ALangford

United Kingdom

semi on hiatus because i have decided i am no writer

Published Work

epeolatry 04/11

conversations with
you are an exercise in
subtext, an
exchange of sorts, or
a stroll on the sharp-ridged spine

of verb, adjective and noun
i am disciple
at the heel of case and clause
softly parting
moods subjunctive to

indicative to
tip of lips
i will become prefix and
suffix, cushion myself
in crook of elbow or tip

of tongue; you are the heart
of me, metaphor
and synecdoche,
my refrain
and epistrophe

to lie next to you
is to learn
your etymology in
the bend of your neck
and back as folded paper

on which i hope to make my
mark in pen and print
and prose which takes the shape of
you and me and
epeolatry

a certain futility 15/10

it is futile to
imagine i will ever
cease to love you and
if only for your smell and
smile and ease with which we fold

into each other
you make my skin fit me for
once we touch like farce
our skin is flower petals
feathers or rodin figures

you melt me softly
i will be vein artery
and capillary
or hang from your arm like fruit
sing songs of you into the

cosmos until stars
know your hymn like an atlas
tainted gold with stave
and sound and we the downy
dragonflies make mockery 

of the horizon
you are wings and wingless on
the timeline of the
world there's war and worship and
our lips we are history

it is futile to
believe that i will ever
cease to imagine
nestling in your palm as
raw as a hazelnut and

small enough to be
cushioned there in tender crease
and crevice sleeping
no smokes or sin or scripture ...

the traveller 08/10

cartography of spine:
dust settles on you as
on an atlas

route across vertebrae 
traversed by flat ridged fingertips
as mountain ranges

come to rest
at the curvature of your
throat from glade

to glen. i
am a pilgrim to the
thankless terrain of

nape of neck,
the peak on which my
lips the alpinists

come to rest
as on a map, the 
nib of a

pen with which
i mark the globe of
you and never

touch. 

lost girl and the dawn light 13/08

like every other morning
it is not his hands that wake her
but the thought of coffee grounds -
coffee grounds, and the first cigarette of the day
to make bearable the hours in obligation
of grieving for him.
like every other morning
her pillowcase is damp when she awakens,
her mouth in a tortured crescent;
perhaps she has relived
loss in her sleep.
she had not thought
that she had slept. 

outside, the sky is unbridled,
veined with blood of gold and pink
against the pale blue skin of 
ripening day. 
the sun she hardly sees,
obscured like a golden eye
by the skeletal silhouettes
of the trees. 

it has been a while since she stepped outside.
outside is the passage of time;
she will not reconcile herself
with that which kills her. 

happiness is too much to ask, even 
on account of a spring morning
where the air is diffused with 
the tender scent of summer rain,
when...

kiss and the stranger

it's winter; the world is white, and it's almost too dark to see
​your figure: there's an inferno, a maelstrom of snow -
​the sharp, spiteful, stinging kind. amongst it all,
​there's silence, and yet a thickness, a tension,
like the world is tuning: bows tightening, the 
​keen strain of hair against wood; the faint and rustic tones
​of a flute; the blooming darkness of the brass - 
​and there's a hue to it, a quiet, blossoming transfusion 
​of sweet, secret sound. and then I hear you:
​you're as clear as my footsteps against the snow, yet cautious -
​I've never seen you before, and the snow hits your face
like dust, the same way it hits mine, reddened a little
​by the ice. but you're still obscured - I don't know you -
​does that matter? I hear your breath, stranger, the
​odd and curious, uneven outward breaths -
​the whispers of your beating heart. in this moment,
​it's...

kadupul flowers 3/09

midnight turns the softness
on the nape of your neck
to mine, a debt gifted to me 
in the intimacies 
of a fingertip, your skin 
on my pulse. the contours 
of your face fade to concealment. rapid breath
and kisses are our currency - furtive, eager contact sanctioned by starlight 
and bathed in kadupul flowers,
blissful purgatory under
a watchless moon, where
to touch you is an admission
of a guilt unsated by 
expression. we will last the night
and never the day: i reserve your smell 
for sleeplessness, blind desire
made ridiculous by  sunrise 
and the oath of sobriety 
after. 

