Naomi had no plans to say goodbye, she didn’t even leave a note. Her life had taken a dramatic turn since turning 18. She had big dreams to work for the NHS. Being a nurse was all she dreamed of; ever since she saw a picture of her grandmother in uniform. On her last day of school she mapped out her life, down to every last fine detail. However sitting in the cold at Victoria coach station at 11:30PM wasn’t part of it. Neither was falling pregnant at 18. As a matter of fact, nothing in Naomi’s life had been part of her plan. Her big dreams suddenly turned in to an even bigger nightmare.
She let out a sigh and stroked Daniel’s head, he was 4 now. Sitting out in the cold with no scarf or hat wasn’t doing him any good. But neither was living in a back street South London estate. She had a decision to make and she made it. The more she reflected, the more she realised how easy the decision was. Simone had always told her so. She remembered it like it was yesterday, they sat on the swings in the children’s playground on the estate. It was the last time she saw Simone before she moved up to Birmingham.
“Most of our stuff is up there already, me and Martin are drivin’ up tomorrow” Simone smiled.
“You must be so excited; it’s like a whole new start.”
“It is. I’ve had my fair share of shit in this place.” Simone’s smile disappeared, although she hated London, her younger sister had it worse. Way worse. She was only 18 and was 6 months pregnant. To make matters worse, the father was local drug dealer Haze, a real lowlife scumbag. Simone had tried her hardest to keep Naomi from his clutches, but the allure of the bad boy was just too strong. Naomi never said she regretted her decision to keep the baby, not once. But seeing Simone fly high while she crawled through the dirt wasn’t easy. Simone shuffled her swing across and held Naomi’s hand. Tears were falling from her eyes.
“Hey come on Nay, you can always come up and visit.”
“I know” Naomi sobbed. “It’s not that, it’s just…I feel like you’re leavin’ me, When I really need you.” She broke out in tears again.
“What do you want me to do Nay? I told you how I felt 6 months ago. You chose to ignore me.”
“No!” Naomi’s voice boomed. “I chose what was best for me!”
“How is havin’ a kid with a drug dealer what’s best for you? Explain that one to me!”
“He loves me, he takes care of me.”
“Oh yeah, where was he when you had your scans? Selling drugs. Where was he for your Lamaze classes? Selling drugs. Where will he be when that baby is being born?…”
“Shut up, just shut up!” Naomi cried. She got up from the swing and walked towards the railing. She leaned on the rail crying hysterically. Simone came up behind her and placed a hand on her back.
“You’ll always have me Nay, if ever it gets too much. Just leave. Ok, just leave. Promise me you’ll do that.”
Daniel stayed awake on the coach when it drove through the city. This was the first time he’d seen bright lights in London that weren’t flashing from the top of a police car. Naomi made sure he got a good look at the city; she knew he wouldn’t be back here for a very long time. The buildings and lights faded as the coached roared on and city streets transformed into motorways. Daniel had fallen asleep by now. Naomi gazed out the window at the same stretch of road again and again. At the tender age of four he’d already been through his fair share of traumas. It was time for Naomi to change that, before it was too late.
“Mummy is daddy coming to eat some cake?”
“Yes darlin’, as soon as he finishes work.”
“Daddy always at work.”
“Yes he is” Naomi said staring blankly out of the window. Haze had promised he would be home for Daniel’s birthday. But she hadn’t seen or heard anything of him. He missed the first time Daniel ever blew out his candles and he missed him unwrapping his first present.
“Mummy, can I play in my room?”
“Sure darlin’, let’s save some cake for daddy ok.”
“Ok, I gonna play with daddy’s toy.”
“Daddy’s toy? What’s daddy’s toy?” Naomi asked.
“I show you, I can’t carry it’s too heavy.”
Daniel took his mother’s hand and led her to his room. Naomi was pleasantly surprised that Haze had actually bought Daniel a present. Even more so had the wherewithal to give it to him in the morning.
“Daddy hid it under my bed, but I found it” Daniel smiled triumphantly. He let go of his mother’s hand and ran over to his bed. He used both of his hands to carry the present over to Naomi.
