Will

When you are gone
I will make a lather of your love and wash my​soul in it,

I will make an egg of your memory and eat it ​alone,

I will take you breath and use it to warm my ​blood,

I will take your touch and make pins of it to ​drive into my arms and legs

 

I will take all of your hair and plant it in the ​lush garden of my mouth

I will put your eyes in my ears and your ears in ​my eyes

I will take all of your clothes press them to me, ​tread in my tears and make felts to swelter my ​bed

I will wear the soles of your feet on my breasts

I will make a nest of your bones and bear my ​children into it

 

I will swaddle the finger-fist-knotted-thread of ​your limbs to the bobbin of your core

and seal you tight tight tight with remembrance

and bundled thus, I will sinew-stitch you into ​the corrugate fabric of my gut

 

and you will visit me visit me

and I will not forget you nanna

 

I will rage

I will rage

for your preservation

 

I will rip out my fingernails and replace them ​with your teeth

I will claw red raw against the battlements of ​death

I will be the monster of my grief

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Corny 

Cold, treacherous and sharp

The ice shelf stairs

leading back to you
Carnivorous and dark

The black abyss 

Where I was threw
Little ragged doll of corn

Ephemeral since She was born

Has not mouth or words to speak

Must be patient, grateful, meek
The promise of a window; boarded?

Sealed with drifts 

of gritty earth

Blood and fish meal

Afterbirth
How can the little doll traverse?

Crowbar prize, burial reverse?

Not be swallowed, torture-toyed?

Swim that black sea, even buoyed?
And would she survive with her small might

The trials outside, of the sunlight?

Without this rage so fortifying

Open to love – so mortifying
Safer lying at the foot

Blackening with mildew soot

A tiny death of thaw-drips seeping

                                rot- a- creeping
In her rot, clinging to dreams 

She’ll scale the stairs

Not lose her seams

She’ll find you there

And go back

To life before

The cellar black
Bargaining, she will lie there

At the footwell of the stair

Hoping, willing, striving, trying

Trading, selling, buying, lying
Fighting against inevitable ends

Willing straight the twisted bends

She can’t give up, her tiny faith

It is all that keeps her safe

From the blackness all around

From that blackness gaining ground

Black of grief and shame and hate

Black of heart and soul and fate

Black of marrow, pupils’ chasms

Black in final death throe spasm
Her little golden corny face

Is all the colour in this place

And hopeless hope is all that’s real

And that is all that she can feel

Lantern

While you flay your self 

In that fluorescent gaze 

Those blinking strips of blue

Denying the squint 

that screws your sockets

Claiming vision
I, silent in exile, 

the cool cavernous darkness

Navigate by the warmth of my own breath

And search for you with grazed fingertips
Whilst you tinker

At broken lamps

Switching their marbled glass shades

Rubbing and making dimmed wishes

I find my light in soft tallow

In its lighter shade of shadow

And see by glow 

And see it grow
But no, 

even without mirror I remember –

I am not of the night

Not the foul creature you fabled

To pull your camp close 

against the wildness of the earth

But of a light so vivid 

so uncompromisingly radiant

That you chose blindness over sight
You and your home fire fellows

Sitting at those four corners

Of your uncompromising shape

Holding fast to its sharp edges

It’s perpendicular peculiarity 

A masquerade of normality

Deniers of geometry
Try as I might I could not 

Be the fifth angle 

That unholy pentangle 

And you tried in your way 

To shape me too

Make me fit you

And flex I can

Until fatigue sever me asunder

And I go under

and must smelt, recast and cool

In a furnace fired 

By the marrow of my bones
And yes you deny the pyre

And refuse to feed the fire

And sit and sit by your broken clock

And by and bye

Keep your jaw locked

Blinded by Christmas tree twinklers and neon and spots

Analogues of warmth 

Whose flickering is beyond vision

Hiding their darknesses by division  

And dark duplicity 

And by that light you sharnt see me

But feel only

Antimatter projections 

Untreatable infections

Something too unsavoury

For familial sanctimony
And so I go my way

Jackolantern-grimace lit

And fit

Not on your 10 lane highway

But on the byways

Of adventure and uncertainty

Of challenge and unclarity

Which is the true reality

Which stretch out to

horizons of possibility

And self diversity

Which flex limberly 

In supple multiplicity 

And give me my journey 

And oh how i wish you would come with me

And see everything you could be 

If you let go your whiteknuckle grip

If you let your stiff mask to slip

And let me nose kiss by your warm lips
But instead

You lie like a corpse already

And you hold tight to be steady

And I know I must 

somehow become ready

To let you go

‘What he would have wanted’ 10.6.16

If you have lost him

Lost him long before his going

Lost his face

In a trunk of masks

And saw this

But could not find him

Before the heavy silk

Was drawn over his lips
If you have lost him

In the folded tounge 

If the Great Unsaid

Scrumpled, arid, spittle whited

Like letter drafts

Crushed before their flight

In fists of assumed tomorrows

And shared silencing 
If you are not soothed 

By keeping busy

By hallmark platitudes

Wreaths of roses

‘What he would have wanteds’