the dawn makes garish promise
of the proximity of day
in the depths of our heat
the kadupul flowers shrivel
into fetidity 
with the light

cartography//free write 15/06

she's rummaging around at the back of her closet
when she finds them. five old books,
bound with reddened leather, slightly
yellowed at the sides. inside, page after page
of her sprawling spread, maturing in 
curves and flourishes from those early teenage
years, the sheltered ones, where heady
dreamtime made the words seem light upon
the page, to dawning adulthood, those 
barbed, heavy, refracted blades of black
ink, filled with the contaminated ripeness
of late-adolescent disillusionment. 

it's not a happy timeline: it's a timeline that takes shape
in the form of a man, a man she still sees, sometimes,
when she closes her eyes, or when she looks, quite
casually, into the looking glass. 

there are moments that brighten her face
like a child; she feels almost young again
as she reads of days spent running after him
across snow-dappled passage ways, old museums
which reminded her quite potently of his scent. 
and then there are the darker parts,
there...

falling-out-of-love letters: a year of extracts

---
two years of sorrow
made light
like gossamer 
in the crescent  
of your eyes
and lips
---
i'm in a dream - i must be;
your footsteps sound
where my mind made strange
fantasies of your
presence, the
tender tilt of
your white cheeks
---
falling in and out of love
are the same to me:
laughter is the closest thing
to tears.
if ever we'd have
touched, i'd have been
disgusted by you
after. 
---
walking home
there are only those
thirteen-year-old
recycled
inchoate
words
'stupid happy'
to grasp me in their arms
as i crumple
and become, again,
two
---
what's pen and paper to
the vivid sensuality
of your lips?
i told myself i'd never 
write again.
degradation:
a feeling of repulsion from
something so simple as
picking up a pen
---
spoke to you then
walked home
in the hallway i wept
like a child
until my body was empty
and barren of hope ...

standlake

I took the lead: three boys and I
​intoxicated by the dawning headiness of spring,
​our footsteps borne into the rough timbre
​of history, of ripening forbearing
​and reserve and aged discontent. yet here
​we were unsaddled, unbridled, running 
​with limbs of gold into an abstract sky --

​It was dark by the time we collapsed
​a writhing mass of empty legs and 
​arms and sweat-traced smiles
​and rapture. we were a knot of easy
exultation, our souls on their knees
listening to the tender sermon
​of dying light, renouncing flimsy sins
​we committed with ignorance held
high on the wings of childhood.

we go running, now, still, as far as we can,
​rushing, a monstrous, silent current
brothers at my heel, we bleed 
​gruesome juice from the fruits and the rind
​that suffer our heavy tread.
I hold their hands, the hands which fall from mine
​with slickness like melting ice
as we work up a sweat, and then...

in defence of living

-she's sitting, alone, on a concrete block, stranded in the middle of a wasteland
​-she's counting objects: ​[one - a plastic fork, one tine missing] [two - a discarded trainer, shoelace detached] [three - a picture, ripped up into one... two... three - no, four - pieces]
-the sun is rippling along the creases of her back and neck as tide against sand
-is being here any less absurd than being anywhere else?
​-she is stretching herself out on the block, watching birds spin fleetingly across the sky
​-there should be, she is considering detachedly, a philosophical basis for this moment
​-thoughts ensue, although she is not quite in control of them, nor is she trying to become so
​-there is not, she concludes, a philosophical basis for this moment
​-she's watching a ladybird crawling laboriously up the concrete block. it will never reach the top
-this is an irony which amuses her
-is this narcissism? egoism? amour-propre? does it...

