out versus in

days merge, sunlight beckons

clouds mute, door remains shut

nights blend, moonlight summons

stars gleam, door held bolted

emerging  shadowlike

breath quickening

fast retreat

locked content

bolted contents

bound agreed

connect achieved.

chat randomly

Meeting a person today got me thinking about the characters around me. How I was already weaving them into three dimensional characters in my head for later use. I am more and more looking at motive when people speak, some really sound shining lights I know speak from their heart engaging with my heart and the conversation flows, the interaction is one of shared love and the outcome is always positive. Other people I meet are fodder for my imagination. Meet four of them:

Character 1: A middle-aged man, single, has felt deep loss in the past, recent pain, poor but aspirational in thought. Short and rotund, never seen in jeans, always on the lookout for the right person to spend rest of life with. Works in civil service, Always thinks he is right, men should be leaders, women followers. Exercises by walking, speaking three languages, doesn’t read, opinionated. Teaches Spanish for adult learners Name: Russell

Character 2: An earthmother, five kids, children centre of world, uses corporal punishment, aspirational for children, married, SAHM, blow-in, cheery, positive, has faced discrimination in early life, travels widely, has issues with church, always dresses well, make up, hair respectable, always available, do anything, on committees in local area. Struggles in the area of her marriage, never has time for herself and is dismissed for being a SAHM. Has not felt pain of loss, tall and willowy. Sees good in every situation and person. Name: Bridie

Character 3: Married younger man, recent pain, impurely altruistic, tall and weedy, arms too long for body like Marfan’s. Self employed, cheats on taxes, cheats on wife, cheats. Two kids under five, points out everyone’s errors, doesn’t see his own, zenophobic borderline racist in public, in private: racist. Stalks young women until they succomb to his charisma.  Name: Jamie

Character 4: Wife of character 3. well aware of husband’s activities. Hair a mess, wears jeans and t shirts only. Practices wicca privately, hidden past life as sex worker, had abortion, casual drug user. Publically just a wife that has let herself go. Underneath a melting pot of resentment bitterness, pain, loss. Cold, calculating, venomous, and about to change all of the aboves lives. Learning Spanish. Name: Angela

How Low Can You Go?

The low ebb is descending

A rhyme from a pop song

Reverberates the background

It’s melodic chant daring her lower

Tiredness all around    no respite

Sleep deprivation increases the tome

No good news    war    sickness

No puppy dog tales   only poverty

Take it to the chorus    litany of woe

Shutters coming down

Closing up shop

Humanity good bye

Sign off   gone for a while

I’ll be in bed

Rhythmic clapping

Stomping feet

C’mon Eileen

Darkness surrounds

No white light

Judgement descends       how long to stay

Am I ready to depart or  interlude

Difficult decision in trance-like mode

Get it wrong       county homeward bound

Heaven can wait let’s breathe      in

Suzie Gallagher

This was written some time ago, based on the song “how low can you go” which in turn was about that game where you shimmy under a stick, going lower and lower. I thought it interesting to have such an upbeat tune in my head whilst writing about my friend’s depression. She would descend into the pit for weeks, not opening even her curtains, not getting dressed or washed, eating very little and scared of being cast into the local mental institution. She always thought she would die in such a place so would drag herself up out of the pit before the “sheriff” turned up at her door. She may well have been a prophetess, as she did indeed die in the county home of natural causes at an appropriate age, but what she was most scared of, of entering the home, when the time came for her to pack she actually looked quite excited about the prospect. She was a lovely quiet, shy soul and I miss her sometimes when the weather turns grey and I wonder “How low could I go?”


girl –

Look at your face

can you see it?

death as the mask

Pale, lifeless, gaunt

Tired, hurt, bruised

what point is pain?

girl –

those drugs you take

don’t make you good

scratched bleeding arms

take over body

invade the brain.

When did you feel?

girl –

you are a waste

messed up big time

home is cardboard

in shop doorways

dirty blankets

will you take help?


“What was that thing, our Theresa said about cooking pasta?”

“Darren, what are you wittering on about. Theresa can’t boil an egg. She knows nothing about food, never mind something forreign like pasta. Remember when we had her and Terry round for tea last month, she accused me of using tomatoes that were off? You know, the little yellow ones. She wouldn’t eat the salad and then smashed one of my best dishes washing up. Honestly Darren! Look, get out of the kitchen and set the table, your boss’ll be here soon.”

“No, Caro, listen, it wasn’t pasta exactly, mmm, oh yeah, it was spaghetti, is that pasta?”

“Oh Darren, bless, you really are as bad as your sister. Yes of course spaghetti is pasta but it comes in tins with the sauce already with it. Tsk, Darren, gerroff me,” as Darren lunged for a quick cuddle by the sink.

“Oh wait Caro, it’s all coming back to me. Last April there was that programme about April Fools Day hoaxes. They had on the man what shrunk people to get in the aeroplanes, he’s dead isn’t he?”

“Yes, Darren, love please I need to find my recipe for this pasta surprise, it was in ‘Bella’,”

“Well on that programme they had a black and white clip, there was a guy in Italy, and they were harvesting the spaghetti off the trees. I remember cos Terry didn’t think it was hoax and we all laughed.”

“Oh yeah, I know what you are talking about now, a button fell off my blouse I laughed so hard, pass me that tin of mushrooms, love.”

“Theresa said, ”

“Darren give it a rest, Mr Plimkin will be here in five minutes and I haven’t even started the “Angel Delight”

“Caro, Theresa said boiling water, salt, twist the spaghetti throw it in and after seven minutes take one piece out and throw it at the wall. If it is cooked it sticks to the wall.”

“Darren Cooper, you really take the biscuit, if you think for one minute I am sending a piece of pasta to stick on my beautiful turquoise tiles, after spending, oh yeah well anyway, no, I just need to find the recipe, it’s here somewhere. Now, go, shoo, and remember to take their coats, love, go on, I love you.”

Meanwhile outside, Mr Plimkin and the glamorous Mrs P were arriving. “Sweets, please eat a little of everything, it is going to be dreadful, but we can’t be seen to be snooty, I need young Darren on my side with all the redundancies going off we need to keep a couple of young fellows, and he is one of the least offensive. I overheard him on the phone with his wife Caroline, they are serving Angel Delight and mandarin oranges. One shudders to think what the entree will be.”

“Just you wait Plimpy, I had better get that spa week next month. You do ask an awful lot of me. Come on then, let’s get it over with.