Thomas McColl lives in London, and has had poems and short stories published in magazines such as Envoi, Iota, Rising, Bare Fiction, The Next Review, International Times and Ink, Sweat and Tears, and in anthologies by Hearing Eye, Eyewear Publishing, Shoestring Press and Smoke: A London Peculiar. His first full collection of poetry is out now with Listen Softly London Press: http://listensoftlylondon.bigcartel.com/product/being-with-me-will-help-you-learn-by-thomas-mccoll He performs his poetry regularly, with recent appearances at Oxjam, Girlfriend in a Comma, the Poetry Brothel, Celine's Salon, She Grrrowls and South East London Art Rooms. The University of Westminster recently published an essay about his two decades on the small press scene as part of their Contemporary Small Press Project: https://thecontemporarysmallpress.com/2016/06/15/two-decades-in-the-small-press-scene/
UNCLE PHIL I was throwing darts at the dartboard pinned to a wardrobe at my Uncle Phil's. Uncle Phil came in. He wasn't really my uncle, but then he wasn't really a dartboard either, and when he said I just need to get something from the wardrobe, and had his back to me as he opened the wardrobe door, I threw the dart. How he yowled as I hit the bullseye right between the shoulder blades. I was five, and I've never felt so alive before or since as when I heard that dull thud and saw my mum's friend – my fake uncle – wince. THE CHALK FAIRY Each night I traipse the streets of London, drawing chalk lines round homeless people sleeping rough. I’ve found that, even in the early hours of Christmas Day, there’s no shortage of bodies to draw my outlines round: London’s one big crime scene every single day of the year. S There was a young man, totally obsessed, who loved the letter S. He was an S terrorist – sent chain letters through the post. One hundred Ss, complete with message which said: “Add one more S and send it on - or else.” He wrote a book called S (The word count exactly one hundred thousand Ss), sent it out, and nine months later was accepted by the young head of a publishing house who had a fetish for the letter S. They eventually married – It was all S and no love, but that for them both was enough.
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