Naomi jumped back with a fright; she took the present from her son’s grasp and placed it on the floor.
“Where did you find that Daniel?”
“Under my bed, here” he lifted up the mattress and pointed.
“Oh my God” Naomi whispered. She grabbed Daniel and squeezed him. She couldn’t stop her body shaking. Daniel put his arms around his mother and rested his head on her. Naomi glanced back over at the gun that lay on the floor. Haze had hidden it in his son’s bed; there was no line he would not cross. She knew she couldn’t stay any longer. She couldn’t let Daniel grow up in this environment.
Everything Simone had told her was correct. Haze was not cut out to be a father, he was a scumbag. Keeping him around Daniel only endangered her son. She made the decision that night after a quick phone call to her sister, telling her to wait up because she was coming for a visit. Simone didn’t ask any questions, just told her the kettle will be on when she gets here.
Naomi checked her phone, there were no missed calls or messages from Haze. Haze probably wouldn’t notice they were gone until next week. The motorway continued for miles, Naomi was drifting off in her seat. The same signs kept repeating the further down the road they went. Her destination was getting closer, but nothing seemed to be changing. The same roads, the same cars and the same street lights. She stroked Daniel’s hair and watched him stir in his sleep. She kept a hand over Daniel; her only job now was to love him. Love him in a way no one else would. Love him in a way his father never could.
Greg J Allman
Apologies my dear friend, for this was unforeseen
But you’re conscience slowed you down. Even as a teen
You always did the right thing, whereas I usually strayed
And today is no different as a valuable price you paid.
Your wing tips walked the thin blue line of deceit
And you came awfully close to sitting in my seat.
The day at the cafe was the final piece to the puzzle
You saw the photo in my wallet, and I know you enjoyed a cuddle
With her every now and then, so you would have seen this on the shelf
When the body was found it was gone, which set the ball rolling inside yourself.
You connected all the dots, except for the why
Why did such a beautiful woman have to die?
The answer is simple, she possessed a fortune I desired
And as her heart belonged to you its no surprise what transpired.
I wasn’t born with a silver spoon as you know very well
So now I’ve snuck into Heaven after escaping Hell.
As a close friend I felt your pain when I took her from this world
You cried her name every night wishing to be reunited. Curled
Up on your mattress battling through those lonely nights and days
Then clues from the case came together which got you to the next phase
You shared your theories with the culprit across the table
There’s a valuable lesson at the end of this fable
Your eyes told a tale of suspicion and doubt
But all I saw was a man on a parallel route
To the one that I was on, but that was the ruse
You suspected me but needed evidence to accuse.
Every corner I turned there you were in need of my
Guidance, racking your brains over coffee and pie.
Mi casa es su casa, treat these floors like yours
You wasted little time rummaging through my drawers
Confronting me was your ultimate sin,
Now you’ll forever lie in what your resting in.
Greg J Allman
I had a sudden spark of inspiration and penned a short poem. It is virtually freestyle based, I didn’t want to go back and revise it too much because it would lose some of the raw feeling that was felt at the time. Show it some love, show it some hate I don’t mind. I don’t usually write too many poems but today I am just particularly heartened.
Greg J Allman.
Cold nights are never the same,
Me and you are able to put them to shame.
I’ll hold you close, you’ll hold me closer.
Driving me wild, but tonight I’ll be the chauffer.
Something brighter than the moon and stars,
Nothing will separate this thing of ours,
Nothing will ever be able to come between
The sheets of our love are stronger than plasticine.
I need some TLC and I aint too proud to beg,
Nothing goes better with you than Greg.
Our bond is tighter than the laces on my shoe,
Nothing goes better with Greg than you.
It’s what makes you you
It’s what makes me me
It’s the feeling that makes us be
That four letter word is our destiny.
Yesterday I wrote a piece on teenage pregnancy entitled ‘The Teenage Years’. That small piece was inspired by a short story I wrote loosely based on that theme. Check it out below and let me know what y’all think.
Greg J Allman.
