ said Adults 1, 2 and 3 in their different ways.
‘No!’ said the Child. ‘No!’
The Child stood up and ran out of the room and through the front doors. The Adults chased after the Child, shouting the Child’s name. The Child ran out into the road, monkeys in their arms.

Going on a date with a poet

One day, he swore,he would explore the west, track the settled sun until it surrendered to the blind-black sky, then follow its path by its reflection in the moon and stars. I shall be a solarnaut, a helionaut, an explorer of the wildest west, where the rivers meet the sanded sea, and the animals finally swim to their nirvana, eyes wide open to the shining ribbon on the squid-ink sea.

Well, I think the light over the gasworks is pretty neat, I said, regretting again going on a date with a poet.

Birds weigh less

Birds weigh less than air

and force themselves to ground.

A fluttering shake of wings

takes them to the skies again

a cloud a cataract a single point.

I feel my heart follow

soaring through the blueness

I feel my heart follow the birds.

Crime scene

The shape of a hand disappearing as the grass in silence rose again. The next day, after the overnight rain, it would be invisible. But the crucifix on the snapped chain was still there, buried crossbar-deep in the soft black earth. New morning sun then midday then night. The world turned and the victim’s next of kin wondered, not knowing yet what they had become.

Outside the supermarket

There is a guy sits every day outside the supermarket below the office where I work. Every Friday, when I am there, I fetch him a doughnut from the in-store bakery. The last Friday of the month, payday, I gift him a doughnut and a bottle of orange juice, full of Vitamin C.

“Here’s your doughnut, pal.” He acknowledges me by lifting his hand to take it. “Happy Friday!” I say. “And a juice! It’s payday!”

Then, the last Friday of last month, instead of just reaching up with his other hand as he always does, he looks up, his screwed-up eyes red, and says, quietly, “Go away. Just go away and leave me alone”.

And I put the juice down next to him, next to the flat cap he has laid on the pavement, the one with two silver coins and lots of coppers in it and go back into my building, my supermarket sandwich and mango slices in my carrier bag.

The next Friday I take the lift down to the basement and go out to the supermarket through the underground car park. I pick up a doughnut and put it down again.