image of x-ray of teeth. black and white.

(content warning – implied child harming)

She entered the nursing home room. It was impersonal, clean and smelt of decay. The passing of the flesh to decay. It had that disinfectant smell mixed with urine and sweat. She sat on the chair that was just on the wrong side of comfortable. Looked down at the man in the bed. Wrinkles within pale blue pyjamas. Frail. More skeletal than flesh. She took his hand and squeezed it.

Eyes flickered open. Delayed recognition. Then a weak smile. Eyes closed.

“I came as soon as I could. You know. I’m so busy with the kids. And work.”

“Busy. I know,” came the whisper of a voice. Like a birdsong caught in the wind.

“And we’ve been clearing the house. Going through things. Getting things ready.”

“I know.”

“It’s just we found something. We found something when clearing the garage.”


He opened his eyes. Looked intently at her.

“Yes. It was in an old brown box. Pushed to the back. On the top shelf.”


“It was full of envelopes. Brown envelopes.”


“We opened them.”


“When were you going to tell us dad? When were you going to tell us about it?”

“I wasn’t. It was my thing.”

“My thing?! Those envelopes were full of teeth! Teeth!”

“I know.”

“Children’s teeth.”

“I know.”

“Why dad? Why?”

“It was just my hobby. My thing.”

“But children’s teeth. What happened to them?”

“I just collected them. They didn’t need them no more.”

How could he not understand what he did was wrong? How could he be her father?

“You took the children’s teeth?”

“It was relatively painless.”


“Yes. When I first started I wasn’t so skilled. I was nervous. Impatient. It hurt a lot.”

“I bet it did.”

“But as I practised more. I go better. It was over quick.”

“But it is still children. It was still their teeth.”

“They didn’t want them. I knew I was doing the right thing.”

“What about mum? Did she know about you hobby.”

“She knew. She understood.”

“She understood.”

“She knew it was something I just had to do.”

“But why keep the teeth?”

“I don’t know. To remember. To remember them all.”


He squeezed her hand.

“Don’t swear. You know I don’t like swearing.”

She looked down. Wanting to get away. From this beast. This man. Her father.

“Don’t worry. I kept yours too. In a box.”

She pulled her hand away.

“And your sister’s.”

2022 and all that

Well, 2022 brought a number of changes which impacted on what I write here. I have been submitting a new novel for consideration. But primarily, I have been writing a lot of prose-poetry. This has led me to the new outlet for my writing of Spoken Word.

What is Spoken Word?

Spoken word is when you perform any piece of writing to a group of people. It is often poetry but can be a story, monologue, or something else. It is quite flexible as to format.

Due to writing a lot of prose-poetry and sharing at my favourite writing group, I was encouraged to attend a Spoken Word night. I went along, sat, watched, then thought: I want to set up one of those. And where better than my favourite bookshop in my local area. So far they have been going well and I have been exposed to some great fresh writing that excites me and always leaves me thinking. Such a variety is on offer. All unique voices that should be heard.

Children love Spoken Word and enjoy writing poetry so it is a great thing to do for World Book Week. Why not start by enjoying watching some Michael Rosen, Benjamin Zephaniah, John Hegley, Kate Tempest, or Anthony Joseph?

As well as Spoken Word, I have been plotting and writing another one. I have changed my approach and audience for it. I’m venturing somewhere new. It is challenging and exciting. I’m trying to apply some of the approaches I use for my prose-poetry to the novel writing. I’m not sure it will work. Only time can tell.

What have you been doing?

Moment 57

Almost night. The light dims. The time when the big ones sleep. It is your time. Time to rise and stretch. Take a bite. A drink. To explore. A garden of possibilities.
Not star dark yet.
You sniff the air. Feel the night breeze on your face. Stroking you. A distant sound. Dog calling. Too distant for trouble. A jump. A gymnast on a bar. You dance along. Instinct.
Then sit.
This will be the last time. You feel it. In your paws. In your bones. The coming of the end. No more to watch the flight of falling stars. No more to search among the ground for the exciting. You think back to the loves. The wars. They are gone now. Only you remain.
Silver at your ears. Watching the days. But this the last. No more.
The end of nine.

This came about thinking of a twilight memory. It struck me it would be more interesting if it wasn’t a human but an animal thinking of their life. I chose second person as I wanted to put the reader into the body of the animal. To become the animal. To make them closer to the animal. To increase empathy. I think it works.


ball of contentment
sweet dreaming of warm log fires
and a little mouse

This poem came about because I was trying out different poetry forms. I like poems with clear structures that constrain you but at the same time free you as you don’t have to worry about how many stanzas you are going to use, or what rhyme pattern you are going to go to battle with. This poem is obviously about my cat and how content he looked settle on my lap before a winter’s fire.


words are watching you
they gather your thoughts
they tell your secrets
they spread lies
and state truths
they can break a heart
they ruin friendships
or destroy an evening
beware words
they can imprison you
or set you free

This poem came about as I was mindlessly watching tv and thinking of the impact that certain people’s words have had on others. It got me thinking about the power of words and how easily they can be misused to create harm.