The Wheelie Bin Affair

This piece was written for an ‘in house’ competition for one of the writing groups I am part of; it didn’t win but that’s OK. You can see the winner here if you would like – or dare to!

Although I don’t personally have the pleasure of using the new recycling wheelie bins, I sometimes hear the chatter of them; today for instance. I was picking at a few errant weeds in my front border when a quiet conversation weaved its way through the hedge and caught my attention, mainly because of the rather superior tone that was being taken.

“He always gets left out there, look at him, all black and dowdy, always last to be collected but then that’s understandable I guess.”

“You can be such a snob at times.”

“Excuse me, doesn’t my natural pedigree show, blue blood always comes to the top you know.”

“Well it’s blue and on the top but you are hardly something very much different…..”

“I beg your pardon,” the voice cut in, “I know you’re green with envy but have you seen my special compartments? You can’t deny that I’m here to provide the more valuable service, this bit in here, that bit in there and only the best of course, would you like to have a read of yesterdays Times?

“No thank you, I’m more of a Gardeners World reader.”

“Humm, I guess you are. Anyway, all the dirty rubbish gets passed on to him. All that black bag business and constantly smelling like some, well I don’t know what I’m just surprised I’m expected to stand next to him, he can get a little whiffy you know, saying that, so can you on a hot day; is there nothing you can do about yourself?”

“I’ll have you know I’m just as essential as you, I was specially purchased you know, not everyone has one like me, we are very particular who and what we service.”

“Well that’s just it isn’t it, you service whereas I’m a necessity, EU regulations don’t you know! You two have been around for years doing your best, but now I’m providing the new and most valuable service.”

“Watch out he’s coming back.”

I was almost tempted to pull back the bushes as see what was going on but didn’t want to be seen as the nosey neighbour. After a rumble and a scrape, the conversation continued.

“A good dump today was it?”

“I do have to say it’s nice to get rid of it, I think two weeks is a little long even with a good fitting lid like I’ve got but of course you don’t have to think about that in your cosy separated life do you?”

“Now now my good man, we all have our part to play, someone has to deal with the dross, and if the lid fits, or in your case not very well,…hahaha.”

Even I could see that this wasn’t very a kind attitude but another sound of movement dragged me away from the thought.

“See you later boys, I’m off to do my Special job, all that fresh-cut grass, mmmmm, sweet heaven.”

The voice faded and was soon accompanied by the gentle hum of a lawnmower. The remaining parties were quiet for a while and I was struggling to find any more weeds to remove but continued the pretence anyway.

“You can be quite harsh you know, even a dirty old thing like me has feelings you know.”

“Well, yes, I’m sorry, but it’s him, he’s itching to get in-between us, every time he goes out I dread that he’ll muscle his way back in and then where would be, we household chaps have to stick together don’t you know.”

“I do, but it’s still not very nice to listen to, you understand how I would be lost without you, how I managed all these years on my own I shall never know.”

“Now then you silly smelly old thing, you settle here next to me and I’ll sort the other one out, we can sit here quite nicely and sort out the troubles of the world together, I don’t think I could do it on my own if the truth be told.”

“Thank you Henry, you are so good to me.”

“That’s OK Bert, someone has to take charge so it might as well be me.”

Things went rather quiet but I had a picture in my mind of the two of them happily nestled in the corner of the yard quite happy in their own company. The haughty voice piped up again.

“I do wish you could straighten up those numbers though, they do rather let the side down… what, what?”

“Now then Henry, you know you like me being a little kinky, mmm?”

Back in my kitchen I tied off the top of the carrier bag that I used for rubbish and tossed it into the industrial sized steel bin in the communal area, the receptacle grunted it’s usual gruff thanks and I nodded in return.

Dark Island

It’s a dark day today

This narrow circle of life in an ocean of sharks is getting smaller by the day. The dark water lapping inexorably at the delicate shore-line is eating inwards towards wrinkled feet where the general isolation is beginning to feel cold and more desperate, almost by the hour.

For years this had been your happy place to live, despite being only a sad rocky outcrop, there were small pockets of lush enveloping scented greenery and cool satisfying pools of delight to submerge in and rise refreshed and sated; but now even these were drying up and wilting in the emotional drought.

