Kids in camouflage sprint and stumble through smoke,

their faces smeared with blood and dirt.

It’s a burnt-out city with kids tearing into enemy lines,

no weapons,


Another press conference was held in Houston

last night,

              aired on breakfast news.


Ed’s knuckles are bruised a plummy purple.
He rubs them and laughs.
‘You think this is something?
In here? Joe, this is nothing.’


After the first call came through from Ed,

Angela tried to explain

what he had been accused of

and what might happen next.

But I never really got my head around it.


We used to play on the sidewalk,

brandishing long sticks as lightsabers,

caning one another and

really feeling the force of it.



The green phone

on the wall in the hall

hardly ever rang.

Anyone who wanted to speak to Mom called her cell.

Same with Angela.


Overheard in a Tower Block

There are things that lurk in the library,

that thumb and squeeze between the leaves.

New worlds can be found in the books,

characters listen to all that you read.

Overheard in a Tower Block

I’m amazing

Seriously I’m really very cool

When I went to school

With the headmaster

I drafed the rules.


We studied my hair

My cares

Overheard in a Tower Block

Kicking the pebbles along Eastbourne beach

as the orange-pink of sunset

plays with the ebbing tide,

my mother asks…


Overheard in a Tower Block

My mother, The Mermaid Queen, wept tiny pearl tears.

For weeks, for months, she cried through the seasons.

High-tide storm-sobbing, would it last for years?