30 January 2011

V's Birthday...

Tea and toast, a gathering of friends, and V opening presents with a tear and a laugh. Four bums on one bench, watching pretentious dance but sneaking out before it's finished for cocktails and chatter, a curry and rice in our favourite cafe.

29 January 2011

Clearing the Drain

It's like a black wet fungus trailing from my rubber gloves; the sludge I clear out (holding my breath, on my knees).

28 January 2011


Sticky from the oven, skins dark and juicy; they pop and sizzle as I jab the fork in, put them on our plates.

27 January 2011

End of a Hard Day

A comfort cuddle, slouched into the settee, my head buried against your chest, your arms holding all my worries away.

26 January 2011

Last Orders...

We sip every last word of this play, perched on our bar stools, watching them create an almost-love moment around us.

25 January 2011


They make a clip clip sound on the pavement, these blue shoes with their gorgeous heels.

24 January 2011


She lies along the back of the sofa and tells me about hair dye, pink clip-in extensions, false eyelashes. She gives me a young girl smile. 'I'm experimenting' she says.

23 January 2011

A bit of Saturday Graft

A joyful ache in shoulders and arms from pushing eighteen wheelbarrows piled high with cow muck.

22 January 2011


Sometimes I just want the quiet of a familiar room, my settee, a blanket to keep me warm and a big plate of my favourite food.

21 January 2011

Kim-By-The-Sea, 11pm

Always: a wash of heat as the door opens, velvet curtain brushing against shoulder, as we mix in with these murmuring voices huddled around tables, drinking hot tea, and letting home-made cake melt on the tongue.

20 January 2011

Cornflakes, 5am

In the dark of my bedroom, spoon clinks against bowl. I'm awake with hungry thoughts, so the crunch crunch with chilled milk is welcome in this dead hour. I lie back down, drift into a second sleep.

19 January 2011

Five Minutes Early

Street lamp makes an orange fog, car park almost empty, and all these windows like cinema screens with TVs, lights and open curtains. In the driver's seat, I play with the key, as if I might turn it. I wait and there you are, outside the window, ready to invite me in.

18 January 2011

Little Pleasures

I lick chocolate fudge cake from where it is smeared against the inside of the box.

17 January 2011

My Ten Minute Break

Step out into the wind, walk briskly to the park, wonder at what I never noticed before: a whole history of Hulme carved into the ground.

16 January 2011

Rivington Village Tearooms

Mud-splattered, thighs aching, we pour tea into mismatched cups and saucers. We are ticket #93, waiting for home-made pasty, chips and gravy. He tinkles the piano just for us, our special request Moon River.

15 January 2011

How To Get Rid of Second Date Nerves

Catch me talking to your dogs in a silly voice. Make me strong tea. Let me lean against your shoulder. Walk through mud with me. Hug me while climbing over a stile. Laugh at my questions but answer them anyway.

14 January 2011

Making Dinner

The chop chop chop of knife against board as I slice peppers, courgette, aubergine. Hum of the oven warming. Garlic sweat on my fingers. Curls of sweet potato and parsnip peel.

13 January 2011

We Heart the Movies

When he snapped his ulna or radius SNAP, we visibly jumped in our seats. Again SNAP. And then, the knife gouged in, blood, muscle, gore. I sneaked glances at the screen, eyes half shut. We laughed because this is what movies can do to us.

12 January 2011

Some Days

I want the end of a long day. 12 tog duvet, clean sheets, plump pillows.

11 January 2011

January Gets Hotter

A Northern Quarter back street with its laddered fire escapes and red brick. First-date kisses on my neck, misted windscreen.

10 January 2011

A Treatment

Rain drums on the hut roof, while I lie half-dressed on a heated blanket. Her music is the quiet zheng zheng of a guzheng. She holds a moxa stick near my skin, hovering close until I say hot hot.

9 January 2011

The Atlantic Fish Bar, Chorlton

After midnight: stark lights, open door. We park on double yellows, so we can lean against the aluminium counter. This is one of those shivering nights where happiness is hot chips on the tongue, grease on our fingers, and the lingering smell of salt and vinegar.

8 January 2011

Winter Allotment

After the frost, a mulch of plants and mud. I pull out brambles, clear out strangled plastic bags. Stepping on pond-stones, I reach over murky water, cut back ornamental quince.

7 January 2011

Lloyd Street South, 10am

At the bus-stop, waiting, she holds onto her ħijāb as it struggles against wind and sleet.

6 January 2011

My Street, 7pm

Bin wheels rumble across cobbles in the red-brick dark. My feet crunch gravel in the backyard. She miaows her welcome home.

5 January 2011

I know how to look after myself

Thick-spread jam sandwich. Steaming-hot bath. Dirty-guitar from the Black Keys.

4 January 2011

Back to the Grind

I wipe snow from the windscreen, cover myself in an icy coat that slowly melts on my drive to a weary first day back at work.

3 January 2011

Jam Street Cafe

We collect cafe noises and write them into poems: indistinct chattering, a sizzling pan, cutlery scraping against plates.

2 January 2011

10pm, Wilmslow Road

Outside: the beeping, hundred-tongue bustle of a Rusholme Saturday. Inside: in the cafe's emptiness I pick dropped olives and falafel from the foil wrapper, lick tahini sauce from my fingers, pour another fresh mint tea.

1 January 2011


A red-tissue glow as the flames dance close to the paper; I wait for it to lift from my fingers into a lantern-filled sky.