Three Poems

OK, here we have some aromantic feels, some accidental sexiness, and a poem that is just a little scrap of weird. Enjoy!


Here is What I Know of Boyfriends

They are mostly called Dave.

They start out small and badge-shaped

but grow like Japanese knotweed.

They wrap around you like vines, wrist-thick,

tendril-slender, sticky as ivy.

They take you places.

Restaurants. IKEA.

Their kisses are cigarettes and brandy.

They are very important.

They have very important eyes.



Did you know that if you snip the stem of a small, white rosebud, it will bounce on the hard ground like a marble? You can’t kill those soft, sweet things – they only harden in a blink, turn the texture of teeth, take on the lustre of pearls like they were born to it. A thwarted flower is worth a baker’s dozen bouquets and that is God’s honest truth my girl.


Old Heat New Thunder

We sleep and we don’t sleep on the deck

under an unfaithful sky.

My wideawake hands seek hipbone



They are a bunch of thumbs, all idle.

I could dip below deck, catch us some rum.

I could dip below sea like a ladle,

pour the waves on your hot feet.

I feel like the inside of a seed.

I feel like the bit of air that lightning runs through.

I feel like the itch sealed up inside a mermaid’s tail.

I feel okay, all things considered.

The sail fills right up and the heat breaks

loud enough to wake the whole ocean.


Comments are welcome! I know people get shy about commenting on poetry because there’s a misconception you’re supposed to say things like “Oh, I enjoyed the classical pastoral imagery in the second stanza but found the excessive use of assonance a little grating”. It’s a myth! Poetry is for everyone, regardless of how familiar you are with it.

If you enjoyed these poems, I have poetry for sale here and here. If you have a UK address and would like a paper copy of my chapbook 16 Flavours of Ghost, message me on Twitter @corastillwrites. It’s on special offer throughout the month of October, so it’s yours for just £3.65 (postage included).

“16 Flavours of Ghost” is on Special Offer for Spooky Season!

Just a quick post to say that my poetry chapbook 16 Flavours of Ghost is on special offer throughout the month of October. If you live in the UK, you can grab a copy for just £3.65, postage included! That’s the price of a pumpkin spiced latte and I can assure you these poems will linger longer. Though they may not be quite as comforting!

Each poem is written from the perspective of a ghost adjusting to the afterlife in their own unique way. Some are hung up on old loves and old habits. Others are embracing their newfound freedom. Others died in a rather unsavoury way and have some trauma to work through.

If you fancy a copy, message me on Twitter @corastillwrites.

My Poetry Chapbook “16 Flavours of Ghost” is Published

You may remember that back in May, I was cautiously excited about having my chapbook 16 Flavours of Ghost published by Lapwing Publications. The big day has arrived and my ghosties are now out in the world!

If you fancy reading a lovingly crafted collection of character poems about a spirited (sorry) bunch of dead people, you’re in the right place. ‘Super Ghost’, ‘Glitter Ghost’, ‘Thief Ghost’ and all the others are eager to meet you and share their stories of life, death, and life after death.

I have some author copies, so if you are in the UK and would like to buy a copy for £8 (postage and packaging included), you can message me on Twitter @corastillwrites.  

Hello to New Work, Goodbye to Old Work

Guys guys guys I have exciting news! My chapbook 16 Flavours of Ghost is going to be published by Lapwing Publications – a Belfast-based publisher that specialises in poetry. No idea when it’ll be available yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

16 Flavours of Ghost is made up of “character poems”. Each one is from the perspective of a different character, and while they’re pretty diverse in terms of background, occupation and identity, they one thing they have in common is that they’re all dead.

These ghosts are a spirited bunch (see what I did there?) who each deal with the afterlife in their own way. A busy woman develops a new relationship with time, a thief takes advantage of his invisibility, and an elderly man finally lets himself experiment with his appearance.

As thrilled as I am to be getting published by Lapwing, there’s a note of caution mixed in with the excitement. Last year, Dancing Girl Press published my chapbook Monster Hunting for Girls (Ages 8-14). I didn’t receive my author copies, and people who tried to buy it told me of ridiculously long waits and receiving copies with printing errors.

I hoped this was a temporary blip. It’s not easy running a small press, and rough patches happen, but other poets and purchasers have confirmed that the press just isn’t functioning adequately. I’ve taken the chapbook off my “Published Work” page and won’t be encouraging people to buy it anymore, because I don’t want readers wasting their money.

I’ve also had to take my novella The Misfortunes of Oscar Goldberg off the Published Work page, as it can no longer be accessed. The online magazine it was published in, The Fantasist, is now defunct and links to the stories no longer work. It’s a bummer to have one of my longer works disappear like that.

This is one of the issues writers encounter when publishing with small presses. Sadly, not all of these presses thrive. Still, large publishers and self-publishing have pitfalls of their own, and I’ve come to accept that there’s no easy way of getting your work out there.

Onwards and upwards my lovelies! I’m excited to see my new chapbook in print, and I’m keen to hear what’s going on in your writing journeys. Feel free to share any writing news – good or bad, big or small – in the comments.

