“Humanity’s single most important role,”
Said the man with no hair,
“Is to claim Victimisation.
You, Mr. Bowes, are claiming it all the time.”
I looked up at him. I felt like a victim.
He was singling me out
From the two thousand men, filling the tent.
“You are always complaining,”
He continued,
“That people are picking on you,
Is that not true, Mr. Bowes?”
I shrugged my shoulders.
“Yes Mr. Bowes, it is very true,” he said,
“You winge, and whine, all day long.”
I looked around the tent.
Four thousand eyes were focussed on me.
I felt like a victim. They all blamed me.
But twenty-four hours later, I was not alone.
For, every owner of those four thousand eyes
Had been accused of claiming victimisation.
Now we all felt like victims.
“So, you see,” said the man with no hair,
“We all think we are victims, but there
Are always bigger victims than you.”
A black man and a white man
At the back of the tent
Got up and left through the back door.
“Oh that’s right, get up and go.
Can’t you face the truth?”
cried the man with no hair.
Five minutes later a petrol bomb
Flew into our tent and the man with no hair
Turned into a pile of ash, smoking on the floor.
“I’ve been victimised,” he cried.
But the two-thousand men were not listening
For Mr. Authority had told them,
“You don’t have any right to complain.”
So they did not complain.
They just smiled and said,
“Oh well, that’s life.”

Stupid messages on my voicemail

Tim. This is Mimi. Um. I came across a quote today that I think, I think you should hear. And the quote is, “In a world of comparisons and conformity, make your own statements, honour your own truths, have the courage to be yourself, risk speaking your own thoughts and claiming your own emotions. Share your vulnerabilities, fears, doubts and insecurities, let the others experience the real you and have the courage to be yourself.” Tim, I was reading a couple of your poems, um, and I really like them. I really, really, really did. And I’d really like to sit down and sit down and get to know the real you, the one that you are inside. And, I guess this quote just made me think of you, because it was just so appropriate. So, call me when you get this message and we’ll talk. Bye.

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I read the graffiti on the wall. In big, bold letters, scrawled a foot high, it said “APNI MARZI KARDHI!” I didn’t understand. Next to it, written in white correction fluid, the words, “THE POOR CAN TAKE NO MORE: RESIGN”. My conscience was jolted and I took a pen from my pocket and wrote, “The cure is an elixir in a small glass bottle, but only god knows where it is”. There were other words on the wall. “Hold me tight. Don’t let go.” “You don’t own me. I have rights too.” “Fahari wawili wanapo pigana nyasi ndizo ziumiazo.” “If you treat me like shit, you’ll have to live with the stench.” “I love…” and “Sal was ere B4 U”.

The words expressed people’s thoughts. I left and returned a week later, but now the words were gone, lost beneath another layer of cream emulsion. There was a single, new message.


Hold me

I don’t deserve you, but I want you.

I’ve done nothing for you, but I want you.

I’ve done nothing for the world,

But I want the world.

I’ve taken all my life and I’ve never given back.

I don’t deserve you, but I want you.

I’ve had everything I wanted

And I threw most of it away

I wasted many years

I threw it all away.

I don’t deserve my friends, but I love them.

They give and give to me.

What do I give to them?

Stories about my sorry life?

My sorry life?

I was given everything I wanted

But I threw most of it away.

Look at me and listen.

Listen what I say.

I want to change everything.

I hate what I see.


I hate what I see. I want to change me.

I want to hold you. Not for me.

For you.

I never give. Now I want to give.

Hold me.

The War

The war was over, but the scars remained. Pushed together, the people lived in compounds scattered across the vast landscape. It was better like this; not much better, but better than the urban squalor that faced the returning refugees. The compounds were a sanctory from the ever threatening outside world: The minefield hell holes. The pitted landscape filled with cluster bombs. The poisoned lakes. And the dead land. The dead land that was good for nothing any more. Poisoned for a million years; a graveyard of a once fertile land. The compounds offered saftey.


Hear that: the sound of a muffled heartbeat. Everything is hazy and out of focus. We are closing in on a picture of a baby in the womb of its mother. Then we cut though a blur transition, the sound of a beating heart replaced by the sound of children playing in the playground at school. We focus on a lone child standing away from the other children in the playground. He turns to us and whispers.

Continue reading “Loneliness”

3 It’s Gentle on Silk Too

Professor Ivan walked into the board room escorted by two John Major clones. All the major government figures were there. Professor Ivan enquired as to the reason for his being brought there. A voice boomed out from speakers at the end of the long, polished table: ‘You have a Government funded Time Travelling experiment. We will withdraw all funding from this exercise unless you come to us with a useful application for it within the next now!’

Continue reading “3 It’s Gentle on Silk Too”

2 Woke Up This Morning With Blue Suede Shoes

After the incident with the random time switch on the time machine, Secretary Blondy pledged a complaint with the ‘Secretaries Working in Time Variable Situations Complaints Commission’ in the hope that she would receive compensation and a free holiday to Barbados. As it turned out, seven strong men arrived at her office two weeks later to remove the double-glazing from her windows.

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1 The Puffin comes Home

It was the time of year when baked beans would be 33p in the shops, and the sunlight shone brightly on the gloss white bristles of Professor Ivan’s toothbrush. ‘My what a wonderful day it is, but I can tell it’s going to be another one of those days where the sunlight shines brightly on the gloss white bristles of my toothbrush, nobody will have a hairpin and for some reason I will shout Puffin as if struck by some sudden inspiration to make sea-bird pate,’ he exclaimed.

Continue reading “1 The Puffin comes Home”