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On internet dating


We’ve turned the romance down a fraction.
Is there much anticipation? Hardly —
online love’s a bit of a transaction.

He asks me to dinner, I choose coffee.
His messages aren’t dim, I might like him.
Still, I’ll turn the romance down a fraction —

it’s quite likely that, in person, we’ll see
that our written rapport is far too slim.
Luckily online love’s a transaction

and I can later block him, or he me;
we’ll move on with a smile, and wit and vim,
redirecting the romance a fraction.

Since we each have to pay that monthly fee
like veg box subscriptions or the gym,
online love is basically a transaction.

Could this be real attraction? Surely that’s free.
Oh damn those six months I bought on a whim.
It’s time to turn the romance down a fraction,
for the sake of those future transactions.

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On life being confusing as a child


I see her
being stung by the bumble bee
on the windowsill she
was told not to play with.
Then chicken pox, being sick.
Drinking warm water to fix her tummy –
really mummy?

Shutting the door to her room
to keep the monsters out.
Waking up in the night to find
her parents not about
and the lady next door there instead.
That little boy at nursery
slapping play-dough
over one eye: I’m a pirate!

Scrambling over the wall towards
the field at the bottom of the garden.
In her red shorts,  J’ai pas d’culotte
Led back into the house,
getting dressed not quite mastered yet.

The swings at bluebell time:
a neighbour with long curly hair
and armfuls full of them. Was it legal then?

Louise and her red wellies.
Being allowed in the tractor.
Winnie the Pooh on the radio, sat
at the table near the window
site of that bee attack.

Mousey the pony trotting off
with a shrieking cousin on his back.
First school day, at lunch,
assigned to an older girl:
    Would you like seconds?
I remember
my confused look at the clock.

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Twitter chat between @textworkshop and @Event_Comm reminded me of this poem I submitted to English PEN’s made up words competition last year.


Barboured and booted against another wet day,
chatty and helpful he led us away.
He pointed to a landmark we’d already seen
on a part of the walk where we’d only just been.
A mile or so darker our footsteps (re)traced
the consequences of good sense, sadly misplaced.
All because we couldn’t quite make ourselves say
how we weren’t quite sure this was quite the right way.


Suggested definitions of Barbourimp welcome!