Two Poems

Here are a couple of poems about fairy magic and mischief. They didn’t make it into Monster Hunting for Girls Ages 8-14 because fairies aren’t (usually) spooky enough to be considered monsters.


Weight-wise, we are somewhere between

feather and smoke.

Smallest, roundest, floatiest bird.

Flightiest spider.

We rip free, rise up, whip away and out of reach.

But don’t think we tease –

we have our own wishes to grant.

If you must, hold us lightly.

Nothing vicious, the kind of pinch

you’d give to pepper or salt.

Wish quickly

Wish us well

Be patient


Promises, Promises

We will clean your kitchen.

We will eat your sugar.

We will hide behind lampposts

to sprinkle starshine on your dancing shoes

on a Friday night.

We will start bar fights.

We will mend your socks.

We will break every clock in the house.

We will lead you astray like a good whisky,

wrap you up in the mist

like a gift

for the queen.

We will grant your wishes

in the most inconvenient way possible.

We will make such sport of you

that you’ll wake laughing,

hair tangled

and every inch of skin singing.

A Couple of Poems

These are both pretty old but I still like them!

A Catalogue of Errors

I wake up in the morgue again.

The clean chill of the place

has knocked the summer right out of me

and I slip away shaking,

gut aching, re-tracing my steps.

I’m a bad drinker.

The stuff slows my brain

but quickens my bones, I wake

a hundred muddy miles from home

on a good morning.

I’m a bad scientist.

Treat my chemicals like paints,

my subjects like a tyrant.

I forget to feed my cell cultures.

I blow my nose in the cleanrooms.

I’m a bad mother.

Granted, there’s no other kind

these days, but it’s hard to explain

how I’ve forgotten every baby I had.

I get lost, I think, in my own work,

my own waste of time,

the way my brain likes to eat itself.

I’ve eaten so many mistakes.

Blue powders, the wrong organs of fish,

Snow White red apples

and berries that leave me for dead.

The needing to know

never stops.


the September dawn oozes

its light over everyone.

Bad drinkers.

Bad scientists.

Bad mothers.

Good morning.

Three at Midnight

It’s midnight, and I’m out looking for people to save. Some loose-limbed youngblood, drowsy with the promise of sleep. Poor girl danced herself dizzy and walks home alone. That brief, in-between age when she doesn’t belong to anyone. The night is as full of monsters as it ever was, but I stretch and stamp and ready my weapons. She doesn’t have to find out.

It’s midnight, and I’m out looking for victims. A hard heartbeat, truthful under the false promise of red lipstick. She knows her flesh is marshmallow-soft. She dyes her hair to disguise the colour of rabbits, sparrows, small things that get swooped on and scooped up and eaten. I bare my teeth. It’s a cold night, and her skin will be like ice-cream.

It’s midnight, and I’m out looking for trouble. I walk with a teasing stumble, every few steps. I sing softly, faking courage, faking a need for it. My blood bubbles with delight. I am a plain, restless, unimportant thing. But tonight I will make gods fight over my fate.

I hope you enjoyed these. If you did, you might be interested in The Problem with Magic Shows.

A Couple of Poems

One of my new year’s resolutions is to stop being a wuss and post more of my poetry on this blog, so here goes nothing If you like these poems, you might like The Problem with Magic Shows, published by Moment Poetry.

Pretty Bird

I wake up laughing from a good joke.

I was dreaming of an insecure crow, trying to convince him

of his beauty.


I said, stroking his slicked-back feathers.


he squawked, looking sceptical.


I insisted, gesturing to my non-crowness.

My objective perspective.


he cawed, with a doubtful eye.


I persisted.

Because when you’re not a people-person,

you have to be useful.


he croaked,

sounding just a little choked.

And he puffed himself up like a cartoon,

faking arrogance to hide his brittle bones

and to hide my brittle bones.

And he preened and I laughed and the moment passed

and we were comfortable friends again.

The Day After the Funeral

It’s a bright day, and I’ve worn out my sunnies trying to keep the light out. I wore black to soak it all up, but it bounces off my back like I’m a beetle, or made of metal. Spring-heeled, I twirl my umbrella, half-dancing. I could melt at the shittiest torch song. I could laugh like the wicked witch married the joker.

You’re in the grass


though you’re not yet scattered.

For breakfast, I sucked all the red from the strawberries. I’m hungry for every deer in the field, every handful of rain, every stranger’s story. I’m so hungry I think I might be a monster. In the best photo, your hand’s out like you’re offering something, no, not offering. Throwing. Your palm cupped the world like a cricket ball, you had that knack. And that greedy smile, like a hundred years isn’t enough.

Poems – “Double” and “Surprise”

I have two poems for you today, lovely readers. The first one, “Double” can be found here in the debut issue of homology lit – a new online literary magazine, dedicated to publishing work by underrepresented voices including writers of colour, queer writers and writers with disabilities. Here is the second (very short) poem:-


Skeleton Boy

sharpens his finger

and scrapes down my sternum.

Flashes a lock picker’s smile.

He’ll be cross.

There’s no treasure behind my ribs,

only caged animals.