I decided to start putting some of my poetry online. I have recently been writing quite a lot and performing at open mic nights around Bristol. I really appreciate any feedback.

All work copyright Carly Etherington.

2015 Poetry

Hangover poem June 2015

This morning, there is nothing to do to stop their singing.
Pausing at the door, fresh air feels like oil on sand.
Burnt toast is slid into the bin.
Pretend breakfast.
An elbow rests with a head on table,
dressing gown slops into the dogs water bowl,
eyes hang onto the empty bottle.
No drinking tonight.
Head feels like tin, the birds echo from the sides.
Screaming in.


Untitled March 2015

She shakes,
scratches, smokes and
needs to fit the smallest dress.

Apparently all men want
She has;
a broken washing machine,
two jobs and benefits.
a blue car with a green door.
For washing machine fixed.
There is no money to pay.
Everyone has a family.
There is no
If able to afford dinner, wine and cigarettes.


Workaholic March 2015

When she starts talking about pensions he silently leaves his chair and pulls down his pants.
He poos on the floor.
Grey dressing gown, cream socks.
It is when the day is done that she can clean the carpet.
The night feels cold under Cif marigold hands.
Cleaning, makes it warm like a running tap turned on, falling over her hands into her heart.
Remembering whatever was.
Hating the curtains with their nets and the window with its view out to the others.
Neighbours silouettes of trees and cars.
And all of their endless time.
Tomorrow, tyres will screech, cars will fall over as people rush in asking her how she coped for so long.
She will call in sick.
He can poo in his bed.

Bike Thief February 2015

Praise the ankles balancing carefully and still,
under trousers ripped, soaked to calf height.
Worn by the lookout that stays invisible under eyes.
And carries a smile ghostly through the night.
The night that allows alley to blend into wall.
With ashen hands that sit in pockets heavy with cold.
And thanks given for the three pound lock from Tesco,
it breaks easier than paper.


In dense woods the trees grow straight February 2015

At four he wakes with numb hands that tap his chest in corners
so that nothing bad will happen in the woods.
‘Nothing bad will happen in the woods,’ he repeats.
Putting on shoes that move legs
past the door that closes by itself.

He is sure it does this because it does not like him, and wants to shun him out of the house.
Outside light shines with spite.
He breaks a branch off a bush that does not easily part with itself,
he twists it and cuts his hands.

The bush and the trees and the sun and the house move a metre away.
He throws himself at the ground.
It is dry, a worm sticks to the side of his face.

He taps his chest in the corners,
‘nothing bad will happen in the woods.’
The worm twitches and a sickness fills his stomach.
It does this because it wants him to be sick, it must want him to die.
He lies on the floor thinking to be dead.


Dear Politician January 2015

I saw the guilty mud sludge of sweat in your hair,
the caffeine tight eyes looking just over heads.
Stare at them.
You can.
Then run into the shower,
throw gasps of relief to the room where no one will chase you.
Look as if the weather does not touch you.
Scream into the towel.
For all who will vote for you, silently and quickly, you chose this.


May 2014


Dead black cat on the side of the road,
No pumpkin skirts or toilet roll zombies yet.
Just a dead black cat, mouth open .
Like the cyclist that yawns, thinking of home then chokes on flies.
Like the girl with a black painted nose practiscing miaow in the mirror.
The choker around her neck a cat collar.
The lead a piece of string
pulls into a smile as it trails the dance floor sludge.
Outside in the garden,
nose smudged to a cloud.
A running repeat of ‘I hate him,, I hate him, I hate him’.
She is not saying it to bring him back.
Now lost in drink.
Lost putting the key in the front door.
Lost feet dragging the steps to the end of the night where she asks a friend,
‘Should I suprise him?’
And stumbles to his house.
All the nans

That back brace over loose vest.
The max dose of morphine,
the bed in your front room.
Eyes shining bright, beneath fluffy white hair
hairsprayed stiller than your stopped clocks.

The diets, cakes, the twenty pairs of shoes under twenty bags you never use.
The talk talk account and, muddled names:
Dean, Mark, Yvette, Sean, Connor, Carly,
I wanted to say;
Shit, fuck, bloody piss that phone.
Shuffled rushing steps to the kitchen its hidden home.

Hello Ethel,
hand punches table while laughter hits the air.
Teeth are bared and questions are prepared, on a post it note stuck to a tables edge.

Dolly Trigg, the girl who made me say pig.
Did she really Nan, was she your friend?
I’m not going round the bend.
I’ve got a middle room full of things I don’t need.
I cannot get in there anymore.

She’s made a trifle.
It’s kept in three separate bowls in the freezer.
She informs me the custard hasn’t set yet because she had to use a fork.
I pour it on and it sinks to the bottom, she says:
‘Mark likes it that way’.
Talk turns to how once thats sorted, I’ll get my knee done.
I struggle to get a word in as the ins and outs of craft club fill the room.
How the one with the long hair told her to photocopy a pattern.
And Betties son murdered someone, but they are all a bit strange in that family.
On leaving,
she starts demonstrating different standing positions and I can tell she is stalling for time.
She begins a conversation about what Mark eats and I have to leave Nan.
She grabs me like a crab.
I’d love to live in the middle room so stuffed full of things you cannot move.
And she says take care.
Once a time
she drank gin and orange.
And danced,
with the man who went to prison.
Met a name not now repeated.
After a cricket ball hit his chest.

One time
she said what’s mine is yours.
Her one black evening dress,
slept in the cupboard.
It heard it all.
Now it sits in mine.

