Monday, 15 December 2014

Mrs P.

Now even
the most mundane
of tasks
are a muddle for her:

she chews her oral pills,
she's incapable
of using the kettle,
and now the commode
is seeing use.

Soon, she will be
unable to live on her own.
A life will come to an end,
a new existence shall start
as her daughters

put her in a home.
They will shed a tear
and remember their mother
as she 'used' to be -
as she will never be again.

And Mrs P, she
will maybe cry,
and maybe throw some
mean words, keen punches;
or she will try.

But soon it will be better,
as she looks out
on a perfect morning,
a birdsong afternoon,
the visage something entirely

alien to her, as she
lives her past in the present,
projects the present
into the future,
and her days all haze 

into one.

Sunday, 14 December 2014


Some people
are like goldfish:

they only swim
in one direction,

their brains mute
to possibility.

At the end,
maybe they realise.

But by then
it's too late

and then they die.

Paper Heart (Poem for My Future Wife)

It's only been
eight months,
and already
I know we will spend
the longest time together:

maybe not forever -
and I mean eternity -
but maybe long enough
to keep liking one another,
and raise a family.

Only eight months,
and already
count the times
your paper heart
has crisped with my touch -

gone 'crispy', you say,
in your foreign way.
And see how
our bed is now
a bed of cinders,

and not a love nest.
The girls before,
I would have written
sonnets for them,
waxed lyrical how I adored

them, my adoration
reaching out to them
like the two arms
of the shore.
But now I have more,

much more - and
it's real. So soon,
we will be married,
and not so soon.
And every thing will

be carried, every coin
tallied, between the
two of us. And
we will move through time
like smooth stones

through water, and
maybe one day
we'll become the stream.
But until then, my darling,
rest - dream.

Friday, 12 December 2014


Every moment
is an epiphany.

The pen can be a razor
or a torch:

you could be #Collins
or #Bukowski -

every moment

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Art of Capture

First, you most be open
and alert as 
a fox,

recognising the right moment 
when you come upon it.

You must act quickly.

Next, you draw your camera,
aim it lightly as
a paw placed upon the ground.

And in a sudden spasm of
awe and terror, you must
force the shutter:

click! click! click!

You have captured the moment
like the jaws of a fox
around a chicken's neck:

no need to shake it,
no need
to break it.

The tender press
of a hunter, the gentle
surrender of prey.

Never has murder
been so perfect.

But move on, go!

You must act quickly.

Some Home Truths

If you think
the universe was
made for you, then
let me offer you
some home truths:

the carrying capacity
of this planet
is 1.5 billion -
the only reason
we are here
is because of oil.

So the next time
you invoke God,
and remark how he toiled,
for seven days,
count the million ways
you are lucky even to breathe.

We've overcome disease,
we've overcome the soil,
the only thing we haven't overcome
is ourselves, our stupidity
a massive black balloon,
so beautiful in the sky
until it climbs too high.

You could say, O! if it were white!
Yeah, guy: like some Romantic fable
will put us at the table,
instead of staring at the grave.

Poetry cannot save the world,
but it can save you from yourself.
And maybe you'll save something much 

dearer, once you realise

you never held the dies.

Because Earth is not a gambling table,
nor is it even a cradle:

no metaphors can out-metaphor
the stupid luck of your even being.
So when you're ready to start seeing,
stop burning the oil: burn down the doors.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


It's amazing how two things can blur:
you take a brain and a drink
and everything slurs.

You take a century and a century,
and they just glide into each other,
future to past, past to future,
edgelessly, and seamlessly.

You see a plane in the sky
and close one eye, close both,
hold it, then open them: see anew 
how a baby would see
at four months,

or the the brightness
of a balloon
when you were two.

You take a body and a body
or two hearts, and soon
it's impossible to see
where one ends,
another starts.

You take two hands, pressing
but they stay firm:
they don't melt into each other
like chocolate, or
dissolve like dirt.

But in spirit,
they press through
each other,
like water, like air,

and yet they grip firmly,
always holding
each other there.


The sky
is a white noise of birds,
bubbling over with starlings

their wings flitting with
the tiniest change in
a single bird's position.

