Saturday, 24 September 2011


You cannot document madness
until you yourself
have become mad,
but by then maybe it's
too late.

Imagine Nietzsche,
his brain out of breath.
Imagine Plath or Hemingway
on the bony knee of death.

Some people aren't mad,
but still there's a disconnect,
something clicked - or maybe it's
a form of genius.

See Hunter S. Thompson
or Cobain, a fine spattering
of blood and brain.

Shall we ride the madness train?
If you get on, there'll be no alighting:
you'll be frothing, fuming, rocking
and maybe, all the while, quietly writing.

The Dead

Some people never smile -
they are like horses,
only far less

They bitch and they moan,
and they sulk,
and they take the piss,
laughing from green
distended lips.

Some people never smile -
only at the misfortune of others.
They cry at the thought
of the dead and suffering in Calcutta,
but they spit in the faces
of their sisters and brothers.

They give not a nod
of exception,
nor a wink
of understanding,
but rather a snarl, hidden
in the corner of a smile.

They consummate
in the act of hate,
by honour they're beguiled:
they are the dead
of a million
golden, gleaming

Friday, 23 September 2011

A Consummation

It was after dinner.
We, in her large and open flat.
'How are you feeling?' she said.
'Fine,' I said.
'Sure?' she replied.
'Yes,' I smiled, and I kissed her gently
on the lips.

A voice somewhere inside of me
cracked my nerves, 
and I carried her small, sweet frame
to the bed.

With no thought of proceedings,
her eyes, small twitching nose, thin lips,
two rows of perfect slanted teeth,
calling, but hands communicating
a gentle intent,
I unclothed her, slippered her shoes
from her feet,
lead her upwards to the throne,
sacrificed her flickering innocence
to the god of love.

An Imprint

You only know
an imprint of me:
a whisper
or a harsh word.
I caress like the sea,
I've all the madness of the Sun.
The anger in me
peels like a rune,
as the Moon,
a stranger on the run.

You only know a side of me;
less like a coin,
more a regular solid.
A platonic shape,
with shades and grooves.
I'm birdsong, and yet squalid,
a rushing wave,
the invisible crest of a ripple,
a seamless green glade,
the nut of a lover's nipple.

I float with tiny levity,
am drawn by such harsh gravity;
the trees and sky call to me,
the buildings and roads call to me
in a fell and whisperous malady.
I lend my ears,
give my tongue,
I'm standing on a lower rung.
I'm torn between sung and unsung.
I'm on the rack. At the front, at
the back. In the light. In the
gloom. In a room.

I am borrowed,
I am loud, I am
madness, I am
peace. I am a white and
naive beast, a soft and jagged
fleece. I am a smile and a star
winking hot and cooling fast.
You only know an imprint,
a side of me, a thumbprint
with a fractured edge, broken
in touch, or lack of it.
Everything resides in me:
the brakes and the alacrity.

P.S. I don't know what the fuck this is: it kinda got a bit out of hand! But I hope you like it nevertheless.


Our bones connect us
in a chalky prayer, the marrow
hands held upwards to the font.

You see a dog.
Behind its canine exterior,
a small curved skull with teeth,
a tail, several bones in succession.

A small puppy, ears
folded over, dog-eared, lolling,
its small feet soft and
coiled tail bouncing,
and underneath
a faint white shadow of bone.

You see a child,
not yet quite skeletal,
more embryonic in form:
you couldn’t imagine a skull
behind such small and perfect eyes.

And yet we calcify.
Just like dinosaurs of old.
We are the dog’s dinner,
and the dog’s dinner
is not so bad.

