Sunday, 27 May 2018

The Portswick Imp: Collected Stories, 2001-2016.

My collection of short stories is now out.  I hope that you will investigate, enjoy and spread the word about it.  Many thanks, I appreciate it, Michael
Michael W. Thomas
The Portswick Imp: Collected Stories, 2001-2016
ISBN 978-1-910322-57-4.
Black Pear Press,
Available from Black Pear, Waterstones and similar outlets.
‘Past, present and future meet throughout Thomas’s stories, and the meetings are not without consequence.  But there is humour, too, and the chance for the reader to alight in different places at different times.  Sunny San Gimignano.  The Black Country at the lowest season of the year.  An Irish farm circa Sputnik and The Twist.  An England undone by humanity; another England undone by the inexplicable.  A Midlands town seen through Grenadian eyes.  A Welsh landscape in which man becomes shadow, shadow becomes nothing at all.  With a quality that has ensured the publication of Thomas’ writing in titles as diverse as The Antioch Review, Muscadine Lines, Under The Radar, The London Magazine and the TLS,  the stories in The Portswick Imp open up lives in all their ordinary improbability.  Here, so often, is a desperation that refuses to be quiet but also an acceptance – laughing or simply wide-eyed – of a world where, in the words of one character, what is to come can feel like "the first yard of a desert" or, in the words of another, "the proper start."’  Black Pear


Monday, 7 May 2018

Early and Late: new publication.

If you would like a copy, please contact me here or on
Many thanks. 
Early and Late. 
Poems by Michael W. Thomas.  Artwork by Ted Eames.
ISBN: 978-0-9929510-3-0
52 pp. Gloss-and-paperboard covers. £5.00
Publication date: May, 2018.

Over four sequences, Early and Late moves through the stages of life as the writer views them: from portraits of peers in primary school (inevitably faded by time) through the bronco-ride of adulthood to the condition of those who face endings of different kinds. (This last isn't necessarily mournful: endings can be a matter of renewed hope.)  The collection contains illustrations by artist and writer Ted Eames which, in different ways, talk with the poems and reveal further slants on their meanings.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018


'Are you absolutely sure, Piglet?'
'That's what Tigger said.'
'Ah…so you're not sure.'
'Eminently plausible, Tigger says.'
'But what on earth is the point?'
'Partly diplomatic and, well, partly lurve.'
'Good grief…how?'
'Well, he's marrying the first one for, you know, the lurve thing…'
'Thang, surely.'
'Sorry pardon.  And he's marrying the other one so that his country won't lose all its teeth if it has to opt for a Hard Biskit.'
'And Tigger didn't mishear the names?'
'No, Pooh.  He assured me that his auditory ambience was geared to the appropriate valences at this point in the stretched envelope.'
'Well, bless my soul.'
'I'm fresh out of robes and water, Pooh.'
'All right, well, leave my soul to its own devices, then.  I just can't believe - '
'You'll just have to, Pooh.  Harry Wails is wedding Meg and Merkel.'
'And when's it happening?'
'Very soon.  The Feast of Wembley.'
'Oh, gosh, I know that one.  Will that Good King Windlassless be there?'
'I think they just thaw him out for a few days in the dark season so he can look out of a window and then pop out for, you know, a bit of trodding with a sheaf of pages blowing after him.'
'I see.'
'Unless his people talk to Tigger's people.  If they do, it'll fuel speculation.'
'Fyoooo-elll, surely.'
'Sorry pardon.'

Monday, 5 February 2018

Battle of the Bayou

'But why, Piglet?'
'Tigger says that it's the patriotic mood of the hour…'
'So we must participate.'
'I see.  So…a film about what was happening in The Hundred-Acre Wood during their Second World War.'
'What was happening?'
'Tigger says it's not about what was happening.  It's about what can be made to happen now that they can say was happening then.'
'So what will be happening now that was or wasn't happening then…then?'
'Ah, well, Tigger's going to use the bridge over the stream for the famous meeting.'
'Famous meeting?'
'When General de Gaulle presented Winston with a Parisian tabby to say, you know, ta for letting the Free French stay.'
'Ah.…I see.  Hence the phrase "Chat to Churchill".'
'Thing is, Pooh, Tigger has you and me in mind to be part of de Gaulle's entourage, so I'm learning the lingo and I'd advise you to get weaving too.'
'Weavers, were they?'
'Busy bees, Pooh.  Working on back-channel diplomacy.'
'I get a touch of that if the honey's off.  So we'd be in the entourage?'
'Or as they would say…'
'Bit of a cheek, pinching our word.'
'Ah, well, Tigger says that it all dates from 1812 when the English took the Bayou Tapestry over to Normanton.'
'France.  They pinched that as well.  And the Bayou Tapestry will be central to Tigger's film.'
'What is it?'
'History in the eye, Tigger says.'
'In the eye?'
'Bit of an opthalmic issue at one point, apparently.'
'What about all the other points?'
'Oh, now, Pooh, they're what you'd expect in the Bayou Tapestry.'
'Oh, you know…bluesmen with dobros drawn, disputes about 'Midnight Special' starting in G or C sharp.  All that.'
'Ah.  So…an unrestful time in the Wood for the next while...'
'Gary Oldman's playing a tussock.'
'Last word in versatility, him.'


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Early and Late: Poems and Images, Michael W. Thomas and Ted Eames.

Early and Late.  Poems by Michael W. Thomas, Artwork by Ted Eames.  Forthcoming from Cairn Time Press, 2018.  (Promotional video)

Saturday, 16 December 2017

A Writer's Album December 2017.

With thanks to Barry George, Philadelphia poet, for the photograph of the Japanese temple.
Season's Greetings to Everyone,

Friday, 1 December 2017

'The man with no umbrella'

The man with no umbrella    
The man with no umbrella
lives with a raindrop in his ear
it gossips of tides and oceans
how the dogdays
would see it mist out of the waves
how it would find them again
at the dark swing of the weatherglass

its earliest memory
it insists
is of waking to itself
amongst the toils of Eden
binding with the millions
to pour down on Adam and Eve
marry them fast to their guilty clothes
so hard
the sword of the sentinel-angel
rusted like prayer

it crawled it says
in and out of the bitten apple
which tasted of a colour
you wouldn’t wish to dream

over time it has mimicked
a tear on a cheek
and so sealed misunderstanding—
where kindred pairs have parted
hidden in separate footsteps
while the ill-sorted have pushed on
biting their lips  

for this the raindrop is sorry

the man understands but just stares down
he has lived so long
he has nothing of his own to hear

if he thinks at all
it’s of the umbrellas
he’s left among the years
the trains they might still be riding
the music that might still be stuck
among their folds
with the click of last lights
the long gasp of dark
across a concert hall

it was bad admits the raindrop
but not bad bad
just that the dove overshot Noah’s prow
the million drops
had to bulk a last squall
to turn it back

of course
it might have been making
for a land of birds elsewhere
happy to let the ark turn
to a drifting bonescape

in which case says the raindrop
I wouldn’t be here
feeling the smoke of your mind
you wouldn’t be picturing where you are not
as it fills up with umbrellas

the man hears this and doesn’t
he is looking at a long-ago summer afternoon
a Friday with time caught between strikes
four-fifty four-fifty-five
a campus and everyone gone
departure tugging hard at the world
the world digging in like a mule

he stands in an adjacent park
the campus gate he came out of
will stay bang shut
till an autumn he won’t be in
all that quitting smells heavy as musk
as a raindrop rolls off a leaf
another and another
waking him for the first time
to his open throat
thin collar
empty hands