They pop in and out
like particles in the void,
they murmurate in a murmuration

speaking the voice of the wind
as it mutters gently
and unintelligibly

in the fraught
cold winter sky.

The Ending (the Never Returning)

The vultures are wheeling in the sky,
carrion before they carnivore
the carrion they adore.

And the tree branches are curling
in and around fingers, long before the
grasping, long before.

And the sky is unrolling
like a sheet of lead, and everything's
grey, everyone's dead.

And the land is hollow, pock-holed,
the wind howls, and has forgone its hallow,
the holy now only

in remembrance's marrow. But no one
remembers the Sparrow, jocular,
and the Robin's wing sunk
in that last, final spring.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Interstellar (White People in Space)

There's a place called Earth
93 million miles from the Sun
and it's full up with humans,
O boy they're having fun!

And on this planet
known as Earth
that bears this human race,
we launched white people
into space....

And now there are white people in space,
white people in space.
Get aboard this ship
and put a smile on your face.
We got white people in space!

A man called Democritus,
in Ancient Greece, said
'Earth is not the centre of the universe -
it's the Sun around which we sweep.

And thousands of years later
a man called Kepler said, 'Hey yo!
The Earth goes round the Sun!
Did you catch that, Galileo?'

And then hundreds of years later,
in 1969, Kennedy said,
'Let's go to the Moon -
then everything will be fine!'

Aldren and Armstrong
(not forgetting Michael Collins)
went up and said 'Wowza!' -
but after Gregarin.

But humans are like milk cartons -
they leak all over the place.
And now we got
white people in space!

Yeah, white people in space.
White people in space.
Climb aboard if you're white -
even black people have a place!
Yeah, white people in space!

And now the Chinese and the Indians
are at it. Landing on the Moon
and sending probes to Mars.

But we all know the stars ain't yellow -
they're white! And space ain't brown -
it's black! Mr Patel, it's such a shame
to have to cut you down!

Space is ours, and space is white!
Come with us, my little darlings,
and you'll all be all right. Come with us,
or we'll leave you sleeping in the night!

We've buggered up the climate,
we've buggered up the seas.
We bugger up everything -
we're a bloody disease!

Our societies are run by crooks,
our economies favour the rich.
And none of us reads any books 
unless those words are beamed as pics.

And we think we're all separate;
I tell ya, we're a waste!
But sod it, hop on board -
we're heading into space!

Because we're white people in space.
White people in space.
Come aboard, little darlings,
and let us save the human race.

'Cause we're

Saturday, 8 November 2014

A Few Lines for Dickhead (Fertiliser)

He always used to say,
Life's a piece of shit - and then you die.

I guess he was just an irksome fly
lingering around the scent
of putrescence.

Drawn to the darkly side of reality,
lingering there in some diseased banality.

I always used to say,
'Life's like a pair of tits:
when faced with the squeeze
you can eat it up or split.'

But, in reality, life is what you make it.
I'll only be in flight if I put my wings on right;

you can call experience fertiliser,
or you can call it shite.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

A Verse for Jeffers

When man is ruling
with an iron fist,
it's time to become a little

A (Not So) Simple Truth

Either everything's Holy
or nothing is Holy.
And if the only thing Holy
is your Holy Book,
then you, my friend,
are wholly
a holy crook.

Friday, 24 October 2014

People are Stupid

People are stupid,
people are stupid.
I'm here to tell you that
people are stupid.

People are reckless -
people are pointless.
I'm here to tell you how
most people are feckless.

One minute we have it,
the next one we lose it.
People are crazy
and we all abuse it.

We walk to the car,
drive to the mountains
only to go cycling
and then go pint-ing or stout-ing.

We drive to the market
buy food then cook it,
when we could go out
and get others to do it.

We shout at each other,
sisters and brothers.
Say one thing then
turn and do another.

We decry cruelty -
say that it's faulty,
but then overfish oceans,
eat steak every Tuesday.

Because people are stupid.
People are stupid.
We are a pestilence
and we are ruthless.

People are stupid,
people are vapid.
And if the world wants to get on
it better squash us while we're napping!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Country in the City

I grew up in the country.
There, you grow up easily
as an ear of corn:
you are as tall as the sky,
and time is only measured
by the engorging of berries,
in the birds' chirps and cries.

