• Blank by Tom Mullane


    A small boy trudges the path to school

    Kicking a stone ahead

    Knowing it would be hard

    Homework not done

    Mom couldn’t help, she was drunk again.

    He was hungry,

    And it was going to b […]

    • What a well-drawn portrait. A beautiful, heart-rending poem, profound in its honest unadorned truth. Thank you..

    • Joan replied 1 week ago

      This is beautiful. As a retired teacher, I have known many children whose schooldays begin like this. We who work in schools have opportunity to provide refuge and encouragement for them. Beautiful poetry.

    • Deryn replied 1 week ago

      Hi Tom – the fear and trepidation for the day ahead is so beautifully conveyed -‘he had nothing of use to bring’ how desperate – a really strong pared down piece that tells us so much in so few words.

    • I feel sorry for that little boy. Your poem makes me think this is a Monday after a long weekend of drinking and fighting at home. The boy might even think of skipping school. What’s the point of going? He knows he’ll get in trouble from the teacher. Fear tells him, he has to go, because the beating from his dad for skipping would be a lot worse.

    • Anna replied 1 week ago

      We so often have no idea what goes on before kids reach school or adults reach work. A well written and poignant reminder to extend grace to those around us, especially at the moment. Thank you for sharing

    • Well done little little scene of this boy who could represent so many. Thank you.

    • Shae replied 1 week ago

      So poignant and so sad. This is a living reality for many around the world. Thank you.

    • Heartbreaking, Tom – and a far too frequent story. You have managed to capture so many emotions and a young lifetime of heartache in just a few words.

    • I deeply admire and respect the vulnerability displayed in this piece, Tom. It’s remarkable and adds to the honest portrayal of this boy who is obviously adrift and looking for emotional shelter. I also like how the emphasis on daily details like the copybook and the path to school reinforces this rawness. Thank you for sharing this poem with us.

    • Such a sad story, but beautifully told. Unfortunately, this is the case for so many children who are caught in the crossfire of their parents’ struggles. I found the line ‘with a belly full of fear’ particularly impactful. Well done and thanks for sharing!

    • Your images are very vivid. If you wanted to add to it, perhaps the belly could not just be full of fear, but also empty – hungry. Well done.

    • I am a teacher, and this broke my heart. In my career I have seen this child more than once. The setting feels like early 20th century, but it could be any time, any place. You have captured the story so well. My hope is that a compassionate teacher who knows the signs is there to tell him good things. Well done, Tom.

  • Well done, great poem, I wanted to keep on reading. So, can you convert this to a novel,?or at least a short story. I really enjoyed it.

  • Oh a gorgeous sentiment expressed in a magnificent manner. love your descriptions

  • Father and son

    The second time I met my father, he was sober.

    “Oh, you again.” He moaned when he saw me at the door. I nodded waiting for me to invite me in. He didn’t. He was looking down at me from the step […]

    • great relationship story well told through dialogue

    • Very intense story – strong visuals and great storytelling, letting it unfold through the dialogue. Nicely done.

    • intense but a little funny at the end. I liked the storyteller type of narrative. The pace is easy to follow and there is a rhythm that makes it sound like a story told by one person to another. The dialogue was written well and had a natural quality. Well done.

    • So sad for the father, his anger and drinking, not knowing his son was his own all the years missed together, but now given a chance at having and sharing the love of family. Lovely story.

    • Great use of dialogue to tell the story.

  • ‘Stick with it’ my father always shouted from the side-line. He wanted me to do well and would do anything to see me become successful in everything I did. But one evening while playing a match I twisted my left […]

    • Ah but the life of a pro-athletic is often a short one, and the career shorter still. Dream big — get a bionic knee someday and become a super senior athletic (or at least write about it!)

