Urban Birdsong

Urban Birdsong cover, 2009Dave’s second book was a short story, prose and poetry collection. Published in May 2010 by Ponty Press the short story ‘Onions’ won a runner-up award in the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition.

Judges adjudication:

‘…the world of Onions is an enclosed one; specifically, a valleys curry-house at a weekend, in which we witness the clash of several disparate cultures, all of which the writer powerfully evokes with the briefest of sketches. The epiphanic moment at the story’s close is expertly done: the headlights of a passing car beam into the restaurant, and ‘the people were lit up, momentarily, clear as diamonds [and] Mohammed could see for the first time in his life’. A remarkably controlled piece of work.’

Judges: Niall Griffiths & Stevie Davies

This book can be purchased as a paperback direct from the author or as an e-book for Amazon kindle.

Sample work:

Pipe Dreams

…incongruous car




shiny-red, carwash-clean


not the usual

sharp edges


not stolen, like glances

not abandoned, like puppies

not torched, like memories

not peeling, like marriage

not rusting, like opportunity

not dumped, like dreams

not burnt out, well…


his coat was left on a rock

overlooking the industrial estate

while drinkers and drivers

leave the Rose and Crown

past farms

and blissful sheep


his purple face

his bloated tongue

the hosepipe and

the kitchen knife and

the stomach wounds and

the shiny-red, blood


he stares like buzzards

catching hot air

from the engine

as the coppers

let the fumes out


they joke about it

concerned as cows

“What a waste

of leather seats, ha ha”

before they drive home

to tea with the wife


“Good day luv’?”


“Aye, usual.”


consider this forest closing her arms around you,


ejaculating dew-dawn soaked orchids, strangled by red and blue macaws

in their paradise plumage and kaolin soaked beaks, and squawks



in midnight glazed rainfall, spurting bat flocks to blue moon, citrus stains

henna-hard rock high above as a river rage passion fruit film plays on (call it water fall)

who longed for the forest to feel;

to reveal a brief clearing,

for jaguars and otters,

and a trillion lustrous insects,

canny kingfishers,

some snakes,

a lost golden king – perhaps?


the forest could annually bloom; fresh monkeys, and lizards, and spiders,

and tapirs, and rats the size of wheelbarrows?

and the trees stay muffled with soft moss

and perfume – never slate bare

of environmental concerns

and perhaps,

the forest will gestate with poison arrow frogs and haemorrhagic diseases

and be safe from dieticians and drug dealers and soldiers and miners and

loggers and prospectors and rapists…

and will consider closing her arms around herself,


Castles in the Sand

Jet-black. Writhing. Alive. Coiling heavy. Poison poised hood.

The sight of the cobra drew me in. I had to move closer. Closer to pain. Closer to death. As close as we could possibly be.

The ladder-thin Arab danced around us with a water snake dangling in his hand.

‘Will it hurt us daddy?’

The luminous yellow wristband shone in the February sun – a symbol of captivity. A sign for the others. Belonging. His hair was matted to his head, bubbly blisters burst out on his bald patch. Soaked with sweat, he still craved more of the ebbing rays. And more whisky, local stuff, rough as a sandstorm, cheap as chips. The waiter thought his wife was fat.

There was a stench of sweaty drum skins and people passing by. We were closer now. Drawn in. To the dry scales. Hard and heavy on the sandy floor. Music filled the air – a claustrophobic sound, jingle jangles everywhere. A buzzing white noise.

The piper sat silent, swaying slightly in cream linen, with red buttons on his cotton hat. Time was running out for us. In a few days it would be all over. All gone. Over.

The snow capped peaks, distant and magnificent, framed our final scene.

‘The snake is coming closer daddy?’

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One thought on “Urban Birdsong

  1. Awesome book. Very good stories, loved the one about your friend that died, very sad but also very moving. A real find!!

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