Closed Curtains

Three days now

spent stale in the refuge

of my bed,

tucked between cupboard

and potted fern,

bought in a hopeful moment

of self-care and



I think I peaked

at seventeen.

Why else

would a sixth form savant

be eight hundred pages deep

in Stephen King,

to escape the four due next week.


Three days of morning.

A quilt cocoon, and the same


poured for breakfast


and dinner

a fair exchange

for any moments stolen

from knowing that I

am not good enough.


Originally published by Forward Poetry: Mind Matters 2 anthology.

Closed Curtains

Green frogs

How surprising we are,

drifting through half-formed days

that I remember through gauze;

a light and vague perception

of hours blurred to warmth.


Memories of green frogs,

with whom I share your chest,

leaping thread to thread on your favourite jumper.


We race through nights

that brand me as your own,

pidgin Mandarin spilling into me

with your tongue, and your seed.


We build covenants, promise time

and shared space;

words to make my heart leap to future days,

like green frogs on thread.


This placed in the finals of the Avril Gilchrist Bruten Award. 

Green frogs

Outside View

Note: This was written for an audience of neuroscience students and researchers, hence the specific nature of work.


What is a neuron? he asks,

his own soaked in the old-world glamour

of great masters, where Bach and Brahms

battle for remembrance, and for tribute.

Where notes sit on sheets, subjective,

teasing breath through flute to give

new forms, new revisions

of performance first heard lifetimes ago.


He asks, mind soaked with traditions

where interpretation is truth,

and truth is not tested.


What is a neuron? He asks,

and I understand he does not want answers

to the mundane questions of chemicals

spilling through clefts,

nor membranes that seep ions

like sap bleeding from bark.

He asks how his skin senses the quickening warmth

of the silver in his palm,

how his fingers and lungs dance on the razors edge

between music and disaster.

He asks how he can hear sound,

but feel beauty.


Originally published by Bright Brains, magazine of the British Neuroscience Association.

Outside View