In another life

In another life I am

a collection of sea shells

Scattered along

an alien shore

Distant light years


I go along my merry way

my day – to – day routine,

Staring at a gold sky

Washed by dry waves

wondering how

I ended up this way.

It is a utopian life

I suppose

where all my needs are met

I don’t have to worry

about things like work

Or school

on my planet of pink penguins

and gold skies.

In another life I am

a graveyard.

Bursting with bones,

some of them very old.

And moss grown


With faded names

Of long forgotten

loved ones.

I’ve been this place

for a couple of months now

never told anybody

where it is.

I feel safe here

The only other people

here are bats,

two of them.

I watch them at dusk

Their flittering

skin thin wings

Cutting arcs above me.

In another life I am

a boutique,

and my customers

Are professional women

who love my clothes but

can not afford to buy them,

So they try them on

And tell me

their stories,

all about the


they are under to be

thin and pretty,

So I give clothes away

because they need



any strings.

But it seems to me

that there is nothing

I can give these women

that they do not

already have

in their lives,

but they don’t want to hear that

So they return

Day after day

I give

And listen.

Until there is nothing left

And they move on.

– Job

Heroic Verse

Honest Garda I don’t know how that half
ounce of cannabis was on me, laugh,
me head is wrecked trying to make it sense.
Garda I shouldn’t be in custody
it’s some sort of crazy joke me silly
mates played then ran off when you lot came, no
offence, ha, I’m a good lad really though.
Me mam, bless, she says I’m her pride and joy
apple of her eye, her golden boy
never been in bother with the law, well
except for that time I broke done me girl-
friend’s door but that was just a lover’s spat,
a misunderstanding between me girl
and me, we’ve been fine ever since, she
knows her place. I love her to death. Sure I’ve
never even smoked any weed or gan-
ga or whatever it’s called, I just like
a good night out like the next lad, a few
drinks and a bit of fun, not into drugs
at all, it must be that I borrowed these
jeans from a mate of mine, what’s his name? Well
not a friend as such, more an acquaintance,
a stranger really, what? How did I come
to be wearing this stranger’s jeans? Well that’s
the odd part of this story. Let me think,
but first can I have a drink? I’m quare thirsty
it’s very hot in here, that light is awful bright.
I’m hungry too can we pop out for a
kebab or a pizza? I’d kill for a
battered sausage and chips. I’ve got an aw-
ful hunger all of a sudden, what time
is it? 3 A.M., that’s mad, I should be
in bed. I’m never out this late and I’ve
school in the morning, teacher will be cross.
If I’m too late mam will be up the walls
any chance I can make a quick phone call
on me mobile? No? You’re an awful prick
what’s it to you? You’re some sort of a cul-
chie dick, sorry, sorry, I don’t mean that.
Ha you’re a lovely fella, I’m just feel-
ing quite sick. You look like a lovely guard,
no don’t hit me please I promise I’ll tell
the truth, his name was Pat, or maybe Mick
and he sold me these jeans on Henry Street
mine had gotten soaked with diesel on the
way, don’t ask how, we’ll be here all night, I
trekked all the way on foot after me car
broke down. Yes, he was selling jeans there on
the street, Gucci ones he said, made in Milan
great value they were, I got changed in the
Ilac jacks, didn’t think to check the pockets
wish I had. I’d never have anything to
do with cannabis, sure my brother is
in Cloverhill for a similar offence.
This will break me mam’s heart, honest Garda
I don’t know how that half-ounce of hash got
in me pocket. It’s certainly not mine, ha
I wouldn’t know how it’s used or rolled, as they
say. I’m a good lad doing me Leaving
Cert next week, honest Garda that’s God’s truth.


Only Messing

Harold longed to insult his boss. He really did. Tell preening Paul what he really thought of him. Use all his bad words. The ones mother wouldn’t allow.

But he couldn’t. Instead he hid inside his fleshy shell.

One day there’ll be a revolution, he thought, and people like me will rise. Then I’ll grab my boss by his hipster beard and throw him off the building. Or a cliff. Whichever is closer. 

Paul continued his endless tongue tirade. Laughing. In front of the the whole office. They laughed too. What else could they do?

‘Does your mammy still buy your clothes for you Harold?’


Harold lied.

He lied a lot.

‘Only messing Harold. You’re great fun you are.’ Paul said.

Harold sipped his tepid tea and returned to work.

Tea-break was over.

Sitting back to his desk he whispered a silent curse while the office continued to laugh.


The Spy Who Taught Me


LIONEL STEELE (35) stands at the top of his class. He is plain looking, chubby and shabbily dressed. It is a classroom of Russian students. They stare at him, waiting for him to begin the MATHEMATICS lecture. Time passes slowly. LIONEL is frozen. He has forgotten what to say. An attractive young woman at the front raises her hand. She smiles. She knows she is beautiful. 


Sorry. What’s your question? 


Are you a British spy?

LIONEL (obviously flustered)



We’ve all been wondering, are you a spy? You remind us of Mister James Bond. 

(The class laughs.)

LIONEL (Trying to distract. He can’t believe he’s been found out so quickly)

What’s your name?


My name is Alyona. (She flicks her long dark hair over her shoulder)


No Alyona. I am not a spy. Not everyone from the West is here to spy on Mother Russia. My wife and son are Russian. 


I suppose we’ll have to take your word for it. But we’re watching you. 

(She smiles showing shark like teeth) 


OK. Let’s start with some simple algebraic equations…

                        LIONEL STEELE WILL RETURN…                              


Marmite on toast

Marmite on toast. So wrong but right. It was hot and comforting. Not sweet. The opposite of sweet. The Japanese would probably call it umami. 

It had to be created with care. The toast brought to the edge of being burnt. Then the butter spread while the toast was so hot it would melt into it. Lots of butter! Marmite added then, a good layer, not too thin, not too thick. Spread right to the edges of the toast. Then served with a hot mug of tea or tall glass of milk in the sitting room while we watched a movie (probably Labryinth) 

I remember it fondly because it was a taste my younger sister and I shared. There was a regular debate between us as to who made the best version. If she make it I wanted hers. If I made it, she wanted mine. 



Tom wished 

he was rich 

and famous 

so he burned 

home to get it

He slogged 


and night 

twisting that rope 

to climb

Collecting friends 

for future 



when he eventually 

saw the top 

he found himself 

all alone. 


Stolen Lemons

Francesca sits at her usual table. Her long brown hair hangs in waves over her right shoulder. She wears a dark olive green vest and black jeans. It is hot today. Her young bones show under her sallow skin. 

The red brick walls of Il Ruttin pizzeria are covered in old photos. It is quiet today. The tiled floor is drying after its daily clean. Lemons grow outside in the restaurant garden. They offer free limoncello after your meal. 

The table is round with ornate metal legs. It is old, well used but clean. Somebody has cared for this place. The top is heavily scratched from years of use. Francesca runs her hand across its surface. 

There is a large lemon in a bowl on the table. She picks it up and studies it. It has a coarse and pleasing texture. It is large and wrinkled. It smells good, so good that she buries her nose into its skin, inhaling deeply. It is citrus and fresh. Looking around to make sure no one is looking she puts the lemon into her bag. 

The door opens. Francesca turns quickly, fearing she is caught in her act of petty theft. But no one notices. It is just a couple of lost Americans looking for directions to Pompeii. They struggle with their few Italian words but Marco can’t help so they leave disappointed. 

Her margherita pizza arrives. She relishes every hot savoury-sweet bite then gets back to work. 

She will enjoy her lemon later.