Saturday, 30 October 2010

In flight

I will sit here crouched in my metal tube
and make poems from these fragments
laid up in the stiffening skein of air
like a childish collection of shells

and when I fit words to those
tricky beautiful calcite lumps
and trace the smooth inner lobe
where a creature once groped for nourishment

much like I reach pathetically in my belted seat
for meaning, it will be stuttering, gasping moments
of you that stand out from the fast-forward static
of this day, remaking themselves like chain-mail

a flexible carapace, an armour,
hiding place of thoughts
and in some subtle way,
destiny of the departing day.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


When you made the bet you weren’t kidding,
I know this because you were dressed
as a clown might on his day off,
and so when I shook on it, I too
dressed in pantaloons as vivid
as my lost dreams of you
made no jokes nor did I
sign the slip before
throwing it
into the baying ring, the one you retired in
years before anyone could lay un-gambled dice
on your made-up eyes
or mimic and mime the spit in the palm
the strange sense of calm we all felt when
my hat landed in the space you'd left.

Clowns will claim their arena – it’s why
their first move is always to test the edge
of the ring where the dung meets the popcorn
and the tears of a child 

whose birthday treat went awry 
suddenly blends with the piss 
of kidnapped creatures.

Even now, I think of you in your work clothes,
arms aloft, angled dangerously against those
unspeakable shoes, eyes locked on the children
speechless between laughter and tears,
and not being a betting man,
I can’t say if what will be indeed will be
or if your desperate honking will stir them,
or move me.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Why is our universe so large?
Why is it so smooth?
Why do orthodoxies boast
behind locked doors?

Keys scattered then collected
in one of those jars, in the garage,
waiting for someone with no respect
to smash it in clearheaded rage
and try those forbidden locks.

We invent the systems we must prove,
we’re self reflexive in our groove,
a record stuck within a scratch,
the sound of eternity answering back.

The Conquered

If I was a conqueror I too would have chosen
this hill on which to build, my scary edifice,
I’d have the keenest eyed amongst my men
observe the channel,
in case some jealous brother already arrayed
in my birthright might take a chance here,
where so many died in the marsh, already
march dead, down on rations.

But I am no conqueror I am conquered
by the ranged armies of your charms
and I choose this hill to walk with you,
arm in conquered arm.


I’m unfit for fatherhood,
Having crouched inside
My childhood, for too long,

I am the lazy day man,
Quit it again in a month man,
The heavens are laughing man.           

Don’t presume to see in me,
The things I cannot see
You see, I’m congealing infancy.

There’s no happiness in constancy,
Incontinence is waiting see?
So leave me here to be
The thing you cannot see;
The devil in his deep blue sea.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


When the door slams to ‘you fucking prick”
and tears like greyhounds in their trap
test the spring-loaded lock of grief 

and sick rolls up over choked throats 
rubbed by shaking hands
as wedding bands loosen in 
the salty slick of those tears
and carefully invested years 
produce a debit, 
don’t reach for poetry or art
such stuff will swell your bursting heart.

Know that time is a ribbon folded on itself,
the quantum mechanics of chance
send each molecule on it’s atomic dance,  

sound waves will settle once again
into gentle ripples then horizontal lines
as light in packets of quanta is absorbed
and reabsorbed by reddened retina

and the universe continues to expand
defying our attempts to comprehend
the mind of god and the loves of men.

Sunday, 3 October 2010


I watched a flock with you, by night
yes I’m sure it was night; it was cold
and dark, yes it was dark.

Dark like only the dark night and cold
like only the coldest night can be,
but somehow we experienced ecstasy,

when the flock took off; it was not
the woolen sort but instead it was I’m
sure it was, a flock of geese.

At such a time of night which others might
call ungodly and which others still would
find God inhabiting as sure as a hermit
in his elaborately engendered hole,

you’d expect your geese to be sleeping,
though they sleep with one beady eye
open in case the hooded thief might
wander in for a gander.

On this occasion, roused by the crackle
of dancing feet on slipping shale
they gave way, taking flight, hard beaks
aimed at the breaking day.


You remark at the distance between us
and the birds, wheedling and dealing
in their avian wickedness,
gannets robbing the smaller fry of their
small fry.

And I pace that distance, epically surprised
at how easy it is to stride with purpose,
clean out the clean windows of your room
and up, into the cold stratospheric day
within grasping distance of those venal birds
and their stolen lunch.