totoloche grapes

they had sat 
bound
​to the hills
​and stared, not down,
​but up to the horizon
​and the clouds
which dispersed 
like ash, and the light,
dappled and glimmering
​in imitative discord.
​they had worn cotton like silk
​and eaten banquets of totoloche grapes
​and made grand speeches with golden laughter
​bedecked themselves in foliage crowns and emeralds, then
retreated into palaces of straw and hollowed wood
​like settlers
​deepening the footsteps
​of their foremothers and fathers,
singing their songs and
​telling their tales, and
making their music, and
​and trading their riches: the
currency of pulses and 
heartbeats
​and the sun, the fifth sun,
​the sun of their time and its
​sister moon
​which cradled their children
at night
​in aching starlight.
​they lived like kings and queens
​on the hills, until the fall,
​until the others came, 
​until the rain began, and
it's still their agony
imprinted on this soil, and now
​the air still throbs 
with their...

No Pause for Breath

swallows 29/04

hold yourself heavy on the windowsill    dear
​I once heard a tale of a girl who learned     to fly:
​she learned through books how     to build;
​the mechanics of wings    and winged things
​and she built them herself     out of
​burnished wood, the floorboards     of her room,
​and ash, and wax    that dripped
​from the candle    like rain,
​and she watched     the swallows
​rippling in distortions across     the sky,
​and she thought it beautiful - so she    jumped
one day, she took herself    to the hills
​in a taxi and she jumped from them     like a bird, and
they talked to the taxi man after,     quite seriously,
​about what they called     'the incident',
​and her parents too, and the people called     her friends:
now how is it that a girl    can learn to fly
​and...

the pull 21/03

it's nighttime, and the air is aching:
​its breeze, its swelling, rippling fullness
​a summer evening, filled with the rich
​plump juice of forgotten morning,
​like every moment has been feeding
​on the last. 

​I know where i'm going; my feet are tracing
​this soil like lovers' hands, with that
​trickling warmth of familiarity,
​the sensation that memories could come
​surging back with any step:
​to be pitifully subject to the waves. 

​don't take me here again.
​i can hear the water against the rocks, then
​feel its pressure against my skin:
pleasure and pain and gross, consuming feeling,
​and then the slate edge,
​the pupil of a monstrous eye.

​my feet are not my own.
​before long i feel the sea's breath against me, and
​white foam limbs form in strange contortions at my feet.

​morning will come, and
​i'll wake up in cold sweat 
​as true as water.

because the words 'thank you' aren't enough

i was standing with her there, in the sunlight, 
​and she moved closer to me, and I felt her arm brush against mine
​and the warmth of it all, the breezy glow 
​of skin and skin - yet deeper;
​her smile was more than flesh: it was spirit,
​and the pain went away, 
​and she brought the summer days to me - 
​those fresh, raw, painless days of
​exposure and light and easy loving
​and wanting to take the next inwards breath. 
​thirsting after life and my next heartbeat,
​because our laughter paints these streets with gold. 
our footsteps, together, on the cobbles
​are more than drumbeats: they're a symphony.
​well, she gave me everything with that touch
​yet without knowing it - and it was enough to know
​that her friendship could carry me, and
​i could fly - fly in cloudless skies and
​with the light of a thousand suns, forever. 

shame

i don't see where you come from, but as I hit the corner
​or thereabouts, anyway,
​there you are. a flurry of people,
​and you're within them, struggling against the throngs:
​a wingless bird against the current,
​feathers tousled by the unfamiliar waters.
​just how i'd imagined you returning to me:
​your face tilted upwards,
tasting the air.

​your skin is browned with the sun's lips. 

​a n d  t h e n
the air tightens between us; it's a continual pulse
​of contractions, expansions, a drum beat -
and our eyes meet, and it softens, it's 
​the languorous, mellow smoothness of a string melody
​ascending in flat plains, then slowly dying,
​expiring in the thinness of the breeze. 

​our eyes meet. god, I remember
​when that would have seared through me, a long and aching
​flame of love and discontent and pain and loss and greed -
​now it rather melts through me, or you do,
​you're the blood...

between us

    Walking back; it's evening at the dawn of spring. Between us, the first seedlings quicken within the soil. 

