Friday, 26 February 2010


It looked like you’d been crying
when you came out to blink at the sun,
the rumour of spring in your nose
red from rubbing,
cigarettes consoling your fingers
fucked from wringing, ringless,
ruined, for now, but ever hopeful,
that at the bottom of all that feeling
you will find, as you have before,
the beauty that makes sadness
something to savour,
when the sky surprises
the clouds into dissolving
like a remedy and leaves
begin to unfurl.

Friday, 19 February 2010


All poems are about love,
if you follow them to the end,
even if it’s hidden amongst
curious anecdotes or images
contrived to throw you off the scent,

like this one about fields
that have just lost their snow,
leaving the cracked flint
and plough-combed furrows
to surprise a grey and ancient sky.

Or something closer still,
like wet hair across your tired face,
the purpling of lips as hours run off
like anxious kids.

So what about this?
Rain, like a shower of coins,
my wet hand,
elemental treasure,
anecdotal end.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Tattoo of you

All those things you said,
I asked you to write them
down so I could keep them with me
long enough to understand.

You took your blunt pen and
beginning steady at my hand
you wrote our story on my body
in black and blue.

Days later and I haven’t washed,
yet in the effort of reading, your words
have become bruises, and in truth
they hurt more than your story did
the first time I heard it, even though
your shouting has died down to
a whisper.

John Terry

Something inconsolable I am here
with all the desperate dread to pull
like pliers at the rooted tooth of me.

I am in constant ecstasy, self loved
jilting and distressed for all I cannot
will not do for you.

Which is simply to be yours in truth
outside the story that I write for you
in all my visible actions.

And the other side too of this two
faced me is all you'll ever want
of any he to your she.

And he is dedication incarnate
absolute inviolate love,
or at least he wants to be.

Maybe that’s enough
impossible is tough,
too tough to grapple with.

Hasn’t it always been like this
down the years of tears
of idealistic lovers?

So take my dirty hand in yours,
lay your foolish head on mine
and let us try another time.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Last train left

You were the last to leave the platform,
long after the voice with its glottal stop
soft as warm mud, clear as rattling ice
in the glass of too many drinks, told you
that you really were the last and this
train won’t come. It’s terminus locked
to rusty buffers in an endless kiss;
rails to rust, dust to dirty jacket,
winter to a spring of mists.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

No Laughing Matter

The tourniquet is beginning to irritate,

it chafes, 

I might even say 

                             it smarts, 

I’m parched, it aches, 

I ache, f’fucks sake 

                   enough’s enough
of this, you twister of arms,

dealer of despair, hider of car keys
and determined district creeping
underling of some pencil tapping
clipper of beautiful wings.

Your earth holds me down,

presses on the chest like

                         an incubus, 
too tight hug.

You mistress, you dominatrix
you forgot (on purpose no doubt)

my safe word.

Did we not agree one then?

So cuff this then you,
cuff you, 

               to the bed

I would, 
if you’d only left the key
                                for me, 

to attempt
                    an escape with, 

instead of this interminable
wriggling against a chord
that brings

                    no nourishment.

Yes, you left me tied like this

a breach of trussed I call it.

I’d laugh if it wasn’t for the fact 

your mother’s here, and about to start  
                                                   the hoover.

Sunday, 7 February 2010


The dark circles under your eyes  
have been growing, like a damp stain 
on the ceiling of your face,
which if I’m honest has also started
to show cracks.
And I’m almost certain it’s because 
you’re tired, like an unloved house,
or a hotel whose laughing guests left long ago.
But I can’t rule out violence, or its promise,
held above you, like the clenched fist,
and spittle flecked mouth of your
(possibly imagined) assailant.

And though I only see you, when our paths cross,
not quite daily, in the cemetery, where squirrels thrive
and mock the dead with their frisking
and ingenious hiding of winter nuts,
I still want to ask you to put down those tattered bags;
the ones you carry, and which appear to be stuffed
with important books.

I might even offer to take those bags,
at least as far as the bus stop,
if I thought it might lighten 

those darkening circles,
and throw open your shutters
illuminating the walls you’ve put up,
or had put up for you.

If I thought those walls even hoped for paint,
or wanted once again to echo,
laughter, and that you would not
be afraid of such largesse,
then yes, I would help you.

But like most of us who hurry for the station
stuffed with self-important news,
I lack the imagination.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Ice Breaker

The ice finally broke the morning after
as the hard hulled pilot cleared the harbour
for the 6am Viking line departure.

Waking up to that strange polyphony
of cracks and thuds,
frozen gulls shifting
on the window ledge to stop
                    webbed feet from freezing,
ache-eyed through the thudding
of Aquavit
I picture you 
in mid-ships, 
warm as an elk’s heart in a hunter’s hungry hands.