december is a thief
christmas is a thief
winter is a thief

covid is a thief
grief is a thief
self-doubt is a thief

depression is a thief
social media is a thief
these four walls are thieves

people are thieves
fuck the thieves
these thieves like us . . .

how are you doing today . . ?

how are you doing today? people ask
so you tell them as best you can
but the conversation often turns back to them
and they talk about their problems not yours
it’s why people with depression often don’t talk about their depression

how can we make you happy? they ask
so you tell them just exactly what gets you down
and you tell them how you would like to live differently
but that would mean drastically changing other people’s lives
so you change the direction of the conversation instead
it’s why people with depression often don’t talk about their depression

they sacrifice their feelings for the sake of others
they say to themselves, well
what if these changes are made and I’m still not happy?
the self-doubt wins out every time
life chugs on
some days being better than others
it’s why people with depression often don’t talk about their depression

so how are you doing today? people ask
you tell them how you give each day a rating out of ten
how being over five is generally good
how being over six doesn’t happen very often but when it does . . .
or how four is heading in the wrong direction
anything below four is tough
you tell them how ratings can be given throughout the day
but you only tell yourself not anyone else because
it’s why people with depression often don’t talk about their depression

people with depression often hide their feelings
they can be chatty and jovial and really quite pleasant
whilst underneath still having a number four kind of day
manageable but not great you know
they’d rather be somewhere else
or simply just held
silence can be a great healer too
it’s why people with depression often don’t talk about their depression

some nights

some nights
unseen forces crush my skull
I drift to the darker side of day
an empty space awaits
it’s what I crave and totally hate
both sides of me fighting
I work back through the years
try to find a cause
arrive at the usual suspects
but are they worthy of headlining?

am I justified in calling them out?
should I own or disown them?
box or let loose?
share or secrete?
right now I am in control
I can play with these feelings
kick them about inside my head
ask them questions
what do you want of me?
when will you leave me alone?
truth or dare?

remembering when
when my head was a quieter space
how young was I?
six? five? four? three?
I could’ve been someone I guess
but those voices held me back
calling me out
putting me down
closing me in
walking me away
dictating my choices
unable now to go back

and it’s all about the future now
making the most of whatever is left
finding solutions and strategies
negotiating the woods and trees
seeing light at the end of tunnels
staying calm
steadying the heart rate
accepting what I have
what I cannot have
occupying time and space

seems like I’ve been here before

not one living soul passed by during the night
no tracks or traces left in this unforgiving wilderness
I search for clearings but only briars are forthcoming
soon the mist may clear and the path become visible
onward and upwards my journey takes me


at least everything is turning green
I notice gardeners are getting their fingers dirty
robins plucking worms from between their feet
the skies are widening and the air is warmer

but I know for some

darkness hangs over them still
a few more months needed for them to catch up, maybe
at least everything is turning green
that’s something

(written for someone who just wants to feel better,
who wrote on their blog: At least everything is green here)
a nod also to New Order – the fab early years post Joy Division.

crazy head


be safe inside your crazy head my friend
people it with imaginary friends and fanciful stories
take a journey down those scenic back roads
where quiet moments are chance happenings
for this space is yours only
go sit there while the world rages
and be safe inside your crazy head


it’s safe in there
but you just have to trust it
lie back and sift the wheat from the chaff
there’s a way through your crazy maze
it may take days or it may take weeks
and the journey from here to there is a twisty devil of a path
but the reward is worth the effort my friend


when you can’t see the wood for the trees
just keep a-walking until you find a clearing
and take a break and concentrate on your breathing
for there’s a sky up there, a moon and stars
and little you down here just a-wondering
what place is there for you in all of this firmament?


there’s a special place for you my friend
it’s reserved inside your heart and head
two special places owned just by you
no one else can go there if you don’t want it
close them off and keep the fuckers out
yes it’s your shout my friend
your shout
so do it
whenever you want


enough from me
it’s over to you
I’ve done what I can
it’s now up to you
take it or leave it
it’s the best I can do
whatever you choose
it’s catch as catch can


Wood for the Trees

life can become overwhelming
for no obvious rhyme or reason
purpose and definition go astray

with no direction to call home
you lose yourself amongst wolves
and stray into darkened corners

but there are hands reaching out
and voices with reassuring words
waiting for your reappearance


looking over the edge…

I have been to the ends of the Earth
And looked over the edge
There was darkness the depth of which
Took away my breath and left me speechless
Come away from there you cried
But the pull was too great
The drop too enticing
The thrill seeking adrenaline junkie
Cliff jumping euphoria was too appealing
I was mesmerised for those few minutes
Captivated in a traumatised trance
Gripped by something other worldly
Temptation raged war through my blood
Pounded brain cells to incomprehension
Made me question my former sanity
Places I had travelled
People I had seen
Their homes and faces staring back at me
Laughing and cajoling and beckoning to me
And then
Your hand
Touched my arm
Your words
Brushed the darkness away
And retreating
I found your quiet embrace
The souvenir seller
The vendor of forgiveness
The future holder of all life’s secrets
And I bought them all and promised you
Would I go again to the ends of the Earth
And look over the edge to be tempted by the darkness that lies beneath.


Daily one word prompt: Darkness

in a hole

in a hole

grubbing about

black truffled soil

snouting with pouts

a clawed devil pitcher

grappling blind looks

this mole-eyed watcher

tunnels trenched foot

in the dirt demon darkness

wormed thoughts tickle roots

sniffling and snuffling

guffawing great hoots

lost to the shadows

wearing jackshitty boots

shod to the marrow

black clods crumble books

in a last wasteland wordscape

killer kisses are blown

quicksand tragic faces

turfed walls tumble down

with a gargle and choke

hemophiliac blood flows

thrown from life’s saddle

never knowing what goes

in the twist of a tale

cockchafing cockroached

mankind’s mother lizard

regrown and reproached

unthinking unkilling

eternal misrest

left in a hole

grubbing about in a vest 



(With this piece I wanted to combine several different images in order to create one complete theme. I started by thinking how it would feel to be stuck down a hole unable to get out. The scenario turns somewhat nightmarish with the addition of (Lord of the Flies pig) and burrowing mole references. The darkness and shadows represent the threat of anxiety and depression. There is fear too. Written on or just after the 100th anniversary of the battle of the Somme it was difficult not to ignore the ghastliness of the trenches. Grappling blind looks is a play on grappling hooks. Likewise jackshitty boots for jackboots and jack shit as in nothing or not knowing / understanding anything. There are other war references to be found but mostly by the second half the imagery is sufficiently confused and mixed up that it could apply to any of these thoughts. I’ll leave you interpret the remaining lines as you wish. All I would say is that by mixing imagery and blurring definitions I hope there is enough freedom on behalf of the reader to apply his or her own meanings. What do you think?)