Mandy Willis


I'm surrounded by vibrant colour.
Laughing, cuddling, swaying, smoking, toking, floating youth.
All fresh, with faces radiant, turned in praise towards the stage.
Selfie sticks and mobiles raised.

The searing sun sparkles its approval.
I scuttle beetle like, body craving comfort and shade.
Beats pulsate and match my racing heart as I negotiate 
wristband chips, apps, taps, a bewildering virtual maze.

The music starts, imagination fires and all unite, 
arms aloft, voices chanting, good will emanating out in waves.
An app should be invented to bottle this generation.
To make us share their upbeat, compassionate, environmentally responsible, 
rainbow celebrating, open minded, curious gaze.

For these festival goers have inherited much.
We sway alongside and subliminally say
 "over to you."
"Work hard,
own less, pay more and get on with it".
"You've our earth to save".

Saltwater Shells

Wandering at Pevensey I noticed scattered mussel shells flattened, made smooth by weather and sea.
I picked them up one by one as my mind meandered, brimming.
The nestled grey shells, with their blue arcs   rippled in symmetry.
Their luminescent pearly glimmers reminiscent of promise within.

A few I held tight until they grew warm, so I kept them.
I touch them often when feelings storm.
Their solid presence soothes.
A talisman between past, horizons and me.

They once thrived in the saltwater that makes us, that constitutes our tears.
Clinging resolutely to rocks as they were beaten by current and flood.
Resilient in their clustered groups.
Now crystallised, a condensed ethereal vibration of life and its gyration.

They hold echoes of waves and marching feet.
Their marbled gloss and shimmering depth glimpses, subliminal murmurs.
Proof that as the future tosses all about in its swell, slowly rock, shell and sand evolve.
I'm cocooned in the present, merely a miniscule grain holding tight to my shell.


The moon aligns and my blood starts to boil.
The rusty engine splutters but forgets how to spark.
Instead dread and anxiety ignites
as I sweat, rumble and roar.
Stomach swells as water relocates.
Part drought, part hot lava spores.
Hair sprouts, curls, turns brittle, silver streaked.
Future’s possibility and promise not fecund.
As time races, swirls simultaneously forward and back.

A tipping point.
A defining cliche or wisdom's kiss?
An unnamed land avoided in thought and voice.
As if we all decide ourselves or have a choice.
Expected to just join ‘my kind’
on the side-lines rendered invisible, even blind.

Men constructed to mature like priceless wine.
While we are undermined, pushed into the declining line.
Can we just stay here without needing to pretend?
Ignore plastic solutions, 
judgments about vanquishing wrinkles.
Instead take pride in history's crinkles.
Or do we keep pouring money into the youthful cure?

I say stop the current pressure to all stay young.
Press pause on societal fears of us aging.
We can leave growing children behind, 
embrace our time not build a shrine.
Let's play now.
Our way,
MENO mosso….

Flights, Issue Seven, December 2022