smoke and mirrors – Charley Barnes

Dr Charley Barnes is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Wolverhampton. She is the author of solo and co-authored pamphlets, one full length collection, titled Lore: Flowers, Folklore, and Footnotes, and she has published several novels under the name Charlotte Barnes. Her Twitter and Instagram handle is @charleyblogs. 

Diversion tactics – Charley Barnes

Diversion tactics

I dry my hair, dress myself, paint my nails –
start again. I strip my nails back to the base colour and re-paint them
a slightly different shade. I’m a better person when I’m busy.

I cure the nail varnish for eight minutes longer than necessary;
under the UV light I inspect the creases
of my knuckles for crumbs.

After this I will work for ten hours before I go home,
have a bath, read a book, go to bed, go to sleep,
on an empty stomach.


Charley Barnes is a Worcester-based writer who has recently gained her Doctorate in Creative Writing. Charley’s short story collection, The Women You Were Warned About, was published in May 2017, and her debut poetry pamphlet, A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache, has just been published by V. Press.