That he would never have wanted
If he sits on your bed

At 3am

Just breathing
If the smell of broom blooming

delivers you

Like a tornadoed Oz house

To a place of warm cradling

Buried deeper than he;

Salinates and pillars your flesh

Like a biblical wife

Looking back at wrathed destruction 
If you find you must

Shape the fermenting dough

Of your grief

With a biscuit cutter

Into familiar palatable shapes

Diminish it for consumption

Humble it, hobble it
Then find your Birthday Letters

And dive 

Forget your breathing

Grow back your primordial gills

And dive for him

In the seam of its pages

The buried treasure

Silt slicked bounty
And when you prise the chest

Take him and wear him

Drive the brooch pin

Into you breast

Let the blood and

Let light at the wounding
It’s what he would have wanted

The inflation 11.6.16

Erect in the pulpit

You boomed

You brimmed

You frothed

Playing god,

Played his grandeur

In pantomime grandiosity,

While he lay

Stiff

Cold

Two weeks dead

Eyes glued shut

Pumped with vinegars. 
In the swill of that service

You ballooned

Inflated in my mothers gaze

By stolen breath:

Her blow up dolly painted jolly

My brother

In my fathers shoes
I stuff my worthless currency in

a pyjama bear that smells of me

To smuggle it to spend –

To not to debtors lend

Escape to some new territory

With my insane temerity
And you will rule

Marionette

On a stage set for three then two

But I see those strings

Atangling

Those knots

Will strangle you

 

Conversion 

In our humble chapel

You made me a believer

Followed you the beyond the night

Where our inner golden sanctum

Shimmered out all tricks of light
But when I dared to grow and blossom

Beyond the habit made for me

You left me there to rot and ruin

Lost your faith, deserted me

Left me locked in, took the key
You went in search of circus twinklers

Clowning painted as you flew

Juggling fire sticks, broken bottles

For your happy circus troupe
Alone I held memorials

Sacrificed myself and then

Burnt the alter in an offering

We would not worship there again
But inside I knew you kept a vestige

I saw it in your eyes deep blue

And so I could not let you go dad

I could not let me let go of you
Now thickets grew with berry brambles

through shattered windows where once had danced 

coloured refractions of our folklore

remembrance of our circumstance

And on those thorns I pricked my fingers

Dropped my blood onto the floor

And hoped you’d follow on the trail

And find me, your fleshblood, just once more
But your own flesh turned inside against you

Rotted you from inside out

And I sat and watched you crumble

And tried to make you come back to the font 
But stubbornness, fear, and forgetting

