The ballad of Nancy Stokes

Clouds rolled in, all over the small town.
The air alive with the smell of chip shop grease and cheap aftershave.
Saturday night, alive and loud.
But not Nancy.
At least not by the end. Down in the canal.
Left to be found by old Mrs Clarence, off to the shops on a Sunday morning.
Her small dog Terry, sniffing at the banks where poor Nancy rested.
Her head covered in an old Tesco carrier bag.
But that night before, she’d dressed up to the nines.
No Tesco tiara threatened her styled hair.
Scraped back with mouse and anticipation.
For the dancefloor awaited, and the eyes were wet.
Leary sockets soaked in her moves.
The jostles and gyrations of decade old motions learned to entice.
To ensnare.
Those oiled men, with receding hair.
Nancy left her friend, who’d found Jesus in the bottom of a vodka bottle.
And then in the stall of the toilets which stank of desperation and piss.
With sticky kebab hands soiling her jeans and soul.
Where Nancy went, nobody knows.
But they left her her clothes at least.
Soaking in the green waters of the canal.
Where Mrs Clarence found her.
Nancy Stokes. The 40 year old girl who loved to dance.
But never learned to swim.

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Le petit problème

I don’t need this, she said.
Shaking the thoughts from her head.
I need so much more.
The need to want you, is greater than before.
And the flicker, and the twitter of the voices in her skull.
Kept her moving, her heart bruising.
Keeps her soul crawling on the floor.

Infractuated

This is where the call came in.
21.09 as the tables turned.
Nothing learned, and feeling fine.
It got a little cold out there baby.
Running the whole world on your lie.
Catching time, trying not to try.
But your control used to cover you.
Now it rolls you over, and you try to let go.
But no.
She wants a little more than you offered.
Coming now to pay the piper.
That pound of flesh you carrot dangled.
Creating such frenzied envy.
And now, here comes that awful feeling.
Smudged with eyeliner and regret.
And as your mouth rolls fables like marbles.
The truth with whisky garbles, like a politician camera posing.
I know you see her. I know you wonder how it will end.
In the end, you lose.

IMPERFECT, IMPERMANENT AND INCOMPLETE

She walked steadfastly onto the platform, her mind a buzz with silent yearnings to hear her name again over the muffled crowd. But it did not come. So she stood on the platform waiting for the train as a tear ran silently down her cheek. Only when the train had arrived and she’d boarded did she glance back to where she had left her.

She was nowhere to be seen….

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And though a part of her would always be incomplete, she smiled in that moment, knowing that she would never be more beautifully damaged in a thousand lifetimes; and never wanted to be anything else.


Taken from ‘Imperfect, Impermanent and Incomplete’. Part of the short story collection ‘An Impermanence of things’ – Out now in eBook and Paperback.

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Repossess as repose

It’s too bad that all the fairy tales died.
As you chase the dragon in your own mind.
Round and round you go.
Cutting yourself and soaking your shoes.
From a distance you see this all for what it is;
just a speck on a sphere hurtling through space.
A blink in the eye of God.
Where is the echo of paradise?
Ringing in your mind like a long forgotten song.
Come down and rest a while, at the banks of this land.
Let the witches and wicked fight among themselves.
The lovers and liars who are on the brink of it all.
Hold on as we swirl, faster through a cosmic system.
Dropping all Cinderella tendencies and thoughts of being saved.
As you speed into the unknown, to save yourself.
Sweet princess of your own night.