Sunday, 26 September 2010

Slaugterhouse Blackberry

Blackberries crouch in messianic crowns dusted
with suspicious stuff which never quite deters
foragers of fruit. 

And though dogs are sure to go on the lower berries
it’s only the youngest kids who get them and they’re
innocence immune. 

So when a newborn calf skids down the hollow way
born twice within seconds, mother, hawthorn, road,
we’re all in awe,

wondering how hopeful autumn baskets might hold
35 kg of unfed veal, amniotic fluid heaving at the nose
mother lowing; so it goes.


I’m looking at the shape of these words,
trying to find their reason.

Checking for the backstage pass they claimed 
to my inner life.

The one tucked inside my outer life,
an inner-tube of raging desires, inflated
to push against the wall of the racing tyres
they put on me at school.

I’m mixing metaphors like drinks,
listening for the clink of the cube in the dark
so I know when I lift you to my lips,
I’ll drench them with your kiss
before I spill it in your lap.

I’m that kind of chap, the kind that needs a map
to find his way back home
when the day passes and the cars
and the way too many drinks stop adding up.

Thank you for your map.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Play Button

I used to make C90s for would be lovers,
what better way to woo than to offer up a spool 
of tape more magnetic than an awkward teenager
could ever be, and adorned in painstakingly designed    
or rather angst defyingly scrawled inlay sleeve, even with   
the song’s approximate length defined and stars for how much   
she should love each one and wondering how many stars she’d give   
me, if she took the time to listen to the why behind those careful marks   
and the life affirming catastrophic urge to move her just a tiny bit in song. 
Now older, I find yards of tape tangled, wads of it confused in drawers 
and you wound tight around my spools, the ticking and the clacking  
of equipment, and the hiss not quite Dolby smoothed, but songs  
as loud and clear as any Chorus ever boomed, each knowing  
to each the value of the words, and every meaning taken in 
as fast as digital transfer. So when I tuck a loose lock of 
hair behind your ear, tracing the edge of your lobe 
with my pause button finger, I can watch you 
listen, and I never even think of stars.

Thursday, 16 September 2010


After all the noise, the ricochets, 
comes a certain quiet poured 
like wine into your waiting glass,
swirled, a red promise.
Impish eyes closed for a second,
palm-pressed to soothe and send 
them news that when they open 
they can do what they were born to do;
flicker in ignition and settle me to you.

Friday, 10 September 2010


It’s possible that after all this
you’ll look up at the dusty oaks
studded at their bases 

with the faeces, of wild boar

and say with centuries of weariness
“you may as well go,”
because that’s what those
who come here do,

and even in the suddenly fast
footsteps of our child,
we can hear the echoes of the
departed, the portmanteaus packed.

Our vines have all been stripped,
old barriques test their cooper,
a new vintage seeps at the staves
and hired engines turn over.

Monday, 6 September 2010

New Vines

When I settle down to write these hills,
I find them already too famous,
their exact hues committed to 

the vast asylum of art, over and over again.

And just as this august Tuscan sun
has spun its reliable roundabout
for thousands of vintages and many
years before Etruscans planted vines,

I find, in the splashing of your tiny feet
at the pool’s edge, my own repetition 

or replication in, insistent infant needs,
freshly bottled by newly acquired language.

We are new here, and you, newest of all,
help us use negligent adult eyes

to see this year’s fruit hanging heavy,
as if for the first time, for human kind.

Thursday, 2 September 2010


Lavender gives its purple to drunk bees,
rosemary re-builds what was taken for the fire.

Under bruising sky, turning patched heliotrope,
in deference perhaps to noble instincts

I watch tight sticks transform into the lightest
elements, giving off ancient incense,

and with blacksmith hands, and wrought
I forge your letters against a Tyrian sky.

Days later before the altar piece, I’ll give you
the purple of a penitent and wish you, pilgrim, home.