You would not be helped to find

You way back and so you left us –

All of existing humankind
Where you’ve gone I cannot follow

I remain where you had once led

And though those berry fruits of bramble

Prick me, its fecund seed they shed
Of what we shared and I will plant it

Plant it in my garden green

Shine upon it and will grant it

Warmth, breath and to be seen
You wanted chapel as a secret

But now I will go out and sing

Of everything that we believed in

I will write and live our hymn 

Blue sky thinking 

There must have been some summer

Where I lay

Pregnant with hope

In summer grass

Under blue skies

The chalky marks of vapour trails 

Where i still believed

You would return 

And find me

The belly breathing

Before the rasping 
Was it some moment

Tiptoed

Between childhood

And womanhood

Before separate toilets

Before not being allowed on sofas menstruating

Before the great bonfire of innocence

Before abandonment and your grieving for my hymen

Before that angry year long silence 

Before the unwelcome oggles

Before conspicuousness 

Before the budding breasts

Before the crippling and cramping

When I still believed

I could be myself

Could hope for life and love

Before the shaming and slow strangulation
Because even now

When I see those skies

My heart leaps in a dance

Of pure joy

My mind races

With glorious possibility

And my eyes brim

With soursweet tears

For all that might have been

Could still be

If only I could reach

Those vapours

And skip across the sunbeams

And capture the molten light

And forge it

My armour and shield 

And bear it as my earthly standard 
Oh that my march could be a dance

With the music of my hearts own beating 

My own breath

Just being alive

Reaching, soaring, flying free

Back to that me

Untitled 

Lido de jesaloI was maybe 9

We ‘I spied’ a wine festival

And got a table just in time
With eyes glossed

By grapes’ sweet musts

You let me and that waiter reach to touch you

Let down your barriers to trust
I saw you live and breathe

And I longed to cartwheel down

The aisle between the tables

In joy at finally being

Your frown turned upside down
In the morning your were seasick

We skunk off for pills and pop

You swore me to the secret

And that secret never stopped
I stretched out my cupped-hand reception 

For your vomit sacrament of shame

I relished the privilege of it

My keeper spoke my secret name
But while you slunk off, forgiven

I was stricken with the stench

Of everything that you brought up

From the depths of your guts’ wrench
I’ve been cast out for poor hygiene

I lose sleep by the locked door

With all that you could not permit

To fall upon the floor
And you’ve long since left the building

And I’m not even half way in

This dad is enmeshment

The trouble I’m still in
For I’m wedded to a dead man

Who died long before his death

And I have dragged the corpse weight with me

And had to keep it fresh
With my own lifeblood 

Pumping double

My heart transfusion pump

Is faltering infected 

From this unholy hitching up
And I must grin and bear it

And act as if in joy

At being given to this circus

And be its dusty toy
I must alone it service

It’s ancient cogs and wheels

And hold it and preserve it

And everything it feels
Archivist, mechanic

Nurse, scribe and keeper of the time

Silent order nun and alarm of panic 

Little girl and stunted womankind
And I must wear this badges secret

And always try my best

To be your undercover agent

And cover gaps in service

From the one mum loves the best 

Fantasies of Peacetime?

Was there a time before the anger?

When I remember water

Flowing

The avocado basin

Where I raised up

My elbows like fledgling wings

The orange grass floored board house

It’s psychedelic windows

That I served out 
Was it with me then?

Was it mine?

Before you pressed 

That carbon

Into my palms

Before 

Before I made

My diamonds of your rage

Before the crowning

Before the weight of it
Was there a time

When she could bear to look

At her half mirror

And not turn away

If

I think I met you on Cooks Beach at noon

Tramping the horizon of the inverse sky

With your bonneted squinting wife

You seemed to be having a happy life

10 years on maybe

Living in the highlands

Travelling the globe

Not lost of heart

Old man, still with the boy alive within
There was your canined playful grin

An acquiescence to understated mirth

The jig of a light in you eyes

A northern lilting 

In the uttered ellipsis of your punctuations’ enunciation 
Under the pines

On the rough benched table 

The tip of your index finger draped

Like a foal’s fresh limb
We did not stay long dad,

But I drunk him in

It was good to be with him

This man you could have been

If you’d been well

And happy 

And you’d lived 
He wished me happy wandering 

  

Block

Wan with radiation

A sheet-wrapped bundle of bone 

Your baritone 

gone

rasping, you tin whistled

A question:

Would I write for you?
And I wanted to say ‘I have, here it is’

Proud as a pony

Tossing its mane

Whipping flanks for the charge

But shied at the cavalletti jumble

Tangled my fetlocks

And fell struck numb and dumb

“The words just won’t come”
And it’s only now, months after 

last chance long since lost on

That day of stilted silences

Of concealed whimpers

Of bedpans and wind chimes 

And in the throes of

your fretful ‘oh dear’s,

That in my dazed haze 

From unfocused gaze

Memories appear 
I remember 
the day of my brothers christening

Alone for a moment

In a streak of morning light

It dawned on me

The confounding miracle of life
And it was shortly thereafter

One night lying alone

While unknown trains to their stations

Were rumbling home

The gutwrench of knowledge 

– one day you’d be gone

Gripped my throat

Stabbed my chest

Twisted in my colon
Fat sobs led me to sleeping

Where I dreamed and dreamed dreams

Of nan turned to ashes

Undone at the seams,

Slouched in her chair by the hearth

In the lounge at Oak Road,

After giving her bed up to you and your brood,

her index finger offering

To the hunger of fire,

She burnt down like a Woodbine

Fag-ash of the pyre
Whist upstairs we snored 

sound-safe in conceit

We’d never lie 

with that fire at our feet
And it was only this January

When that prophesy

Jumped ship from dreamland

Broke the seal to reality

Reduced nan to ashes,

And emboldened thus,

Delivered its omen

In the car park to us,
You lay like it’s lover

In the passenger seat

Sheet white

Glass coffined fairytale beauty

Reclined, waiting to meet

That hooded prince who 

With cold thin-lipped kiss

Would calling your name

Release you from this
And that old Casanova 

Whose charm no one can resist

RSVPed 18 weeks later

Engulfed you in his tryst

Sat on your lungs 

And stole you from pain

And delivered my father

To the lick of the flame
And I spoke for you then

Words treacled and twee

Eliding the apple

Slowly rotting in me
But now at my own alter

Green resin topped 

I bite deep at the canker

And the words will not stop

I wish you could hear them

As grand and base as they be

And know of the depths of love

For you, deep in me

  

Last day 

You had your back to me

Lying on your railed bed

Too low to see the crest of the field

Under whose gaze you’d elected to expire
You did not know

I was sitting in your lounge chair

Afraid to leave

Knowing somewhere in me

It was the last of the last of days
I heard you whimper,

crying out your agony

For mercy

As my mother insisted

On electric toothbrushing

Your ulcerated mouth

A full freshminted cycle 

As you wept
With missionary feavor 

Acting out 

Her disgust and fury 

At your succumbing 

To premature degeneration. 

