Friday, 30 April 2010


It’s an ache, arch-ache,
Ultra headache, its fists
Full force in the sternum
Sucker punch to a drunkard
Like this, take turns to return
Full force, furtive and full of it
Shit, that is, spouting it,
A fountain of the fucking stuff
Outside betting shops and chippies,
In the queue, for the last drink,
Before the devil takes over
And has us up against the bar,
Slurring, onion eyed, piss faced
Fucked, hammered like the door
Of an old Peugeot.

Shitheap it was
panelbeaters nightmare,
more dent than fucking car.

Like you, you cunt,
leery old Polack,
fishy git. Where was I? Aye?
Yeah, this ache, it makes me, tough
it does toughens up the toughnut,

I’ll set this filthy mongrel
on you.

I love that fuckin dog
more than me own mum, that
bitch, hitched me to the skirts of
a life less, less what? Less whatever,
just fuckin less, I’d take less of this
I would, from you anyway,
come here you cunt
don’t be afraid, it’s just
the beer talking gets me soppy at first
and then there’s the anger, they got no
fucking respect, not for me anyway,
or maybe I haven’t.

Haven’t fuckin what?
I lash out see?
I weep with my fists.
Nah it’s alright.
You soppy cunt sit down, have a swig
of this, it’s shit, but cheap as fucking chips
cheaper even. Have a bag of methedrine
fucking plant food, got it off some cunt on
the internet, not like it’s proper drugs,
but it takes away that fuckin ache until
I snap and need to feel some cunt give a
fuck enough about me, to take the time
and trouble to kick this pissy head in.

But you’re alright mate, you are,
You’re alright.

He’s alright.


He’s alright.

Thursday, 29 April 2010


There is a man trapped behind glass,
he puts a hand up, not like Marcel Marceau

in a camp genuflection feeling with his hands
imagined glass but perhaps more like a child,
being driven away reluctantly, from a place he loves
palm pressed to the cold glass, pink skin
pressed to white, red lines on the palm
like roads he can’t travel,
life-line shrinking.

Sunday, 25 April 2010


Love kicks off like a drunkard in a bar
full to bursting with sweet sticky juice
limbs flailing wild not caring
who he captures in his 
random thrashing noose

but capable of a moment's clarity
when seeing us in noncommittal chat
he tucks his chin into his baby fat
and smashes a hectic cherub's head
into unsuspecting flesh.


The old man carries a forked stick,
"for snakes" he says,
though its years since any of us saw one.

He rasps a corky hand on cheeks
                             like cuttlebones;

as white, as hard, every bit as discarded
on the beach of his face,

and flicks the V of the stick
at a place out at sea,
which looks to me
like a ship, but which is in fact a barge
                                    listing in mimicry, 

of his frame collapsed
into snakeless years because they’ve been

          the hardest.

You take his hand,
like you’ve plucked a pine cone

from filthy sand
and are about to throw it out to sea
but have stopped
at the last moment

weighing its lightness, and thinking,
turning his hand over like a coin.

You don’t bite to check it’s tender,
but it looks like you will.

You're torturing an old man
with friendship withheld
as snakes drag their hungry bellies
away from the sea,
and the barge gives way
to the waves.

Saturday, 24 April 2010


Tired as post horses on the eve of a war,
we had bruised flanks too,
having torn through, angry villages,
conscious of doors locked against
imagined evil.

I swear I saw a blue-booted knight,
with a plectrum at his neck,
made from the tooth of a child
and heard in a declining scale,
his wicked songs.

You sang your song loud and high,
in a wriggled dance, half unwrapped

in 800 count sheets and we galloped on
clearing fences which from a distance looked
too high for human creatures.

Then a week or so ago, we finally came
in a concert of exhaustion, to this place,
a clearing, far from angry villagers 

but near enough to the knight
his songs, and the panting of tired horses.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


It was the day the planes stopped,
Volcanic dust, invisibly ending the to and fro,
Clear skies, but for those tiny particles,
Expelled from the deep earth somewhere
Where sagas are made.

Yes that day, when winter finally shed
It’s ill-cured furs, sending blossom
Upwards towards those empty skies
Reminding anyone who’d listen
Of what can pass for silence.

There must’ve been an election on,
Because leaflets whirled in the surprising
April wind, amongst that fragile blossom
Carrying promises more timid
Than fruit on city trees

It was that day, I imagined you
Suddenly years away from now,
Holding my hand and throwing
Leaflets into silent spring air sending
Their stories up like blossom.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Maiden Flight

Your room has been locked for days, 
of course I have tried the door,
and one evening last week I kicked it

so hard in the bottom corner
the old sapless wood splintered
leaving a gap big enough for a cat,
but not of course for me.