We will sleep an eternal
sleep. Weep the weeping
of eternal and unfinished dreaming.
We are connected through
the chalk of our bones, and we 
rub off on one another,
a white sea unseeming.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Pool Pickup

for Chris Peckett

I was splishing and splashing at the shallow end;
sploshing and splashing, wanting a friend.
Swimsuit-clad women doing eager lengths,
whilst I crouched in the corner panting for breath.
On the tail-end of a length a girl came my way,
a brunette siren – I’d need something to say.
I saw a face coming closer, hands parting water,
then she rose, making ripples,
and her breasts made me falter.
(Her boobs were more like floating devices –
like buoys out at sea preventing a crisis.)
She came to the end, eager to go.
I longed to grab hold so she’d take me in tow.
But what to say? Hello, love,
they say we’re different strokes,
but let me give ‘em a feel – show me the ropes.
Or come here often? Fancy havin’ a swim?
There were many things to be said on a watery whim.
But all that came out was a weak wheezy ‘whaaaaa....’
It’s safe to say my pool pickup failed.
She left me behind on the jetty of fate
and made for the deep end, my sensuous mate.
I did one more length and recoiled in cramp.
Fuck it, I thought, I’m going home for a wank.

Food for Thought

I once met a man with a Cumberland sausage
who liked a lady with Yorkshire puddings.
She had a friend who was a right Lancashire Hotpot.
This friend fancied a man with Brighton rock
(although his packet of butter had become a soft block).
He pined after a man from Eccles
who had a flaky face and freckles.
This man had a friend who used food-related language,
but for whose sake? He loved the Earl of Sandwich.

‘A trip to see the Earl’s Grave?’ he’d say.
‘That’d be Kendle Mint Cake!’
This man’s friend’s lover was called Patsy,
Cornish by birth –
apparently she liked hers with extra girth.
Her friend, Eclaire, had chocolate hair
and she’d always make a mess –
cake, ice-cream, Snickers: 
she stained her school prom dress.
She danced at this prom with a boy from Stains
(the food references stop here, I’m afraid).

This boy’s older brother was giving the shaft
to an Oxbridge girl, her bony knees like a calf's.
A political prodigy, the Coalition picked her up.
An awful mission, she did nothing but stress;
she thought, What’s the point? What the fuck?
I tell you, this country's a right bloody Eton Mess.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Holocene (villanelle)

Somewhere, on the moor, the river fills.
The river turns, the river breaks,
The river runs the ragged hills.

The river’s wild, but the moor is still.
The forked sky heaves and shakes.
Somewhere, on the moor, the river fills.

The river seeks to quietly kill;
The watershed is peaked and quakes,
The river runs the ragged hills.

The tors are swallowed, the river wills
to flood the reservoirs and lakes.
Somewhere, on the moor, the river fills.

Lightning and convulsion, the clouds distil
their heavy load, the ice to take.
The river runs the ragged hills.

The river has the land to till;
The river turns, the river breaks.
Somewhere, on the moor, the river fills.
The river runs the ragged hills.

For Les

Fancy having a granddad who died
ten years before you were born:
was he still a granddad
if I never knew him?

Fancy having a granddad
whom was a football whizz:
would I be different
for his being alive?

He just fizzled out
like empty wine -
a eucharist
for no one's tongue.

Despite all this,
I sometimes fancy
I can hear him
whispering down from heaven.

He held my elder sister,
though he never held me,
but sometimes I can feel
a soft hand on my shoulder,
a firm hand cradling mine,
my granddad’s voice
whispering Les,
echoing along my spine.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Whole of Me

If you really love someone
you must let them go:
they settle beautifully,
but fade as snow.
Impressions last,
love lasts,
peace comes fast,
but life fades.
If you really love them,
tend their grave;
walk them home,
even when they're not there.
See them descend
the eternal stair.
Take their hand,
go in stride,
but let them go,
equal in tow,
a narrow boat
taken by the hands
of the tide.


his suffering is my suffering.
he takes the blows with relish,
looks to his foes
for peace.

his suffering is your suffering.
his gaze gentle,
his compassion vast.
grace is a soft rock
borne in a perfect cast.

our suffering is his suffering.
the to suffer, the
have suffered,
children playing games,
the strong and the lame,
the fickle, short-lived pain.
we do not suffer

the vagabonds, the nomads,
single men
living in vans,
furnished cars beneath stars,
widowers, Mongolian sands....

we do not

Life Favour

Maybe I'm saying all this
not because I'm full,
but because I'm desperate
not to feel

We are souls with lips
connected in kiss,
our words
harp notes -
discordant at times.

