Charlotte L Oakeby


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Tuesday, 12 January 2021

The Elysium of Love

I’m dreaming of the day you will appear,

Lured by the silver on my lily cheeks,

And with a finger blot these blessèd tears,

Which tumble as your tongue so softly speaks.

Struck by Eros and his fervent aim,

Incensèd spirits gloried up above. 

That ardent archer, bright his wingèd flame

Came forth to douse us with his jewelled love.

Time is frozen, locks me in your gaze,

For thine eyes are the ones that hold my own,

And fore’er it shall be this blessèd way,

Eternal sleep with my Endymion. 

O, never leave me! Hold me whilst I cry,

I choose to love you even as I die.


A Keats-inspired sonnet. These words came from my soul. To be published in my chapbook.



Saturday, 9 January 2021

Plans for 2021!

I'm writing this into existence--I'm currently working on a poetry chapbook which I hope to publish at some point in 2021-22. It's the first literary project I've undertaken in a while, but now is the right time. I will update my website with any news.

Love, Charlotte


Sunday, 6 December 2020

things my mother has said to me (Internet Void, October 2020)

things my mother has said to me
published by 'internet void', october 2020

things my mother has said to me, a learner driver, whilst i'm driving:

charlotte don't try and converse with me i'm too frightened

this is the road that girl died on

now would you know what to do if you got stuck behind a combine harvester

turn around i want to go home

linda's volvo fell down that ditch in march 2009

when i learnt to drive my instructor made me do an emergency stop whenever he saw a pretty lady

let's go i actually have lots of things to do at home i'm not making excuses

sees an obstruction 100 metres away charlotte start braking

alright i'll admit i have indeed made a few excuses

travels 22 mph in a 30 zone slow down right now you're not doing the grand prix

my god this was a bad idea



Written a year ago, this is my first piece of published poetry and that fact alone makes me smile. I wrote this quirky list poem as an unserious way of expressing my frustration as a learner driver and the little memories I share with Mother Oakeby, who'd firmly told me I could not submit this anywhere. She was then furious when she found out about this publication. I somehow managed to hide it from her for a month. 

My style of writing poetry has changed drastically since this piece, so now I look back fondly on the Charlotte of the past; the Charlotte who had not yet discovered the Romantics! As always, thank you to Internet Void for publishing my work! You can read it in their journal by clicking here.


Thursday, 3 December 2020

Heaven Lost

A heaven lost and now we fall.

Far better days than in that place,

For what we lost was no heaven at all.

How can it be, Jove's tragic call,

A soft descent and sweet disgrace?

A heaven lost and now we fall.

Our life-sworn love now twisted drawl.

Hell's searing flames will kiss and grace

For what we lost was no heaven at all.

The nether's dusk does me enthral.

Oh, how it burns, our scorchèd trace!

A heaven lost and now we fall.

The string that binds us, devils pull.

We plummet down towards their base

For what we lost was no heaven at all.

Far from the days of cruel love's thrall,

We hurtle through this tempting space.

A heaven lost and now we fall,

For what we lost was no heaven at all.


Composed in a few hours, and inspired by Milton's Paradise Lost and the concept of the Fortunate Fall as discussed by literary critics such as Arthur Lovejoy, this villanelle embodies the pains of human nature and what it means to lose what was once loved. It explores the tragic partings of those, despite their heavenly love, are not destined to be in their own Eden. Is this predetermined? Or can they overcome their course to hell? My confusion, derived from very relevant and personal experience, is demonstrated in the poem.


Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Take a Bow: Now Published in The Woven Tale Press (NY)

My piece of short fiction titled 'Take a Bow' is published in The Woven Tale Press' Vol. VIII #3 edition. Register and read today by clicking this link

This piece was a delight to write. It's a blend of dry humour, feistiness and feminist stoicism, with a female protagonist who rejects a lifestyle of self-effacement. I hope you can enjoy it as much as I did writing it. 



Saturday, 18 January 2020

Capsule Stories 2019 Edition Publication: 'There's Lipstick on Your Collar'

'There's Lipstick on Your Collar' is now published in Capsule Stories' Frozen in Time Winter 2019 Edition! Print copies can be purchased from Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

This piece will always have a very special place in my heart, so I am forever grateful that it is in print for others to enjoy.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Publication Announcement: Take a Bow

Exciting news! My piece of short fiction, 'Take a Bow' has been selected for publication by The Woven Tale Press, (Long Island, New York).

Monday, 9 September 2019

LiveWriteThrive Publication: Five Submission Tips from an Editorial Reader

Based on my experience reading for the award-winning literary magazine based in Florida, 805Lit, I
decided to share some of my submission tips with other writers. I am constantly sending out cover letter after cover letter--it's a draining process, and it would be selfish to keep my new-found submission secrets under lock and key!

A huge thank you to C S Laskin (Susanne) for publishing my work.

Read my article here on LiveWriteThrive.