It feels like it used to - the warmth against my chest, the light on my eyelids - and grinning, 'stupid happy', like I wrote in a hand driven by raw, human intensity - my first taste, like nectar. 

   I can see it; you're beside me, your hand is around my waist, then in my hair, then tracing the fall of an invisible teardrop from my eye to the soft ridge of my chin. Your fingertips are softer than I imagined. 

  That's how we would walk, watching the sun melting through the trees like golden water, and the light fracturing the ground in shards of haloed glass. You'd draw it, maybe - you did that, created beauty wherever you saw it, like you needed to return something to the soil and the endless, blossoming throng of nature. 

​The...

it was that which made me take the train

    It was that which made me take the train. And not the fact that I'd seen him, and I'd realised that no matter how many times his eyes met mine against the black, dust playing beneath the lamplight between our closed lips, he'd never look at me in the remotely the same way I looked at him - but because I'd realised all in an instant the utter futility of it all, the futility of walking up that pathway every day and sitting through five hours with the hope of seeing him at the end, or somewhere in the middle. No better to love him than to love country air, to feel light's thick golden strokes against my skin and the rich freshness of the air - no better to pine after his eyes than those in the fields and plants and brooks, or his hands when feeling the wind against your palms is as consuming as real...

Album Review Competition 2018

Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp A Butterfly'

    Having to choose an album to review for this competition was next to impossible for me. After all, I listen to and enjoy equally practically every genre of music - with interests from classical to jazz to punk rock to folk to pop, at any given time it's impossible to tell if I'll be listening to Bach, Bowie or Boris Vian. But there's no album, other than 'To Pimp A Butterfly' by Kendrick Lamar, that can combine elements from every single one of these genres with such painful and searing beauty, eloquence and fluency.

​    Lamar's third studio album, 'To Pimp A Butterfly' is an explosive combination of colour, tone, raging humanity, lyrical genius and unique musicality - and it's not just music. Music stops playing when you press pause; Lamar's songs refuse to release you. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that his music only really starts when you take your headphones out, and the...

the woman

you loved a woman, you loved her well -- or,
you loved the face of her, she always smiled 
as you walked through the door,
lighting the hallway for joy of you. you
sat down on the sofa with a heavy sigh.
she worked for fourteen hours that day.
she set the space you sit on,
careless.

she'd write, she'd write for you - but
what good are all those words anyway?
a man needs his daily bread:
that's not made of paper and ink.

she laughs as you introduce her to your friends
and clears the empty beer cans off the coffee table
with the patience of penelope--
she strokes the silken current of your hair
as you work, as you write, cultivate
that part of the mind that she has left to wither.
the seed of her own knowledge that rooted in the earth
will never be quickened by the spring. 

did she ever feel the loss of...

Why I Write

ignition 30/11

i don't write for you.
    i don't write to hear your voice--
        let your words rot in the earth like offal.
you never saw the sunset, not like me--
    squinting, feeling the redness rise inside you.
        your judgements belong in the fleshy soil: let the worms feed on them
for all i care.

i don't write for you.
    heartlessness is that which guides
         your pen, not mine, and heartlessness decays:
words written in blood will never last,
    rather decompose as unbridled, convulsing sun
        to feeble, turgid moon. let them. they will seep through the earth, unnoticed,
like water.

i don't write for you. i never did:
    i wrote for the flares, the crazy wildfire boom or bust
        of blazing imagination. i wrote for the smile on his face,
the feeling of palm to palm, rigid heart to aching soul.
    but you never...

