Monsters in the Closet

The poem as posted on Instagram. On the left are the poem's words. On the right is a sketch of a man and woman afraid of a monster's face.
We all have monsters in the closet
We all fear what’s under the bed
But we should not hide our battle scars
Or give them all the spaces in our head
Our monsters are not the same
Yours might be tougher, larger, hairier
If I were to hang my monsters beside yours
They would envy how yours are scarier
Our pain and wounds are different
We’ve both been cut but not equally deep
My monsters only get me when I’m awake
Yours even terrorise you in your sleep
But if you’re willing to brave my monsters
And love me despite their fangs and claws
Take my hand and open the closet doors
Because I’m more than ready to face yours

Escapril 2021 – Day 23: Clock

For those who don’t know, Escapril is the brainchild of poet and novelist Savannah Brown, who challenges the poets of Instagram to write and post a poem every day of National Poetry Month. Whilst Brown wouldn’t call herself a leader of the challenge, she is the “managerial ghost” of the @letsescapril Instagram account.

Today’s prompt is clock.”

Time has always been a problem for me. There have never been enough hours in the day. I rediscovered a barely used journal from 2012, and across several pages I’m lamenting my struggle with taming time. Little did 15-year-old me realise time would only become even more elusive without deadlines and structure.

But I didn’t want to write a poem about “wasted” hours. For starters, you waste more hours by lamenting lost time, so it’s counter-productive. That’s what I try and remind myself when those guilty feelings about unproductivity try to bring me down.

Continue reading “Escapril 2021 – Day 23: Clock”

Escapril 2021 – Day 18: Nightmare

For those who don’t know, Escapril is the brainchild of poet and novelist Savannah Brown, who challenges the poets of Instagram to write and post a poem every day of National Poetry Month. Whilst Brown wouldn’t call herself a leader of the challenge, she is the “managerial ghost” of the @letsescapril Instagram account.

The prompt today is nightmare.” Immediately, my mind went to the worst nightmare I’ve ever had. I had the nightmare when I was eight. I’ve had many nightmares since, but none have succeeded in terrifying me as much as Samara.

See, when I was eight, my mum decided to let me watch The Ring (2002). For those who don’t know, the movie is an American remake of Hideo Nakata’s Japanese film Ring (1998), which is itself an adaptation Koji Suzuki’s 1991 novel of the same name. The plot concerns a cursed videotape, whereby anyone who watches the tape will receive a phone call telling them they have seven days left to live. Once the seven days are up, Samara – or Sadako Yamamura in the original novel and Japanese adaptation – climbs out of your TV and kills you.

Continue reading “Escapril 2021 – Day 18: Nightmare”

Escapril 2021 – Day 7: Naked

For those who don’t know, Escapril is the brainchild of poet and novelist Savannah Brown, who challenges the poets of Instagram to write and post a poem every day of National Poetry Month. Whilst Brown wouldn’t call herself a leader of the challenge, she is the “managerial ghost” of the @letsescapril Instagram account.

The prompt today is naked.” I knew I wanted to write about vulnerability. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about in recent years, and it’s still something I’m learning how to do.

The angle I decided to take with the poem was inspired by Tim Kreider’s excellent Medium article “I Am a Meme Now.” Specifically, this quote:

[It’s] scary putting yourself out there, letting yourself be seen, vulnerable to people’s wrong opinions and dumb judgments. I’d sooner let a stranger see me naked than show them a first draft, which is like letting them see my naked brain.

As someone who writes, I very much connected with Kreider’s anxieties about exposing my naked brain to a stranger. It’s one of the things that has kept me from publicly blogging over the past year. Even posting these poems to Instagram has taken a great deal of mental strength to resist overthinking and excessive editing. It’s most certainly the reason why I couldn’t keep up with the challenge and post daily.

But I feel comfortable with this poem. In fact, I even feel a little proud of it.

Continue reading “Escapril 2021 – Day 7: Naked”

Escapril 2021 – Day 5: Here’s what I remember…

This month, I’m trying to force myself to be more creative. I had intended to follow the rules of the Escapril challenge. Alas, I missed the first four days and I’m doubtful I’ll be able to keep up this year. But on the days I am able to dip in, I’ll share my poems here, too.

For those who don’t know, Escapril is the brainchild of poet and novelist Savannah Brown, who challenges the poets of Instagram to write and post a poem every day of National Poetry Month. Whilst Brown wouldn’t call herself a leader of the challenge, she is the “managerial ghost” of the @letsescapril Instagram account.


The prompt today is here’s what I remember.” I knew from the get-go I wanted this to be a personal piece, the prompt lends itself perfectly to it.

I expected the poem to be a direct transcription of very real events, and that’s certainly how it began. But about halfway, I decided writing events as they literally happened was less honest than the truth of the feelings that transpired.

People come into our lives, and I don’t know about you, but it’s not uncommon that I forget the very first time I meet someone. There are people who make a strong first impression, and sometimes that can be all they leave. But other times, an unextraordinary greeting may lead to that person growing into a very special person in your life.

This poem is heavily inspired by such a person in my life. But I’d like to think it’s dedicated to all the relationships that take us by surprise.

Continue reading “Escapril 2021 – Day 5: Here’s what I remember…”

White Wool Wishes

They see me, the sheep that will moo or oink over common speech. The rest of the flock smiles and trots the line back to a place safer and scarier than the slaughterhouse: a land of joy in horrific pattern. I am not scared, I am not sad, I am not anything. Indecisive, maybe. Run from the barking or purr back? Shall I join the herd and smile with my gaze locked on a portal to infinite knowledge? Oh to be corrupted with the plague of ignorance, and find solace where the inferior of mind scream with superior voices.