March 2013
20 years

In twenty years time, when you are 54 and I am 46, we will argue,
we will argue about who organised this event, who wanted to be there and who usually does the organising,
and I will slowly die in my head, I will slowly die in my head.
Whilst sitting in a car, windows full of steam, staring at rain, that I want to reach, to run.
In twenty years time, when you are 54 and I am 46, we will argue about,
running away, and how it should be apologised for, and is a childish act.
It will take us another ten years to look at what makes someone run, but for now that is the issue.
In twenty years time, when you are 54 and I am 46, our main issues will be,
What did we really want? Why we never did it? Where did the time go?
I will love cats, you will love cats. We will make up, for ten minutes.

18th October 2012

I crawl through a door to a river clouded and dark, that doesn’t ask me questions like.

How much will you get paid?

Or how much does that cost?

It moves fast, asks, me if I want to risk jumping in from a great height. Feel the black stars on skin.
The air light.
Hair hitting face, distracting from impact.
Jelly floor,
Clear me,
Soft now,
I don’t have to worry about money.
Or feel fear in my stomach, when asked to pay for a sandwich I could get out of a bin for free.

Security guard, standing tall in grass.
Would you like your daughter to be watched the moment she steps into a shop?
Made to drop,
Her change, as shes followed up to the counter.
Scenarios of bags searched, and stops at doors almost prevent her from walking in.
Begin, to understand.
Thats why I angrily wave my reciepts in your face.
your staring at a space, straight ahead.
Maybe I’ll chuck this halloween display on your head.
Covered in orange and red.
I run out of the door.
To the river that asks me questions about flying.


Cat poem- September 2012

Theres a cat with no ears,
that lives at the top of the stairs,
he’s helping me look for jobs.

He pushes me out of bed,
plugs the laptop in.
And pours a cup of coffee over my head.

Which in turn makes me jump.
In response this causes him to jump,
so we both jump down the stairs.

And out the front door, waving at everyone we see,
and every object too.
Only stopping at lights, to have a little dream.
Which gets awakened by a beep,
I look down and can tell this cat needs to sleep.

He becomes moody and offensively rude.
Calling people with umbrellas selfish,
and lying down in front of those with cars, pretending to be hit and dead.

An attempt at moving him,

To him holding his paws behind a railing shouting,

‘The police are coming’.

I pretended to be the police and gave the cat a caution.
Asked if we took a cab could we share,

‘there’, I said.

We need to run.

‘Im not running not a bit’

So we missed it.


Bike poem February 2012

Tell Mum.

That this broken bike has lights, and I can see clearly.

That no cars swerve,

that no people curse,

me drunken riding home.

That I have hope that one day I have home.

Even when I feel dark as that Autumn night,

when I fell off my bike, singing and looking up at the rain.

I do feel the pain,

a stretch over all these miles.

So are you listening when alone with your cup of tea.

Do you put your ear to it and breathe in while I exhale.

Tell Mum, that today I told my dreams to fuck off and it hurt.

While your there tell my Dad, Nan and Brother too.

Tell them I’m falling, failing, flailing grieving over my changed mind.

Tell Mum, I’m not mad.

I’d like to know her history of mental illness.

Tell Mum, I said hi.

Mandy- August 2012

Have you seen Mandy?
Or the man who sells laughter in the palm of his hand?
Have you thrown another layer of soil on your plans?
Or concrete?
Cos when you and her meet. You talk shit.

Mandy, calls you in your head.
Leads you to a corner on a bed, then sends you flying high.
Past me, pushing into a table you don’t even realise.
Maybe the ground shook, how strong I need to move yet stay.
And push you, push you away.
And I’d kick you if I could.
But already violence has filled your immature state of mind.
Maybe if I shout and you cry we can add to the atmosphere of this fine Bristol night.

Betting shop June 2012

Do dreams lie in the land of blue pen, wooden table and plastic chair.
In ripped papers, tracksuit trousers and greasy hair.
And the man smoking weed, who always tries to grab,
the woman who shouts, pay you later bloodclat.
What the hell am I doing in a betting shop?

Is this where artists learn their trade?
Smiling at punters whilst their spirits fade.
And burn on a note on some paper in a chest.
Until a fire erupts with the words ‘fuck this’.

I can make, make, I’ve forgotten what I make.
I cant remember what I hate.
And what I’ve got is a chair to sit on in the place where time stops.
But computer horses run, and lucky numbers matter.
And someone shouts go, go, go, and other mindless chatter.
And a dogs shit on the floor, they’re all addicted in here and poor.
Chasing a feeling in their heads,
Where’s the pill to cure all.
Is it in the box of marketing designed to fuel and pull in.

With a change of clothes on a Thursday,
The wife calls at 8pm, (your stuck in traffic),
That cards now declined from the atm, (holding down sick).
Feet instinctively move to an exit masked,
by the woman who sleeps in the toilet,
who is muttering about a key,
apparently she needs it to set a cat free.

January 2013

What time do I finish work?

If the world ended if Geraldine thought I didn’t like her,
I would apologise, though my apology would be late.
If you would have told me you wanted me to be there with Geraldine.
I would have arrived, but late.
This is because as you already knew I was seeing a friend for their birthday.
And as an afternote, I’ll tell you now we had a lovely time.
You forgot to ask, since you couldn’t stop repeating the phrase, ‘you finished work at five’.
Brain quite addled with lemsip,
it could happen to us all,
maybe its onset dementia, maybe you need more clocks, maybe I finished work at five.