Before our births, void of choice, we became part of the story,
During our lives, with a choice, we can't escape the story,
After death, abandoned choice, the story continues to seep.
- Andrew Mansell

Category: Moments

poems, quotes, short shorts

Great Gran’s Tiny Apartment


photo by Dave Davies

Concrete chills the warmth of blood,
Power’s gone from room of pale,
Crunched envelopes, letterbox flood,
Survival noted in her life of mail.
My parents used to force us here,
Mothballs, no second floor outlet,
Without craving, our hunger fear,
Pecking at every burnt pikelet.
Her holey undies swayed the bar,
Jabbed my sister’s endless giggle,
Mum screeched, ‘You go too far!’
Below the crust our grins did wiggle.
Bold writing, has all been sold?
Mould clings to her belongings,
I carry out the frying pan cold,
Stored in our being, memory rings.
Andrew Mansell, April 2011.
*My daughters had their first go at cooking pikelets. Once they had a batch cooked, they layered jam and ice-cream on the pikelets and concentrated on eating, leaving the next batch of pikelets in the frying pan too long and burning them. Come to think of it, I did the same. The smell of burnt pikelets triggered my memory of Great Gran and her tiny apartment, hence the poem.

Inflicted Imagination

Photo by Allyson

I used to believe in Father Christmas
until mum left my present under her bed.
I used to believe in the Easter Bunny
until I saw dad hiding chocolate eggs in the garden.
I used to believe in the tooth fairy
until I found my tooth in the bin.
I used to believe in magic
until Grandpa dropped the coin that had just disappeared.
I used to believe in UFOs
until a farmer was caught mowing rings.
I used to believe in ghosts
until they all became familiar.
I used to believe in God
until I found out there was more than one.
I used to believe in peace
until I repeatedly witnessed hypocrisy.
I used to believe my children would be different
but I just helped place a stamp on a letter to Father Christmas.

Andrew Mansell, December 2010.

I was thinking about a young boy living somewhere in the wilderness. His life revolved around helping his family survive. He had no books, television or access to the internet. I wondered what he would dream about. Would he have nightmares? Would his family pass down spoken stories? I’m left to ponder an imagination with no infliction.


I may be rich
I may be poor
I may be sober
I may be on the floor

I may be educated
I may be a dropout
I may be thin
I may be filled out

I may be stylish
I may be carefree
I may be at home
I may be at sea

I may be religious
I may be atheist
I may be passive
I may be a beast

I may be hungry
I may be a bloated
I may be sunken
I may be floated

I may be judged
I may be hidden
I may be strong
I may be bed ridden

I may be excited
I may be sad
I may be a stayer
I may be a fad

I may be like you
You may not be like me
I may agree
You may disagree.

Andrew Mansell, December 2010.

In Reverse

Photo by Mitch Hemming

Dad with control turns the key,
Wriggle my way, I need to see,
On his bony knees able to steer,
Pushed away as I try to gear.
Dad’s eternity business trip,
Mum in need of a pokie hit,
Relentless mates break my resolve,
Into the garage smirks evolve.
Out of control, I turn the key clean,
Heart thumping like the V8 machine,
Cheers and jeers the reversing light,
Felled the letterbox, stricken with fright.
Endless numbing lessons later,
Mostly on the accelerator,
Celebration, passed the test,
Greet the tar, pigeoned chest.
Breeze streaming my teenage hair,
The power to go anywhere,
Dad says be careful, so does mum,
At last my desire,  I succumb,
Off to party, country air bellows,
Trees reach through open windows,
Yellow signs become a blur,
Gravel road conks the engine purr.
Awoke, broken black and blue,
Shattered by my dreams untrue,
On my plaster cast mates scribble,
Driving too fast and other dribble.
Meekly into the garage now,
My little son steers, I allow,
Be careful I say, ingrained fear,
Don’t you dare touch the gear.

Andrew Mansell, November 2010


The best stories are not always true; they are believed. In fiction there are truths and in non-fiction there are untruths.

Andrew Mansell, November 2010.