MA Portfolio Help!

Hi, if anyone has the time, please read through and let me know if there are any which are really terrible. The first 6 are from a creative writing module I did which I got a first for so assuming they’re good.  For the rest, I really have no idea, some of the ones I usually perform are probably not good to submit but I’m so confused and really don’t know what’s good or bad, or even if I have enough good material or if I just write loads of crap and have very little good… that’s kind of how I feel with all the rejections from submissions I’ve had, feel like I have very little chance. Anyway, help! Please! Argh!



I remember the feeling of lying with you;

head nuzzled in your chest

like a human jigsaw puzzle,

our bodies moulded together.

The faint scent of yesterday’s cologne,

morning breath after midday

and the movement of breathing.

Hearts beating.

The slow rise

up and down.

I laugh along to the television screen

as the sound blurs behind your eyelids.

How it used to be.

I do





The Very Hungry Caterpillar


The Very Hungry Caterpillar eats away at me.

each bite dulls my eyes,

a revolving merry-go-round in my mind,

repeating lines like π.

Tell me what I am.

Trapped Jack in a Box.

The comfort of darkness,

curled under the covers,

hoping the monster won’t get me.

I search and scramble for the edges of the hole,

to lift myself onto some solid earth.

Your hands still hold the rope wrapped around my stomach,

as with each step I take, you urge me to plummet,

and I long to turn the page.



Party Rings


It’s the

seven year old skin

of porcelain,

with a plastic ring

on every finger,

dipping into the icing

 of the cake,

wishes blowing in the wisp of smoke

from each candle.

It’s the passing of the parcel

where everyone gets a prize

and where a blown up balloon

is a symbol for happiness.

And dancing is just jumping

and games are just bumping

onto the floor.

It’s the photograph of a smiling girl

And the ever-present party rings

at birthdays.

Say goodbye to your childhood.


 The Photograph


“There must be a draft from the door,

‘cause in the room there’s a chill,

and the photograph’s edges peel, from the wall;

to press it back with Blu-Tak,

Or to simply


Let it fall?”


Baking Cake Alone


v  Press play

to keep a consistent flow of Music into your ears.

v  Take a large mixing bowl

and place in the measured out creamy butter.

v  Combine with 6 oz of caster sugar,

stir in with a pinch of I Will Go To The Gym Tomorrow.

v  Add 3 beaten eggs

and a line of sing-a-long All I wanted was a simple kind of life.

v  Next, sift in the flour.

v  Then fold it in with the eggs

like the rolls in your stomach, created by the apron strings.

v  Also sift in some cocoa powder, as desired,

along with the salt from Happy Tears.

v  Place in a greased cake tin,

bake for 30 minutes,

then eat like the fat boy in Matilda.

v  Serving suggestion: especially good in front of A Repeat Episode of Friends.




My oldest friend,

you cried on the bed in my childhood home,

and I joined you, unsure, of what the tears were for,

but neither of us were crying alone.

So we cried and we cried and we cried

until our tears must have formed a pool

and Latchmere’s wave machine engulfed us inside,

so that the saltiness smelt like chlorine

and we had a place to




But the waves,

the waves were just like the sea.

And we swam and swam and swam

until we were stressed and dressed like waitresses

but we didn’t know what to do.

so we thought back to the memories of the pool.

the warm wetness of the water, sliding over our skin,

tears running down cheeks,

hands moving over heads to reach,

and smiles spread across each of our faces.


The Mirror


My face cold and pale

I levitate above my bed

to feel the empty space surround me.

Why do I always see you when I’m ill?

I close my eyes

and I feel the faint warmth of your body like fever.

I have met strangers sat on fences.

They claimed to love me

but I just blew them away with the smoke from my cigarette.

I have been shouted at by other women.

I ran away into the shower

and it sang to me then laughed at me

as it took away the water,

and I joined in

because there is not much else you can do

when a shower head is mocking you in your nakedness.

Our son looks like you.

He stares into mirrors, recites criticisms of Rousseau

and stands beside the burning bush

but I am water,

as I wash my hair it hangs down

and drip drip drips.

and I become soluble in the room

which is all dripping.

The mirrors crash to the ground

like sea waves hitting sandy bays.

You left me.

You left me standing in a tangle of long grass;

so far away and small.

I will become a simple strand of grass,

blowing in the wind as it rushes by the fields

like thin glass mirrors of green,

reflecting one another:

I blend into insignificance.


Autumn Leaves

Spitting leaves since the bonfire

left like a Guy burning


to the spot. Smoke

choking me for all the words

you wouldn’t let out,

stuffed up inside me

cotton mouthed

like that dumb toy animal

you bought back when you got me birthday presents,

wrapped up with

a dress so small I broke the zip

trying to make it fit

and you replaced it, like you’ve done with me now.

Something new, still nice,

but not quite the same,

not quite as good, not quite…

too much,

a girl that you can take,

doesn’t burn so bright, a firework

when set alight

doesn’t rise quite as high,

but as you watch me fade and die,

beside her at the back of your mind,

do you repeat the way I shined

like the pattern of our bodies




My roots are more than the people in my bloodline,

more than a diagram of my family tree.

They are in my ink stained name at the bottom of a love letter

filled with drawings and poems and random thoughts

all scrawled with desire of wanting to share everything I can.

My roots are the curl of the C,

the curl of my hair,

and the waves I have swam through

and the wetness of my cheeks

from downward eyes and quivering lips.

My roots are in my laugh, my smile, and my skin;

in my seasick stomach,

my loaded liver

and my beating, blood-pumping, jumping heart.