Zealot-like she exorcised

Oral bacteria 

That were the least of your worries
And I did nothing

Too ashamed of the fear 

That kept me pinned to the upholstery,

And avoiding the pain

Of feeling your suffering-shame

Resist my empathy 
It was the last time I saw you fully conscious. 

 

 

Untitled 

The last time

You were alive

Full to your fingertips

You told me

With teary-eyed conviction

That I must live

Not do what you had done

Not wait

Not delay

Not forestall

Not pause and wait in line

Not horde marshmallows 

But grab

Uncompromisingly 

For what I loved

For what filled me

With life
It wasn’t too late

But already

You’d surrendered

Your urgings

Were that I live for you

In a way you’d never dared to
But where is my map

Must I make it myself?

And have no king

To whom to proclaim on return

My voyagings

My landgrabs 

My discoveries and plunder

To wonder at my withered potatoes

Is it an empty crusade?
Without your clarion call

Would I be happy

Landlocked and contented

With what I have?
The seeds of doubt

You planted

Are springing forth

Multiplying unassailable 

On some distant shore 

And call me to their harvest

That I might shore up provision

Against the famine

Of your regrets

Saturday, 22 October 2016

On the day when they scattered
your ashes without me
in a field’s tree-hooked nadir
I ran
 
into the dusk light
bat in crepuscular spirals celestial
and willed that
which was shadow 
to flight
 
I sought to allow
wept for you and for me 
for then and for now 
all we could not be
your youth and mine 
time shared and lost time
 
unknotted my grip
and let the bird sit
free to flee
or to sing sweet in me
 
on the crest of a stubble hill
at a stile’s breath pause
I gathered up a fist of soil
and held the earths ashes
palms up the moon
 
too soon
that which in you shone bright
was blotted out by the sleep
that keeps us 
unknowing of other, of self,
existentially shelved
 
so go back I think,
before the wink 
before the chink 
which bore you
 
I fantasise –
you were grey like your poem
at once shadow and light
grey like this soil offered 
to the darkening night
 
that this circle is one wherein 
your earthly refractions
by birthlifeanddeath’s 360 action
added back their fractions
to a one
which was you
 
Dad – I loved you

Untitled 

Towards the end

You seemed to open

To wonder

Become blank with wonder

Your own self erased

Like a child

As yet unimprinted

Nothing to say
I could not tell

Whether this was

The contriving of depression

A white flag

A resignation

That it was no longer

Worth fighting

To be oneself

Against the cacophony

Of discordant voices
Not worth singing

From the towers

When you were about to be flattened

Like an ancient city

Reduced to rubble

Made dust

All you sacred sites

Obliterated

All your unknown byways

Never to be found
Or whether you had in the midst of war 

Found a kind of peace

An eye in the storm
Was it defeat

Or truce

Or surrender

Or rejecting 

Life’s conscription?

Weary

Brow beaten

Battle scarred

Shell shocked

Trench footed
Were you executed

Blindfolded 

12 barrels of cancer

For desertion?
Or should we Remember 

and wreath

And lionise

Jingoistic 

Your hero’s grave?

Existential Ants

The caravan is full of ants

Do they share 

our fantasies

of permanence?

Scouting in their foreign land

tiny footprints in our drifting sands
We are killing time together

Taking a blunt knife to its throat

We are wandering and wasting

Living our lives like hungry goats
We are chowing down

Sustaining

Ourselves in what we find

Drifts of refuse and of nectar

Ambrosia in kind
Chit chat with wrinkled strangers

Whose hearts flap

Like salon doors

Saying ‘come close’

Saying ‘enter’

Saying ‘barred for evermore’
We long to bathe our bodies

In icy lakes and streams 

Are we made cleaner, or more marked

By our travelIng and our dreams?
We sleep on fusty pillows

Make love on creaking beds

Huddle under chip and Lino

Try to empty out our heads
Another beach

Another mountain

A gorge

A rippling of hills

Another forest, endless highway

A land green to the gills 
Another playground 

Another cafe

Another chain store

Another town
The landscape 

Repeats it’s melody

like an earworm –

Subconsciously resounds 
Birdsong at sunset

And daybreak 

has become our tune

Snoring 

or tried wailing

Our afternoons 
Profound and mundane

This adventure, this quest

Do we manage it or surrender

To give it our best? 
Are we exploring this landscape

Or the same old projections of self 

Are we living, or suspended 

On our own voyaging shelf?
Will we find anything

But the elemental 

bear traps of our being

Will be be able to maintain

This freshness of seeing?
And this versing is endless

A lazy rhyme 

So I’ll stop toying

Start cooking

It’s dinner time

Untitled 

Friends at every turn

Old souls with young hearts

Uncalloused

Plaqueless

Pink and plump
Fingers pressed into palms

Eyes moist

With meeting

With laughter

With unexpected resonances

Less than 6 degrees 
So many hopeful children

Squeals 

Of excitement 

Of selfhood

Of agency

Peal like glad bells
Valleys, peaks 

retuning calls

In triplicate chorus

Water falling

From secret places,

unpeopled plateaus 
And ghosts in the shadows

Of these lights abound

Lost spirits 

Plunders of brutalities 

Blunders of dignities

Betrayals of humanities 

Ancient jin 

And the recently parted 

Sing and rage and whisper 

Of the injustices

That did them in
And their presence is no malice

But opened by surprising love

I feel them rest heavy 

In my throats cup
This ossified heart twitches softly

Like a warm rat by a scrap 
What do we do with beauty

But tear it down

And what with life? 