I am well-fed, and tend towards the big boned
I do not have a pianist’s hands, and I know you
have always secretly loved their promise
of violence, not to you of course, but to anyone
who’d dare fuck with you.
I protect your secrets,
like a gaoler.

It’s not as though you’re quiet,
I hear the occasional oath, the rattle of lids,
your theatrical dialogue muffled by

the running of water,
you always watched too much TV, and you
got that one from a spy film we sat up late to
watch, once when we were new,

We’d decided to crack open a Pol Roger

and have it with Pizza.
Oh fuck, I’m in a terrible state,
here on the landing, pacing,
and pacing, fingering the leaves
of an old spider plant which seems to survive
though no one round here ever gives it water.

It looks a bit like Warhol’s wig, from a distance.
I take that distance now, April evening
colder than it looks, blowing the smell of moss
in through a stiff window, opened for the first time
since fuck knows when, it’s a long time at least
since September when you shut it in a huff
to stop the last of the barbecues from smoking you out.

You’ve been in there a while, that’s certain.
And I miss you like submarine crews on desperate
missions to the Bering sea must miss fresh fruit,
and girls of course. Like they must miss them.
Your noises are becoming more regular, and if I’m not
mistaken there is a beating of wings,
it could be the leathery flap of a daemon,

But I like to think it’s

the feathered halleluiah of an angel, 
so I take my seat, near a neglected rack 
of National Geographics, 
opposite that adamantine door
and I wait, suddenly flushed with Love, 

for you to take the air.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Your Brushes

You took my body home in your car, 
the one with the broken headlights  
and the map, stained with grease, 
unreadable on the back seats, 
next to the wrench, 
the one you should have used to tighten 
the wheels, but which instead you used 
to hit the stereo so it would still play 
our favourite songs, long after 
we’d run out of petrol and taken 
to walking on separate sides of the road. 

You laid me out, in the kitchen,
the one I’d meant to paint, 
to make it nice for us to cook in, 
but which instead, 
I’d left a tattered memorial to the old dear 
we’d bought the house off, for a song, 
because she was dotty and liked your eyes.

I opened my eyes, to see the picture you’d painted 
across the fridge, it was something you did 
instead of filling it with milk, and cheese 
and vegetables, in the crisper, do you 
know that’s what those drawers are called 
at the bottom of a fridge, a crisper? 
It’s true, unlike perhaps this picture of you, 
which doesn’t touch, anything more 
than your whimsy and love of music 
and the fact your fridge is often empty, 
but lacks perhaps the colouring in, 
which you said you’d do, to that picture 
on the fridge, if only for the fact you’d left 
your brushes, near the outline of a body
somewhere on the high road.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


Fields are fresh as frozen peas 
in the marrow-cracking cold 
of morning, hiding inevitable  
beyond the night, with its 
phantoms, and legends and
foxes trotting the perimeter 
of the coup;
yellow teeth, carrion breath
rough brush, persecuted dog 
under the Hawthorn. 

We creatures survive the night
of a harshly withheld Spring;
the longed for kiss, 
with its moist life-giving warmth,
and in the weak light 
of this daybreak, we break 
for the edges of our ancient 
cultivated space, 
holding on for dear life
reaching in our game of 
Blind man’s bluff, for hands 
that even in this cold, 
and in this light, like curdled milk,
might guide us towards something 
fruitful; the nourishment, the eternal 
drumbeat, chasing spooks from 
impenetrable thickets of yew,
making new light of what until now 
appeared to be a terrifying fortress
on an unforgiving hill, 
but which suddenly looks like home, 
with the first fires of morning
sending woodsmoke up 
in an insistent gesturing wave.

Friday, 2 April 2010


In the smouldering of a log,
is all the trapped energy
of a stifled scream, or at least 

it’s how it seems to me, 
in the eye-rubbing lateness
of this Whisky,
in the delayed reaction 

of what you said to me, 
or rather shouted,
over the revving of the engine,

as your cigarette butt, smouldering too,
and redolent of the taste of you
bounced off my shoulder.  

There was something in there
about being self obsessed
and I wasn’t sure if it was you or me.
You see, it can’t have been me.

So looking at the atomizing of this
bit of seasoned ash, turning
eponymously into itself
like an overwrought postmodern
text, I think and think again
of your face, lit by smirking lamps
and the rain in pissy rivulets,
and I wonder what is left,
at the end, in the grate of us,
but ashes, turning helplessly
to dust.