Novel Writing Competition 2017

Bread & Wine

    We gathered every evening to break bread. We had no objection to doing so. By the time we'd all set down the white tablecloth and positioned ourselves in our seats, marionettes, it was dark outside. The moon smeared across the glass like an insect, smashed. The only sounds were the rustic scrapings of silver against china, and that heavy breathing from person to person, as though to prove that we were all still real. We never asked who had painted the walls that grey, that cold, incessant slate - I think perhaps because we were afraid of the answer that we might get. I just recall the bloody, gruesome redness of the wine like offal against those ashen walls and the blackness of the sky. There was too much feeling within that red: it felt forbidden.
    That's how my life was mostly: the daylight would seep away, and I'd set down the tablecloth and listen to...

paradise lost

    Whenever I close my eyes, I can feel it. Cycling down those streets. The world warming the soles of my feet. That percussive staccato of wheel against rock teasing the rhythm of my ankles against the peddles. The cobblestones tracing the peaks and troughs of mountain ranges, and the flowers exploding into balloons of pink and blue and yellow at my ankles, the blushes of spring emerging from the barbed grey clutches of winter. As ever, the sky is streaked with that haze, the musky gauze of an English sky, which casts shards of sparse, glittering golden light onto the torsos of the old buildings which line the path. These buildings, these catalysts of crimson human brilliance where great minds blossomed and decayed, where they conceived of those ideas which entwine themselves around the trees and the flowers and the people in mantles of green or peach or dark purple - I've never seen anything more beautiful, no,...

Métro

    I met him at the Métro at Saint-Denis, and I thought I would ride with him forever. It was something about the slope of his nose, the wiry turn of his glasses and his hands, those bright white hands: I could have held them interminably. I got on three seats behind him, so that all I could see was the dark, feathery hair on the back of his head, and his neck. Ithink the whole of Paris must have passed me by but I didn't look once at all that, all the blond-haired Joes and blue-eyed Marys, just kept my eyes fixed on the nape of his neck and oh my, those beautiful hands. 
    We hit the tracks, stop after stop, driven further and further by the startling redness of it all, the passion, the exhilaration. Inside the train, senses weren't just crash and bang and light any longer, but so real that I could feel them...

Third Person Limited

Washington DC

    The sun sets pink on the sky in Washington DC, and although the birds have stopped singing (it's early evening, she should be home) there's still tunefulness and melody in the air so fresh that she can almost taste the stave.
    Thousands of miles away from him.
    The chatter is like idle fingertips on glossed keys; the brush of her feet against the stone is a cello, a loosening seventh to the laughter's incessant tonic. Heat has never kissed her skin like this. 
    Walking down these streets she sees his face in shop windows.
    There's peace in this place where everything is always moving. She could close her eyes, just briefly, and be swept into the concerto, the constant revolutions and beautiful discord. Draw into herself completely. Nobody has as much power as she has, then, leaning against Jefferson's beating marble heart whilst the sun sets over the city and casts one million fragments...

Zoom Out

Man on the Beach

    There's nothing on land but suspicion and the chatter of children. The sea's quite a different matter.

    When he was a boy he loved the sea. He'd go out with his father on the boat and search the depths below him for a glint of gold, a glimmering jewel, that he might be able to salvage from the wreckage of some desecrated ship. Such innocence, such health and robustness, he could hardly recall now - as the sand ravishes the shore, age and drink had left no survivors in his aged face, no kindly remembrances of the freshness of youth - but the memories remained with him, of his father and the blackness of the sea and the ripples which carried him, smiling, as the miles reeled out ahead across the blue. All history now.

    Maybe that's why he hated it - History, that is. History was the tale of big happenings, the fall of the...

poise of my hands reminded me of yours

    It's hard to love a man, and harder still to love a ghost. Hard to walk down corridors knowing that he stepped there before, to remember the way he walked and the way it would make me feel, hard to see such things as would have made him smile and feel the void within my chest widen and widen until it swallows me, whole. Hard to remember how he blinded me, how the angles of his cheeks and nose made my eyes go white and my chest go cold. How his voice stunned me. 
    Loving once is an anomaly; loving twice, then is an impossibility. Or loving in the same way, certainly. Because with the next person who makes your heart skip, the next one who makes you flinch and scare, there's a pain that there never was before. A loss. To love again invokes a hesitation that you never knew before, prevents you from loving...