So, what now with this fledgling hope 

Delicate in its nest

And hungry for earthworms 
Feed it?

Teach it to fly?

Or prevent its fall,

By snapping its wings?
And if she flew

Could I do too?

Lighter suddenly?

The headstones discarded?

Could I inhabit the sun, the sky? 

Icarus, could I?

Manifesto

There stands in the forest

A woman

Bare footed on the pine needle floor

Dressed by you in a shroud

For her own pyre

 

She holds in her hand a staff of fire

A great bough,

Is the forest safe?

Are you?

Is she here to illuminate

or destroy?

And is there any difference?

Missing 

We traversed from mountaintop drizzle

In a faux Norwegian town

Through gorges 

Of fat brown water

To the lush west

And you were somehow not here
An affluence and ease

That would have had you 

Queasy, twitching, unable to sit down 
There were only

Grand open houses

Gobbling at glinting light

With hungry windows
The quiet hurry of water

As day became night 

Bustling with black swans 

A vastness of beach 

Cast with mysterious drifts

Dunes furred with pom-pom grasses

And retiree masses

In motor home rigs
Embraced by cedar forested mountains 

This soporific watery town

It’s ease and it’s gladness

Tore my grief down
Stripped back to the peace and the calm deep beneath 

For one blessed night

Of much needed relief 

 

2016

2016 you were hungry

And angry

You took so many beautiful ones

Pillage, rampage, plunder

In horror and in wonder 

I stood by

Expecting to see

Beneath all that savaged flesh

A faintly beating heart

Some fragment of bone

Something elemental

Some token of alive life
I saw nothing but abyss

Circle upon circle

Of black fire

The vulcan shadow of 

The beasts blood heat

A bottomless pit

Gazing down

Past my feet
Only the stars staring down blankly

Indifferent

Powerless 

Without time

Were unblighted

Cool, immune 

Removed

Invincible 

Being already long since gone 
The shell within which

This hot egg rots

Still encrusted by light clusters 

– distant bystanders

– their own memorials 

 

I am burnt where the black sun shon

Scorched earth  

And so I peel

And reveal

My tenderised new skin

And no

This time

You can huff and puff

But I won’t let you in
Not yet next year 

I’m not letting you near

I’m clicking my heels

Suspending time

As long as I can

Holding my breath
In the silent noise of water

Ears whistling like empty shells

Finding the silky mud

Digging my toes deep

Feeling the wet clod’s suck

Something holding on

Permission to be stuck 

In Neptune’s anchoring  

In submarine harbouring 
Barnacle and conceal me

Let me swim with the weeds

Rooted and wavering 

I’ll surface when I’m ready 

Making love history 

When water was not yet

And light was beginning the sky

And the lowest hum was whistling

There was you and I
Your mote

And my mote

Pulled by opposite charge

A lightning fizz so tiny

In a cosmos so very large 
And in the crux 

The smelting bang

The destruction, The creation

We made a tiny speck of dust

And across the blast zone ran
Landed on this turbulent rock

This soup of energy and matter

And in the swamp

Of crackle pop

We grew ourselves the fatter
Something insane

Something profane

The stuff of horror films

Something once inanimate

Grew its fins and gills
And billions of time elapsed

It crawled upon the land

Clawed it’s way up

And latterly

Grew something like our hands
Palms clasped as close

As our pre-Earth atoms

Entangled in our caravan bed

We try the miracle again

Utter the abracadabra 

That some god has said
To make life germinate, spring forth

From the nothing-everything of us,

From with our cup spilling over

To make a bairn from love

Low vertigo

In a caravan with disintegrating curtains

Patterned of my own vintage

Hunched over a pot

Of green potatoes

In a trailer park 

There is vertigo

For there is further down 

Than this below
Have i come too close 

To the vortex’s edge? 

To my own parody?