Pacing around the shoreline, avoiding its grey foaming lips, the tip of a once tall proud outcrop flicked into view but remained swathed in the feathery spume of the waves that washed it clean of all humanity and hope. You can’t bear to look it for long fearing that the memories of more intimate times will overwhelm you. It’s lone inhabitant that had often allowed the heat of human entanglement was long washed to their uncertain death in the watery hunger. The few other such places were now only clouded memories but at least they couldn’t taunt you with lingering promises but the certainty of a dry shrivelled humiliation.

Even the occasional glimpse of a white-topped rescue only prove to be tricks of the mind, often only theirs as yours has given up that hope long ago; a knightly vision on rearing grey dappled stallion is a thing of beauty but holds no benevolence in this jaded pit.

With less things to distract a crumbling ego and forgotten care, you stumble back to the shelter that now only hangs together with wisps of dreams. Darkness is quickly drawing you in, the light of a life clouded in mouldering billowing fungi and the threats of rumbled horror.

The hiss of the foam creeping ever closer makes you draw up the rough sackcloth and you croak back a cough from the dust of ashes now long cold, night could take you now and no-one would know, would they even care?

Beside you an email pinged into its inbox but just from the subject line you know it wasn’t from him; that boat has sailed and deep down you know there would be no others cruising onto your horizon anytime soon.

Dark Island

Why would a lover leave – a second time?

This is a sequel to – Why would a lover leave? You might like to read that one first HERE.

Hope had been so far out of view
that when your lover returned was it you
that need to pinch yourself of was it fate
that was twisting the knife as you stood craving at the gate

Was he for real
was he here to steal
your heart once more
or punch through to your core
and leave you rolling
clasped to a pillow enfolding
waiting for the pain to leave
as you silently sob and heave

But the touch of familiar warmth bodes well
and forgiveness flows from you from your invisible hell
as you stave off the urge to slap that perfect face
knowing it would only prematurely end the race
that you strive to win only by coming second
your eyes lock into his beauty and he is silently beckoned
into your arms where you hold him roughly
and scold him gruffly
only the words are of love and passion and empty vessels being once more filled
if you let any of these feeling out what fragile love you hope for would surly be killed

So with kettle boiling
and hidden tears scalding
you smile and attempt not to over-power
knowing that this could last for-ever or just a faction of an hour
he gives nothing away
but at least for now he will stay
for a heated roll in some metaphorical hay

But you can live with that
in the one bedroom flat
that is for now at least
a cornucopian out-flowing lovers feast

All to soon the morning is finally at its break
and cruel fate once more attempts to take
but some certainty this time lingers on
and he doesn’t slip through your fingers to be gone
but back he slides into the crook of your arm
and for now at least all in this emotional bubble is calm.

Why would a lover leave?


Towards the playground

This is a prose poem that is an extract from a much bigger work that I might share over time. I had the pleasure of reading this today in a public performance given by one of the writing groups I am part of; Writers Without Borders. Check them out if you would like to know more about a great group of talented people.

Suddenly all mysterious right out of the blue, school days approach all unknown and new with only one saving grace it seems, a big brothers singular job to look out, Just, if he must, for shy little you only, with the safe sight of home gone he quickly, cruelly, lets go of your tiny trembling hand and walks on at a pace that leaves you blind, while you shuffle reluctant feet, scanning all around, all alone, uncertain of where to go, you run on to where hopefully there should be Others that might somehow happen to know.

Then you see all the other kids, running riotously around, they seem to know each other quite well, not that you can really tell, but doubt delights to confuse you and you’re still not all that keen.

Then recognition intervenes and there, two you smile at but being oh so painfully shy, you still only manage a limp ‘Hi Ian’, and ‘Hi Jimmy’, but they pass you right on by. So you try ‘Hi Helen’ but it’s the same and fully daunted you don’t go for the ‘Hi Peter’, who’s the one that you favoured, it’s sadly all to clear that even by this one impossibly perfect pal, you’re still not really counted.

A bell rings loud and it’s into class rooms all strange with seats that give cold comfort but you diligently do just as you’re told…. is this really what school’s like, till you grow up and get, so very old?

But then with paper and pencils and writing and sums, it all somehow seems to add up to something that actually, quite possibly, could just be fun, so perhaps it’s not all that bad and you decide to give it a go, just for today though, only on trial, you might go with the flow.

