More to Me Than HIV

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More to Me Than HIV

First published in Gscene July 2020 For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library.For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library. For the project I spoke openly about my journey having being           Read more

More to Me Than HIV: GScene post Aug 2020

More to Me Than HIV is a project that aims to breakdown the stigma that has historically been attached to this virus.  When I saw my piece in last months Gscene to promote the More to Me Than HIV project, I was extremely proud, but a small part of me was filled with anxiety; but why should I feel this way? I have been on effective antiretroviral therapy since the Read more

More to Me Than HIV: first published in GScene July 2020

For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library. For the project I spoke openly about my journey having being             diagnosed HIV+ 32 years previous. Back then there was no treatment and a lot of fear and misinformation concerning how HIV was transmitted. As such stigma was rife, Read more

writing everyday in October

Writing Everyday in October

 

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Which Witch is Which?

East, Witch West, Witch

Downtrodden Spinsters.

Dot.

Serial killing child,

Where’s was that neglectful Aunt Em?

Should have shown more discipline!

So the question remains,

Who truly was the witch?

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Writing everyday in October: Animals

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Imagine that you could wake up tomorrow in someone else’s body. Whose would it be? How would your life change? What are some of the first things you’d do?

 

Animal.

Ever have one of those mornings where your tongue’s all furry and your head is so sore from too much of a good time from the night before? Mr. Marcus St. Phillips is having one of those days, but for him it’s like this every morning. Marcus holds down a steady job, pays the bills and tries his best to keep his wife, Pamela and two children, Chrystal and Jacob happy. Not an easy task, considering how demanding they and his job can be, so every night he drinks and drinks and drinks.

He can do morning routine with his eyes closed, and most mornings are like that. But this morning he’s feeling a little bit odd, his head is heavy as he pulls it of the pillow and makes his way to the bathroom. This morning he just knows that if he opens his eyes too soon, his head will crack open, such is his hangover and so he covers his face with shaving foam using his shaving brush. This morning, a Monday morning, which for Marcus is the worst as his binge drinking reaches marathon levels from Friday lunch time till Sunday midnight, seems so much worse, and it’s not going to get much better.
As he drags the razor along his cheek, the razor staggers and pulls to such a degree that he dares to open his eyes against the fluorescent light above his head. oh so carefully he opens one eye then teh other then shuts both of them tight praying that he is still fast a sleep and that teh face that was looking back had been conjured up by the amount of sauce he had put away over the last 36. After what feels like a lifetime, Marcus again opens his eyes, just slightly this time, sees a totally different face staring back at him. Of course it is an elaborate joke being played on him by his children, a silly magic trick, but deep down he know’s what he is seeing is himself with a very different face.
He stares and stares and stares at teh face looking back and eventually calls out to his wife, but instead his voice cries “EE-ORRR!”
Slapping both hands across his brain finally admits that his head has been replaced by that of an Ass!
Shutting his eyes so tight this time he begins to see white stars bursting in the darkness, he prays to wake up in his bed and out of this stupid nightmare. He waits and waits but dare not open his eyes, so instead tries to call out, “Pamela! Pamela!”, but the bathroom is once again filled with the grating sound, EE-ORR, EE-ORR”.
Afraid he has gone a little insane, he screams out, “What the hell is happening to me?” but all that comes out is the
“EE-ORR, EE-ORR, EE-ORR, E-ORREE-ORRRR.”
Marcus shakes his head from side to side and decides that his so bleary eyed, that all this is just in his head. So taking himself to the bedroom and carries on his regular routine and pulls on his shirt, tie and suit and they all fit just fine.
Avoiding the mirror at the top of the hall he makes his way down to the smell of bacon and eggs, walks into the kitchen with his making sure to keep his mouth tightly shut half expecting his wife to scream, but instead she just says “Well, sit down it’s getting cold”. as she puts his plate of food down on the table.
He opens his eye and then other and tries his best not to make a sound, he’s wife’s standing there, dressed smartly with her piny on, but her head is that of a Chicken, again she looks and tells him to sit down as he’s making the place look untidy, but now with his eyes and wide as the plates and although the only sound she is making, “Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck.” he understands every word!

