Tales from Glassmere: The Celestine part 1

Silent as the night, the blades of The Celestine carved onward. A noiseless wind propelled the vessel along the glass-like surface of the continent-spanning frozen ocean: Glassmere, so aptly named for the glass-like sheen of sheet ice that encased the frigid water.

“Light ahead! Ready harpoons!”

The vessel’s crew responded instantaneously to their captain, pulling various levers and pullies to summon forth The Celestine’s vicious armament, a dozen barbed harpoon launchers.

“Lower sails!”

The three angular sails dropped in a mechanical fashion, collapsing in on themselves as they folded into the bowels of the ice ship.

“Navigator Plum, what do you see?”

Plum’s telescopic eyes protruded from his skull, swivelling and honing in on the source of light, a green glow emitted softly from the glass lenses.

“Two figures captain, looks like a boy and…”

“And what?”

“Something else, captain.”

“We’ll see about this something else. Ready my rifle and heat vest, Navigator Plum.”

“Aye Captain.”


Twin anchors dropped from the bow, crashing into the ice, spraying crystalline shards as The Celestine slowed to a stop. Captain Folkner leapt off the side and slammed into the ice sheet, her ice spiked boots taking most of the impact. Steam arose from the joints and rivets of her heat vest, half covered by a sweeping crimson overcoat. She loaded a singular iron bullet into the chamber of scoped rifle and pressed on into the bitter night.

brushed cotton

the sheets on my duvet are
brushed cotton:
soft as a cat’s belly, warm as a toaster.
under my sheets is a
mattress topper:
quilted, comfy.

they sandwich me together and
hold me in place.
pin me down in their pillowy teeth.
skip forward eight months and
I’ll still be here.
trapped in myself in dreamless days.

after several washes, the
brushed cotton
after months of warm bodies, the
mattress topper


the silence of parks is fleeting
under the wide oak trees
that shelter us from
empty fireworks

spotlights that search for our bodies
words that form in the leaves
interpret the warning
no more conkers

the spiky husks have dulled to brown
they mix with all the rest
a sea of autumn red

we lock the back door behind us
shoes dumped next to wellies
mud scrubbed off trousers
hide it all away



empty droplets trace my skin

clouds painted into existence articulate the greyness

chattering pearls explode on impact sending shockwaves through my bedroom window

the perfect moment when wetness becomes a finite quantity

a sloppy puddle creates endless possibilities


stars hide behind fluffy curtains

a stolen kiss taken beneath compromised shelter

rivers flow faster murkier stronger becoming rush hour traffic for detritus

umbrellas prove their value to cautious owners

drains and pipes inevitably fail


there’s a word that describes the opening act

when gentle projectiles begin their assault on asphalt

particles bursting into formation filling the nostrils of those lucky enough to experience

a scent that’s reminiscent of pepper and soil

your favourite word




choke back
your tears and swallow down
the lump

lock away
your sorrows and forget
about love

cover up
your scars and hide away
the shame

don’t think
about failures or remember
those days


drink beer
from the bottle and pretend to
like shots

say you
watch sports and keep track of
who’s top

fight the
right men and don’t act like
a nerd

don’t cry
like a girl and conceal when
you’re hurt


don’t take
those pills you know better
than most

the counsellors
know nothing they’re snowflakes
they’re wrong

the silence
inside you is normal
you’re fine

just keep
breathing stop thinking and
man the fuck up


Crisp packets

Plastic bottles

Gas canisters once filled with an instance of bliss
Cigarette filters moistened with morning dew

Shattered glass scattered across your next ten footsteps
Disposable lighters filled with the last droplet of flame

Scorch marks burned into an amphitheatre of camp chairs
Tent poles twisted into metal spines

Maccies bags
Costa cups

Condom wrappers

The same old question asked with hopeful ignorance
The same old answer uttered with increasing uncertainty
The next one
The next one
The next one
The next one
The next one