Soon then it’s playtime and with cold milk and growing hope you corner your pal Peter, “Hello, would you like to share this?” but with hard spoken “No!” he leaves you all alone again, to just sit and stare into your clean fresh iron hanky and here your disappointment you blow.

Despite many such hardships, this little school turns out not all that bad, days roll into weeks and soon fast forward to unimaginable years, what was all that fuss about, those cold academic concerns, those febrile confusions, bound up in such ridiculous childlike fears. But you have yet to discover that, in whatever educational age, you;’re never going to break into real school society where despite teasing glimpses you remain on the rim of those circles of seemingly impossible friendships .

Perhaps it’s just your mind that blocks such views with perceived incompatibility or can you allow yourself to make that small yet massive move to lift the impenetrable veil of Inclusion…but already you know you’ll suffer the wastelands of Exclusion.


The Life of (Big) Tommy Toe

A short story following on in the series after the Life of William, enjoy

I came into the world with an unfortunate ‘attachment’ but there didn’t seem to be any way of getting rid of it, which was the conclusion that I had already settled on. This was during the period of swimming around in some gloopy fluid as I prepared myself for my adoring public. While I was waiting I had developed a rather pleasing shape, a shiny smooth complexion that was just as good as any other part of the attachment; later, I would be constantly disappointed that I was never referred to as being as smooth as the pair of peach like globes up there on the ‘attachment’.

When we came into the bright lights, the ‘attachment’, that’s a mouthful, let’s call it ‘Jake’, seemed less enamoured with the situation and soon kicked up one hell of a racket. Meanwhile, I was being poked and peered at, wiped dry and only just managed to miss a rather large metal needle that threatened painful damage but it slipped past me and got another part of ‘Jake’; he didn’t like that either and the noise continued.

Life was pretty cosy for a while, I got wrapped in nice soft material most of the time, the daily swim in soapy water was OK and generally I was left to my own devices; what could be better. There was one ritual that I knew I would get fed up with if it carried on too long, the piggy song. It seemed to please the ‘Jake’ but it did get me worried to begin with when it was inferred that I might be getting sent off to market! How I would be detached didn’t bear thinking about but it seemed that it was only a game; I didn’t find it so funny. Other than that, as I said, life was generally quite comfortable. The ‘Jake’ was getting more and more active and soon spent longer awake than asleep and the noise he made was turning from constant wailing to at least the semblance of communication.

While playing quietly one day I noticed that there seemed to be another just like me. I hadn’t taken much notice  of any of the life sideways to me, the stumpy little things that lived next to me were of no interest, short, inarticulate, not my kind at all, but over the way, that was different. He was as big as me and seemed to do all the things that I was, the only difference I could see between us was that he was a lefty; it was enough to make me feel superior but he still annoyed me.

It was in this silent rivalry that I got the best of him one day as I went on an unexpected journey. The neighbours went with me as they always did but I still pretended they weren’t there. The destination? A large round cavern of a place, soft pink cushions all-round the entrance and so wet inside the liquid fairly dribbled out and down the outside. In we went and it proved to be rather pleasant as we were swished about, squeezed a bit buy a pair of hard but smooth gummy parts that never seemed to hurt us and then, off back down to our own place. It would have been nice to have been dried off after the trip but it was an outing that would be repeated many times and we all seemed to have fun; that is until the day the intruders appeared.

The hard bits that liked to squeeze and tease stated to develop a rather unpleasant edge to them. From the redness that they were developing, a rather nasty but bright white thing appeared and soon another, I didn’t like it neither did the ‘Jake’ by the sound he made as he dropped us rather too sharply home one day. It was the beginning of the end of that game. There were enough other things to be going on with.

It seemed that I was growing up quite fast, happily always ahead of the neighbours, I had developed a nice if rotund profile, my face and hardened agreeably into quite the showy thing; my only bug-bare was the ‘lefty’. He would mimic me endlessly and it was really hard not to get annoyed at it but I did my best. Another milestone fell to me as the attachment, sorry the ‘Jake’ stated to get some degree of independence in movement. I am proud to say that I was the first thing to reach forward and be planted on the ground in his walking phase. You can’t really beat being first in something although that was about the only thing that I achieved. There was the matter of the bruising but that comes later.