Just then the door flies open and he hears the voice of his youngest, little Chrystal. Marcus tries oh so very hard not to be surprised that as well as pigtails, his adorable daughter now has teh head of a pig! He watched as she scrambles onto her chair and buries her snout into her plate and grunts like a pig! Marcus feels his go dry as his tongue hangs heavy out of teh side of his mouth. He tries to speak when his whole body tightens at the sound of his son as he comes bounding down the stairs. He looks on a little amazed to see his son has the head of a sly young fox, his up to no good as he sneaks some bacon off his father’s plate, thinking he hadn’t been seen.
He is then reminded that this is what his son is always like, a bit sly, a bit crafty, it’s just that he has been drunk for so long that he had forgotten just what a sly old fox his son could be!
He looks at his wife, a clucking hen, trying her best to keep the brood together, his spoilt daughter, always asking and getting just what she wants and he himself for being such an ass for the drunken life he had allowed to take over.

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Writing Everyday in October: The Seaside. (Another True Story)

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Describe your first brush with danger.

It was one of those perfect summer’s sunny days that can only exist in the memory of the past. Families parked outside their individual candy coloured beach-huts, sitting, playing, eating, laughing. The beach sandy, the pebbles smooth, the sea bright as the sun shines and glistens on the low lapping crystal blue waves.
High above seagull squark, but are well behaved, neither swooping down to grab a chip from a holiday maker strolling along the prom, or evacuating its lunch on a child’s shoulder (the seagull, not the holiday maker). This really is a perfect summer’s sunny day, as I remember it.

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There I am, playing on the shore with my cousin, Michael splashing water at each other, running along the shore. Laughter, so much laughter on this perfect summer’s sunny day.

Shooting out of the water, wooden groins line the shore, starfish cling on to the rough barnacle edgers. Out of nowhere, my cousin shouts, “Dare yah! Dare yah to paddle out along that groin”.

Always up for a dare. Aren’t we all when youth is our folly? And so with trunks and tee-shirt on I wade out to see how far I can go, not the most scariest thing I have ever done, but still at the time it felt like fun.

I’m wading out further, pulling my tee-shirt with a picture of a dude riding a Kawasaki motobike printed on it. Up above the waves, only now noticing that the wind has changed, the sun’s gone in, the current is pulling hard around my feet. High above, the seagulls squark, but this time there is fear in their throats as they look at me below. All too soon waves have risen, panic fills my whole body, my eyes wide. Clinging on to the groin, the barnacles are digging in, scraping, scratching, my face etched with a look that to anyone who saw it would know it as terror.
I look out to sea, the dark grey waves increase in strength, ready to whip me away to a watery grave. I turn to my cousin, standing safely on the shore, our eyes lock, he turns back to the beach hut, then back to me and shouts, Glenn, Glenn, throw us your t-shirt it will get ruined, you’ll get in so much trouble, it’s new!

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Writing Everyday In October: Childhood Memory

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Describe the clearest, most vivid memory of your childhood – a moment that has stayed with you for life.

I just have to close my eyes and I can see it, this tall blue box, not unlike Doctor Who’s, TARDIS, standing proudly at the top of the stairs of my Nana’s house. I must have been a bout five or six years old, but even today as I sit here typing, I can see that blue box very clearly.

Standing either side of the blue box are my Nana’s neighbours, Dot and Harry Scott, I cannot remember their features, but a memory recalls that they both looked lovely, smily people, straight out of a 1950’s advert. The two things I remember about Dot and Harry Scott is that Harry died young and Dot woke up one day to find her eyelashes had turned painfully inward.

But before that time, before they left to live somewhere else, they had given me this blue box, a wardrobe.

That night I dreamt about them standing on the top of the stairs, smiling. I was at the very bottom of the stairs, looking up, watching them open the wardrobe door, their smiles getting larger and larger. Then out of the wardrobe, this black mass came tumbling towards me. Before it got to the bottom step I woke up. I don’t remember telling anyone about my bad dream, or being fearful of opening the wardrobe the next morning. But that is one of my earliest nightmares, one of my most vivid memories of when I young.

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Writing Everyday in October: The Tenner

Trace the journey of a ten pound note through the lives of five owners. What was exchanged during the transactions? How much (or how little) did the transaction mean to each of the people involved?

Trace the journey of a ten pound note through the lives of five owners. What was exchanged during the transactions? How much (or how little) did the transaction mean to each of the people involved?

Saturday night at the hole in the wall and Jerry takes out an extra tenner, put it in the back of his wallet telling himself that no matter what else he spends tonight the tenner will be marked as taxi money only. There was no way he is going to end up dazed and soiled with his flatmate’s one night stand stepping over him the next day, taking an incriminating shot before leaving the flat and posting it on Facebook.

