Comfort of Wild Birds

A screenplay written for the BFI
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset


The day is still and light mellow.

A serious of shots: the bare feet of a girl, stumbling; the heavy boots of a man; the girl falls, her white dress stained and hair wild; the old man’s (ALECK) face, rolling wrinkles.

ALECK finds the fallen girl. He scoops her into his arms. He carries her across the land. A solitary cottage comes into view.

He struggles to open the door with the girl in his arms. Heavy breath as he pushes through with his shoulder into a small corridor.

Carries her through to a dark sitting room. The mud off his boots drops to the floor.

He lowers her onto a sofa. Pulls her dress back down so it covers her knees and retrieves a red tartan blanket. Her feet are dirty and grazed.

Through the kitchen window see him walk back out across the land pushing a wheelbarrow.

GIRL wakes and rises from the sofa. She surveys the room: picking up objects and running her finger across surfaces and fabrics.

Continue reading “Comfort of Wild Birds”



The leaves would grow where the leaves wished.
Under this light green would
pour down mountains
twist around waves
pattern into hair.
The weight of all carried the weight of all
resulting in a lightness which could only be felt

Nicole is tired.
She sleeps in silk sheets in a Habitat home.
She spends the days in suits,
and at six drinks a G and T with an extra
then another.
Nicole cannot sleep because something has crawled into bed next to her.
It rustles its head when she shows it her Prada bag,
clicks its tongue at her honeymoon photos,
falls to the floor at sight of her retirement plan.
It keeps point and pointing
telling her to look harder.

What was to be remembered buried into the leaf.
And down the vine each leaf
held this remembrance.
And so the vine remembered.
Each leaf that caught sight of another winked;
and that leaf remembered too.

He takes drugs and listens to Pink Floyd.
He couldn’t tell you when he started doing this,
or why.
But its purpose is not recreational.

Above the leaves walks the she wolf.

Jay wears her hair braided,
socks to the knees, and a smile of the bush.
She is at school in Harlem.
In lockered corridors her eyes see vines,
faint, encircling school books and prom kings.
In classrooms she is told to forget such sights.

The world stopped tending to the leaves.
A new plant came of power and coin.
The vines pulled back:

He tries to go cold; stacking shelves; promised mum.
He tries, and now he buys organic.
He tries, and recycles his paper.
He tries, and on the weekends can’t keep of the ketamine.
He cries, a baby in the shower
leaves clogging the drain.

When the light returned the leaves started to rustle,
And people felt the breeze.

Jay has seen what she has seen.
She stands for the leaves.
Throwing them into backyards, politics and the media.
Her crown is that of vines.

Above the leaves walks the she wolf.

When Nicole remembers
she will sleep like silk
light in the weight of it all.

Leaves in the city
brushed under buses and etching evening.
Leaves over waves, in height, under hand.
Their scent is that of love
ancient and divine
and people are remembering.

Board Room

There is a child. There is a classroom.
The two don’t coalesce.
Remember when you used to wake to the heartbeats of giants and chase them around the house with cardboard armour?
Remember – – silence please.
Such behaviour is not warranted in the world.

Best Society

I shiver, sitting clothed and staring. A silence tuned into waves and sky. The salt holds me still. I am cold, smiling. I have been swimming. November. Scotland, and I have been swimming – point to point – the thought of this makes me wild.

Crushed cardamom and honey: the only way to eat porridge. I toast the seeds counting out five. I like to hold them in my palm when they’re warm. Rub the shells off between thumb and finger. I used to only have time for toast, but now I have time for warm cardamom. And Chopin, I have all the pauses in a day for Chopin. I eat my breakfast on the windowsill wrapped in a towel and blanket. My hair patterns the glass if I pull away, and my toes twitch on the flagstone.

As I lie here, in the bath, I think of you. Continue reading “Best Society”

You don’t pull Luther out the back of the cupboard for one principle to hide him behind the Holocaust for another. History is a tow truck that’s skidded on the M5 and his heading straight for you.