Michael placed the picture back on the shelf as Mary’s laughs suddenly turned to tears. He knew it would be difficult saying goodbye to her; their friendship had grown ever since they met as six year olds on the playground climbing frame. Despite her reluctance to hang with him in public, he was no stranger to the Smith household. Her mother often enjoyed cooking for the pair as they studied. They were both high flyers in school and put it down to Mrs Smith’s brain food that kept them buzzing. Michael’s social ineptness never changed how Mary looked at him over the rim of her maths textbook. His glasses sitting on the edge of his nose when he squints at algebra problems; he never wore those glasses inside the school gates.
Michael stepped towards Mary, she cuddled a cushion. “You know I’m comin’ back right?” Mary replied with a nod, unable to look Michael in his eyes. He kneeled down in front of her and placed a hand on her knee. Despite the lack of make-up she looked as pretty as she did in that picture, he’d heard from his mother that women always have a glow during pregnancy, finally he understood it. He wiped her eyes with his thumb and kissed her forehead.
“You gonna keep writin’ me those poems?”
She nodded again “I got a new one over there” she mumbled pointing towards her desk. Michael crawled to the desk and back again picking up a folded piece of lined paper. He theatrically cleared his throat
“Introducing the words which make the world go round from Ms. Mary Smith!” He feigned an audience applause and cheers, then read aloud.
“My mind treads along the sea bed
Sharks and piranhas await my stumble
The wave’s crash in to my brain, my heart sinks
With the ship we both sailed in.
This mermaid will forever live below the sea.
With the treasures paradise can only imagine.”
They sat in silence, the last words of the poem hung in the air; Michael read the poem over once again trying to grasp some sort of meaning. “Is this about your unborn?” Michael asked still studying the poem.
Mary’s eyes pierced the top of his head. “This is really good; you should try to get these published. ‘Diary of a Pregnant Woman’. That could be the title.” He laughed.
“Hmm” she responded. Michael didn’t realise the tension which crept in to the room. Mary’s eyes remained fixed on Michael’s head.
“What do you think?” Michael asked.
“Huh, yeah sounds good.” Mary answered absently.
“Hey, come on.” He moved on to the couch next her. “Eric will be a good dad, plus you got your mum, my mum and me. I know it’s scary but you can do it.”
“You don’t understand Michael” she cried.
“Then make me” he replied wiping her tears with his thumb.
She thought back to the days of them studying together and him being oblivious to her feelings. Nothing had changed since then. She glanced up at the photograph and thought back to the evening it was taken. She and Michael snuck away from the table of another boring Easter family dinner. They decided to take advantage of the spliff he had stored in his underwear drawer the past two months. Mixing the haze with a stolen bottle of brandy from the cabinet of Michael’s father led them to a night of untold truths. Mary spilt all the gory details from her short lived romance with Eric Phillips and admitted regretting losing her virginity too soon. Michael confessed to his palm being his only sexual partner. The cold night of warm truths led them to Mary’s bedroom where they spent their one and only night together in the same bed. Mary knew Michael was the one after he held her in her arms like any man should after sex. Mary expected him to be gone the next morning, however was rather unsettled at what he’d left behind. She got with Eric almost instantaneously after sleeping with Michael.
He’d been after her for so long and she craved that feeling she had with Michael once more. Mary remembers the day she sat in the toilet at college for an hour crying her eyes out like it was yesterday. She hid it for a long time, exploring every avenue open to her. Once the morning sickness started there was no hiding it from her mother. She summoned Eric to her home and advised them on what she thought was the right thing to do. Eric tried really hard to support her in the first couple of months but grew tired of the wanting and the needing from Mary. He started chasing other girls from college when Mary’s weight gained and he hardly showed up at her house. By then it was too late, the sweet dream of a family and their own flat turned in to a sour nightmare of life as a single mother.
Michael stuck by her through everything even accompanying her to a scan. He held her hand throughout all the hospital visits and rubbed her stomach when the baby kicked. Mary had pictured telling Michael the truth for months now. But, there was never a right time to tell Michael that his life was going to change forever. A letter from the University of Cambridge’s admissions office did it for him helping him realise his dream had come true. A place along side education’s elite was what he always longed for, what he deserved. He studied hard all throughout his A-levels, and his uncle came up with the cash for him to attend. He was over the moon. She couldn’t ruin Michael’s life, yet how could she keep something like this from him. Surely he would want to know.