(click here) Six hours later…200

Pissed and hardly able to say his name, mainly because he had forgotten it, Jerry staggers into the kebab shop and screams as he shields his eyes to the bright fluorescent light. Although he can’t remember his name, he can remember to ask for extra chilli sauce of his shish kebab. Jerry knows that all he needs is some food inside him and then he’ll feel much better. It is only when he reaches for his wallet and finds it gone does he’s world start to tumble down. With no food to fuel his brain, Jerry loses all memories completely, from what club he’d been to, to where he lives. Jerry promises himself (again) that he’ll never, ever drink this much ever, ever, ever.

Meanwhile, outside The Ritzy…

Linda has had a horrible night. First she had a steaming row with her best mate, Gazza over a bloke who looked okay, but as soon as the cold air had hit it quickly transpired he was too pissed to remember his own name, let alone where he lived and had staggered off towards the local kebab shop, not realising that Linda had stayed back. Meanwhile Linda was hanging outside The Ritzy, hoping Gazza would come out too so they could go home and make up over a curry pot-noodle.

Ten minutes later…

After arguing with the bouncer that she was in fact not that drunk and promised she would not end up causing another scene in the club, Linda gave up and decided to go home alone. it was then she saw a wallet on the ground and picked it up to see it belonged to the drunk who had staggered off to the kebab shop. The good part of Linda thought about trying to find him, but when she saw the tenner folded neatly in the back of the wallet, she thought, Oh fuck it, took the tenner, dropped the wallet in the nearest bin and made her way to the taxi rank.

Outside the taxi rank…

Underneath the blanket was huddled Jamie and his dog, Wordsworth. Unbeknown to the ignoring crowds above, Jamie had a lot of interesting tales to tell, but no one had time to stop and listen. If he was lucky, he would get the occasional coin thrown, but what he really needed was a lucky break to get enough money for  and his dog Wordsworth to get the train back home to his mum and dads, but Lady Luck, The Good-fairy Godmother and his Guardian Angel had all been on an extnded holiday for what felt like years. However! Tonight Jamie’s luck changes when he watches a ten pound note fall to the ground as a pissed passer by precariously past him and plonks herself into a cab.

Then the drug dealer appeared…

Growing up, Jamie had been an avid fan of the kids TV show, Jamie and the Magic Torch and had eventually convinced himself he was the real life, Jamie. At first his parents had humoured him when he came home with a dog and said its name was Wordsworth, they even ignored his late night sessions spent under his bed shining his torch at the floor, but when it became apparent he had a serious problem with drugs, so they had kicked him out. Life on the streets was no picnic for Jamie, but his drug dealer was always popping past and doing cheeky deals with Jamie.

Jamie was delighted to have the tenner, but it was far too little for a train ticket home, so Jamie was greatly relived to see the drug dealer who who had the powder that enabled Jamie to travel once agin (Unfortunately without his magic torch as he’d pawned that a long while back) ’d pawned a long time ago) to better, kinder worlds beyond this realm.

With the deal done…

The drug dealer slipped off into the shadows and broke the one cardinal rule of drug dealing, don’t take the stuff yourself. With his newly acquired tenner, the drug dealer got out his bag of the latest street drug, Trish, rolled the tenner up and took a hearty snort of the powder and promptly collapsed. Gradually his fingers unraveled as Trish took hold and pulled him into a nightmare not that dissimilar to a short story called, I love Trish in a book, called, Blanche Street, you dear reader can downloaded from amazon.co.uk.

A gush of wind took the tenner out of the dealer’s hand and something very unusual happened in one of Glenn’s story, a happy ending! You see, the wind caught the tenner, took the rolled tube high into the air and as it unraveled, it floated down, landing in front of Jerry.

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Writing Everyday In October: Breaking the Magician’s Code.

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Wandering around with a glass of chilled Champaign in one hand, while balancing a trio of hors d’oeuvres in a napkin in the other; Bunny Brunson mingled among the tuxedo clad/designer dressed partiers, chit-chatted some empty conversation, before deciding that actually she was bored to tears and she should just ask for her handbag and fake-fur and leave… that was until she heard a voice from her distant past, and knew fate had finally dealt her a chance for revenge.

Disposing of her fancy pastries in the nearest plant-pot, Bunny downed her Champaign, grabbed another from a passing waiter and pushed her hips in to the massed circle of doe eyed fans who hung on to every word of her ex-flat mate and foe, Brandon Blade, the UK’s most celebrated close up magician; only back then Bunny had known him as plain old Steve.

