My Roots are Showing Again

I recently took part in the Stay Up Your Own End poetry project writing poetry about the area I live in and I thought I’d share my poem on my home town of Walsall called “My Roots are Showing.”

it was great fun to take part and to record a poem I’d written about Walsall as a video, the rest of the poems can be found here and are well worth a watch.

Quick shout out of thanks to Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists for running the project and Creative Black Country for funding it.

Lockdown Birthday

Lockdown birthday
meet friends on your driveway,
unsure to stay how far away
they throw a card your way.

I got out of bed late again today
I shaved my head again today,
I organised the shed again today
I washed my hands until they bled again today.

I might phone my mum today
I might ignore everyone today,
I might just stare at the sun today
I might just let my brain go numb today.

Lockdown Birthday
ignore the news today,
crack open the gin at midday
pray everyone I can’t see is OK.


I was self-isolating long before the virus
barricading myself away from my latest crisis.
Voluntary lock down that’s how my life is,
friends they say bring riches but solitude is priceless.
So I perch precariously on my toilet paper throne,
ruler of all I see, yet all alone.
My pasta shapes crown barely conceals my frown
caused by the persistent ringing of my phone.
I hide behind a Facebook photo that I think makes me look slick
posting sarcastic comments while I’m binge watching Netflix.
But TV can’t teach this tired old dog any new tricks
think I’ll phone work again and lie that I’m sick.
Noting left to do but smoke a roll up and wait
contemplate learning to blow smoke rings while I self-isolate.
Trying to ignore my brain that’s locked in its usual eternal debate,
where self-respect gets its usual kicking from self-hate.
It’s time to lock all the doors, I don’t deserve to be free,
lock all the windows, swallow the key.
I’m nothing more than a mental health refugee,
adrift in his own turbulent sea.

Found dead one day clutching his pen
waiting for the fever of words that didn’t come.
So this poem is over
before it’s begun.