Friday, 6 September 2019

There's Lipstick on Your Collar

Published in The Haloscope Review, September 2019
Charlotte, North Carolina

‘There's lipstick on your collar,’ I’d told you. 
Do you remember? Of course you do. 
I’d cleaned the whole house that day – just for you. I’d scrubbed the kitchen floor until my knuckles were red raw and bitter fumes of bleach stung the back of my throat. I’d ironed your ties, hung them back up on their silver hooks and polished your leather loafers. An Argentinian steak sat on the table, drizzled with béarnaise sauce, ready and waiting to be devoured. I’d hoped I did enough to please you.
‘Is there?’ you’d replied, the tone of your voice gradually escalating. E, F-sharp, A-flat.
‘Don’t worry,’ I’d said, forcing a soft smile onto my lips. ‘I’ll put it in the wash.’ I saw your shoulders fall with the relief of knowing you’d gotten away with it -- or so you thought. You unbuttoned your shirt, exposing the walnut-coloured skin of your chest and the thick, dark hair that covered it, reminding me of your Turkish heritage if you ever did forget to mention it.
Once you handed over that dirtied shirt, I sat cross-legged on the bathroom floor and studied it carefully. I didn’t doubt for one second that the offending stain had belonged to another woman’s lips only a few hours before. It was a deep red. The colour of roses and romance. Blood and betrayal. Was it Chanel’s Rouge Irrésistible? Or, perhaps it was Dior’s Désir? I couldn’t tell. Either way, it was a pretty shade. I could picture myself wearing it. If I gave you some hints, would you buy it for me as a birthday present?
‘That wasn’t lipstick on my collar,’ you’d responded. ‘Don’t worry, my darling. Your eyes are deceiving you! It’s just a food stain or some pen marker. Don’t be silly now.’
I nodded vigorously and said, ‘Of course! I was just kidding.’ I giggled, jabbing your arm playfully and glancing into the pupils of your chocolate eyes – I loved how they flickered with passion. Or was it panic?
I’d been alert for months, searching for more clues, my radars fully-functioning. I had known for a while, of course. Your golfing weekends away with people I’d never met before and receipts of room service in expensive hotels told me all I needed to know. A cup of black coffee – times two; a fruit platter – to share.
You’d arrive home at quarter-past eight every evening, swing your tailored jacket over the banister and toss your keys on the table. And that was my cue. In I came, enter stage left, an apron tied around my waist and ready to nestle in your arms like the perfect housewife you knew me to be. Then, I’d recite my lines: How was your day? I missed you lots. Dinner’s waiting on the table. I’d inhale deeply – was that perfume I smelled? Did you notice? Or, did you just think I couldn’t bear to leave the comfort of your embrace?
I could remember the first moment we met as if I were still living and breathing it. ‘Come over here and meet my work colleague, Dominic,’ said the person who’d taken it upon themselves to play Cupid that night. ‘It’s good to meet you,’ you replied, placing a wet kiss on my powdered cheek. I’d seen you repeat the same routine countless times that night to every woman present: wide smile, eyes locked, hand offered, lips pouted and gently placed on cheek. You knew exactly what you were doing, and so did I. Yet there I was, held in your palm like some sort of doll– your doll.
‘I’ve got to leave in five minutes, but first, I’ll grab my coat and also your phone number,’you’d announced at the end of the night, with so much confidence it made my heart flutter. The hours I’d spent painting my face with make-up and trying on low-cut dresses were worthwhile. I’d impressed you. 
I received some strange looks from the other guests once I’d spoken to you, but I put it down to jealousy. Everyone wanted Dominic, the most handsome Turk in London. But now, I understand what they really meant. They were looks of sympathy, or warning perhaps – fleeting moments of despair that signified another woman had succumbed to the charms of somebody others had learnt to be wary of. My obliviousness proved to be my first mistake.
Stop. Don’t fall for him. Look what he’ll do to you, I’d tell myself. So what? my internal voice would retort. I had already fallen for you, Dominic, and it was too late to catch myself. Everything was perfect – from our beautiful townhouse in Knightsbridge, with its wrought iron fences and buckets of white roses sitting on its marble steps, to your handwritten love letters that I bundled up and tied with red ribbon. I was beyond besotted.
Do you remember the argument we had after Jane and Peter’s wedding? About you flirting with that tattooed waitress – the one who seemed to be glued to your hip the whole evening, always ready with a tray of fresh cocktails and a pout on her silicone lips? You slapped me around the cheek. 
‘It’s a shame I had to do that, my sweetheart,’ you told me the next morning, over steaming coffee and fresh pastries. ‘You must be severely insecure to accuse me of something like that. I had to slap some sense into you.’
Then, I knew. I knew what those strangers had been trying to tell me.
You believe I can cope with it, the lipstick on your collar. All I have to do is sit pretty and do nothing – I’ll leave all the doing to you. I’ll forget I ever saw a thing. 
Or so you think.


Thursday, 22 August 2019

'The Clocks Are Still Ticking': Locations of Print Copies

Print copies of my latest article, The Clocks Are Still Ticking, can be found at the following locations:

The Hawth Theatre, Crawley
Borde Hill Gardens
Clair Hall, Haywards Heath
Burgess Hill Theatre
Mabel's Emporium

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