Steve hadn’t changed a bit; he still had all of the ladies, and some of the men, wrapped around his pinky finger as he connected three diamond rings together like a daisy chain, then made them disappear into thin air. Bunny rolled her eyes as she watched Steve rub his hands together, before pulling each ring out from three different women’s cleavages. The crowd roared with laughter, applauding the great magician, but Bunny knew his true character.
Thirty years previous, Bunny and Steve had been roommates, both piss poor and working in one of the less fragrant Soho night spot, known to its clientele as The Rancid Rat, due to the nightly sighting of vermin scurrying across the bar floor whenever someone dropped a homemade pork scratching.

Back then, Steve had promised they would be best friends forever, riding through the bad times in a vapour of Blue Nun, embracing the good times with a bottle of the house gin. Whenever Steve got pissed he would slur, “Me and you, Bunny are like swans, bonded for life,  together we’re gonna make it to the big time.” Even when the hangover’s had subsided, Bunny had believed him; so it felt only right that Bunny would share all her secrets, from how she had lost her virginity, aged sixteen with the lad who’s dad owned the local chip shop, to more recent gossip that an up and coming magician had come to The Rancid Rat early that evening and was on the look out for help with his act.

Later that night when all the punters had left The Rancid Rat, Steve smiled through gritted teeth as Bunny spilled out her news in greater detail: “His name’s Paul and he’s a proper magician; pulls a rabbit out of the hat, card tricks, the lot. He said he’ll soon have his own show at The Ritzy and that if I joined him and this other girl, Debbie, I could earn twice what I’m getting now.”

Steve began to take more of an interest as he filled Bunny’s glass with a splash of tonic and a good glug of gin and told her to carry on.

“He asked if I was honest and said I needed to promise him that as long as i’m never late and never break the magician’s code, I can be part of his act. Aren’t you pleased for me Steve?”

By this point Steve was only half listening, as he topped Bunny’s glass with more gin, while giving his best alligator smile

The next morning Bunny had woken with her head banging ten bells a second, while her mouth felt as if it had just been sprayed with industrial strength dog deodorant. Pulling herself out of bed, she stared at the silent clock, both hands firmly stuck at midnight.

By the time she had managed to stumbled out of the house, catch a cab she could ill afford and eventually got to the audition, she saw Steve sitting were she th-1should have rightly been,
Steve turned to Bunny and said, “Sorry Bunny love, didn’t I tell you I was also auditioning; you’ll like this, not a lot… but you’re never guess what, the Darling Mr. Daniels had offered me the job.”

Bunny tried to get Paul to change his mind, but his only reply was that he could not stand tardiness, and left.

 

By the time Bunny had managed to walk back to the flat, she found that Steve had already been and gone, taking anything of value with him.

Although the next few years were tough onth Bunny, she too managed to get out of Soho and became the glamorous assistant to Fay Presto.

Bunny put all bitter thoughts out of her mind as she traveled the world with Fay and in time forgot all about her slime-ball flatmate Steve…until now.

Bunny pulled her top down a little, knowing that Steve aka Brandon could not resist a bit of breast and pushed her way to the front of his adoring crowd. Of course Brandon didn’t recognise Bunny, he just saw her as another admiring face, wanting to see him do his magic. With the rings all rightly returned, and a business card slipped to a woman young enough to be his daughter, Bunny knew it was time to break her promise and reveal the magician’s code.

With all eyes on Brandon, Bunny piped up, “Do you ever do anything more elaborate, then pulling jewellery from women’s cleavages?”
Everyone turned to see who had dared say such a thing to the great Brandon Blade. Without saying a word, Brandon turned his back and began to levitate. The crowd cheered and gave an applause; everyone that is except Bunny.

“Don’t you get bored of copying David Blaine’s magic? Said Bunny, “Don’t you think the world wants to hark back to some good old fashioned magic, say like…Paul Daniels?”

Brandon scoffed, “That’s end of the pier stuff, no real skill involved, just a lot of smoke and mirrors.”

Holding back her smile, Bunny pressed on, “Oh you’re right, particularly when they have those silly assistants, with their big hair, tits and teeth.”

With the champagne and adoration flowing through his veins, Steve found his tongue running away with him. “I couldn’t agree with you less, Paul Daniels would still be working the clubs in Soho if it hadn’t been for his assistants. As Daniels would whole heartily agree; with the big illusions it’s the assistances that do all the work.

‘Gottcha’, thought Bunny as she went in for the kill. “You mean like when he saws Debbie McGee in half.”

Caught in the moment, Brandon yelled, “Exactly!”

“But there’s no skill there”, retorted Bunny, “Doesn’t she just push a pair of mannequin legs through the hole?”