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

Slaughterhouse

 Truck.

Bars-and-then-Sky.         Blue.

        Breeze melts down P401358's back.

                     Pigs try Movement; want Air-on-Skin.

    Can't move --- Crushed.    
                                                                Runt falls between writhing-pink-bodies-like-Worms.     
                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                    Squeals -- he suffocates.



    Shortly P401358 sees gate open.
                                                    
                                                    Pigs run; Pleasure.

            New Open-Space has Big-Beauty.    Light.        P401358 looks back at Runt--- glassy eyes.    Day hot--- flies gather. 
  


  P401358 runs. Bucks.    Feeling of Sun-On-His-Back-And-The-Air - Beauty.  

                                         Never run before though---  limbs know.     Collapses metres out of Gate and is dragged.
    
       Light-and-Space lost now.   Just Men-In-White and Smell-and-Screams.    Need water; mouth dry-like-Paper.
                                
             He feels everything. 

River-Of-Blood trickles below. P401357 Gone. Time.

           P401358
                                  wishes
                                                  
                                                    'Air-and-Sunlight'
                                                                
                                                                                as
                                                                                             he
                                                                                                      feels 
                                                         ...

Returning

that which makes my heart beat

    returning to the place in which i fell in love with him is seldom possible. it's concealed most of the time; i've constructed layers and layers of useless thought and quasi-logic over that one raw spot in my person in which i felt myself drifting towards him, at first by choice and then irrevocably, until i was bound to him. that place is lost now, a wooden toy ship out on a wild ocean thousands of miles in width. when i try to revisit it, it often feels too contrived, too affected to be real - 'i need emotion now', i'll think as i begin to play, or speak -- 'give him to me'. 
    but sometimes, in those rare moments of inspiration or grief, i can return there properly, the space in my heart where i keep just the memories: the way he looked that night, gold-skinned and laughing; his voice in greeting and the hardened...

Open Prompt

60th Street

    The grey man's flat overlooked 60th Street. He had only recently moved there, charmed perhaps by the raucous cobbles, their feeling of slovenly disorder, or the antiquity of the abraded walls - but primarily it had been necessity that had brought him there, to the place where cold crept in with a vulpine cunning and swaddled his pathetic form, the bones that jutted from his taut skin in every crevice: the necessity of escape, perhaps, as well as economy.
    It was the windows that let in the cold, but the grey man didn't want to fix them. He was repelled by the idea of some young rogue, vivacious and winsome, humming perhaps as he examined the glass and tapping the fragile walls of his home with rough workman's fingertips, unaware that it was crumbling, crumbling beneath his indelicate touch...

    The grey man edged across the splintered wood of the floor. Reaching his refrigerator, he pulled out...

Writing for Children Competition 2017

Con Amore

    The world was red the first time Lucian heard music. He spotted the sky whilst taking the tray to Signora, the way the one thousand nuances of streaky crimson, tangerine and gold aligned in perfect unity with one another - it made him stop in his tracks with admiration. It was that moment at which he heard it: the high tremor of a voice, but not a voice, almost like the noise he could make at night when the house was silent, when he raised his voice tentatively in a hum which cut the coolness of the night. But this noise, this music, was different to any that he had heard before; fresh,and beautifully raw.
    When the boy regained himself, he edged towards the door, still carrying the tray of tea. He set it down on the table, fingered the dainty china in an effort to stay close to the melody, the smooth course of note after note,...

Picture 11/03

There's no pain in a picture. It's all ink and water, indistinct streaks of red or green or glowing light. Of white palm on freckled shoulder, or fleeting moments of contact: blue meets green, black meets white, lips meet lips. There's no pain in a picture; just glossy white paper, furrowed by age or the weather. A tilted wrist, an open mouth, a tangled mess of haloed limbs, inexorable, uncompromising flesh, and teeth like bone or ivory. 
There's no pain in a picture, but there's pain in a human. An onlooker. There's pain in the loss of something, and its rediscovery in high definition print. In seeing your crinkled eyes again, your crooked smile, your wide green eyes, which reminded me of your true essence more than any of my thoughts could have. Flesh loves flesh like the spirit loves the spirit, and when you give them both to someone, beating, throbbing heart and soul, you can't expect not to...

