Sunday, 25 July 2010


I know I mean it now 
though never meant 
to mean it. How?
If an eclipse makes

temporary night from
even the brightest day,
you can at least hold
my forbidden hand and say
it’s enough now, for now
is all today.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

London Plane (more or less found in the Eyewitness Companions book of Trees)

A handsome ornamental

with broadly spreading crown


smooth and gray, pealing


yellow and green


alternate, toothed, three

five, or seven pointed lobes


nearly halfway to the base

shiny green above,

pale matt green

with downy hairs beneath



males and females

in separate clusters

on the same tree


burlike, pendant achenes 

covered with 

bristles, green

ripening to brown.

London plane, we salute your palmate leaf

And give thanks for all the shit

you take from us, and slough off

peeling on our streets

in puzzle like pieces.

Drinking (with apologies to Dean Martin)

Drinking to forget,

or was it to remember?

I can’t remember.  

Or stand. 

Or even see my hand

sweeping the air in a grand

but empty gesture.

So I’ll have another for the ditch,

and then I’ll rest for a bit

after all, if you can lie

on the floor

without holding on

you’re not really pissed.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Beauty (with apologies to John Keats)

When I’d taken just about as much

as I could give out,

and with muscles burned

like old briars,

and the hint

or whiff of oil,

given off

I turned to you,

half submerged by hair and pillow

and saw, 

in unwelcome morning’s glow

the truth of beauty;

love entwined with loss.

It's all we know on earth

and all we need to know.  


Summer suffers from terrible hype

and yet of course it’s good

when the sun shines and

we spill like beans onto

London’s pavements

forming indiscreet huddles

sweating out the gossip

celebrating the sales we made

and the wars we won on

air-conditioned battlefields.

The backslaps flow freely

the sunglasses get lost

and the phone gets dropped 

in the beer

as the promise of sex sets

like the sun because

you’ve all had way too much.

It’s time to send anxiety away

take that longed-for holiday,

pictured so clearly when

raincoat collar protecting

the neck,

you made

hateful zigzags past desperate pubs,

projecting all hope

onto the glamorous celluloid

of summer.

Super 8 fantasies of you at the heart

of a perfect family

antique games; cricket on beaches,

hide and seek in panting forests,

moist moss offering succour to

sand burnt feet, or even god forbid

in rain, when kids who never argue invent cherubic games

and summer itself will love us all too much to even think

of ending.

But the trouble is,

when you finally find yourself checking

the features of your holiday  against

the promised list finding nothing amiss

you realise,

you brought

your self

to paradise

and are no better placed to enjoy this

than  a punishing winter’s day

when the bar to happiness is

never quite as high.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


On hot nights,

yards echo the mingled patois 

of thumped fences, ignition switches

on gas barbecues, and the dying embers

of childish rage, when the inevitability

of bed is proved, and tiny heels flipper

the thick air.

On these nights,

stars hide from the astronomer

and wicked constellations form

behind gritty city eyes.

I open mine to see yours reddened

perhaps by pollen

in London’s evening air.

Monday, 12 July 2010


Mourning might become Electra,

but all this grieving is becoming a drag

and no one has died.

And you’re soldiering on too,
by the lido, where the ladies
are more naked than they should be,
with children  about,

with diamonds twinkling in the moss,
with pool dreaded hair,
                              like soaked shoelaces

shedding the weight of its water
imperceptibly, in barbecue sun,

where the chips in art deco tiles,
are forgiven by the transformative
bonhomie of surprising summer

whose welcome return, 

overlooks the shortcomings of the past
just as it tries to turn its brief seasonal
flashbulb on a subject
backlit by interfering light.

Sometimes we find the life we set out
in very neat plans but which we didn’t
write down, is not what was ordered
in the mind’s eye.

We were perhaps a boss-eyed
giant with two heads,

troubled by

conflicting visions,

until in madness, he rends himself

on a cliff face, in full view, while the lithe
unimpressable girls of summer look up 
and blink, at the shadow making sun.

Friday, 9 July 2010


When I left London 
                      to stew in its juice;
the swill of a hot summer Friday,
helicopters like fat flies,
ran impenetrable missions
under vapour trails left
by planes 
stuffed with 

the lucky ones,
seeking drier crotches
and amenable places
in which to sip Rose
or ouzo.

I travel well. I have perfected 
the science of the capsule wardrobe.

Lighter than a balsa wood float,  

I’m jetsam in the jet stream,

selecting the finest wines 

          known to humanity
or at least, the least 

          appalling wines 

known to the airline industry,

whose sleek and glamorous majesty
got pinned, 

like a moth, 

to the balance sheet
and now degrades,

it’s powdery wings a shadow, 
                           or an imprint,

or the suggestion of a leaf 
on a recently dried autumn pavement.

These are the images I stored for you,
because I knew, 

there would come a day when 
35,000 feet above all arguments

and several glasses down,
surrounded by all the books
you said I had to read,

the urge would take me,
to hold you again,
in words as hot

as tears.


Tables for shared meals, 
taken in public under the searchlight eyes 
of people watchers are too big, for you and I. 
Given the choice, we’d take our sustenance 
balanced upon eachother. 
If only no one was watching, 
I’d use the nape of your neck for a plate, 
cut my meat with your wit. 
Drink coffee from your navel.

Friday, 2 July 2010


The cockroach is said to produce eggs in its head
so if you squash one under a well aimed sneaker,
that rictus grin reserved for the dispatch of insects


then you must cleanse the area, where it’s hard
carapace has split, and its innards have oozed,
like melted sweets onto your fashionably exposed


Because the innermost goo of the cockroach
dries to become roach dust, and it’s
fucking dreadful stuff known to cause all manner of


Thursday, 1 July 2010


I was surprised to enter the kitchen and find a goat
tethered to the breakfast bar, 

scattering hard pellets of shit with its confused 
hooves. You said it was for milk,

but I think you’re barmy.  I prefer the milk of cows
and anyhow, it’ll have to go, it’s eaten, already this week;

one laptop,

two pairs of fine leather shoes

and a pack of cigarettes.

You don’t get that kind of crap with a milkman.