The Multiverse

Spring 2015. There is a book of poetry called ‘How to Build a City’ by Tom Chivers.

I came across it in by chance in a bookshop and bought it on impulse. Like all good poetry, it changed my perspective on London, on cities, about how we interact.

I only mention it because, at 45, I was relatively new to Twitter and had based the small number of people I’d chosen to follow on Tom Chiver’s followers.

One of which was an online writing magazine called LossLit. Where people write about loss in all its forms. Arsenal. Wallets. One night stands. The failure to connect.

From LossLit to @x, who became my 15th or so person of interest on Twitter.

@x because of an ovine profile pic and @x’s photos of a single section of railway track.

Over and over, but always in a different light until they became a prism, a single presence refracting multiple versions of itself out into the light.

I dreamt about the railway line.


There are no ideas but in things and no meaning but in instants of time.


3 June 2015. @x is travelling back, by train, from Wales or “another country” as @x tweets it.

I am unaware of this, because, I’m at a play “No Feedback” which has finished early due to audience disruption. I’m retracing my steps from the theatre to the tube station at Farringdon, where I have to decide how get home, overland or underground (underground) and then which way round the circle line to travel, clock-wise or anti-clockwise (clockwise).

On the platform I reach for my iPhone and Twitter. A tweet by @x is at the top of the stack, “the dream life of William Carlos Williams” and a link to a photo of a spare industrial landscape half reflected through a train window.

I like William Carlos Williams. I google some of his poetry on the platform, then sit on a bench and reflect for a time on what connection @x was making between the photo and the poet. I let two trains go by before deciding to head home on the third.

The carriage is half full, but as I sit down I catch @x’s eye in confused recognition and hold eye contact for longer than is polite. @x is short, wears a plain blazer, a flat cap, with a small overnight case between dark brown desert boots.

Watery, clear blue eyes.

Your thoughts in my hand.

Your thoughts in my mind.

One of us got off at Liverpool Street.

I was the man in the green tie.

The Multiverse

Say What You Saw – Submitted to – Monthly Winner

I watch you, not him. Wordless in rhythm, looking for an ever after you once promised to the ring that now sits on your bedside table.

The night closes in until there is nothing but the birdsong caught in your throat and the gloss of his sweat inking itself to your skin, in anticipation of something come undone.

You come together and the horizon fractures into the day’s early redness.

The things I love I bury deep in the forest, mortal acts returning as something pure. Leaves dappling sunlight, tree sap.

Later, I tidy the ragged sheets on our unmade bed.

Say What You Saw – Submitted to – Monthly Winner

The Scarecrow – submitted to WarmUp Wednesday

This field has been tilled for years, until it’s almost barren.

But spring optimism and commitment to his craft rouse the farmer from his bed.

Last year’s stubble is mixed with hopeful earth. The taste of it hangs in the air.

And, as thoughts take hold a familiar, sprouting tickle at my feet.

‘Look up’ I shout, but he does not.

‘Come see me in darkness’ I yell, but he will not.

At the field’s edge, the mocking laugh and eye of a ravening crow.

The farmer’s rough hands are empty.

The night sky full of the words he’s sown.

The Scarecrow – submitted to WarmUp Wednesday

Not Guilty – Submitted as ‘The Hit’ to Microbookends

Five of Five Audio Wire Transcript
Recording Date: 10/15/2015
Target Phone: (216)404-6786
Conversation Between:

James Rosenthal
Mario Mazzei

MAZZEI: Jimmy?

ROSENTHAL: I’m eating. What do you want?

MAZZEI: Ok. Listen. I got the golf clubs.

ROSENTHAL: You’re welcome.

MAZZEI: So everything’s good. Is it good by you?

ROSENTHAL: Sure. I need to confirm tee off time and the address. But I’ll do that tomorrow.

(portion of conversation omitted)

MAZZEI: Listen, I was wondering about the greens. Is the ball liable to run fast when I start putting or are they slow?

ROSENTHAL: As fast as Augusta.


ROSENTHAL: Okay. Bye Mario.

MAZZEI: Okay. My respects to your family.

Not Guilty – Submitted as ‘The Hit’ to Microbookends

A visit from the consigliere – submitted to MicroBookends

Five thousand dollars for the hit.

All his money, but what price his daughter’s honour?

His daughter and this bar. That’s all he had. And he would protect them.

A waiter hurried inside. ‘Hey, Rigo. Alley table. Here to see you’

Sparafucile sat outside, fat as the Toscano in his mouth, hands laid out on a briefcase.

He motioned for Rigo to sit down.

“You know what this is?”

Rigo’s mouth went dry; all he could hear was Le Donne e Mobile playing on the jukebox.

“….five G’s, doused in a hitman’s blood”

Sparafucile made to leave. The shadows of two capos drew close.

‘We’re disappointed Rigo…thought we were family.’

A visit from the consigliere – submitted to MicroBookends

Writer’s Block – submitted to

Dear x

I understand you are able obtain items of value, and that you do not ask many questions.

I am looking to acquire a story.

My preference is for arresting, insightful imagery and conflicting interpretations.

You may place a blindfold over the plot.

Although that is not to say the juxtaposition of words, or their interrogation of the subject matter, should be given free rein.

On the contrary, they must be tightly bound to accepted form and structure.

There must be no witnesses or evidence of your work.

Once procured, please supply to me unread.

With matches

And some whitewash.

Writer’s Block – submitted to