Thursday, 15 March 2018

Cul de sac

You will you limbs to move
desperate concentration
an unheard mute message
to a lumpen stolid body.
slumped slack stringed puppet
awaiting the next awful scene
in the grotesque mannequin cabaret
A ghoulish ballet of exquisite torture
In which you must inflict
outrageous acts of depravity
in the name of who knows whose unseen hands.
You are paralysed
Head on your chest
Looking inward
Blaming yourself
for what you are made to do.
Maybe if you do exactly what you have to
they will leave you alone.
But still
You think
You await
a flicker
a twitch
anything to tell you that you are alive.

Monday, 12 March 2018

The hum of the fridge.

Behind the couch lie things
unsearched for
Choking in a layer of dust
remnants of another time.

The house is quiet
distant barking dogs
the hush of cars on a wet road
if there was a clock
(which there is not)
it would tickkk-pause- tockkk


Like the waves that lap against palid grey slick sand
tide turning
you standing safe
then submerged
in cold water
numb and breathless.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Seared draft.

I was high above the muddy field gripping tightly.
On the shoulders of a man I barely knew but I trusted
because of who I was told he was.
He was here now when usually he was not.
The taught string pulled against my hands.
Ridged plastic against skin softer than it is now.
It was a scudding, grey, whipping wind
The line heaved, ebbed, then whiplash dragged me.
A little boat adrift on stormy waves, darting, dipping, plunging
and popping up like a cork.
My grip is all that ties it to the coast line.
My grip and my arms which are tiring.
Fingers cold.
This is a special day because he is here.
We must try on a special day.
We must try our best.
The tacking and turning is yanking at my shoulders, prising my finger, is trying my patience.
The vessel yearns for the open sea. The chained dog gnaws at its chain. The unfired gun holds in it an explosion of imagination. A question.

I let go.

You run. You run so hard, like I've never seen you run before.
You run and though you smell of sweet tobacco smoke and motor oil you run like an athlete. 
You run across the slippery precarious municipal turf
You run across what is barely grass, more a churned bog punctured by studded boots
You run to the goal pasts, with the naked patches of bare metal and bubbling welts of welded angles.
You run, beyond, going past, not through, you head up, following the path of the plastic meteor
You run, you climb, a struggle, a fence you thought about vaulting, but you hesitate and the momentum is gone and beyond the fence is a hill, made from earth from under our feet. A hill of shale and ugly black welts, landslips, gouges and you are slower now.
You are scrambling, slipping and the kite hits the slag with a thud I can't hear but I can feel, the rigid frame is surely cracked, the bright orange sail is surely ripped and there on the hill, way in the distance is the man who makes the world ok and he's tiny and I'm back here and I wish, with all my heart that I hadn't let go because he might fall and the ground might give way and this is a special day and on special days we are good

I'm still on the shoulders of this man. This man I'm told is your brother. Who speaks to you like he knows you more than anyone but I don't know him.

I wish I still held the tight line and I could just hand it over and you were still here to reel it in a pack it away, making it all neat to be put away for next time, to be put away, where ever it is that things which are special for special days go that I don't know about.


As you near the summit of this industrial Everest you stoop and go to take in your hands the polythene Icarus, to rescue the downed cosmonauts the effort catches up with you.

And you double over and breathe, hard and heavy and look, for a just a moment, broken. Sucking air, legs burning, vision swimming.

And then.

You have it.

You came back, slowly, Edging your way down, feet turned sideways as you stepped carefully on the bare patches. Little rivulets of gravel broke free and then you climbed the fence again and ambled back.

There were spots of rain. Feather light flecks, no rhythm to it. We walked, slowly towards you and
as we met, I was placed down, and as my feet sink slightly into the ground. I felt more aware of my weight than I was before.

"It's fine" you said and started to untangle the bits of it which have got all tangled up.

The rain picked up. We walk back and it feels like dusk. Maybe I held your hand. I don't know. It feels like I did.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The back of the shelf.

All night conversation
The thrill of the bus journey
Drinking till you speak something of the truth
The white noise inside
Vomitting words to 200 beats per minute
Stumbling for a piss
Eyes stinging, borrowed fag unlit.
Loose change and sweat.
Waxen face, painted like a death mask.
You found nowhere.
Drunken embraces.
Slurred words as we cling to each other.
Spinning and breathing great gulps of cold smoky air
by the bus station.

Sunday, 4 February 2018


Winters war is almost run.
Spring lies coiled,
taut and waiting
to burst for the light.
Throwing tendrils,
clinging to tiny handholds,
its grip thawing, digging, clawing,
Pushing its way through hard ground
Splitting tarmac, forcing it up and out.
Smothering winters work.
Woodcut crisp lines made filthy with green.

Monday, 29 January 2018


Green copper is municipal.
Like great hulking metal radiators
Caked with paint but furnace hot.
the smell of chlorine and lukewarm footbaths.
Doors too heavy to yield to a child's most insistent shove.
Preformed concrete and plastic carpet which will skin your knees.
Yesterday's future is tomorrow's investment opportunity.

Saturday, 27 January 2018


Raindrops cling for a while, pooling on vertical glass
defying gravity.
Then running, jagged mad patterns
leaving a wake of spidery trails.

I will walk in the fields.
Stalks of dead corn,
ghosts of a harvest
broken corpses of a summer past.

A patchwork square
divided by hawthorn
ploughed into horizontal submission
revolution suppressed by chemical.

Up and down
a sodden, rutted parade ground.
West to east.
East to west.