-the coarseness 

I aped

To cover my schooling
No one is here 

To tell of the difference
What if

The wind changed

While I was pulling faces

I danced the ‘boho dance’

In my Red Shoes 
So casually 

A chimpanzees tea party 

I have played rough

With the china 

Sold the silver for firewood 
And suddenly

I feel what they might have felt

Small in the cool of the north face

Weak for the scrabble upwards

Skinning knees

Without the luxury

Of assuming

A summit welcome
This is not what you wanted for me

Not what you bought with your sweat

Two generations

Up by their bootstraps 

The first to study beyond 14

The first out of scrap metal

And fruit-shops

And dinner- ladying 

And taking in laundry

And council housing 

Not what your mother

By laying-by her wants 

Bought with your grammar schooling 
You asked me to be proud

And grateful 

And striving, but

I broke every rung 

In the ladder you turned

In your splintered hands

For love

And foolishness

And fear of falling

And rebellion

And exhaustion

And broken hearted anger 

That my ceaseless scaling

Did not lead back

To the celestial landscapes

of your love
A ‘manual labourer’

Big handed

Big hearted 

Calloused in places

Gruff and strong

Though tender when the nights were long

Yet whom I find I carry

Like one wounded

To some class infirmary 

Who loves so simply

In his ignorance 

Is who asked you

For my scholars hand
My dreams of love

And adventure

Took me

From the track

You had laid

With yours

And the locomotive

Shunted sidingward 

Gathers rust
Did I break your heart?
I feel duty

To be happy

With this lot

For which I bid

With your life’s savings 

But I see woodworm

In the shack

And I look back
And that part of me

That had given up

On reaching

Where you would have had me:

A ‘writer’ 

Pedicured feet on the parquet

Of a Deco mansion 

White towelling robed

Reading broadsheets over breakfast pastries 

With a monocled thinker

Adoring and indulging

Debating and engaging 

My children playing politely

In the shadow of walnut veneer
That some part pines

Like a discarded puppy

Who romanticised wolves

And would not be house trained

And I am sorry

For shitting on your carpet 

Chewing your shoes

Nipping your ankles

Yapping for my dinner

  

Like a stray should I then 

find my way

And sit faithful

At your headstone 

Retrace your steps

Civilise my pack 

Clipping whiskers

And find my way back

To the starting block

And chase the rabbit

Once again

Give up my hovel’s glowing fireside?

Decide on evolution 

At any cost?

Survival of the wittiest

The grittyist

The ones who sacrifice 

And scoff?

Or stay here at the easy trough?

Eat slop

Happy as a pig in muck?

 

Medium

I think I’m sick of thinking

diseased dis ease 

My proverbial pipe smoke

My beard stroke

Obscuring equally

Any contact between me and:

The empty auditorium;

The cold bench opposite;

The echo chamber;

The unringing phone;

The untouched doormat;

The averted gaze,

And the hot fat bubbling

In human hearts 
Putting down the tangled wool

Ceasing the pull 

I spit into it

Aspiring to phlegmatic contempt 

I tell myself

‘Now is the time to go out there

And live

And look up at clouds

And breathe in and out

And smile at dogs and strangers

It’s time to DO

To engage

In what makes my blood sprint or

be a hermit or sort the wheat from the chaff’

For a moment I feel smug
And then 

I remember 

That this ‘what’ is being

Mainly to have something to think about 

And having someone to share it with

Who cares to listen

And thoughtfully reply

And reciprocate 

And that my dis ease with thinking

Is my awareness

Of your dis ease

With my thinking 

And I collapse

Exhausted

Confused

And disillusioned

Into my armchair

Behind the curtain

(Which anyone who is not saited

By superficiality,

And our lurking ex-lovers 

Are here to snoop behind)
Over my

My elbow patches

My corduroy

My library creepers

I pull

My sequin catsuit slit to the waist

My tit tape

My Pom poms

And lying-down shoes

I disable myself in

A Stifling

Prickly 

Slow 

Suffocation 
And visions of sharing something authentic 

Even with myself 

defeated by the reality 

Of sharing unrealities 

I pick up my glowing glass

And scroll

Not watching the TV blaring

Curating 

And not connecting
This canvas will not take my paint
Say something funny

Sardonic, acerbic, witty

Say something happy

Something grateful

Something positive

Something in 144 characters 

Something with a photo

Which bleaches out

Any shadow

Say something with

A smiley

A sticker 

A video that can be absorbed 

Without actually watching it

Something simple

That requires no more than a split second

Of their time

Maybe one day you’ll meet for wine

But for now, for now 

Say something that abides

The unspoken rules

Which are all we really share here

Or for godsake shutup!
I want to say

We all have to find our way

With impermanence 

And isolation

And freedom

And meaning
And so far, I don’t think we are doing very well

 

Untitled 

Menstruating

she smelt like a hot meat pie

The midges swarmed

No butterfly 

Was powdering

It’s wet wings

No chrysalis stitched

Around a grub

Spun fat and juicy

In a moments love

No magic metamorphoses 

Just blood to blood

Clot to clot

Cotton wodge blackpudding sausages

vermillion clods
Paint me a landscape

Of your false hopes

The half life

Of your isotope 

And I will people it

With Lowry sticks

And trouser-in

Their barren pricks 

Whispering war

The language that my body speaks

Is sage and true

She knows more than I

Or you
Sometimes she mews

soft and low and lilting

She whispers with a Klimtian tilting 

Broken necked

Tentative affirmatives

Pucker like kisses

launched like exploring ships

from the harbour of her lips
And in noes

screeched clear and loud

Like banshee caterwauls

Hacked up like hairballs

Vomit spittled 

Teeth gritted

She is proud
But I close my ears

And do not hear

Her say anything at all
I am focusing on you

And what you would have me do

So intently 

That I forget

She needs me to go gently
And then she speaks 

In firebombs

She straps to herself

And runs

Into the rooms of my life

Screaming

“Fuck you!”

