Come and Visit

From time to time I like to host short pieces on this blog from other writers. I thought it was time to put out one of my occasional invitations to anyone out there who would be interested in sharing something here.

I’d welcome poems, flash fiction or extracts of longer pieces (including books). Up to 500 words, please – plus a few words about yourself and if you wish, a few about any book or event you would like to mention, and any links you’d like included (up to 150 additional words). It would be good to send a picture to go with the piece as well, if possible.

I’m happy to host up to two of these a month. It’ll be first come, first served, so there may be a short waiting list.

I look forward to hearing from you. You can e-mail your pieces to me on

Ordinary Others

I am delighted today to host a piece by Hertfordshire poet Jonathan Wonham – an extract from his book Ordinary Others, a collection of prose poems exploring the hopes, fears, fantasies and dreams of sixteen characters. The book is illustrated by Suzanne Smith, who has kindly shared the picture that accompanies this piece.

Irene Myers

Irene Myers was always a good friend to her neighbour Doreen inseparable in this life you might say like a pair of kids most days in the kitchen sipping tea eating biscuits sharing secrets you might say they were intimate Irene Myers and her friend a meeting of minds they had a special kinship especially in the mind of Irene Myers perhaps the most devoted of the pair she adored her friend relied on her company so when unexpectedly it happened Doreen passed away one bright Saturday morning Irene Myers felt her neighbour’s spirit come into her all of a rush it fair knocked her flat she knew her friend had died right then and there but her spirit had stayed on earth in the body of Irene Myers all the hopes and fears of her neighbour’s spirit now residing inside Irene Myers the body of Doreen was cast away but her soul had decided to stay most unfortunate or was it fortunate but anyway most uncanny Irene Myers took on the voice and mannerisms of her friend spoke just like her it was most strange that voice coming from an entirely other place it was shocking to anyone who knew Irene Myers to hear another voice in place of her own a kind of ventriloquy even the lady at the cornershop noticed it there was unfinished business but what was it that held her spirit here Irene Myers still had some role to play in her neighbour’s final departure from this earth but how many weeks would this go on at night-time Irene Myers lay in her bed listening to her neighbour talking there were things she’d never said in all those years together in the kitchen secrets and threads she rattled on it was Irene Myers’ daughter who thought to call a medium a meeting was arranged she came one afternoon in March a shady unlit room where Doreen spoke through the open mouth of Irene Myers and with some coaxing explained that she Doreen had given up an accidental son that’s what she said this son so far unknown to Irene Myers or so she said and Doreen’s spirit could not quit this earth until she saw her offspring given up at birth and never seen again outside the sky a dirty grey the double-glazing blown the drapes grown tired the medium spoke in kindly tone to the haunted spirit inside Irene Myers telling her she was free to visit her son to make peace with him and depart from this earth Irene Myers blinked twice her friend had gone as quickly as she’d come she had let go of her she had stepped out of her at last.

Suzanne Smith

Suzanne Smith is an artist she likes art she likes George Grosz Suzanne Smith is a private person she has her own life apart from the lives of others she’s not a big mixer Suzanne Smith doesn’t mix up her life with other people’s lives she doesn’t mix her own achievement with other people’s achievements Suzanne Smith never said “I want to be alone” but she might have done though not completely alone Suzanne Smith loves drawing.

Jonathan Wonham

Jonathan Wonham is a poet he likes poetry he likes John Berryman Jonathan Wonham is a complicated person he can wear several hats on his one head but Jonathan Wonham has chosen to wear one hat Jonathan Wonham thinks people wearing several hats look odd to him Jonathan Wonham has a new motto “one head one hat” even though he has a few hats but his brother has more hats or at least he used to have Jonathan Wonham loves writing.

You can find out more about Jonathan’s work via his Facebook page.

Ordinary Others can be purchased for £ 5.00 + £ 1.50 P&P
By Cheque to : 105 Benslow Lane, Hitchin, Herts, SG4 9RA
or by PayPal payment to (please use friends and family option)
Remember to include postal delivery address

Russian Doll

Been a bit quiet on here recently, so time for a random poem, methinks! This one is in the Poetry Kit online anthology, Poetry in the Plague Year.

Russian Doll

How often did I yearn
to put down the briefcase,
take off the tie, the suit,
to cast away the fetters
of commitments and be free? 
I would become a Russian doll, 
discard in turn each level 
of this life, to reveal at last
the boy who was just sleeping
under those coverlets of years.

In time, the suit, the tie, the duties 
fell away: not so the years.
Too late, I learned: they are not layers
to be put aside like winter clothing
but strata hardened into rock. 
Not a carapace, but part of me. 
The child inside departed long ago 
and left behind a hollow casting 
of himself: merely a box 
of threadbare memory.