-untitled-

I set off by daylight from the creek
My footsteps following, idly, the wistful scent
Of spring, the Dionysian freeness of everything –
Sharp, the deepening violets cut through
The thick, fertile greenness of the path’s
Meandering course, its twists and convolutions.
Above, the sky is white. Starlings convulse along
The starkness of it, fighting for the first partner,
Their ample cries tearing into the seasonal quiet,
Dust in a hurricane.
I follow the deep passageways, letting the breeze
Carry me through meadow after blooming meadow –
My feet crush indiscriminately as I navigate the terrain
So that behind me, the sweet smell of rot
Its cloying heaviness, is picked up by the wind
And haunts me.
Now, the crickets have ceased their humble riot,
and there is only silence.
The landscape is a dull exhibition of brown and grey -
The roots reach deep into the famished dirt, and find nothing.
A few hours later, I reach the top...

Op-Ed Competition 2017

Notes on Social Injustice

            There’s nothing that unites us more than pain. Adults seek the crying baby, children seek the bleeding rabbit, and doctors seek the starving child. The avoidance of pain, for others and ourselves, is humanity’s common objective, one that we stumble and struggle and fight to convey – yet we allow people, children, to starve, we let men lie lifeless on moon-streaked streets with only twilight and copper coins to fill their stomachs. Humanity’s history is marred with brutality, with nausea, with hatred and antipathy; one might say that we are a contaminated race. What beauty we have had, what burning passion and blazing hope, has come about because of love; visceral, spiritual love between ourselves - all fine literature, music, art, has existed because of this. These are the two pure elements, unblemished, untarnished: love and pain. 
            Bearing this in mind, we must state that we are all equal. Perhaps our share of...

(Notes on Social Injustice)

1. Britain is not a meritocracy, but even if it were, the very concept of a meritocracy is surely as flawed and idealistic as the concept of socialism, due to the fact that one cannot erase the history of sociocultural division that has marked our history.

2. A vicious circle is in place - the working class are distanced from political figures, a third of whom attended fee-paying schools, then vote for outsiders or demagogues ie Trump - this leads to their further vilification and disenfranchisement.

3. No aspect of life remains unaffected; education, health, home life etc are all affected massively by your social class - taking education as an example though, people fail to recognise the unquantifiable - everyone has access to internet resources with which to revise, yet many still fail major exams, which is put down to laziness as this is more quantifiable than the long-term psychological impact of demotivation and lack of encouragement from educators...

Draft one creative writing

When the rain had first started, there had been a kind of preternatural beauty about it. Maybe it was the way the first steely glints had so abruptly pierced the raw dawn light, or perhaps the intricacy of the gathering streams on the pavement, mirroring the veined branches of the trees above with perfect delicacy. There was nothing particularly uncommon about that; the rain in Florence, being somewhat rare, always possessed a peculiar charm. But it had not ceased. Creases and creases of slanted rainfall had made wretched the morning glow, as well as the early plans of the city's inhabitants. 
However, it was not the way that the rain had sliced through the heart of the morning, but the wary barking of the dogs that had woken Luca. Twisting round his torso in the bed, he could perceive their subtle whining through the splintered wood of his bedroom door, and with the agility and nimble enthusiasm of one too...