With an itchy trigger finger
And if I scream back

Medicate her terrorism

With booze and drugs

Dismissive exasperated shrugs

And carry on just like before
One day I’ll meet her on the floor

Feb 14th

I fell in love again today

And never has

A love been

So fierce and so frustrated
Your tiny hands 

At once scratch at my eyes

And beat my breast

Then search for my jawbone

For comfort 

As you belly heave

Into dozing
And I too

I am like a steam train whistle

High-pitched strained steel gristle

Hauling tonnage

Through the Impossible landscape of the day 

And then a soft chested lioness

Purrs rebounding 

In savannah prowess 
Through every dimension

We traverse together

Ceaseless restless marching 

Conquering nothing

Suspended

In the held breath of each untocked second

And grieving every grit slip of time’s passage

And also wishing it away

For a fantasy 

Of some kind of homecoming

To certainty 

Every step holding in one hand

What we leave behind

And in the other 

The fear of what we face
Stay – 

I’ll keep you in my gaze

The only constant

In shifting sands

Sand blind and lost

In our strange land
My eyes are on you

And my heart devours

Each of your still-new life’s

Passing hours 

North

Spine hooked

Arching, thrusted

Up north backwards

On the railways steel line

Ejected from present

To a country lost in time 

Back to a place

That once was a home

Back shrapnel pitted

into the blast zone
Ears whistling

With bomb echo

A silencing din

Rubble dust

Thickens air

That I must breathe in  
But pretend you’re a sunbeam

Shine refugee shine

Or be banished forever

From this place 

Of gone time 
Then released south to swim

Bleeding trails back downstream

Fins clipped and mouth gouged at

I gaslight it bad dreams
Descaled fish?

Skulking shamed

In the softness of weed?

Or in mirror of waters

Just a rotting shed leaf?

Curled up

Verdance done

Drifting

Crisp and brittle

In the white fires

Of low sun
A skeleton of self

Delicate and light

It’s suppleness eroded

In the screaming

Of daylight
Hide me in the darkness

Sweep and bag me up

Stack me

Sweat and mulch me

Make of me some grub
Some humus for a rooting

Plant or scavenging blind mole

Some passing on of spirit

If you believe all life has soul

I am done with habitation

Of this crumbling shell

Disorganise my matter

Let my energy dispel

Return me to pre-atom

Reform in some fresh thing

To reach afresh for a tomorrow

And the false hope it may bring
I give up give up give up

The ceaseless filling of the cup

And want to spit not swallow

When you make me drink it up
So tired I am

And long for sleep

Let me go now

To where it’s dark and deep

Abandon my amphibianing

And fish or leaf lay low 

Return me to a place

Where my love may freely go 

Note to self

Happiness and rest and respect

Are not just for other people
If you are exhausted,

If you’ve wilted

Slogging to the well

Remember 

Squatting on Leaves of Grass

There are droplets 

where the dew mist fell
If you need booze

And box sets

Every night

To unwind

It’s likely you are 

Being unkind

To yourself

Asking too much

When others would go Dutch

If you only let them
Just because you can

Dream up a multiverse 

Every hamlet

It’s own waterfall

It’s own mountain god

It’s own thick bracken- fettled wood

It does not mean you have to built it

With your bare hands

On your own land
When you toil

To make silk purses

Of sows ears

You tend to stitch

Your fingertips together

And catch only yourself –

Frustrated bluebottle

In your morbid cats-cradle
Just because you are able

You are not responsible

For redeeming

For polishing and gleaming

For breaking through the ceiling

With every huff and puff
You are enough

See yourself woman!

Not in the funhouse mirrors

Of you past

But in the glass

Held gently by those who last

Through your shining AND your blasts –

Those that call you friend

That do not ask you to pretend

And want only 

That you do not

Prematurely end

By sprinting through the bog  

– Ankle bones splitting

Speeding in the fog

– Bald wheels skitting 

Working like a dog

– Eatsleephuntandshitting
The world is not safe

Everything will end

Meaning will shapeshift

The force fields of your atoms

Will always keep you

Even from touching your own self
But you are are safe as you can be

You know all you can know

You can traverse self and other

With word and deed and empathy

And you are free

And have responsibility

Only for yourself 
Yes people can be animals

(and so can you –

the veneer is just skin thick)