When I was in my twenties,
I moved to the city: prosperity
waited there for me. Frequently,
I'd look up at the buildings,
which seemed to gaze down on me,
steely as a mountain crag
looms above a valley.

But one day, I saw a weed, freed
from between two slabs of pavement,
grabbing at the sky in its up! up! up!
of never giving in. I too looked up.
It was then I started to notice the man
picking the scattered cans, like fruit,
the old woman watering her small patch of garden.

I looked up at the elevated roofs.
One caught my eye in particular:
a pebble-dashed rough-shod flat.
I climbed the stair case to the top,
walked to the edge and surveyed, and at that
I saw, on every building, others staring out,
their arms flung wide open, their faces facing the sound

of the Sun up above, pouring down.
I too opened my arms; I opened my mind,
and the rays struck like a bolt the rod of my spine,
and my heart became light; my mind became sight.
I went down to the street, bought a pitchfork and some soil,
planted trees and shrubs and herbs on roofs:
the city's skin now a spurt of leaf, its blood a glug of oil.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Peace Comes

I am sitting in the garden,
listening to 'Recurring',
the atmosphere relaxing,
the Sun - Earth now October-tilting -
gently shining,

when all of a sudden
my attention is snatched
by the snuffling of a bee
in the lavender bush.

I realise there are things
whose beauty
will always be beyond me,
like the rose
was beyond Bukowski.

I let the feeling
pass through me:
it goes.

Peace comes.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


The human experience
is not matter-of-fact,
but hazy stabs;
dribs and drabs at truth.

From the murk
a glimmer of lightness.
It tightens, releases,
then soothes.

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Feminine Masculine

I was a rampant angle,
an acute stab
in her tenderest parts.

But acute is only cute
for so long - becomes obtuse,
and obtuseness
becomes baseless:

an open wedge, flung 
ever wider, flipping 
to horizontal, then inverted,

before my arrow
became her bow, 
my shield
became her sword.

And now, she hunts me
in the night: her moon
a watchtower, her stars spears

the darkest spaces 
of my heart
with light.

And I take it like a wolf
lulled by a soft dream 
of saffron and silk,
yet still ravenous for meat;

licking his wounds,
licking his lips,
whimpering for milk.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

And, O, I have known pain....

And, O, I have known pain:
I have cut into hardwood's grain, and seen,
in those rings, stories of woe, and rain.

I have heard tales of waiting for season again:
for the soft touch of spring's refrain;
the return of summer's sensuous blaze.

And, O, I have heard women complain
that womanhood's joy is but a bane -
that every tear of joy is slain,

cut down by some tyrant's blade,
whose ego made him weak and grey -
they have nursed my ears with soft tales of pain.

And the sun that sets alone in orange flame,
and the widowed moon in her frozen frame,
waxing, as the stars onwards train, into absence, without a soul who came.

And me? Well, I have known pain.
Yes - these wings were once bound in chains;
now heavy feathers, like stone engrained.
But one day they shall flutter - and I shall fly away.

Monday, 14 April 2014

A Short Aside

In this cold universe,
try to give a little warmth;
try to sing into verse
the very colours that haunt
your most beautiful dreams.

And remember:
we are here to fight entropy.
And nothing
is as it seems.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Best Things About You

Your laugh
is the upper and lower mandibulars
cracking back and forth,
like the tail of a whip.

Your handshake

is a clinking trove
of small bones.

Your smile

is a defecation
in the mouths of children.

Your heart

is a plant pot
full of earthworms.

Your joy
is a murder of crows.

Your lungs

are slabs of filmy sac
grabbing for air.

Your brain

is a bath of acid
dissolving dead animals.

Your words

are rusted 19th century shells,
removed from the dead bodies
of brave soldiers.

Your liver

is a leaking car battery.

Your tongue is a severed tentacle

feeling its way about for sense.

Your teeth are flecks of snow

struck white, and fossilised,
in fear.

And your thoughts are the

impatient crunch of gears
on a sweet dispensing machine

as you turn and turn,

and feast on a small prize.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Love Song of the Dolphin

At first I was protean:
no more than
a gelatinous blob
in love's hands.