Communicate, don't alienate;
come together,
brace the weather.
Take my hand -
lead the way.


I saw two angels
kissing on the corner,
lipping each other
in an all-consuming ritual.

The old,
the ones whom missed the war
but saw the bombs,
think passion is dead,
but passion still exists.

It dwells beneath
on dark street corners,
in the mouths of the young.

Violence is dead
and the world is perfect
whilst these seraphims
kiss, spittle and hungry will
on their lips.

Their mouths seek
the fruit of love;
their hands seek
the gods of sensation,
to feel, to hold
to shake the opprobrium
of the lost love of old.


Morning breaks grey
upon the ocean
of the horizon,

Sun spills its way
over the land,

climbing up the sides
of the Earth

like a hamster
in a wheel.

God bless the Sun.

How unfortunate
it gets to watch us perish.

But, my God,
what golden calves to cherish.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Come celebrate with my family,
and I'll celebrate with yours.
We'll tell of how we crawled
to light
from rabid shores;
seething seas of teeth,
to deserts and oases.

Come dance the eternal dance,
come laugh with your aunts.
Love is easy here -
love is everywhere.
We are one and the same:
we play the fighting game,
we love hard through the pain.

We cling like creepers
to the house,
the house of humanity -
how we defy gravity,
and then land with a bump.
We're knocked about
by love.

Come celebrate with my family -
you're a sister I never met,
a brother I never knew,
caught in a different net,
a lover love chewed;
a blanket or a cover,
the desperate warmth of the moon.

Peel your lips,
lift your hands,
give palmer's kiss,
sophist's bliss,
and we'll celebrate.


for Chris and Holly - and Kayleigh

I follow a trail
of broken heels
and torn stockings
to find you,
my right cheek
red raw;
my love
blistering with pain.

To hold you violently,
kiss you deeply,
impart to you
the utter delight and despair
you work
as you pluck me up,
move me about the land.

We dance clumsily,
hold each other up
by our haunches,
drink until drinking’s done,
fight our way into our bed,
sleep till wakeful-spun,
run when waiting comes,
sing the chorus
of our blazing love.

I’ve trudged through pits of cigarette ash;
swum through endless oceans of vodka;
juggled the hot coals of your eyes;
been pierced by your temperament,
your slings and arrows ever sharper,
ever more the narrow.
I’ve breathed the thickest smoke,
sweeter than alpine air,
and I’ve throttled despair.

I follow a trail
of broken heels
and torn stockings,
palm your small feet
like wax pears,
kiss your hair,
show you what I cannot say,
gesture my words away.

We clash like sea and headland,
crumble to the deepest depths
of the bluest love.


Those others –
they’re not you.
You see me in a different light
because I am illuminated.
I am a fool –
I froth and spill,
my vessel a drunkard’s tankard,
but I would chisel away at myself,
pick my bones clean,
revealing whatever’s left.

You could take it or leave it,
leave me barren,
shivering cold on plutonian shore,
in Arctic waste,
but I know you’d capitalise,
come back for more –
not enough to taste.

You could sculpt me,
pulp me,
I’m formless
except for my desire,
my body a hull
haunted by joy
and an animism
urging me on
to climb higher and higher
and carry you with me.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Love is a Wild and Raging River

My love for you is such
that if you were to ask me to freeze
in the perspective of eternity,
I would bound ahead,
crashing through frozen waves
and golden sun,
because my love knows no bounds.

An idyll must be held up,
thrust up to the gods;
an idyll cannot survive on mere breath –
it needs Ambrosia,
lungs like kilns,
arms strong enough
to cling to the clouds.

My love for you is such
that I cannot say for certain
whether our love is certain:
a good thing must change;
all things die.
Only illusion can sustain
such a feeble thing
and feed it as it clings -
it soaring on the wing.

My love for you is such
that I would stake my sanity
on madness:
I would hedge all my bets
on gladness.
I would delude myself,
give myself away.
I would lose myself
and seek the way.

An idyll must be held up
against all odds;
an idyll can never escape death –
it meets its closure
in the mirror;
it will crumble with grace,
feed the winds of change,
run, as a wild and raging river.