“That’s what I thought,” piped up someone else in the crowd, “Doesn’t the magician just wiggle a lever to make the feet move?”

Incensed beyond belief, Brandon threw his arms above his head and said, “Of course it isn’t a mannequin, it’s another person in there. They have to manoeuvre themselves into a tight spot and wiggle their stilettos on cue, it takes someone of great dexterity, not forgetting great legs!

Bunny threw her head back and laughed, “I heard Debbie had complained their assistant in the early days was forever farting like a trouper, making Debbie gag.

With a little too much champagne flowing through his veins, Brandon retorted, Oh Really? I think you’ll find it was Debbie with the tooting toosh, It was Debbie who farted.

By now the crowd had stopped smiling as metaphorical penny’s began to drop all around, but Bunny knew she just needed to push Brandon with one final comment. “Wasn’t it also true that Debbie complained that the assistant had blotch legs, didn’t she say they resembled a half baked Spotted Dick??!”

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Unable to contain his anger, Brandon exploded, “That woman was always jealous of Paul’s hidden assistance and for the record, Debbie has breath like a cat!

“How would you know?!” Screamed Bunny in a tone that Brandon just wasn’t used to. Puffing out his chest Brandon shouted back, “Because I was the legs of Debbie McGee!”
The crowd quickly dispersed with the young woman tearing Brandon’s business card up and throwing it in his face. Bunny in turn looked around the empty room and said, “Wow, you’ve made them all vanish Steve; now that’s Magic!

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Writing everyday in October: I Married a Werewolf.

I married a werewolf.
Shape poem

Yes, I married a werewolf
He said I was his to own
He told me he could not wait
For us to be all alone

The wedding was at midnight
My husbands such a loon
He said he had to see me
By the fullness of the moon

The wedding was just perfect
He said I looked divine
Blinded by his sweet nature
I just did not see the signs

That night his anger roused
As he put me in my place
He used me as his punch-bag
Careful to avoid my face

His mood would change in a flash
He said I was all to blame
With each clenched blow came the scream
“You women are all the same!”

The next morning filled with guilt
He promised me he would change
Begging for my forgiveness
Again, again, and again

One dark night I found new strength
By the waxing of the moon
I found the fire deep inside
I would make him change his tune

My werewolf husband came home drunk
And crawled into our bed
I coldly pushed knife to heart
Now it was I seeing red

No one really understood
The thing I had to do
But if you were there
If you were me
You would have
Killed him
Too

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Writing everyday in October: True Story

Writing everyday in October: True Story.

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Some childhood memories are still very clear to me, particularly the time I lived in Blanche Street. I was seven, my stepbrother was six and our dad decided to give us an opportunity to murder. It was the 1970’s and everything seemed more brutal back then and very much so in the house we all lived in Blanche Street, two adults, three children, one baby in a two bedroom terraced house with no bathroom and an outside toilet.

On this occasion my stepmother had seen a mouse dash under the electric airer; a tin, oblong, upright contraption with removable wooden slats which also double as her weapon of choice to cane us with.

My dad seemed to take great relish in his plan. First he blocked off the door of the lean-to kitchen and the yard outside. He then got a large wooden mallet and said to my stepbrother and I, “When I move the airer, who ever sees the mouse first, grab the mallet and smash it.”

My stepmother with my half sister in her arms and sister stood behind the barricade in the middle room while my dad slowly moved the airer. To be honest, I don’t think I really knew what was going to happen next but when the terrified mouse shot out, I screamed, my stepbrother screamed, my stepmother, sister and half sister also screamed. I tried jumping over the barricade as my dad grabbed the mallet and smashed the mouse into oblivion . Some images never leave you, particularly childhood horrors like that and they still have the power to make me cry.

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Writing everyday in October: Nancy Spungen’s Haiku.

Haiku (俳句 high-koo) are short poems that use sensory language to capture a feeling or image. They are often inspired by an element of nature, a moment of beauty, or another poignant experience. Haiku poetry was originally developed by Japanese poets, and the form was adopted (and adapted) by virtually every modern language, including our own.

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Miss Understood.

Nauseating Nancy

Brown leafs descend

Now we weep

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Writing everyday in October: Run!

 

IMG_3720“Run!”

Her horror snares me. I’m on my feet running, fast, but from what?

Crowds scurry, infectious fear.

A chorus of terror urges us, to run, run faster.

Hysteria rules, out of their homes they pour: stampeding, screaming, caterwauling.

The horror! Faces underfoot, no time to stop, just keep running.

But running, running from what?

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