‘February’ and Cheval 11

9781912681082_1024x1024.pngI recently had the pleasure, in all of its terror, of reading my work in front a packed audience at Swansea’s beautiful Dylan Thomas Centre. As one of the writers included in this years publication of Cheval 11, I had the opportunity to meet other writers from the area, and the rest of Wales, including this years winners Katya Johnson (1st prize), Michael Muia (2nd prize) and Thomas Tyrrell (joint 2nd). Hearing each story and poem read in succession could not have hammered home harder how remarkably different these works are to one another. In perspective and style, the diversity in talents of the prize winners is breathtaking – as are the rest of the works by the 31 writers printed.

Cheval is fabulous. Existing as both an annual anthology and an organization dedicated to nurturing and publishing young writers. Aida Birch, the organisation’s founder, started with the joint mission statement of honouring her late partner, Welsh poet Terry Hetherington, while giving mostly unpublished writers with an opportunity to see their work in print for the first time. As well as every year providing one young writer with an incredible £1000 in recognition of their talents. With Parthian assuming publishing responsibilities, the book is beautiful. The cover itself , this year, being designed by Rose Horridge as a part of the publisher’s design competition – opening up Cheval’s opportunities to artists in the community.

If you’re thinking about entering the competition of 2019, entries are open now and all the information is available on the Cheval website. The book is published by Parthian and is £8.99.

And while you’re at it, my poem ‘February’ is the very last one, gracing page 147.

Lime Street

Two years ago

if I was feeling

north of the boarder,

unable to concentrate

on reading

or showering and cooking

I’d have probably

text a friend

to ask if they were busy

 

but it seems like

even when the opportunity arises

when someone texts me first

I’m already half way

to standing on the

wet grey steps

with coffee

and a cigarette

like I’ve not thought through

that either of us

might have anything going on

besides the two of us together

 

 

I miss it when you visit me

I don’t get to drink coffee

on Bold Street

and walk

‘round the corner to Lidl,

fill your cupboards with food

and make pasta for two.

There’s no fun to any of it

when the balls in my court

and I’m stagnant

and bored

and waiting.

June

Elected in me

above all else

is the newness you’ve impressed.

The 6th day

to forget you,

to leave no boundaries

liable,

without you,

we board the smallest plane

I’ve ever seen

in my then 18 years.

Domestica destroy.

Brave for a little boy

shrouded in

the clothes of a part-time job,

a blouse I saw my co-worker wear,

the trousers

as queer as I could manage

on £6 an hour,

trying to look

an inch of the liberty you exude.

I think

above all else

that the way I tie my hair up

is to replicate

you

the moment I fell in love with the future.

This is not a human

This is not a human

this is a cacophony
of red and white
pure masculinity
dependent on
the next word,
next movement.

This is not a living experience
it is a historical piece
in all its
lycra garb.
Micromanaged,
idealized.