Design a site like this with
Get started



If you delete every email that begins I Hope You Are Well And Having A Lovely Week So Far
If you play Masters Of War through amplifiers outside a government building
If you stand in the street and wave a plain piece of paper
If you sit on a bench in a park and throw paper planes at a cardboard cut-out of the King
If you drink coffee for too long in the red cafe
If you write for too long in the blue cafe
If you glue yourself to the past, chain yourself to the future
If you wear solid well-dubbined walking boots to bed and buy a dog
If you repeat the story of fourteen workers killed by an avalanche of potatoes
If you are caught singing the old song I Shall Be Released
If you enjoy silence, your own company, books on Pond Life and Freshwater Fishes
If you like sitting beneath trees and listening to rain

They will stamp your file with the words Specific Threat
They will stamp your file with the words Guilty Of Malicious Disobedience
They will accuse you of stealing thoughts from the needy
They will force you to download a self-care app and accept a free gift of a plastic penguin
They will accuse you of illegal use of the senses
They will accuse you of sending ice and light out of the country

Of talking to the girl who sells bracelets in the street
Of not wanting to get up in the morning
Of memorising the poetry of a prisoner of conscience
Of taking a public footpath to a secret mountain and eating a bun from a Tupperware tub
Of swimming in a sewage-infested sea dressed as a clown

Your sentence will never be revealed

There will be no right of appeal

You will die of unnatural causes


On a bench in the square an old man and I soak up the sun. After a while he turns and sticks out his hand. It’s gnarled as a root. Giacomo, he says. Giacomo Vaccola. My friends call me Gaspipe. He says one of his ancestors knew Garibaldi. I think a while on that. The sun beats down. I offer him a smoke. A boy circles the square on a scooter. A girl riding pillion paints her nails. Gaspipe smiles a nicotine smile. It’s nice now but in winter it’s bad, he says. The homeless go underground to escape the worst of the cold. We no longer treat our old people well. And to be poor has become a crime. He pulls a polished watch from his waistcoat pocket. I don’t know why I bother with this, he says. I can tell the time by the sun. The sun beats down. I think about the homeless and how lucky I’ve been. Gaspipe becomes restless. He leans back, sighs, says It’s too quiet. In the old days I’d have felt this was unhealthy. Now, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. The girl and boy on the scooter circle past us again. The boy turns his head to shout something to her. She goes on painting her nails. Gaspipe tenses his shoulders, leans forward. His old hands grip his old knees. I don’t like it, he says. Something’s not right. The sun beats down.


5 thoughts on “NO RIGHT OF APPEAL

  1. Thank you, Hilary. That’s kind. It’s good to use the blog to write and see what comes out of the brain with the help of morning coffee!


  2. Gaspipe…..great name. The piece has a strong Hemingway feel, like a movie shot. Moves between external and internal description / observation with scalpel precision. Fantastic!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: