Empty bottles fill your yard.



I sometimes sit at the kitchen table and just listen.

From here I am perfectly placed to hear the echos of

your childlike shrill as you protest in a drunken haze.

‘No, i ain’t ‘aving dat.’ I can hear your tears at the back

of your throat, you’re dragging them across your tongue

forcing them to fall, but your eyes remain dry. I have to

remind myself that you are my age and still living

like a child. A child lost somewhere in adult form among

the empty wine bottles and powder topped classic books.

I shiver at the very thought of such disrespect. But you have

been bred on disrespect and you shrug  it from

your sullen shoulders leaving behind that chip. I hear your

mothers stomach before I interpret her words, deep and

ragged she pushes them out with force from deep down

inside. Her profanities are laced in decades of hardened

fat, a vile stench clinging to each word as though it were

a dagger aimed at your back, to sit quietly alongside

the others she placed there. ‘He’ is a soft mumble of words

that match his smile. The gentle calm as he slowly sips on

red wine or vodka or gin or whatever it is you have dished out

into those overused glasses. One becomes two and his

eyes glaze, three becomes a line snorted in full view,

four becomes the anger in those piercing blue eyes.

Five becomes the thunder that rattles the walls as Mother

dearest sleeps. Six and he is heard. Seven and she sleeps.

Eight and a tornado rips through the room. The callous shriek

of who loves who more, ‘stupid, bitch, cow, slut.’ the lamp

is smashed, his voice gentle but his movements heavy.

Your eyes are no longer dry. You will scream as you always do

frustration spilling onto your bedroom walls. ‘Out.’ she’ll

scream her belly roaring. In the morning you’ll gather up

the remains of proof of who she loves more, as she sits

on the phone to her precious. Her sneers a nagging rumble

of the hunger she has to defeat you. I sometimes sit at the

kitchen table and listen as you repeat history, again and again.


Karen Hayward © 2016


I wish I had of known you.

Dedicated to all of the friends I have made along the way, the parents/grandparents and relatives and sometime’s just simply the people who get it!

I wish I had known you when

the health visitor asked

‘Is that all she can say?’

I wish I had known you that day

full of doom and gloom,

the first time sitting in the

children’s outpatient waiting room.

I wish I had known you

the first day it became inappropriate

for her to cry and freeze

in the super market, all eyes on me.

On the outside I was a rock

on the inside pink melting candy floss.

I wish I had known you when she was five

and still the stairs she screamed were too high.

I wish I had known you then.

It would have been nice to have had a friend.

I wish I had known you when the first friend

dropped away, communications just came to an end.

I wish I had known you every step of the way,

because had I , I’d have been able to say…

You’re doing just fine,

you’re so very kind,

I’ve a moment to hear

I can always be near.

As you hit each new issue

and reach for a tissue

I would have listened.

I would have stood at your side

been along for the ride.

I wish we would have known each other

back then,

when all of us felt alone and needed a friend.

Karen Hayward ©2015


  • Have had to remind the daughter that I cannot be shouting from room to room, she has tears in her eyes and my heart is breaking cos i used the tough girl voice, but its one of the few times i have to put myself first. Can feel jaw tightening from the mornings hallway screams as a form of communicating!! lol
  • Girls want pizza, I agree to look in the cupboards.
  • The girls want to swap toys. I say no, it causes to much upset.
  • They ask again.
  • And again.
  • I go stand guard at the toilet door. Daughter has realised if her friend cant see then she doesn’t to close the toilet door I make a mental note to have a chat about this.
  • Make coffee again, pour the old cod, cold again into the sink.
  • Start writing this post.
  • Become aware that my ears are really burning.
  • I stop to read a message. It makes me think.
  • I go back to the post, my mind wanders to the sunrise.
  • Asked about another toy.
  • Had to shout down the hall again, am feeling a little annoyed, it’s automatic for me to respond, I know i’m as much to blame right now.
  • Asked about teddy clothes. Have to get the teddy clothes box down and open.
  • Then have tears as a change of plans to what toy to take, I remind them I can say no.
  • Asked again about pizza.
  • I agree to pizza toast.
  • Write some more of this.
  • Get another message, pause for a moment to read them.
  • Am aware that messages can sometimes sound so very cold and distant. I wonder what it is they really think.
  • See to the girls.
  • respond to a message.
  • write some more of this.
  • stop and read again. respond.
  • 12:44 pm I post the first section of this.
  • I respond to one message.
  • Have to tell daughter again not to shout me from another room.
  • Girls appeared at kitchen door, starving! Pizza toast is cooking.
  • pretty sure i have hit repeat on youtube about ten times now, still not entirely sure what song i am listening to.
  • Asked for the millionth time to find a box for a toy pony with no horn or wings.
  • Wants to curl up in a ball and make the world stop for five minutes.
  • 1:26 pm. The girls are eating ♥.
  • Need to eat myself, but have no energy to make something. Haven’t eaten yet today. Usually would grab a bowl of cereal, but gave the last to daughter this morning. I think about whether I could just eat a bowl of avocado. Am still, pondering this thought.
  • Am still thinking about the messages. Wonders where the distance came from, on both sides.
  • Thinking about responding, wondering if I should eat first, or get more coffee. Decide to just sit and listen to music for 5 minutes.
  • Start thinking about pain killers. Bleurgh will have to eat something so i grab a handful of grapes.
  • 1:33 pm I got 7 minutes.
  • I see to the girls, go wee, then pop into the bath room and flash blast the bath. I’m still thinking, the last part has got stuck on repeat in my head and I wonder what my purpose has now become.
  • 1:45 pm. And I m hating this blog post.
  • The girls are hungry still. I make them fruit and drinks!

Seven broken promises in seven empty days.

Seven promises in seven days

seven sets of empty words to say.

But you know what? That’s okay.

I see the way you like to play.

So cheers to another warring day.

Fuck you are the words i’d like to say.

I know I’ll get there, i’ll be okay.

So don’t even try to manipulate play.

Cos tomorrows just another empty day.

‘I forgot.’ the empty words you say,

‘we’ll do it now, it’ll be okay.’

But you know by then i’ll refuse to play

and you’ll celebrate another broken day.

‘Not this time.’ are the words i’ll say.

because I know I got this, i’ll be okay

i’ll regain control and then i’ll play.

Another grain of sand.

It is said that before we are born into this world we choose the parents

we will be born to. We look deep into their hearts and see the stuff that

they are unaware is even there. We’re not looking for love

or protection we’re looking for the lessons that we still need to

learn. Which means I chose you. I chose your

arms to hold me tight and wipe away my tears. I chose your eyes

to sooth away the fears and your wisdom to guide me through the night.

The love you taught me is priceless. The lessons you gave me

are worthless without first considering the sacrifices you made for me.

Today you are one year older and because of this I am one year

wiser. I celebrate not the years that have slowly seeped through

the hour glass, but the memories you have given me, the belief

that has stood untouched since the first time you held me. I celebrate

the honor of calling you my Dad. Happy Birthday xxx.

I’ll Show You Your Dreams.

Tired and exhausted and my mind is a light

with the everyday life, that for my child is a fight.

But I promise you girl, I promise you this,

i’ll give you the words that you happen to miss.

I’ll be your hope, i’ll be your courage

i’ll be your strength, i’ll be your voice

and i’ll show you every day, that you

have a choice.

We’ll talk and we’ll touch and we’ll

play and we’ll learn,

‘Mum.’ is a title that I’ll truly earn.

I’ll show you your dreams, i’ll hold

your hand all the way,

because I promise you this,

you will be okay.

Karen Hayward (Copyright) 2015.

Karen Ann bread and jam!

I remember a time when all I could cook was toast.
At the very most,
Toast and jam,
Which pleased my elders,
As they flew down memory lane,
Karen Ann bread and jam,
It’s all she ate then,
It’s all she eats now.
I remember a time when
It was you in the kitchen,
Cos it was never me,
I used to run and flee,
When the pans came out,
And dad did shout.
I remember calling you up,
To find out,
How to bake a potato,
A potato,
Cos i didn’t know.
And how to make
Cup cakes.
At first, she, would make me
Rhubarb crumble to take home,
I certainly never moaned.
Dad fed me, at every opportunity,
Always ringing, to see
Whether i was free.
Then I realised I missed
real food,
I missed dads dinners,
I missed vegetables, bolognaise,
I missed bolognaise the most,
Dad made one, of which to boast.
So I set out to cook,
Didn’t use a book,
There was always the chip shop,
If it was a flop.

I remember a time,
I tell my daughter
As i take the fruit strudel
Out from the oven,
and turn the cheesy scones,
A quick stir of the thick tomato sauce speckled with basil ,
I remember a time, when Grandad let me be, so I could play, till the day that I was ready. I remember a day when I couldn’t cook,
not even with a book.