Monday, 31 August 2015


I must have knitted myself
In those strange plains of sleep
Bourne with the needles
Vaccinating, the terrible teeth
Tipped with paste.

The net
Coughed from, caught on my lips
Screens my face. Adulthood
Stirs underneath
-          Then accessorised
The metal brace, grief
To educate the smile.

With fins
They wait to tickle the silver
In my eyes.

For it is hollowed, the meat
Torn away from the shell
Of the crab-curve, the cheek
Of a child’s sense of self.
The school uniform clung
Like a dressing that day
That week. Those long years
I was served to the world
As a boat


Caught on the tide of parental desire
With a row, row, row

Yelled from the sidelines.
Short staccato strokes.
I became their vessel
Dragging the shore, against my skin
Which become the waterproofed body
Boarded by hurt, by sin.

They are giving me way to ideals
The aisles, where we start
To pick external objects
Which will constitute ‘living’
Or failing that – art.
The veil assumed a landscape
Across my legs
Crawled to stand on my spine
But I was younger then

It has dried.
Starts as a spool on the cheek
Serves to top every rib
Which they put pressure upon
The seats in the ship
And I am caught in their hands
The fingers

Still fail.  For they
Have determined a net of it
The long, stinking veil
Which glints in my stomach
Pierced with holes

As they sit either side of my chest
And throw, throw, throw.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Something to Hold

'The situation is like this’
You declared, with a flutter of lips
And a wrist in the air. The teaspoon hung like an instrument
The tea almost hissed
Your legs lend the chair new proportions, always did.

A  calendar impressed
The opposite wall
Yet the tea, month, mouth -  was lavender. Bitter as gall
With the brewing.
I watched the milk fall, my fingers chewing
Over the silence, the wasting of sense.
The fat on the surface
And we both raised the cup to our lips
As I do now
Under absence.

Under this. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Fishing For Newts

Not fish in the water
But newts, as granddad leaned
To pluck them like jewels.
There on my knees, I practiced the art
Of catching a palmate
In the palm of my hand.
Between finger and thumb
The warm liquid flux
Of thrashing life, the thump
Of pulse against skin – before I could write
Before I had summarised love
In a few sharp strokes.

No, this was tenderness
Taught, by the rippling throat
Of the newt smelling death
In the folds of my coat,
The damp anorak clung
 With the tension
I had learned by love
To let him live.

For this was the ten-year old affair
Waiting for dinner
Seeking consolation from fortunate hunger
The grinding tin in the kitchen.
Instead turning the newt
Like a key, over
In that old lock of waiting

And the sound of gravel shifting
On the roads of the estate.
It was not the cheap affection of television
Not the nautical stench of a catch
No wax crayon on the mouth of a clown
But the sudden consolation, the flash
Of amphibious underbelly.

The spinning of cold stone
Lodged in my memory
A punch of colour, flecked brown
The oozing yolk of summer, intensity
Summarised there
 In the newts stomach, burning
With orange. The fear
Was mutual, sharp, sweet
Of two lives unaccustomed
Half apologetic, craving more time.

Never since have I seen so full
A colour
Now even the advertisements, imitations
Seem like leaf litter
That granddad was sweeping
As I held
Meaning, feeling
Right there.

Yet the fish was plated
The kettle screamed
And eating after I wondered, what would express better
The singe of emotion
Of that orange skin.
The love and the longing
And poured childhood in
To that fiery lozenge.

For it was a time of realisation
Monday at 5pm
Haunting with feeling
Between cold blood and blue
The repeated segregation of
‘Wash your hands after’
But love was dangerous then, wild, wistful

Now dirty all the way through.