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Swirly-Whirly Button


Curly. Wurly. Swirly.

What a lovely button!”


“Whirly swirly. 

Touch your knees.

Touch your toes?

Touch your head,

Touch your nose!”


“Come on. Let’s go!” 

Mummy shouts to me.

I stuff the butt-on,

In-to my pock-it,

And hip, hopp-it,



“Touch your knees,

Touch your toes.”

Hop skip jump

To the door.









“PaulColin, please stop.

“We’re late, hurry up.”


And when I ran my,





Butt-on, fell out of the pock-it.

                                     Down, down, it fell, it went-

And “out, out” of the door we went,


And I left the butt-on,


The Man In The House In The Middle Of The Road

I don't even know if it was a man. 

But the soul in my body tells me it was. 


There was dark red blinds, and a bell

Pepper plant in the upstairs window. 

It had a single fruit that caught all

The sunshine. 


Then one day it was gone… 


It started when

I saw someone couldn't get in. 


And then an ambulance.

Without its lights on.  


Then a truck from Shelter. 

Collections only. 


Then a lorry from Heart Foundation. 

Collections only. 


And then the dark red blinds were gone. 

And a mop and brush leaned against the

Outside door. 


The white house, with black shingles, 

And a white door, and dark-red blinds,

That weren’t there anymore,

Was endlessly empty.


The man in the house in the middle of the road was gone.

But the soul in my body tells me he stayed. 

Being Lonely Fits Me

My brother stood to my right, 

Six feet, one inch. 

His hair, brown, dark. 

He was two months past Twenty-Three. 

I was four months past Nineteen. 

The clock read Two AM. 

We had been here, four hours. 

It was late, night, dark when we arrived. 

It was still late, night, dark, 

When our dad died. 


We had called out for his sister, 

She had arrived, not moments before, 

None of his brothers could make it in time, 

It was just us, 

Dad's sister, my mother, my brother and I. 

I was the only one, that didn't cry, 

As he slipped from his life. 


My brother stood to my right,

Six feet, one inch.

His blue eyes, round, dark.

He was two months past Twenty-Three,

Reduced to that of a young teen.

His daddy died in front of him,

And I was the one that said,

It was okay for him to say,



I was only three months past Nineteen. 

I knew time matters not,

When Death beckons her arms.

I watched as the lines fell flat,

I watched as tears broke backs.

I watched myself,

From the door in the corner of the room,

As I held the heads and hands,

Of those older than I.


I was somehow there,

but not there at all.

Watching myself as I watch others.

Space and distance and time,

Between everything and me,

And me, and them all. 

Bees Knees

Bees on this knee, 

Decorating the scars

Of tipping over flipper feets,

And scuffing up bikes on gravelly paths

And bark of a thousand angry climbed trees,

And Spanish glass ground into a fine dust, scored deep

And empty shotgun shells and ducks’ blood and baby dog teeth,

And Turkish pool water flooding lungs and the bloody spits of a brother

And his snake-sharp tongue traded for scale-sharpened blades and pencil fleets,

And measuring daylight gaps and canvassing souls in the flickering blisters of the night

And pacing of hospital halls and funeral homes and church pews and the bonfire burning sea,

And nooses threatening to asphyxiate the words from my larynx with acid tears raining upon hallowed cheeks,

With words of negative affirmations tawdrily reverberating their debris through a tattered skull.

This body created life. Chanted into a mirror, lights blackened, candles lit. Incense of gold frankincense, myrrh. All those kinds of witchy shit. I grew sunshine in this belly that now flip flops side to side. A Cavernous crater carved inside- remnants of godliness. Cut from hip to hip, seven layers of sinew then pulled into this world ungraciously. Bated breath awaited after 35 weeks of growing him imperfectly. This body created life. Not mine, never mind. I am only a formless entity piloting this compilation of flesh and bone and muscle that grew the sun within its confines. It brought us closer than was ever wished and it's repulsing with every pulsing beat of heart and blood. This body created life. With all its battle scars and threats of death and brokenness and barely creaking through another dawn, this body grew another body. Parasitic and symbiotic, spat with all the love a mother could hold. This body created life. Creation of a creature that changes before eyes with passing weeks; potato, moving potato, potato with almost working legs, crawling potato, no longer potato, but a brain situated between ungraceful shoulders and elbows, fingers, knees, toes. Step and step and laugh and teeth and babble and personality and a soul and he is the sun. He is mine, my Solomon. Tiny king.


The prose excerpts below are Ekphratic pieces created in my Undergraduate Course from the module Transformative Practice. The italicised sentences are the original lyrics, and not my own work.

