‘Ode to Horatio’: an ode

We carved you out of blood and bone
Well actually, from pumpkin
We made you in our own image
That of the… Country bumpkin?

Horatio, we named you thus
We thought it sounded good
One happy face, one sad, we sliced
Summink to do with theatre

We filled you with the flames of hell
A tealight, from that Poundland
To frighten all who entered here
Until they were through the door and had their shoes off, and we immediately told them about you, By which point, they hadn’t seen you yet. So we showed them.

The power hath consumed you now,
You’ve got a brown bit… There…
Wilted and defiled, you sit
Well it has been several days.

Oh, Horatio, we had good intentions for thee
A cheesecake, most likely, and perhaps a smoothie
Farewell dear friend, you served us well
And now you’ll serve about 2-4 others as well.

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‘Cat’: a portrait poem

Direct, assertive, perfectly formed stories at the ready, should she bump into you
Eyes locking solidly onto yours
Shocking, outstanding, unbelievable
everyday tales
all elevated to what is now
a hobby of mine
stopping on the stairs on my way up to bed from late shifts on a bar,
to listen intently, interestedly, though tiredly and begrudgingly,
to her honed storytelling set.
Pronounced, pursed lips posing like cautious, fastidious serfs to her determined teeth,
delivering vital gossip and anecdotes
Hair pulled behind her ear frequently, and with such superior precision that I can almost hear the hair pass gratingly over her fingernail, her teeth gritted, showing through her mouth and cheeks,
she almost rolls her eyes.
Something in the way she eats:
Food is fast, perfunctory, never relished or enjoyed.
Almost painful.
She champs quickly, rushing every meal out of her way,
like an impatient impression of a horse.
She fiddles also; assembles intricate pieces of feminine adornment
with quirk and delicacy,
but functionally,
with the same studiously poised skin and opinionated fingers – she knows the best way to do it,
and she won’t watch you struggle for long.

Victorian-inspired love letters

A few years ago I embarked on my first writing collaboration. We talked about sleep paralysis, something I had been suffering from recently, and brainstormed some story ideas based around my own personal experiences, some online accounts, and, of all things, Google Images. Now, if you’re not looking to write a gothic drama or a horror, ‘sleep paralysis’ are not words you should search on Google Images. It’s pretty terrifying, especially for anyone who hasn’t experienced it – on my own part, at least I recognised something in the images of goblin-like creatures sitting on the chest of the sleeper, the feeling of weight and suppression stopping you from moving when you feel like you’re awake when you’re not. It’s sort of validating.

The play we set about writing was a Victorian gothic, centered on a trainee doctor who takes up the job of visiting a young woman who cannot be roused from a deep, continuing sleep. The doctor gradually becomes obsessed with the woman, and writes her a series of letters. Cue us trying to get into the head space of the infatuated Victorian gentleman. The following are a few contributions of mine to that effect.

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As the sky knows the sun’s place, so your face comes back to me every day. I see that tricky smirk and attempt to eradicate all effect on my person, though alas this is as futile as drawing a thin curtain before the blazing sun, only for it to smelt and drop at the feet of one so utterly besotted by the captivating beauty of the unattainable.

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Like the sea tunes the great whale’s song, so the imperfections in your complexion form a rosy glaze that muffles all that disturbs the quiet of the world.

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While moons play idle games with waves, while buttered wings tease dew-tainted petals, my taunted fingers strive to reach you through idle words, to tease your hair through quiet conversations hung with poetry and pretty pictures.

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I am not poetic. I can do the occasional wordplay. But nothing permits for apt appreciation of the inches of your curves, the patchy come and go of your attentions, the coquette of a dapple on half your glistening eye. The apt half.

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God could not be aware of one of his most flawless creations having slipped through his hands and down to my realm, a pit of whirling fools delivered to the mercy of affectation such as lies in your alabaster stare. The vision of you haunts me through  restless nights, and I am strangely never more comforted. It is not completely that you are without imperfections, but there each inconsistency in your constitution is a perfection in itself, designed to renew my hopeful tendencies towards eros and all its pleasant relatives. Give me knowledge, ghost, of how I may be more often in your company, and one day in your favour. I am a dogsbody to your satisfaction.

Cleo the Cat

Every writer needs a cat friend. Cleo is a four-ish-year-old rescue cat who came to live with us a few weeks ago. She’s unusually (adorably) small, which makes me think she may, far-back, be some kind of pygmy blend. She likes company, being sung/hummed to, and treading cautiously outside while you supervise. She’s a bit like a dog; she sniffs loudly, snores and farts, and drags her favourite toy around, making a scraping noise (that absolutely kills me) as she goes, because it’s a scarily-realistic mouse on the end of some elastic attached to a tube of paper. She is also obsessed with a paper KFC bag, and not the book-page-covered cardboard box that we lovingly prepared and filled with a fleecey tiger onesy before she got here.

You can follow Cleo’s more high-brow movements and musings on Twitter at @mycatissmart