My roots are a love of olives and omelettes and paella and tapas bars.

give me sweet sangria, good music and great friends,

a shyness that shines

not a shyness that defines.

Bull star signs and red fabric of sex and passion and blood

All draped over me like the emperor’s new clothes.

My roots are gravy over everything,

baths and showers full of gravy,

rivers and lakes and scuba diving tanks.

Spinning round in tea cups

and breaking saucers.

My roots are words words words,

reading and poetry and essays,

talking and shouting and not getting a word in edgeways.

My roots are art,

sculptures and paint splatting and CSM.

Drip drip drip

into colouring books and dot-to-dots.

My roots are musical notes and little songs,

bringing on the trumpets from my grandad’s brass band.

The tinkle of his father’s piano fades with memory,

and I wish I could play but all I have is a DVD and a dusty keyboard

and amputated arms;

my hands running away from ticking clocks whilst my laptop melts.

My roots are present through my bark to my branches to my leaves,

even when fallen,

even when the wind sweeps them away and scatters them among the earth.

My roots are everywhere I am.



These days

Cinderella stays

out past midnight

gets into a catfight

covers up her love bite

with her long hair

as she stumbles on each stair

and she doesn’t really care.

What you lookin’ at? she says

with holes in her tights, wearing last night’s dress

as she gets on the bus

better not make a fuss

‘cause she kinda looks like she could throw a punch

and has acrylic nails that’d make you bleed

and straighteners so powerful: could make your hair recede

and as she bends down to adjust her shoe

you better pray she’s not coming after you!

In the street she stumbles again,

her slippers not made of glass,

trips on the uneven pavement

and nearly falls onto her arse.

She flicks her heels off in frustration

and lets her soles get dirty.

Her stomach is rumbling badly

as it’s coming up to three thirty

and she hasn’t had a bite to eat

and all she wants is put up her feet

but other than that her life is sweet.

So sometimes I wish I was like Cinderella,

she drops her shoe and soon after gets a fella.

But he always disappears after one night

with his true love Stella.


Recipe for Pills


A grain of Medication

to target whatever it may be

you want fixing.

A spoonful of sugar

because Mary Poppins knows best.

She is Practically Perfect in Every Way;

you are comatose in bed

and have lost your rosy-red cheeks,

face painted with canvas primer.


You’re going to need a gallon of False Hope,

and the Concerned Smiles of Family and Friends,

but leave out the Tears Behind Closed Doors.

Next, add hours of Rest,

lucky for you, exercise was never a great source of pleasure.

A dose of Daytime TV

and a handful of grapes.

One of your five-a-day.

Add seven glasses of water.

place into a large saucepan,

stir gently on a low heat.

Leave in the fridge overnight to cool.

By morning it should have crystallized, but still be soft.

Insert five grams of the mixture into capsules.

Once finished, put into plastic containers.

Take twice daily.

Note: there may be side effects.

Passing Time


Pass the condoms.

Pass the salt.

I cannot come.

It’s not your fault.

I’m over here.

I’m over there.

While I remove

your underwear.

It’s been so long

and I am weak.

I just want touch,

so just don’t speak.

Squeeze my arse,

slide inside and thrust.

this is not love;

it’s only lust.

And it feels good.

better than drinking.

I may not come

but it stops me thinking.

Fancy Dress


In this same natural fancy dress,

always propping the same face on the same palms

and letting it be reflected from the looking glass.

I am a doll.

Drawing and colouring in my face.

Mouth poised

ready for a kiss.

Ringlets ready to get messed up.

I am wearing my party dress.

I am rage.

Screaming in my ears.

Red and black.

Ripped fishnets.

Metal ready to draw blood.

I am wearing my armour.

I am a whore.

Flesh exposed.

Easy access through this silk

slip a hand high on my thigh,

I won’t mind.

I am wearing my sex, or is it gender?

I am an intellectual.

Glasses and BHDs.

Book in hand.

Pen in mouth.

I am wearing my pencil skirt.

I am nu-rave and nu-grave.

I can’t decide.

Bright colours.

Dark black.

I am wearing a way to hide.

I am ghetto.

Hoop earrings on show.

Mispronouncing my words

that my mother tells me end in t.

I am wearing roots and childhood tracksuits.

I am a dancer.

Leggings, leotard

and legs spread.

Cartwheels in your head,

to make you think I’m good in bed.

I am wearing music.

I am a drama queen

my mouth wide open.

Microphone, loudspeaker,

spotlight, audience.

I am wearing a mask.

I am a sailor.

Anchor round my neck.

Thinking cap.

Google map.

And ready to take you away.

I am wearing stripes of past mockery.

I am a poet.

Let me read to you.

I am naked.

I give you ugliness.

I give you beauty.

I am wearing everything all at once.



Claymore welcomes you with white walls

but you hand over your paints at the door.

We give you pills for those days

when you want to cry on the floor.

We’re very nice like that.

You’re not normal, you’re not healthy

but here we’ll make you better.

You can’t just leave of your own accord

because you’ve signed the consent letter.

We watch you while you’re shaving

to make sure you don’t slit your wrists.

It’s for your own good,

so put down your fighting fists.

The place we call the living room

has the Dead Poet’s Society, for you to watch on the TV,

but outside the doors, you can be wild as dogs

under the supervision of me.

Guns aren’t lawful, nooses give.

Gas smells awful, so you might as well live.


Live but say no to love

because soon you’ll fit right in.

Marriage would only hit you

in the head, with a rolling pin.

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do.

I’m half crazy, but darling, look at you.


Hanging from the ceiling

can sometimes be appealing,

But it can all be made better,

if you just tell us how you’re feeling.

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