But these ones are your pack

Follow them on the track

Pheromones and droppings

And don’t look back
They will both lead and follow

Where you all need to go

Old Neptune 

In a family of puddlesYou were an abyss 
Their lineage was leaf-fall

Their rainbows, oil spill

Reflecting only grit or the grey sky

And then there was you and I
I your diver, holding my breath

You a deep dreamscape

Unseen tangle and mess

Bottomless phosphorescence 

Home of the long lost

On the surface of which

Their paper ships tossed
Your lost worlds

Lost too to you

Your mermans tail

Traded in, melted for glue
You forgot how to swim

And so bobbed and bloated

I tried to be with you

Hanging of those who boated
Merrily on

Not wondering at beneath 

Apart from that they could 

hook out for their teeth
But I was born

To dive and swim

Gilled and scaled

Fat tailed and slim

And at the surface 

I will choke

And hooked

And pained

My wet heart broke
And they sit now fat and proud

Cradling their bellies round

And you are dead and I am stuck

In the coral and the muck

Landscape 

I love the way you use my faceSoft padded fingertiping trace

Each feature of its topography 

The shadow of yours, which formed in me

Shaped by amniotic ocean drifts

Eye sockets; the purse of your lips
You search my hairline’s widow’s furrow

For the memory of your soft burrow 

in the fecund earth of my body deep

Back to the loving womb of sleep
Your feet at my belly – still kicking

Your timorous heart – with mine ticking

The light of your soul’s candle – in mine flickering

Inside and out – your limbs still thickening 
I named you after wild free land

Growing untended by any hand

That you be your own territory

Out of possession of my body

And free you’ll be to leave and roam

– I’ll hold your desiccated burrow-home

 

Anniversary 

One year on

Since you were gone

And lying in the nursery floor

You are the bead

Of light that bleeds

Under the shadow

Of the door
That love you poured

Like syrup into me

When my skin was

Like a peach’s scrub

Is pouring from 

the pores of me

Into my own

Slumbering cub
I long to breathe

Into your lungs

For one last lilting

Of your song

And hear their rasping

Serenade 

Me to a slumber

All night long
My head rested

On your shoulder, trancing

My mazed hair

In your fingers, dancing

And your whisper 

Of your own nanna’s love

For me the bairn

Of your sons cup
Nanna I know you went with time

To an end and a beginning place 

And with your dying gazes

that light traced

It’s speed I wish for humankind

Was hot enough to see you bind

To another gentle soul

To burrow in deep like a mole

And blindly love the fecund soil

And make deep love it’s loving toil
I’d be a happy worm to turn

In the earth 

Around your urn

And gobble, integrate and split

And make another 

In my pit

And name her twinkles 

After you

And let you see me your bidding do

And love her to her bones 

as you loved me

Please grant me these wishes three:
-To live your love

-Not lose belief

-And bear a new bloom 

from my furled leaves 

 

Easter 

A shell

Brittle

Emptied of its yolk

It’s white

It’s potential 

It’s nourishment

It’s flexibility

Its growth

It’s transformation
And this is your mother

From whom you must take sustenance

Life force

Self

Love

Nurture

Example
Which must be able to withstand

Your scratchings in the nest

Your wings’ feathering

Your flight and returns

Your cawing
And so you do not fly

Or if you do you may not return

So you wait, or you contort

Yourself into a form

Which renders its precariousness

No thereat, no exposure,

Or you attempt

To bring it forth

And make it live but,

It is not warmed by your presence

Nor can it hatch by your hope, patience, cajoling or attention,

But only implode

Deflate, crushed

All illusions of solidity shattered
What it wants from you

Is masquerade

That it is full still

Unhatched these many decades

Yet also not decomposing

Suspended somehow

In potentiallity 

For eternity,

That it is your wellspring

And that you too

Can remain 

Happily unhatched 

Your hollowness filling you

Beaming confidently 

In its fullness

It’s brimming

Never wanting her hatching or her sitting you into being
But what if it is you,

Cuckoo,

Who has blown this egg

Pillaged it’s proteins

Suckled its fats?

What if it was you?

And now you denigrate 

What you created

By your own appetites,

And what if

By lending to you

Her egg

You lived, and grew, and flew,

And she hallowed  

Untitled

The heffers are marching
To the fence
And charcoal clouds
Race on
a watercolour sky
Casting shadows on
Fertile farmland
As a sou’wester sighs
And Time without waypoints
Passes by

And my darling riot
My stretch and throb
My gringlow
My brows fist
My twinkling grenade
Is sprinting
Delighted
Towards something I may never see

Who wants nothing of me
But me
And needs nothing but
My following
Of he
A blossom beyond
Linnaeus’ key

One day my love
Your life will be
One without me
And you will see me going
Vanishing into
my own skin
My cheeks hallowing
Swallowing
The slow poison
Of age

And so
That I am here now
Must be fully
To fill you
With all this cask holds
All that has been fermenting
All that I have been solemnly maturing
My strange bittersweet brew
Could it nourish you?

No more cellar dwelling
No more hoarding
No more hostages to fortune
No more wagers with cobwebs

It’s time to tap the barrel
And drink up for good or ill
Rise up our cups
In cheer,
And slam our empties down
A carousing and a chorusing
Of rejoicing
At your becoming
And mine