As I grew,
inflated by sensation,
like a gallbladder,

love seemed something
serene and blue; tingles
twinged down my notocord.
I felt a feeling beyond words.

But soon, I felt a feeling
like drowning: my lungs
filled with water, my little blue heart
a dwindling pearl,

love merely a playful mate,
a joking game: a heartbreak.

But then I clicked onto her;
more like a flash on a radar,
my echolocation failed to reveal
her elusive nature;

and, eluded, my desires only grew,
until the ocean was but a pond:
my heart like the blue-lit shore-arms
of some azure spiralling galaxy.

The stars fell down from the sky;
the algal blooms cyan-awakened,
the eddies of my heart
a swirling eruption of glittering light.

Balanced on her Aquarian scales,
like a dry measure of powder,
I felt more like a feather.

And then I breathed:
two lungs filled my chest.
A love-lung too squeezed.
It filled up my breast.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Let It Be

One day,
he might be driving you
down some country road,
the kids in the back
joking and screaming,
and you
sitting silently
by his side.

But what if you looked
in the overhead mirror
at their two faces
and saw my eyes
in their skulls,
my hair on their heads,
my smile on their lips?

What if
you were living an illusion,
quite happy in it,
forcibly restrained in
some false self-belief
in an entirely negative

And what if I
were long gone,
with only the memory
of a slip of a girl,
such spritely wit,
writ with such self-defeat;
such a turn of phrase,
such a jagged grace?

I would not put you in a paddock
or bind you in the dock:
I’d only remember the girl
with the flame in her heart,
the fierce flame of life –
not just the fierce flame of art.

If you were to turn to me
and smile, put your hand in mine,
the breeze would guide us,
the sun would shine a path;
our hearts would be the rhythm
to which our lives played out.

So let me festoon you
with the merits you deserve;
let me be the man
moulded by the woman,
at your side; let me be
the one to let the horses out,
free, never to corral them again,

but see them dance at sundown
atop a meadowed hill,
as the sun carves their silhouettes
in the dust-excited air,
knowing they’ll find their way back home;
knowing they never had a choice.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Fast Food Poetry

To you,
poetry is nothing 
but fast food.

First of all, you have the sesame bun:
a soft cushioning for a way in
to something of little consequence:
something not to shake the shabbily glued
illusion of that brittle world of yours.

Next, the salad:
the crunch of fresh, moist lettuce;
a burst of tomato juice,
the crisp tartness of a pickle
as your teeth turn the bun
into sogent carbohydrate gum.

Most importantly, here comes
the meat of the matter: thick
and juicy, but really thin;
thin as the veneer of your smile;
smoked as a done cigarette.

A squirt of sauce:
the sweet and sour of ketchup,
the watery heat of mustard,
combined into a sickly treat, to sit upon

a thin ooze of cheese

that in turn graces the toasted bottom
of the other half of bun, which closes
this micro meal, this little nutritious nugget,
into an easily digestible commodity:
something you can start at one train station
and have done with by the next,
as the world passes you by
and you in turn pass by it.

But to break this artifice for a second,
dispose of what has come before, like
paper wrapping, as it were,
what am I in all of this? Am I the cow?
Have I made myself succulent with words
just so that you can devour me,
and take my rich flesh for granted?

Would you like the real thing now, perhaps?
A porterhouse steak with a baked potato,
a fried tomato and gravy?

Well fuck you: eat this instead.


Some people call me crazy:
I'm not a stony-faced misery.
Just because I'm happy.

I tried joy on for size;
it fit too big. I thought,
Why not wear it?

It's because I feel the music.
I know my blood is ephemeral.
So I start a riot
in the middle of a funeral.

When I laugh
my lips don't just move.
And when I dance
I am the groove.

I'm climbing up the walls,
but I'm tethered by a rope:
hope. Only hope.

That meagrest of threads
tied on to a life. Like a wedding band,
knotted to a wife.

Some people call me crazy,
but can you blame me? I see;
O! I see! Up here it's not hazy.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

On the Foundation of a Relation-House

I do not want a relationship:
one that floats on ocean waves.
I would not want to give the slip, and sink
to some deep-blue watery grave.

