Fictions

Aside from my academic work, a number of my poems are under consideration by publishers. I am currently working on a novella, Inside Virgil Caine, which is about masculinity and structured around (very loose) re-tellings of Grimm’s tales.

Please let me know if you like them or, better still, if you don’t.

The seventh from a series of lyric poems: 

No.7: Shoreline Waiting

Knotted driftwood worn by tides 

Lies upon the shoreline.

Unknown and unasked 

Roaming and flowing;

As months and years

Swim by; colour-worn,

Drained to brackish green,

Or lacquered, tarry-black.

We are driftwood, sometimes:

Sea-soaked and softened

With salt. Somewhere, out in

The brackish deep and shoal 

In the turquoise infinities, where

Driftwood meets and entangles,

Though worn with time and tides.

Drowned long ago, the dead

Sailor’s ringed and coral fingers

Grasp. There we met with no 

Hope of air, grasping still

In the greenish mass, 

In that ebb and flow.

Entangled branches, such as we,

Wait upon the shore 

Amuse-bouche: An Extract from Inside Virgil Caine

Inspiration came rather late to Gerard Holtz, I suppose. 44. Sitting one late afternoon in early summer in Naughton, a mixture of 70s and Victorian architecture, two streets, which fail to quite intersect or harmonise, it occurred to him: he should leave a legacy. Not for when I am gone…just for when I am not here, he thought. A blue-bottle landed restlessly on his downy white forearm. He looked at the creature’s jade eyes, its throbbing exoskeleton and, most closely, its obscene abdominal hairs – unshaven after 4 days. In a smooth even motion, his hand –– fingers, the colour of pickled eggs and shaped like Cumberland sausages –– crushed the hapless Endopterygot. And a blackberry clotlet sped across his ruddy palm.   

He remembered when she was small. Round. Misaligned. But this face, once active, was being replaced by one from the photographs, regimented, gold-bound, stultified, stuffed. She was being replaced by something or someone he couldn’t fully understand anymore. But in the lassitude of the humid afternoon, even this, this metamorphosis, Clara’s metamorphosis, seemed an instant, a pulsating moment, almost irrelevant. And if she couldn’t be relied upon to remain oval faced and forever only on the verge of puberty, he must consider what other legacies he had. The boys,  of course, identical, athletic. No, they couldn’t be counted on either – too much like their mother, erratic, toned. What he would leave behind would be bricks and mortar, a fine red brick family home, high on his mother-in-law’s plot, overlooking Naughton. Unmistakable.