Anyway, this independent movement brought with it all sorts of exciting adventures, we climbed mountains, waded through watery seas, played hardball with, well a ball actually and generally learnt how to make the giants run around after us. I knew I was the key to all this gallivanting about although the odd time I didn’t concentrate, the poor ‘Jake’ just couldn’t manage to keep upright and although I felt sorry for the old fruit, it served to remind every one of my importance; I hope.

Things got less glamourous when it was decided that we needed to be wrapped up most of the day. It was OK for the outside trips as you never quite knew if it was going to be cold and being at the end of the ‘Jake’ so to speak, I got the least of the heat. I like to call then the dark days, not only in the lack of light but the neighbours, four smell little things that had turned out to be quite a disappointment to live with. Disturbingly I had dark thoughts about the tiny one on the end, he was odd, almost deformed compared to my magnificence but, I knew I was being cruel and just left him alone. There was always bath time and the still cosy blankets to look forward to. And that was life for quite a while.

Things eventually got more active which developed into rougher play, I was glad of the outer  protection of, what did he call then, Oh yes ‘boots’ for the ‘kick-about’, I winced at every impact but it wasn’t too bad even with the ‘toe-poke’ that seemed to please more than just the ‘Jake’. Those were the days.

As I slowed down, growing my more mature bought on the unpleasant hardening of my once pristine and soft skin, the back of my head felt horrible and I was glad I couldn’t see it. I had also grown a few hairs on my lower parts, but that seemed par for the course from what I could see in the higher distance, there were only one of two and if anything it added to my status as the other didn’t get any.

It seemed I had reached a plateau of usefulness; I was strong enough to keep the ‘Jake’ upright and keen enough to go on all the outings and exploits that he could manage to find. The incident with the other one, old ‘lefty’ was a near miss though.

There was some kind of commotion going on; I could only listen from inside the white canvas of what had been described as the latest in fashion wear; whatever that was. There had been some raised voices and other banging about and then it happened. I tried to screw myself under with the rest of the neighbours and only just missed the collapse of the canvas as it slipped past my face, I stayed as tightly folded as I could but you couldn’t miss the screams of agony from elsewhere. From the bouncing around the ‘Jake’ did on us, I was guessing that the ‘lefty’ and his friends had been less fortunate. It all settle down eventually but later on when we were removed, I could see that the poor old ‘lefty’ had caught the brunt of the issue and now sported an unpleasantly coloured face, purple and black were so not his colours.

It wasn’t the first time and unfortunately, despite being the leader of the fight, I too got caught, this time it was a much larger piece of wood. I heard the ‘Jake’ shout out although it was me that was injured. As he massaged me as best he could to try to minimise the damage, I heard someone call out, ‘you alright dear, do want a hand with the wardrobe?’ We were both not amused and I dared the neighbours or ‘lefty’ to say a word; they didn’t.

Our outerwear changed more radically after this. Added sturdiness, more hot although we were cared for more readily with regular bathing and now powder, the sweet-smelling kind not that horrible medicated rubbish although that had got rid of some nasty fungal stuff that had tried to take hold; we didn’t like that did we neighbours?

Very occasionally we had a real treat, it took me back to the days of the ‘Jake’ and his wet mouthed play only this time it was someone else, not him. The nasty white pegs were still there, all bright and uniform but this time surrounded with rather garish red stuff as they swooped over us but they seemed to be kept in check and the experience was actually quite nice. The ‘Jake’ seemed to like it too and despite the straggly hair that sometimes got us all wrapped up, we put up with it for his sake. The tickling of this rather larger and more motivated tongue certainly got the ‘Jake’ going as much as me. It wasn’t long, perhaps a few months when I spotted what could only be described as a replica of my beautiful young self started to hang around a lot.

In-between the tedium of daytimes working, we were freed from the confines and a got to see each other, it came with an attachment just like I had, only for this one the ‘Jake’ couldn’t make up his mind what to call it. One day it was all ‘baba’ then next time ‘choochy coo’ whatever that was supposed to mean and for rather obvious reasons the poor thing didn’t like it and it soon changed to the ‘Martin’.

For a while I got to say hello to the little fellow, not the ‘Martin but the little version of me, he wasn’t much of a conversationalist and preferred to just plonk himself on top of me and let the ‘Jake’ stomp around, I remembered the sounds the giants made when they were pleased so it was all good in the end.

