Sea Without A Shore

Further to my last post, my copies of Sea Without a Shore have now arrived, and I must say they look great! Excellent job by Maytree Press and the printers. Watch this space for news of my launch event.

Maytree Press

We are thrilled to announce the safe arrival of Maytree 003. Sea Without A Shore by Holmfirth based writer, Tim Taylor is now available on-line from the Village Shop.

Sea Without A Shore

In his debut collection, Tim explores the transformative effect of the wild Yorkshire landscape he now calls home. He expertly immerses the reader in the landscapes and history of the South Pennines before challenging our senses with brave new perceptions from house plants to outer space. Set in two distinct parts, this is a debut pamphlet that takes the reader from the dark peaks of Bleaklow and Black Hill (Ungrimming) to the far reaches of our solar system (Pioneer) and back to the living room (The House Plant). Poetry at its very best, highly-innovative and effortless; a feast of words to transform your day.

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Lots of poetry news!

There is lots to report on the poetry front today!

First, my forthcoming pamphlet, Sea Without a Shore, has now been printed! I haven’t got my hands on a copy yet (this photo is courtesy of Maytree press) but can’t wait to do so tomorrow!

It’s not officially out till next month, and my launch event (currently in planning) may not be until July – watch this space for news of that. But in the meantime I will be reading some poems from the collection at the Word Weavers Cabaret hosted by spoken word artist Rose Condo at 7.30 on Sunday 16 June at Small Seeds in Huddersfield. There will be lots of other poets there too (see link for details).

Another event to watch out for is LandLines, a film and soundscape installation for Holmfirth Arts Festival, with words from Holmfirth Writers Group (HWG – including me), in the Wesley Room, Holmfirth Methodist Church, 12-4 14 and 16 June, 12-5 15 June. HWG is also providing content for the Mythophones: ‘metallic sound stores’ that will be in Holmfirth Parish Churchyard for the duration of the festival. You can find details of these and lots of other exciting events in the Holmfirth Arts Festival Brochure.

Finally, in other news, my poem ‘Colours’ is now available to read in Issue 16 of Picaroon Poetry, ‘The Cowrie Shell’ was shortlisted in the Poetry Ink Winter 2019 competition and ‘The Trees are Dancing’ will appear in the forthcoming anthology, The Cotton Grass Appreciation Society, alongside work by my good friends Anne Steward, Sally Brown and Alison Lock … and other poets including Simon Armitage!

Burning the Cakes

It’s been a while since I posted one of my little stories on here, so here’s one I wrote at Meltham Writers on Thursday (from a writing prompt in a book). Hope you like it.

It appeared to be a day like any other. The kids were at school, Brandon was at work. It was a Friday afternoon in July and the weather looked set for the weekend. There were cakes to be baked and all was well with the world.

Candice had just put the tray of cakes in the oven when the doorbell rang. She was puzzled to see a courier holding a large rectangular parcel. She wasn’t expecting anything, and it wasn’t anyone’s birthday. What on earth could it be?

“Sign here, please,” said the bored-looking, bearded man. How many deliveries had he made today? Candice did so and took the package into the kitchen. It was not only large, it was heavy, and very thoroughly trussed up with tape. It took three minutes’ effort and a big pair of scissors finally to get it open. The package contained a large brown bag and a letter, which Candice picked up and examined.

“What the …?” The letter was in a strange alphabet – probably Russian or something. It must have been sent here by mistake. But as she continued to stare at it, Candice began to realise she could read every word. A valve opened somewhere inside her and information long buried and forgotten began to flood out.

She was not Candice McLuskey. She was Irina Simonova and she had been sent here for a purpose, fourteen years ago. That purpose was now spelled out in the letter that lay before her eyes. It was terse, impersonal. There was a day, a time, a location and a name. That was all, apart from the words “Memorise, then burn this letter.” She turned on a gas ring and watched the paper sheet glow and disintegrate in the flame.

She opened the bag. It contained clothes, a small toiletry bag and an envelope containing ID, a photo of the man named in the letter, a map, an air ticket and 1500 dollars. And two smooth, streamlined black objects of metal and plastic. Without any thought, she fitted them together. How long was it since she had fired one of these? So different from the wooden-stocked deer hunting rifles Candice was used to. But to Irina, it was like the return of an old friend. She caressed it, scrutinised it, held it up to her eye line and squinted down the scope. Then she took it apart and returned it to the bag.

Irina removed her clothes, putting them in the waste bin, and replaced them with the ones from the duffel bag. A little tight round the waist – the downside of Candice’s cake habit – but an acceptable fit. She slung the duffel bag around her shoulder and walked to the door.

“Are you crazy?” screamed Candice. “You’re going to walk out on your husband, leave Madison and Luke without a mother, just like that?” Your life is here now. Don’t do this!”

But Candice had only ever been an illusion – to herself as much as to those who thought they knew her. She had seemed to fall to the floor with those old clothes. The voice faded away. She was Irina, and she knew what she had to do. There was a tinge of regret, but she said to her old self, “Brandon is a good man. He will bring them up well.”

She opened the door and walked through it, leaving it unlocked. Behind her, in the oven, twelve cakes slowly turned to charcoal.

Swizzle Stick

Today I feature a short tale from Canadian author Tom Halford. I warn you, it’s not for those of a queasy disposition! This sort of thing doesn’t happen in Huddersfield ….

Swizzle Stick

for James Fletcher

by Tom Halford

Orson shot, skinned, and gutted the bear. The bones of the animal were crumpled in a hug, and the intestines looked like swollen sausage links. He left that and everything else he didn’t plan on using next to a pine tree.

            Three days later, he got a phone-call from his brother-in-law. The brother-in-law wanted the bear’s penis. He asked Orson to boil it down to the bone so he could use it as a swizzle stick.

            The brother-in-law planned to mix rum & cokes for his buddies. As they were drinking, he would tell them that the swizzle stick he’d used to stir their drinks was actually a bear’s cock. 

            Orson laughed and said he would do it.

            He hung up the phone, stepped into the muggy afternoon, and went back to the mound of bear parts. Black flies blanketed his skin and swarmed in his ears. With one hand over his mouth and nose, he swiped the flies away, then kicked at the mound of bear.

            A sheet of beetles sang through the flesh. Standing for a moment, he needed to walk away from the rot.

            Eventually, he dug his way to the penis. He took it home and boiled it to the bone. His hands stunk for a week.

            He had planned to give the swizzle stick to his brother-in-law, but he kept forgetting whenever he went to visit. After a year passed, he forgot about it altogether. So did the brother-in-law.

Tom’s humorous crime novel Deli Meat is published by Crooked Cat.