Busy Men

I’m gunna be a busy man
Like the busy men you see being busy on BBC
But not a bad busy man
I’ll do good things with my busy words
I’ll be the busy man to help the un-busy people

He’s back
Slouched in chair, Tiger in hand
He’s flicking
TV clicking
He’s the king
With his Tesco mobile ring

Ma’s in the car
Orange, red, white
White, red, orange
The tiger’s eyes beaming
The garage cage gleaming
TJ’s car’s round the corner
Ma won’t know he’s back

Click, click, lock in key
Thud, thud, boots off
Tesco bags ruffle
She stops, just before the TV light, so she’s
She can sense it:
Boots still on
Fizzle of a can
King to her princess

Ma tucks me in
Every light off
‘Read me a rhyme’
‘Not tonight little man’
‘Come on Ma, come on’
‘Ma’s got’a make TJ some chicken’
Closing door, then, just head
‘Did you let him in?’
‘Sorry Ma.’
Bang, ring, silence

Resonating ringing
Circling screaming
Sudden smash
Bone in crash
Teddy safe, pillow clinging

Ma’s eye’s gone black
Not brown black
Black black
My eggs are all wrong

TJ’s phone’s on the table
His jacket on the chair
There’s a dirty plantain plate sinking
He’s staying, this time

Swing-ing, swing-ing, smack
Smack, smack, swing
Swing-ing, swing-ing
Stick’s broken

Why don’t I call him Pa?

Ma says you got’a be a brave man
A brave busy man
You got’a say when it’s not right
You got’a say, or things’ll never be right
Just like cleaning the dirty egg pan

Maybe the chicken boiled

It’s five, the sun’s up but the pillow’s up
I got some chicken rice n’ peas
Ma says I got’a stay in my room tonight
Read the rhymes
Read ‘em quiet

TJ’s voice is loud
Boom, boom, booming
Ma’s voice’s screeching
Screech, screech, screeching
TJ’s voice is louder
TJ’s voice wins this battle of beats
Beat, beat, beat
Beat, beat, beat
Black and red

Red and black
Like that plane last night
Black and red
Red and black
Like her last night

Dribble, dribble, dab
Dab, dab, dribble
Dribble, dribble
Ma’s leaking

I thought TJ would go last night
Ma thought TJ would go last night:
She didn’t make him any chicken
TJ didn’t go last night
TJ wants his throne

Tesco bags ruffle
In goes teddy, no pillow
PJ’s go in, no rhymes
‘Put your shoes on little man’
‘We’re just busy people and-‘
‘Busy people have busy places to be’
‘That’s it.’
Why do busy people have to run from lazy places?

Vroom, vroom, vroom
Ruffle, squish, ruffle

TJ will have to make his own chicken
In our palace

Ma says he’s got to learn to be a busy man
Not a bad busy bag-o-wire
But a busy man
To help the un-busy people

Kitchen Taps

‘Kate wore a nice dress.’
‘Yes, Kate wore a nice dress.’
‘She’s always looked lovely in blue.’
‘And Tim-‘
‘His new partner.’
‘His new partner.’
The last car rolled off the drive. They had insisted on everyone leaving.
She tucked blond hair behind an ear dangling an emerald in silver.
‘And the flowers. Everyone commented on the flowers.’ He made no movement, for fear the kitchen would move on.
‘Her fav-‘
A pipe clicked in a cupboard making a sound below her. She turned, body prepared to pick up, or see, a child.
‘The music.’
‘The music.’
Hair brushed back.
The gravel sat silent.
‘I’ll go and-‘ He had nothing to do.
‘-yes, I’ll come with you.’


I love you. Said the leaf on the windowsill caught
by the still light of air.
I love you. Screamed the chair facing the television
playing yankees v red sox

I love you. I love you. I love you.
God damn
it. can’t you hear how my shadow trips to tell you

Love is the mellow of sunlight which washes stars of their shine
and I to you
beam with it.


Infinity is a long time.
Well it’s time upon time added to time divided by time.
A lot of minutes ticking over in the infinite.
And you just float: fingers and toes, seconds and hours.
My dad used to talk about it. Those numbers that never end, how long it takes to cycle to the moon. It always made me feel small when he spoke about space: all that blackness with nothing containing it.
Anyway, I don’t think about time much these days.

But sometimes it catches you
off breath:
the thought of it all.

Shifting Earth

Hardly had the gust of wind passed and she was back. The butt end etching the boy’s eyes, his nose, caught –  momentarily – on his collar. He watched his mother’s lips: their smudge of lipstick, how they squish to the side then spit. He’d seen people kissing in the park behind the swings. He couldn’t ever imagine these doing that. Her hair static while her head swung back and forth. She uses the iron and a dish cloth to straighten it, the activity smells like sour toast. Another gust came, and she returned to heaving up ash ends. The boy wondered how long this would go on for: the screaming, the coughing. He was digging, digging to Australia. And his spoon was getting stuck on something when she appeared above him. He felt he was close. His secret broke a smile.