This is January’s Visual Verse prompt image. The short piece I wrote wasn’t published, so I’ll post it here.


The portrait is arresting in its oddity. Who is she, the girl dressed in an indefinable fashion with her arms folded across her chest, not tightly, they’re slipping, unlocking as she wavers on the edge of sleep? Who is she, with her sad, sleepy, languid, drugged-looking eyes, not level, one lid heavier then the other, puffy? Has she been in a fight or just beaten, unresisting? And why has the artist, as an afterthought, stuck a great big spliff on her lower lip? Doesn’t he think she’s had enough, taken enough, seen enough? Not even the strength to inhale.

I wonder who she is, but she has no name, not one name. It changes depending on the country. The eyes, before they close, blink, abused and forgotten. Just sleep, she murmurs. I wonder who she is inside, if she remembers at all.

Story in Visual Verse: The blue bus

I don’t often send anything to Visual Verse, either the image inspires or it doesn’t. When I saw this month’s image it fell into the latter category…then fell out of it again. The beauty of it is exactly because it inspires nothing at all, and that’s how it led despite itself, to this piece of prose.

The blue bus


She’s there because…

I participated in the Visual Verse anthology this month, slipping in a submission just under the wire. The photo prompt elicited a lot of Gilets Jaunes references. Living in Gilet Jaune heartland, while having a visceral sympathy with their calls for social justice, I don’t see them as revolutionary freedom fighters. You can read my more nuanced interpretation here.

Thank you to Visual Verse for publishing my story.