I'd rather have a relation-house:
one to move on a flatbed truck,
and take it with me north or south,
to wherever love inclined its luck.

I'm not abashed at making words:
I'll peg them down with my heart's hammer.
And if that says to you 'absurd'
then maybe I speak a different grammar.

I rove the land in my celestial ship,
I soar the sky in my love-spun orb.
And I do not want a relationship:
I want the land, and I want the core.

Monday, 10 March 2014


Stiff upper lip,
Stiff dancing,
Stiff rigor mortis;

There's more to being English
Than looking grim as a tortoise.

Country day-tripper,
Pub-goer - forever chancing.
Being loose in the bedroom,
Loose on the floor.

Those who came before us
Stiffened in love, left the rising
To the pudding - put the coldness
In the glove.

Stiff dreams,
Stiff politics;
All damage and coyness;

There's more to being English
Than living thoughtless and joyless.

There's more than fusty living rooms
Full of long-dead conversation,
And sterile-white lounges
Full of the TV's static vibration.

Whatever happened to the Eccentric,
The Romantic - the Madman?
Sod all your mores and ideals:
I'll be myself; I'll be a glad man.

Loose lipped, silver-tongued,
Loose moved and free;
Only stiffened in death's cast.

There's more to life than worry,
for what will be will be.

There's more to being English
Than resignation to the past;
There's so much more to being English:
Hands, and lips, and hearts.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

In the Ocean

Sometimes, life seems 
like a dredger: 

we are pulled along 
by unseen forces, 
bickering amongst ourselves 
as we squabble and fight, and 
all the while the boat 
still chugs along. 

We are the fish at the top of the net, 
struggling for breath 
and daylight. 

Below us are those who do not stand a chance 
but still fight on. And below them 
are long dead and 
suffocated creatures.

And left behind 
in all of this 
is a seabed 
left decimated 
and debauched.

But life does not have to be like this: 
it will only ever be like this 
if we carry on seeing ourselves 
as the fish. 

Some want to be one of those men on the boat;

I just want to be the ocean,

pulling in and out
with the billow and blow of the wind,
the hug and release of the moon,
the gulp and the scallop
of the gulls and the land;

as waves form, and break, to their own tune,
and the world cups us briefly in its old, loving hands.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


I trace the scar on your
knee, that was made
when you were eight;

when you fell
from the apple tree
in your back garden.

I touch it gently,
the skin pale, and
silky, sensitive still;

I want to eat your scars,
peel them off like communion wafer,
let them melt on my tongue;

chew you up and spit
you out, smooth and clean
like a polished stone.

But you are you:
scarred and whole.
The stars stare down

enviously upon you.
Now crown my firmament:
let me take you home.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014


My heart was an ember
          and you blew on it;
took out your blade
          and carved 'true' on it.

You blew on my fire
          with a faraway wind;
it took for ever to come,
          but time does magic.

Now, as I unwind,
          I wonder, will it stop?
But no: this fire is strong;
          this last act is long: not tragic.
All sonnets must end
          with a rhyming couplet,
but when I look at your form
          I see formless -

So fuck it.

Friday, 10 January 2014

In the Deep

We were out there in the water
swimming in the deep,
seeing things as they were living.

But where were you
whilst we were swimming?
Were you sitting on the beach?
Whilst we were out there,
swimming: swimming
in the deep.

The phosphorescent blooms
of coral were steep,
as the ocean fell away,
down into the deep.

And where were you
whilst we were swimming,
swimming in the deep?

Were you
in the mountains?
Were you tending
to your sheep?

O! but the things we saw
when we were out there,
swimming in the deep!
Things we could not tell -
things we could not keep.

But where were you
whilst we were swimming?
Were you sitting
on the beach?

Monday, 6 January 2014

Lyrical (untitled)

You consume art
Like a man consuming chicken hearts,

But what's left in your heart
In that afterdark,
When the taste has melted away?

Sensation goes the way
of sensation:
It greys,
Leaving you craving something

Far richer,
A treat for yer
To cloak your hurt.

You been craving.

That material