Half Other



Half Other is a collection being written with support from the Arts Council.            It develops themes of twinship and identity.




(21st Birthday Party, UCL Twin Research Unit 08.06.13,)


Joe Public can’t believe his eyes, stops, applauds

the day turned biblical. A plague of twins, writhing

in unison beside the pond, the same, like mackerel


but then again . . . dancing, high on waves of sound.

They turn, are coloured flame, the grass hot beneath them.

Two and two and two and two again, how many times . . .


Leaking from the background of St. Thomas’

“for the treatment of disease”, a rash of celebration

broken out, blazing away across the Thames.


Not a rain of frogs, not boils, nor a cull of first-borns,

but the joy of twins. Released into the community,

they stroll away, in pairs, a kind of homoeopathy.




(UCL Twin Research Unit, 21st Birthday Party 08.06.13)


Twins swarm, and mass together,

clot; bright haemoglobin at a wound.


Strangers turn to stare, and stare

as if they’d for the first time seen their Secret Friend.


The hospital is choked. Twins flitter every which-way,

being well. The only sign they follow is “ENTRANCE”,


as on the lawn, they dance; their disco movements

mirror image of the leader / mirror image of each other.


Eventually, the twins disperse, dissolve like linctus,

with carrier-bags, shared sentences, some hand in hand,


taking the benefits and mysteries of a bond

that doctors and not even other siblings understand.



BORN 1954: 1:45 / 1:54 p.m.

in the time it might take

to heat a pan of frozen peas

or boil two eggs consecutively;


for an aunt to cast on

a doll’s bonnet

considering the size of the first-born,


or rather, lack of it;

time to register the shock;

or microwave a chocolate cake,


make nine minute

Kerelan curried eggs; or undertake

Chris and Heidi Powell’s miracle workout.


Alternatively, listen

to Black Sabbath’s “God is Dead?”,

or read Shakespeare’s sonnets from,


“From the fairest creatures we desire increase”

to, “That on himself such murd’rous shame commits”;

or freefall twenty-four miles from space,


as Felix Baumgartner,

which, after all, has equivalence

to what “the twins” did.




Sometimes we both pipe up together.

This is sewing with Machine Twist 40, doubled.


Knowing what the other wants to say


sometimes, impatiently,

                                      we finish off the other’s sentences

in perfect backstitch

                                  using Three Shells Fast Dye

which is Parrot Grey.