“This baby isn’t Eric’s.” Mary muttered.
“What?” Michael responded. “Whose is it?”
“It’s yours Michael.”
This came around simply because of a short I penned which is based on the subject of teenage pregnancy. But then it occurred to me that I know very little about teenage pregnancy or parenting. Why you ask? Simply for two reasons:
- I’m no longer a teenager.
- I’m not a parent.
But teen pregnancy is something that I’ve always found enigmatic. As a teenager I never knew anyone my own age that had a kid. I knew people who knew people who had kids, but that was as far as it ever went. My only interpretation of a teenage parent was Sarah Platt from Coronation Street (played by Tina O’Brien) who falls pregnant at the age of thirteen. At the time I remember being flabbergasted with the storyline, she was only thirteen. I never knew thirteen year old girls could even get pregnant. Obviously my sexual knowledge at the time was limited, very limited. I’m talking no internet limited, therefore my knowledge of sex consisted of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct and whatever film Channel 5 were showing late on a Friday night. That’s not to say I wouldn’t watch television and feel sexually attracted to women. Christina Aguilera, Cameron Diaz (in The Mask) and Kim Cattrall (Don’t act like you didn’t skim through episodes to see her sex scenes).
Sure we learned a bit in school about how babies are made and stuff. But in all honesty aside from giggling at hearing my teacher say ‘penis’ or ‘vagina’; I had no interest in the subject of babies. I didn’t want any nor did any of my male friends or girl friends. Back then, well at least in my eyes it wasn’t a thing. Fast forward ten years and literally it is really not that uncommon to see a teenager pushing a pram. Apparently teen pregnancies were at a record low last year according to the BBC, but I still feel the number is quiet high.
Now I’m not here to judge or condemn. I understand alluring factors in having sex. I was a teenager once and I know what those desires are like. I would look at girls in school and think about all those sexual desires that raced through my mind during Science classes. Every guy has had that unfortunate incident of having his mind run wild only to result in an erection under the table. In our minds we are Gods of the sex arena but in actuality we are ashamed and there is no way in hell we want a girl to see it unless she promised two things.
- Not to laugh it.
- Not to compare it to someone else’s.
Those are deal breakers in any agreement!
I guess the main negative connotation that comes with teen pregnancy is the fact the parent’s are still only kids themselves. According to society they aren’t supposed to have firsthand knowledge of parenting duties. The struggles that adult parents live through are almost doubled when it’s a teen whose worries should mainly focus on GCSE’s and college choices. That’s not to say teenage parents are no good at doing their job. I love hearing stories of teenagers who have had babies and still managed to pass their GCSE’s. My point through all of this is that teenagers should just focus on being teenagers. Easy for me to say being a balding 24 year old man, but I was a teenager too. I remember what it’s like.
Greg J Allman
Sonnet 18. One of the most famous pieces of creative writing to still be held in such high regard, generations after it was originally penned.
To this day we are still comparing things we cherish to a summer’s day. Or in my case things I hate as the sun doesn’t shine in a British summer. The first time I properly read this was back in March. I studied Shakespeare in school but the main focus was on his plays. Back then I had no idea what a sonnet was. As a matter of fact up until March I never knew what a sonnet was. But after reading Sonnet 18 a number times on a Friday evening, I was inspired.
Not by William Shakespeare, although I’m sure he’s inspired a fair share over the years. But I was inspired by what inspired Shakespeare himself to write this sonnet. Love. His love for the summer and his love for whomever he is writing about. Shakespeare captures the reader’s imagination painting images of “the eye of heaven” and a “gold complexion”. He was always way ahead of his time. In my mind I imagine beat boxing as he wrote the lyrics for his sonnet; just to ensure his rhythm and pace were right.
I decided to use something, or rather someone I love very deeply as inspiration much like Shakespeare did and compare her to something just as astounding as she is. However she isn’t too fond of the comparison. Although she likes the sonnet and was flattered by my spontaneous romanticism she would much rather be compared to something else.