    • Ugh, how awful to have to give up what the heart truly wants. I vote for a bionic knee as well!! Thanks for sharing

    • So sad and disappointing for you. I hope writing about it helped. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    • Hey Thomas, I can relate from the point of view of having a dodgy knee as well (my right one, though.) I was never in any danger of being a successful sportsman, my football was more distinguished by more enthusiasm than any skill. Still, it has been tough to accept the fact that my days of running aimlessly around a huge field, hoofing a ball aimlessly then panting after it, are gone. Do let me know how that bionic knee turns out, I am probably ripe for one. Well done with this and all the other pieces and thanks for the comments and critique. Best regards, Seyi

    • I reckon most men have that couldabeenchampion story. I hope the knee has improved with age. Masters gold medallist? Never too late for a ‘goal’. Thanks for sharing and keep writing up a storm Tom

  • I loved your weird ramble, as i love most of your work, although i did not read them all. Write on friend

  • Love your finale, but really it’s just the beginning with new adventures ahead.
    loved reading your work.

  • Beautifully written and i agree that we all owe Mia big time for accommodating us for all of 70 days. Thank You Mia.

  • The four sisters sat around the cauldron. They believed that they represented the four directions. Sarah was North, and felt she was the coolest of them all. And no-one disagreed, they had seen her freeze many an […]

  • Thanks for a wonderful read, i loved the darkness developing as the story progressed. Well done

  • Love the atmosphere you created, the tension was palpable, and the magic at the end was fab

  • I was anxious today heading off on a new adventure. Well, I didn’t know if it was an adventure, but that’s what the advert said. The job was in sales, and as I waited to be interviewed, I looked at the com […]

    • James replied 1 month ago

      Brilliant! Great last line. I’m not a fan of two semicolons in the same sentence, and often feel they could be new sentences, but that’s the only thing that drew me away for a moment. And It’s personal taste. I could totally relate to the main character. As confident as I might be at some things, get me in an interview room and I’m desperate to leave. Realistic and with a great ending. Well done.

    • Jane replied 1 month ago

      Hi Tom, yes agree with James interviews are really nerve-wracking. I love that nearly backing out of this one snagged the guy a wife and kids:) Meant to be I would say. Nice take on the prompt.

    • Hi Tom,
      I could practically feel his nerves popping from within the screen, through your wonderful descriptive words. He took the right plunge 🙂 The ending was a knocker – loved it. Thank you for a good read.~ Astrid

    • Delightful meet-cute. Your words expressed his anxiety so well, it was as I, as the reader, were waiting to be interviewed.

    • Well, that went well, didn’t it? What a lovely take on the prompt!

    • Seyi replied 1 month ago

      Hey Tom, nice job with this one and as already mentioned, a great take on the prompt. I like the sense of creeping anxiety you show up till the attempted run for it. All the best and regards, Seyi

  • It was a bright sunny morning. The birds were chirping in the trees and the cattle were lowing in the field. She sat, sipping her coffee on the pine two-seater, out on the deck over-looking the farm that had been […]

    • Hello Tom,
      What a lovely story that reads so nostalgic. I like the descriptions and details plus your overall way of storytelling here. Nice take on the prompt at the end also. Well done.

    • Seyi replied 1 month ago

      Eish, Tom that was pretty sad. I like the visuals you opened and closed with and could very easily picture her sitting on her two-seater, then ‘gazing at the pale paste.’ I struggled a little bit with the phrase ‘Cynthia never considered herself attractive and fond of the prospect of having a man in her life…..’ and though I got the message, the sentence may need breaking up. I enjoyed the piece though. Well done and best regards, Seyi

  • Wonderful tension throughout. i hung on every word of this story. well done

  • Beautiful writing. and so romantic. well done

  • Great twist at the end. I look forward to the next installment.

  • Thomas Mullane commented on the post, Butter by Seyi 1 month ago

    This is an amazing story, because you can almost see these things happening. Can we trust what big companies offer us as food. Especially ‘healthy substitutes’. super, well done

  • Great take on the prompt but perhaps too much time spent on the spectacles. however you have great movement in your story, well captured.

  • I* love the way you tell these stories, does it take a long time to construct the spellings. they’re wonderful and funny. Well done.

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