Mike Huett


 How to make you fit on the page, 
without losing more of you,
I have so little left
There’s snatches of your voice,
alongside dotted memories
That time, stoned, we went 
for a meal to celebrate, 
I told you my result 
You raised one eyebrow: 
Came second, then?
I got a 2:1
Sounds like you came second
Pretensions laughed away, 
between mouthfuls of naan-
bread, and hot Ruby Murray 
Remember those words, 
you once asked me to edit, 
that time you wrote of your life
(on a borrowed word processor)
how dad drove you to 
the landlord’s house,
telling you to wait in the car,
before he beat fuck out of 
the guy, with a hammer
You were worried about
spelling, and grammar
No, of course you don’t 
You are not here, and I am 
cack-handedly trying to 
pare words away, without 
paring you away
And I’m failing to make you 
fit on the page, as you should,
for the metric is all wrong 
You were my big brother 
And the page, is a small place

The Joy of Pain

Misreading the TV Guide
I’m confused by The Joy of Pain;
Bob Ross has branched out
a bit, those happy little trees
There he is, deftly touching up
this or that 
It’s not painful to watch
My mind wanders through 
a different forest, where 
genealogists draw trees
showing who fucked who;
getting wood, as the Americans 
say, whilst over here, make hay
Bring out your stories of the dead
Pile them outside in the light
Or, parade them up and down,
creating memories in little chunks,
like tofu, drained on kitchen paper;
cut up, prepared, ready for the heat
Hoping to go crispy on the outside,
still fluffy, soft, beneath
My mind wanders on coloured paths
White paint red paint
It’s the late sixties, on a London street
One house attacked in the early hours
A pot of white paint smashes 
the front room window in
- no lid of course -
followed swiftly by a second tin;
red paint takes out a back window
The first got nobody, but a drunken 
Irish fella asleep in the chair,
got drenched in red, an alarming 
sight; net curtains saved him
from the worst of the shards
Mum blamed dad, reckoning he’d 
paid others to do a ‘revenge job’
It could have been, I suppose
Or, perhaps the neighbours
objected to Irish people
At infant school, some weeks later, 
I’m no longer allowed to paint 
because I persisted,  
smashing the brush hard
on the paper; the bristle marks 
as animal tracks,
red paint white paint
It’s not painting, apparently
White paint red paint,
Bob Ross would have mixed
those colours, bringing scenes 
of beauty, with happy little trees


I explore my past; it explores me too
It’s an uneasy dialectic, like a comedy duo 
where neither wants to be the straight-man, 
killing the act
I’m trying to develop an ethical approach; 
my past doesn’t give a fuck
I hope to be honest, even transparent;
the past really couldn’t give a shit 
I worry about trigger warnings, informed 
consent, how crafting words is a 
political act
“Here, take this,” says my past, 
“ you have this now.” 
It dumps a scene down on the table, 
perhaps of a little me cowering, or a  
silent movie; kids sat at desks,
or washing, scrubbing, polishing
Now, it’s always now, with the past;
as paradoxical as that sounds, and 
there’s never a warning
The past lights blue touch-paper, then 
sits waiting for an unwary present
Afterwards, I scrape up my nerves, 
attend burn wounds, and lingering hurts
I’m left to start again; a choice of sorts 
I choose hindsight, but as we know, 
hindsight is always the last to show

Flights, Issue Eight, March 2023