Blog#2 A brief note on context.

“Il n’y a pas de hors-texte” – Jacques Derrida.

There is nothing outside the text.

I must have used that quote a good half-dozen times in various essays, back in my halcyon days as an English literature undergrad. Put simply, the context matters not, only the text matters.

Personally, I tend to disagree. Whilst it can be far to easy to attach meanings to a piece of writing based on some conceived notion of what one thinks the author will have meant, there can be some value in attempting to understand the where’s and why’s surrounding writing.

The reason I bring this up, is that as I go through my disturbingly bare folders, or even dare to flip back through countless scraps of faded notepaper, cherry-picking the best examples of my writing to post up here, I will often include a note on context at the end.

Generally just a few line on the date it was initially written, and what few details I can still recall on the events inspiring and surrounding it.

Whether or not anyone has any interest in that, I honestly don’t know. It is entirely possible that some people will think this is a bad thing, that poetry should be delivered alone, and the reader left alone to come to their own conclusions. A perfectly valid opinion, though not my own. If that is the case, feel free to ignore the contextual notes.

But for any of you few (though much appreciated) readers of mine who are at all interested in the snippets of biography that will go along with some of my posts, I hope they add something to the experience.

That’s all for now, go about your business.

Dark Walls

Dark walls against the grain

Lonely tables take the strain

Cues bend ‘neath failures pain

And clear spirits take me


Slapped backs and kindly words

Barbs blunted, once like swords

Words try cross barren fjords

But veiled punches bruise me


Faces I try to control

Lash out with vitriol

No faith, face, lost it all

The mystery confounds me


Sunshine and happiness

He sings, takes the piss

Laughing yet hit and miss

Feeling overtakes me


Slurred attempts at kissing

Draw sour parents hissing

Don’t know what their missing

When were drowned in vodka





One of the oldest pieces in my archives, this is from 2011 and  is one of the most coherent examples from my “writing poetry on nights out, whilst drunk” phase. This phase covers the latter part of first year, and most of second year of uni, a period involving sheer quantities of alcohol that would render me useless for days now.

blog#1 New Beginnings

That title seems somewhat ironic, seeing as I purchased the domain for this site over six months ago, but that’s procrastination for you.

So here we are. I have just finished setting up this site more or less the way I want it, ready to spew my jumbled collations of words all over the internet. Or those few unfortunate souls who stumble across it.

I thought it right, therefore, to talk about what I actually want to achieve with this website.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer. I was the best writer in primary school, and practically lived with my head in a book. To be honest, I feel like I’ve spent most of my life with my head in a book, or with my eyes being slowly dried out by whichever videogame I’m currently obsessing over.

Authors have always held a certain mystique. Those wiley crafters of tales, the mysterious shadowy figures lurking in the ink that has enraptured me since childhood. How I longed to be one of them. To while away my hours in a cosy den, each tap of the keyboard unveiling, like a sculptors chisel, a new world hidden within.

Plus, it sounds like a great way to avoid having a real job. I’m 25 now and I’ve done quite a few different jobs, and none of them have really interested me. I just wanted to write.

The problem is, all too often I don’t. After graduating with a degree in English Literature, and having become the very stereotype of a heavy drinking, drugged up layabout student, I was thrust into teaching, and more or less forgot about writing as a possibility.

There always seemed to be so many other people who were better than me. Younger, smarter people who were already having articles and novels published. I recognise this thinking now as a symptom of the anxiety that has plagued me for many years now.

So much easier to never try, than to put in the effort and risk failure.

After failing teacher training I spent the best part of two years in a smokey haze, drifting through life in no direction. But always with the idea that maybe, somehow, somewhen, I would write again. I even bought this domain, but then did nothing with it for months.

Everything finally fell apart to the point where I got myself cleaned up, and discovered to my delight that I did have a functional brain. Poems started to whizz around my synapses, I’d scribble story synopses on ragged notepaper at work. I could write. I would write. It’s been the only constant in my life, the thing I love, and want to do. Hell I don’t even know if I’m all that good, but I certainly won’t get any better by not doing it.

Which brings us back here. I want to keep writing regularly, it doesn’t matter what. And to get it out there in the public, where people can see it. And maybe, just maybe, if I am excruciatingly lucky, I’ll be able to make something out of it.

But we’ll see. For now I’ll be posting a selection of old writings from the last few years, trying to blog regularly, and just get into the rhythm of being a writer.

It’s been my dream for so long that perhaps I forgot that I’m the only one with the power to take those dreams and make them real.

As the great Albus Dumbledore said,

“It does not do dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

I’m tired of dwelling in my daydreams. Time to live.