My short fling with romanticism shan’t be short lived. Every day I am given more and more reasons to pen sonnets. But for now I shall leave you with my debut piece.
Greg J Allman.
Are you comparable to a London skyline?
Well I’d rather gaze upon you.
Crackers, Roquefort cheese and some wine
A picnic on Primrose with beautiful food.
You’re taller than any skyscraper,
The sole attraction of my heart
Can’t be defined by words on paper;
Cross the bridge where the water parts.
Your glow outshines any star in the sky,
And this light will never go out
For you’re to be desired by a London eye;
Standing amongst the city’s best no doubt.
Through rain, fog and snow your beauty remains clear,
And long after these buildings fall you’ll still be here.
Its been around two years since London went up in flames at the hands of misguided/disgruntled youths. I would say the city has bounced back rather well. The riots seem almost a lifetime ago with most of the city’s residents moving on. Boroughs such as Haringey, Ealing, Hackney and Lambeth were the main targets with local businesses and homes on the receiving end of pointless barbaric attacks. For those who missed it, it was definitely a summer to forget.
As a local resident of Haringey I was ashamed and appalled at the actions I witnessed. I’m not the most educated man in London, nor have I ever claimed to be (maybe on a drunken night out). But destroying shops and homes that help your area prosper is ridiculous. What did it gain? Nothing! Some locals were stupid enough to break in to the place of their employment and rob them blind! Clearly they never saw the unemployment rates that year. The whole mob mentality took over and the results were drastic. They claimed that the police were the issue, the controversial death of Mark Duggan was the catalyst in what sparked a night of destruction. However what I fail to understand each time I run this over in my head is what did Carpet Right or Aldi have to do with the death of Mark Duggan? What did the local florist have to do with it? The answer once again is nothing.
So two years and about a thousand arrests later (aside from the 325 still at large). Aldi and the local florists dusted off the ash and are finally up and running again. Everything seems to be back to normal, or as normal as things could be in Tottenham. The Mayor of Haringey Sheila Peacock stated in a recent interview that the riots in Tottenham were “The best thing that’s happened in Tottenham for a while.” Standing alone that comment obviously is bound to draw negative attention from Haringey all they way up to Yorkshire. And rightly so; an estimated fifty four families lost their homes that night, that’s fifty four families that fled in fear for their lives, fifty four families that may never find peace in Tottenham again, the same fifty four families that will always remember August 7th 2011 as the day their homes went up in flames. But obviously Mayor Peacock’s comment shouldn’t stand alone from a whole interview she gave. She’s the mayor of an area she has lived in her whole life. Those that live in Tottenham should know that’s a feat in itself. I can’t wait to move out of the N17/N15 post code.
Take a drive down Tottenham High Road one day, you’ll see what I mean. I have never seen so many betting shops or chicken shops on one stretch of road in my life. Haringey as a whole is the borough that the government have forgotten about. I set foot outside my house every morning to be greeted by litter, dog excrement and uneven pavements. Now the pavements I can forgive but when I walk through Chiswick I don’t get the same feeling. The feeling I get is jealously, jealous that Chiswick is so affluent and well looked after. Chiswick is the older sibling that receives new clothes every month while Tottenham is given the hand me downs. Were the riots the best thing to happen to Tottenham? No. Not in a million years. However, the response has been; finally the government have opened their eyes to the pitfalls and problems that have occurred in the borough for so long. As Mayor Peacock put it “All of a sudden, the Government is now starting to pump money into Tottenham, because Haringey is an outer London borough so we don’t get as much money as Islington or Hackney, and we’ve been struggling for years.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself, the borough has been struggling for years. The riots took us twelve steps back but now we are taking two steps forward. David Cameron took a stroll through the destruction and met with some of the victims of that tragic night. Which is commendable in itself but the question I have for him is ‘Where were you before?’ Why did it have to go so far before the government took notice? Still more questions than answers I suppose.
Mayor Peacock’s words will burn in the hearts of those who suffered the worst that night in similar fashion to the bus that burned to a crisp outside Peacocks. Mayor Peacock may want to choose her words carefully next time, and save the “Best thing for Tottenham” speech until the football team win the Premier League.
Greg J Allman.