That didn’t last long though and even when we all went for the ‘kick about’ I was used much less, the more gentle attack on the ball was welcome and the resting in-between even more so. I was ready for a more relaxed life I can tell you. It must be what they called ‘old age’, I didn’t relish the thought although I didn’t really know what it might involve.

One of the really unpleasant things was when I started to grow an unpleasant lump on my one side. It was most painful in the mornings after I had been lying about obviously too long. It wasn’t much better at the end of the day either; this was not going to end well I could tell. Going around now with a permanent leaning to one side, even the attentions of the dreaded clipper man was almost welcomed. He used to just trim me up, polish my face and scrape out any nasty bits that sometime got stuck behind it, but this lump defied even the rough boards that tried to make it smaller, it had worked well on the back of my head but on this grotesque it was not to be; I knew had to just live with it.

The daily coverings started to change for the better. Warmer and softer material rubbed gently against me and my neighbours, even old ‘lefty’ seemed happier, we had decided that it wasn’t worth the effort to compete anymore; secretly I know that he had given up trying to beat me at anything and we just rubbed along, occasionally passing pleasantries as he scratched an itch on my side of the world and I did the same for him; if I had to.

We all enjoyed being toasty warm with the gently flickering of whatever ‘throw another lump on the fire’ was. It was in this very pleasing and relaxed atmosphere that I nodded to old ‘lefty’, curled up with the neighbours and we all fell to sleep.

I didn’t wake up.

The life of William

This is a fun piece about a friend all we men have the pleasure of knowing in our own way

When I was born I was generally kept wrapped in soft towelling, but at every opportunity I did my party piece freely into the air, much to the annoyance of my parent.

Getting older and growing nicely, I was mostly left alone, cared for but living a solitary life. Then came the days of being compared with others like me, we were much the same of course but I always wanted to poke my head out a little more than the others but overall I was happy not to be the smallest around.

Things started to change when some irritating hormones started to take over, I often felt more invigorated for reasons I didn’t understand and fine hair started to grow which I wasn’t too pleased with but, as the others seemed to be getting the same, I could live with it. This chemical charge did give me much more presence and I would often pose proudly, even when it might not have been appropriate; I didn’t care did I.

Other changes were more dramatic. Interesting things were going on all around me and at times even when they were just in thoughts, these exciting things got me so worked up they literally made me sick, with a strange salty projectile vomiting; I always had to go and have a lie down afterwards such was the exertion.

It wasn’t an easy life I can tell you, I would often get into fights where I was always beaten up, never bruised but always exhausted. Sometimes it was several times a day and I wondered when it would ever end. By this time I had decided that this was to be my life, some games to be involved in but lots of resting with just the occasion functional interlude.

Of course it wasn’t always the same; things did subtly change over time. Sometimes there was more than one fighting to have a piece of me, sharing the pleasure but always with the same end result. In these new style games I had to admit to liking being washed with a gentle warm wetness that one of the antagonist seemed to enjoy just as much. For them I could play longer and would give that little more of myself if they were kind enough to me.

It was a shock then to be asked to come out to play but then end up being pushed into some random darkness. This was a different kind of game and I have to admit that I didn’t like it at first. Getting used to it though, there was at least less roughness; I was starting to get bored with that. This was more grown up things I tried to tell myself, I was mature enough to do mans’ work and I thought I did it rather well given the pleasurable sounds the other used to make at my performance. The only down side to ‘mans’ work’ was the occasional fishy tinge to the soft play equipment, I often thought a good wash down might be an idea but I had little say in the matter. You did get used to it and it was mostly worth it for the more pleasant sport I was involved with.

Just as I was used to this type of event, there was one time where, after the preamble of the wet play there came another shock. I had never really minded the dark places but this was not so good. Perhaps it was me getting bigger but the entrance seemed much smaller although once inside, despite the different smells, the space was much the same. There was a period when I had to wear an odd sort of wet suit, really tight-fitting and I sometimes had trouble breathing and I would have preferred not to have to swim out of the end of play residue; I was much more free-spirited left to my own devices.

Another down side was when the other person occasionally put some sort of neck lock on me, I didn’t always appreciate the way I was squeezed and held while I fought to get out. They would only let me go once I had thrown up. This by the way was taking longer and longer before I could eventually rest.