The Chariot

I think I found hell. She was at the bottom of the well, dancing barefoot in the murk. A rat-queen goddess, playing the pitiful tune of her peasants; every third, fifth, and ninth step submitted a reverence, every reverence addressed with a tweaked kiss. 
I think I found something. It skulked after my trail, morpheus on glimpse, distinct caliginosity. Doubtful shadows of my brother, my father, and I. Heresy of their God Blessed Souls. 
Hot cup of tea, it's four o’clock in the middle of the night, and I can't sleep. I'm observing them, observing me. There is distraction in the mundane; in the spoonful of sugar, and a slow, gathering boil, the scent of steeping leaves. Torn up thoughts drip through a teapot filter. It's all on the peak, so bad I can taste it, while it eats me. Pace stairs in repetitive motion to replicate cyclical childhood rejections. Murmur incantations and affirmations under my breath. I think I found out that I have nothing. That I have nothing in this place for me. The battles have been fought, the blood has been spilled, the screams remain etched into the walls. Faces of fallen friends peer from notches, wondering how long until they fade from existence. How can I sleep if I don't have dreams? I just have nightmares. A house can be many things, but this, this was never a home. It was painted plasterboard reverberating solitude and victims of despondency. A carcass sheltering carcasses. Hell, herself had breached the floorboards, busted the cupboards, and she had screamed profanity from the roof. And I sat, allowing it to continue, allowing her to fill the room around me with heat, with bitterness and anger. One chair taken at the table, the head of the house, the only man to remain. A leaky faucet of long-lost sanguine fluid reverberates; a sick pastiche of the world's continuous ebb and flow, creating musicality for Hell to cavort too. She danced, night in, day out, creating and recreating the same steps of graceful intention. My place at the kitchen table was my consistency, candle lit and submerged in skunk smoke. Hell… Every night she tiptoed closer, her reverences met with a disdainful acceptance, she was here, and she would not be leaving. 
All the time I sit and try, you’d think I'd be down. Every night I'm sick and why, oh, I'm staying up this time. 
A firefly lamp bathing the forgotten walls in vermillion and roseate, a phenomenon in her own right, a symphony in her constitution. I understand why Luke waltzed into the conviviality of the Red Queen’s palace and straight through Deaths’ halls. I requested her to sit, a chair nudged with a foot, absent-mindedly. The quiet response; a sneer, and the appearance of a scented cigarette. 

The Empress and The Hierophant

She sat in the corner, smoked on the floor, 
I asked her what lead to becoming a whore. 
The musical laughter fled between parted lips, thrown back in faux ecstasy. 
If I said it was pleasure you wouldn't believe me.” She inhabited the room as though she would sink into the floor- that the decrepit walls would decide to strengthen themselves with her own debilitated bones. Her contusions embody notches on arenose panelling, fragmented mirrored window glass splinters veins. 
“See this body, this body is not for me. And the way my bones are breaking is the way my skin will bleed.”
I told you to put out your fists. And I marked them with little x’s that mean ‘I am extra unsafe’. With eyes wider than any drug I've seen, titillating with the idea of bubbling up, I had an abandoned sweetheart shuddering before me. And so, I whisper-sung, “For any tired babe, a tale may alleviate the mind.”


“When I was young, I wanted to be just like him. I wanted the charm of a bright orange smile, and muscular laughter.”
A father, a figure of myself in years to come, a model of the man that came before. Thick, strong, tall- in features, face and body. A man’s smile that slowly crept from his face, never breached his cheeks, only twirling behind a curtain in his eyes. Solid in stature. Solid in state. I was a quart his height but, in every way, his familiar.
“Bold brown eyes, flashing fearless when he sat not alone, on cold blue nights.”
A dinner table that grew emptier every year that passed. A house that claimed its hidden darkness’s, and pulled them forth, presenting them as the new sons and daughters of this rotting frame. Faces fell asleep in picture frames, and as each one collapsed into a life-long coma, they drifted into dusty spots, and the sun was left bleaching empty carcasses. 


I glance at her. I stare at the five-foot derelict panelling encroaching the space between us. I recognise that she is learning words like ‘fuck’ and ‘hate’ and I know just what it means. It means she's just like her mom, she'll end up lonely and sad. I glance at her. “Hey kid. Where did your spine go? I know I’ve got none.”


The Fool

I suppose that this is a letter to no-one particularly. They all said I should write to him, but I don't understand how that will help at all. The only person that has the answer to my questions is dead. Broken neck dead. Hanging by a lamp cord leather belt noose dead. Why should I write a letter to the boy that hangs in the cupboard under the stairs? Why should I write a letter to the teen that swings from my shower curtain rail? Where is the closure in writing to the same person that watches from the three-legged stool at the foot of my bed, face on backwards? 


So instead, I turn to you. Someone that is no one in particular, to me at least. Count back anaesthetise, I'll show you the colours burnt into my eyes, all I hear is ‘life for you is shades of grey.’ I plead, help me, help me find my way. 

We were a little past seventeen when we found his mother, the undertaker’s latest muse. Dawn arose our entry, as we stumbled into a deceased mother at the bottom of deceased stairs. The Cocaine and MDMA numbed the initial pain in our veins. The butterfly cries of a daughter abandoned tumble drifted into my ears; Sobriety hit me faster than the cause of her no-more-motherness did. Luke. Your sister. He bored his gaze into me- a man of seventeen no more; a motherless boy, starved, desperate. He became lost, lost and never found. I discovered his sister in my arms screaming where-is-my-mother screams. My words became comfort of “hide your secrets Luke, settle down.”  Moon wide eyes beg, 'I am young, and I am naïve. Tell me something I will believe.' 


A year passed with gentle persuasion from brain-breaking drugs and fatherhood abandonment. We lost his sister somewhere off the beaten path, nestled deep in a tangle of blackberry thorns with a spider-web comforter, and flies in her throat to quieten her cries. Nights for sitting in the dark. She had dropped from the heavens with a meteorological heaviness, caught Luke on the way with the tip of her burning wings and dragged him through the blistering magma of the earth. Impact desecrated her fragile body, and Luke was Bordeaux red and wilting from the heat of it all. Days for lying in the park. I became a brother in solidarity of silence, wandering through the world supporting the cripple boy at my side--his other crutch built itself up; a diseased, drug fiend phoenix. Blackened feathers stroked his hair, they curled up and tilted his chin to bear his eyes upon the vacuous soul inescapable entrapment of addiction without consequence. She became his new mother, his new comforter, the one whose ears would pique with intrigue when he would whisper, ‘Wake me up from my sick dream. A requiem for this dead scene.' 

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