Sunset and the Artist

    The artist sets up her paints under the fading sun and raises her brush, suddenly motionless, waiting for the dusk to deliver her its earth-bidden passion. Her tiny figure waits, palette balanced on an upturned palm and its tilted wrist, as she begins to absorb the strengthened night's debilitating cold. But the world is blank tonight, and what artist can paint from one blank canvas onto another?
    Desperate, she observes the sky with a keen eye - is that a streak of blue there, embraced by the sun's soft glow? One too eager brush reveals the difficulty of replicating this; critically, she assesses her single lilac line and denounces it for its too-avid romanticism. There's no beauty in making the understated garish, only vulgarity and enthused vanity. 
    Pausing, hand poised in a regretful caress over her irretrievable error, she feels her face begin to flush bright red, and in the spur of the moment she streaks a hellish trail of red...

My December Competition 2016

Christmas Rain

    Last December, and the December before that, and all of the Decembers I can really remember, there has been only hail. No snow, never any snow, but always relentless hail. Without snow, I think you lose something of Christmas - for me, building snowmen, making angels, family snowball fights - they're all dim remembrances, things that could have happened but that equally I could have made up in my head. We used to follow footprints, bird prints in the snow, things from the past that we wanted to trace - nothing was ever too small. I have this image in my head of my mum smiling, really smiling (and it was rare that she did that) as she watched me with my red mittens and shock of soot black hair on my third Christmas, placing my hands in the marks that my brothers hollowed out with their pounding feet on the ground. But it was a heavy smile, a reminder...

1 Photo, 20 Words

Fate

Bright fire, the universe's endless
Destructive lust
Ricochets, listless, in every man's
Shadowed movement,
Harsh its inexorable
Chaos. 

Novel Writing Competition 2016

The Sound of the Storm


    "It's fine," they tell me. "We've put her to sleep. She'll rest now."

  Tap. Tap. Tap. 

    Distant dissonance, the taps of the shoes of the nurses and the doctors. They seem ceaseless in this graveyard.

    Tap. Tap.

    The anthem to your psychosis.

    Tap.  

    I'm leaning out of your window, my cigarette smoke brushing the assemblage of silhouettes that lurk outside like broken stars. The night clutches at the cold sills under my fingertips, unyielding. In the far distance, neon signs strain to be seen, and the last drunks can be heard lighting up the town with their convivial laughter - but nobody comes near here. Nobody comes to your whitewashed purgatory, this place where the artificial reigns - they're scared of you, my creature of passion, because they don't understand you - to them, you're just a madwoman in her madhouse. You're imprisoned like one of...

Speech Writing Competition 2016

Osborne's Worst Nightmare

“Why don't we have a little game? Let's pretend that we're human beings, and that we're actually alive.” 
These words were written by John Osborne in 'Look Back in Anger'.


            It's been 60 years since those words were first written, and Osborne would be turning in his grave. In fact, not only Osborne - all of the beauty, all of the art, all of the literature that we love was written by individuals who were essentially on a voyage of discovery, one of passion, love, and pure, raw emotion (the likes of whom would be shocked by attitudes taken today). Osborne's Jimmy Porter is a prime example of this - his passion may manifest itself in a foul and debatably misogynistic way which shocks audience members to this day, but it's equally immensely moving - desperation and working-class hopelessness works itself into every one of his almost bestial, brutish tirades. Reading the best books, viewing the best paintings,...

Objection!

Political Action is on the Right - Why is Political Rhetoric on the Left?

    Anyone who turned on the television or radio, or even opened a web browser on the day of the 13th July 2016, should have been revolted. Perpetual echoes of Theresa May's first speech as Prime Minister throttled every listener, with the commentary from the MSM, frankly, revolting all those who crowded, nervously tittering, around their radios - the sycophancy, the idolatry and the shallow veneration from almost every news reporter was tangible. Throughout the days, weeks following that event, we were told by the MSM what we were to believe about her (admittedly artfully designed) words, accompanied by the trademark vulpine smile - yet what the majority of us actually felt was confusion. 

    The political spectrum in our country is indisputably very varied, with UKIP gaining immense popularity from the side of the population currently ignored in mainstream politics, and with Labour's Jeremy Corbyn 'taking us back' to the 80s, 50s and 30s respectively, according to the media's...