Never quite knowing if it was anything I had done, the games started to become less and less frequent. Of course I missed them but I have to admit that I liked the longer respites in-between and also the less tight clothing that I was wearing; the lycra had been rather fetching in my youth, even through middle age but now it showed the wrinkles rather too much.

I didn’t get a hair-cut so often either, the sporting shaved contours might have looked rather out-of-place at the age I was so, perhaps this bushy guise was more appropriate. Memories of youth were always there though and I could still react to them if I was having a good day although overall, I felt my regular playing days were over.

Knowing that it was nearly finished, I couldn’t even do the everyday jobs without a lot of help and patience, there was just no energy left. An experiment with some new-fangled medication wasn’t the best either, it was like having something artificially pumped inside me and although I looked like I used to, there was nothing of the happy-go-lucky fun of those formative years. The result wasn’t very pleasurable and we didn’t try it again.

Finally, I couldn’t control myself at all and this incontinence had me almost permanently choked in padded clothing. The time eventually came when I knew I was ready to give up completely and I was glad not to be awake to witness the ignominy of lying shrivelled in a pool of your own liquid waste.


I am

It’s late at night and I had a thought, it’s not the first time I’ve had it.

I’m thinking of bed now, thinking of having you in it, thinking of passions so hard and deep they bring tears to my eyes, my fever is fired and rampant yet goes unfulfilled, I am lost I am lonely I am loosing lucidity…. I am……

I feel you roll your eyes in the pain of a distance that you can’t remove, sympathetic vibrations rock the air waves reduced to only a ripple by the miles but the sentiment is full, the sentiment is received, your sentiment is felt as if you were almost here in person. I smile at the memories of heat and sweat and penetration to the hilt of ones resources and sleep…. I am….

I write this for you my sweet lover man and bid you good night and like you…. I am….

Bedtime for one

Love songs ineffective

Another offering that was performed for Valentines Day this year but it fits for almost any time where love doesn’t seem to want to come knocking.

When music is promised to be the food of all meaningful love
it seems more of a minor key,
as with both light keyboard skill and a voice that has thrilled,
time beats a slow one one time in here, instead of the much needed three.

In a world awash with sonatina to suit every rich rounded serenade
perhaps it’s a case of having a tone deaf ear
that won’t allow you to hear one tremulous tune on life’s lyrical journey,
all fails to make a lover’s song ring clear.

The gentlest touch with accompanying tone, should be climbing fifths and
octaves to augmented vivace,
but the lack of sympathetic voices stops a crescendo rising high in joy,
and leaves you soto voce, tronco, agitate.

Play it loud, play it soft, sing it high, in a round, even run the risk
of warbling free, key-less glissando’s up round and down,
sharp treble voices mean no harm but they can’t stop a tear,
falling on a face written in B flat, sounding out its sadness, in a frown.

So now you write your own tunes, sung pianissimo safe inside your head
on an invisible five line stave,
held tight in your heart for one love lost note to re-tune,
to that syncopated five four beat and someone missing an augmented semibreve.

image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Why would a lover leave?

Just a thought I had this morning.

The emotion of close, touching flesh,
heat exchanged through moist breath
Why would a lover leave?
From your arms they reluctantly heave
Despite attentions where you tease and smear
duty calls.

Far outside these comfortable walls
Waitrose creed is soon spent
M&S food halls have catered
How can penetration compete?

Alone now, the passions of copulation retreat
and you lay curled in the half-filled bed
running the events back excitedly in your head
and reluctantly you react again,
will your true desire be fully fed?

Despite what you think,
reality joins you at the sink knowing,
They’ll be back.lover

The New Friend

Another in the ’99 word’ series; I hope this hasn’t happened to you.

The new friend was sure to arrive on time despite the vagaries of train timetables.

Although no agenda had been agreed other than meals and a comfortable bed, a half formed plan had always lurked in the shadows of his expectant even hopeful mind.

The meal was prepared, a bottle of wine chilling nicely, the bed turned down, the time ticked on.

The morning bought relaxed birdsong and a comfortable feeling, getting milk for cereal, the wine jangled in the fridge door, the cling film covering the salad bowel glinted and speciality bread was used for toast….

for one.The New Friend