Something Beautiful

“Come on boy!” I shout out, as rubber soles pick out a steady rhythm

Weather hardened paws pattering beside, sleek black fur flowing

Six legs churning, muscles warming, one more run on a familiar road.

As we pound down the hill, over old loose tarmac that crunches and cracks

Past a pretty smile that sparks instant fantasies,

In a mind that knows they so rarely come close to reality.

My mind wanders easily, drawn up by eyes that can never stop roaming

Taking in a pale sky, blue outshone by waves of slowly undulating cloud

Burnished a bright metallic pink, the last gift of the sun before it slips

Further round to light someone else’s dawn a thousand miles away.

Over a road, we slide between cars but give them no thought

As then the first sight is caught, of water and rocks, a leap and then

Smooth asphalt gives way to gritty sand, damp and clinging,

Constantly shifting, toes digging in, thousands of pebbles shifting and scraping.

Metal blaring into ears, spiking adrenaline, I see myself a superhero

Sizing up walls, I launch myself up one, fingers scrabbling for the lip

Muscles now hot as I pull myself with ungainly precision to the top.

We follow the sand, past dog walkers and phone talkers

The former giving indulgent grins, the latter turning as if we’d listen in,

The tide has sunk, uncovering as with an archaeologists brush

A cliff base of cracked and tumbled rocks, salty pools

Waiting for the patient return to the great blue

I launch myself up and over, left and right, as Dash weaves below

We two intrepid explorers of this newly revealed land

(Though rediscovered every twelve hours)

We revel in our earthly powers, laughing and barking, leaping and bounding

Clear, and now over lonely sands pounding.

Ness beach, round the headland, a sanctuary unbroken by sound

Other than endless channel waves, pushing and sloshing day after day

We two boys race along, claiming each inch for as long as we can

For as long as there’s no other souls to be seen

Nothing but sky, cliff, sand and sea.

We pull to a halt, heels and claws digging sodden grooves

Soon to be wiped out by the sea’s encroaching moves.

I turn out to sea, and stop.

And breathe.

The white lumps of plastic fall from my ears

Suddenly the waves are all that I hear

Waves below, while up above the still pink clouds surge

Out to sea, away from me, rolling on endlessly

Perhaps to rain on another land, another sea

I open myself to unearthly beauty.

No, that’s not right. This is as earthly as it gets

This is earth, the best it has, the pink waves of cloud

Mirroring the waves, still so very loud

The feel of wet and grit between my fingers

As I stop and stretch and linger

The claws that constantly clutch at my chest as I struggle through life

Ease and lift, and all that I now wish is for someone to share

Someone to show this incredible moment

When dusk lights everything, and all humanity

All our thunderous machines and blocky unlovely structures

Are hidden from sight. Just someone to share

To know I’m not the only one in the world to feel this

Sudden filling up of an unrealised emptiness.

But I do have Dash. His whines break the reverie

As my valiant companion, with brave effort attempts

To lift in his jaw a rock the size of his head.

I can’t help but grin as he gives up and pads over, ready to run.

Run we shall, back along the sand, past another pretty face

Another smile, answered but no doubt forgotten as soon as the first

Back over rocks, rubber squeaking slightly in its gallant efforts

To grip to sea-sodden stone, soon to be reclaimed

By the endless grey that I can see is now rising.

Back past the headland, back to civilisation, where with a pang I notice

Countless pinpricks of yellow over the river, our own artificial galaxy

Shining hard light onto harder surfaces.

The pink is gone, the few clouds now slowly drifting over

Steadily deepening swathes of sky fail to glow, just float, dull and grey.

I ponder and we patter back up the tarmac hill,

It’s damp pimpled surface, faintly shining a harsh yellow under streetlights,

The momentary wonder, that only existed for me, and only for a minute.

There will, no doubt, be other pink skies, other rolling waves of cloud,

Other lonely beaches, with waves crashing loud,

Even other lonely boys, wishing to share that moment

With someone other than a sea-soaked dog

But this one will never come again

And will only live in memory

Which too will someday fade to black.

But maybe. Just maybe. These words will survive.

To tell of a moment that was somehow extraordinary.

A sweaty run on a damp beach as dusk fell.

The right place at the right time, to see something beautiful.





Written sometime in 2015, this is by far my personal favourite of my own poetry, and therefore seemed the best thing to put forward as my first post on a new site.

It was such a beautiful evening, the words started coming even as I was running home. Desperate to get it written down, I threw myself onto my laptop and, still soaked with sweat and sea spray, ferociously tapped the above out in about an hour.

If only inspiration like that could come along a bit more often