The hogs on horses with their spotlight armour, gorgon glares, and whip tongues make me yearn for the world of habit. Starting each day where it ends, the wheel spinning endlessly. But I know I must fight those tight, velvet chains. For how long can the same simple steps produce a smile? Can one be content staring at one painting their entire life? Reading the same book or listening to the same song? At what point do the colours of a painting, the pages of a book, or the rhythms of a song become a drug? The strings of addiction, without it you have nothing to lift you from the folds of fantasy.

This is what I think of as the Pattern Patrol approach me, a lone sheep trying hard to wear another skin. But all it takes is one squeal and I bleat, as expected, before rushing to the line of those much like myself – craving a new pattern but fear to break the old.

Marching back to the cushioned cells, I couldn’t stop thinking. I kept thinking as I consumed the sensations my taste buds knew far too well. The very same thoughts barred me from night fantasies I could never bring to light. All I kept thinking was why did I bleat again? An answer came to me, although I cannot explain how. Picking up a pen had always felt like reattaching a missing limb, but this time the pen felt as foreign to me as planets outside our galaxy are to anyone. And with this alien device I wrote something I both despised and adored at the same time:

I am but a man,
a light summer breeze on sea.
No ripples or waves.


This is an edited version of the story published in Creel 4: An anthology of creative writing (published by Wivenbooks in 2018 for the University of Essex: Centre for Creative Writing).

I’m Over You, I Truly Am

I’m over you, I truly am.
But I’ll never forget the reputation you gave me.
An anomaly with an ugly aura, oh how you all sneered.
The apathy, you neither knew nor cared how it pained me,
Humiliation day after day, oh how you all cheered.
I forgive you, I do, and I’m glad you forgave me,
But you still sowed the seeds of terror, oh how I fear
That from loneliness, nobody will ever wish to save me.
I weep with every chunk torn from my heart, oh how I tear.

I’m over you, I truly am.
But I’ll never understand how you suddenly changed.
From brightly lit paths to dark chasms, oh how you turned.
No more laughter, only silence is what we then exchanged.
Warm smiles to cold shoulders, oh how you spurned.
Our secrets became mysteries as we became estranged.
Years of regret and pain, oh how I yearn
To show you a side of me not so deranged.
But I remain atop your pyre of anger, oh how I burn.

I’m over you, I truly am.
But I’ll always remember how you looked right through me.
Silly me thought you understood me, oh how you deceived.
But the uniqueness in your confidence and character drew me.
With the key to my chest, you stole affection, oh how you thieved.
Only then did I discover the red flags that threw me:
Unpacked baggage, phobic of commitment, oh how I grieve
The heart you halved, and you never even knew me.
But I won’t let myself lose faith, oh no I still believe.

Oh how I fear,
Oh how I yearn,
Oh how I grieve.

And I may tear,
And I may burn,
But I still believe.

I’m over you,
I truly am.


Published in Love & Heartbreak: A Writing Society Anthology by the University of Essex Writing Society, 2019.

Lie To You

No poisons are whispered or veiled,
You are not wrong to bestow trust,
But considering what my true feelings entail,
Lie to you I feel I must.

I’ll never dry your eyes with a lie,
I’ll never blanket you with deceit,
I’ll never repay honesty with falsehoods.
I’ll answer any question you ask,
Hand on heart,
Fingers uncrossed.
Just please don’t ask.

I’d never say the word “love” without meaning it,
But I assure you, this isn’t shallow lust.
All I know is there’s no way you’re feeling this,
So lie to you I feel I must.

There’s no game plan here,
There’s no ulterior motive,
No premeditated tricks to lull you,
Make you think I’m something I’m not.
I’m not an octopus,
Constantly shifting,
Hoping to slip into your heart through a tiny crevice.

It would be wrong to play your heart like a game,
I know that, but lie to you I feel I must
Because I just know you’d never feel the same.
It’s not about holding out hope for an us.

You’re happy walking down your path,
I’ll settle for the grass beside it.
I do not intend to make you question
My words,
My steps,
My intentions.
You’d prefer the lie if you knew the truth.

The truth is,
I would choose eternal silence,
Despite each and every aching heartbeat,
If it meant I could make you smile just once.


Published in L’amour: A Writing Society Anthology by the University of Essex Writing Society, 2017.

Two Strangers

When two strangers meet, misfortune may follow.
One greets with an outstretched hand and a smile,
The other with a python tongue, venomous and spits bile.
One walks away ashamed, the other in spite they wallow.
Next morning, one might wish to reconcile,
Whilst the other won’t spare it a thought tomorrow.

When two strangers meet, nothing may transpire.
One may speak and be kind but find nothing to adore,
The other is much the same, seeing no potential for rapport.
They walk away feeling nothing, neither joy nor ire.
Later, one might wish there could have been something more,
Whilst the other does not share that desire.

When two strangers meet, friendship may blossom.
They both find something to hold onto with a strong grip,
A shoulder for tears, a consoling word, a single quip,
Their mistakes and dark pasts are forgiven and forgotten.
They rapidly climb that ladder of friendship,
But it all starts with that ‘Hello’ at the bottom.

When two strangers meet, they may become lovers.
Hand in hand, lips to lips, their hearts tether,
Each other’s arms: the warmest blanket for the coldest weather,
Their eyes will witness what the other sees, all the world’s wonders.
Little did they know that when Chance brought them together,
It would be day one of never wishing to be without the other.


Published in The Book of Beginnings by the University of Essex Writing Society, 2016.