Sometimes you get so down
You feel like your mule just won’t budge
And all you can do is write


Somewhere people will see

The smile

When Gibbel returns

Out of this muck gardened
yowling bin dead grassed bog trudge
there will be a way
there will be a way

If I have to carve it with my
bleached bones or the
unpardoned edge of the words
I chose to leave unsaid

Look at yourself and your
tiny needs
look at yourself I have I have I am I did

We were at the very centre of the lake
when a wind came up
as it always must
and then you began to smile


Melancholy saxophone refrain
Comes creeping through my window once again
I don’t need illumination
To perceive the situation
In the morning
I’ll come yawning
To the blues once again


Saying “sunset”
He said “sunset”

With the pipe half empty
And great worn patches
On his shirtsleeves

“Sunset” and the moving of feet

As the hands fold about heads
Off they go to sunset

Off they go
To the setting sun
The sunset

Off they go


The book

Today I rode down
between birds calling and the yet unmelted snow
in dirty arches
over busy ditches
arcing sludge droplet tangents as
tyres waltzed around the shit and standing water
to where they empty their ashtrays out of car windows
on days when hope seems infantile
those deliberate monuments –
mattress, microwave, monitor and beer cans,
the endless waste of babies

There, beside the gaudy discards of those
best unmet,
spine upright as though in defiance
a burnt black book
blistered at the cover
fanned leaves fire shred edged
a smoulder of sentences risen and freed from stops

Lost of all meaning
except at that eyed moment, when it seemed
reason gave in to
the flamed despair of immolation


We dined by the river
I passed her a sliver
Of my heart
On a plate silver tray

She graciously took it
But blindly mistook it
For salami
And threw it away

I passed her another
But just like its brother
She ditched it
Despite all my hints

I should mention two fishes
In spite of my wishes
Have followed me round
Ever since

The cunt and the birdsong
Are happy to be
Extremes of all passion
That bind you and me

One word only

Pip called out at the turn
and was gone

We hunted through vines and
the leaves of books for her
snouting her spurned bag for clues
caves were fingered, boxes opened

Once, I thought I saw her shadow
on the underside of a cloud
like god in a projector’s beam

Her laugh held me poised in a dream
through the window some night on a
zephyr, and when I woke late,
the sun already over a prescribed arc,
my clothes were salty
rimed and damp
she sharped me one word
inside my cheek with
a fingernail, and
it haunts me


this is not winter yet
and those flakes are ash

down wind of some chimney
breaking seasons
into the same red dust or pale powder

if ever a year
sticks on hinges
it’s this one

time for openings at last
unfurl and choose

a skein of geese patterned in
a twilight sky
stuck there


Peter do you remember?

Scree running in afternoon Lakelore
A day poised between wished
and dreaded
some shades of grey

Laughing because we were free
and our feet fell over all we hid,
in giant steps away from him
full of life and fearing the lakeside

today, mum

someone’s mum found out today

who knows not knowing

her little boy got blown away

someone’s mum saw someone’s mum
facebook, tv, that’s not me

that’s not us
it cannot be

someone’s mum

that blood those screams that
that unfathomable, nameless thing

someone’s mum is holding that and
someone’s mum is holding that and
someone’s mum is holding that

is the hell of it

not some internet ranting maniac
nor tabloid venom
daytime telly monochrome

someone’s mum found out today
the kids her boy had blown away
no words work ever again

Claude’s daughter

Loving her like the white keys
Much more to that than A to C
How did she dance? What colour was her dress? How did she wear her hair?
And were her eyes on you as she smiled?

You looked down and waved at her
When the sun beat upon the half shuttered windows
And her mother was not welcome
In your bed

Because when the shutters fully closed
And the beds became unmade
It was the black keys you danced between

Did they sing to you? As sweetly?

You know she died?
She had but weeks on you
You you you you years
On her

There is a question still resonating somewhere
Between the black keys and the white keys

Would she have forgiven?

Time & dark

All this time and dark
Buttered skulls and the rooks rising

It was sea that salted and stung us
It was wind that tore the leaves
Mother in the hut
Hunched over the knife and board

I have not come to apologise

When the prospect of thought
Falls behind
When the open hand
Weighs this against that
Your hand upon the
Hesitating hand
(Shylock holds close his blade)

The moon rolled back one night
Spilled its light in fire
A few quicksilver drops only
Clinging to Calvino’s craters
Waiting to go out when we wished it so


He said
Strong think me?
Like backs of mirrors I
Strong to weak man
Weak to strong man seem
Give me no labels

Punchbag like
He said
I’ll wear thin with blows
Until one day finally split

No blood or tears
Empty in limp death
Hanging no longer useful

The child of sweat and coal

Bread and milk
are dutifully listed

I stare
at the fat bulge veins
on the blue vein
bulge back
vein back of my hand

I part them
my mind parts them, blade
parts them
parallel bled

The fire is coming through at last
coals cussed and coaxed, I imagine
some black hearted longing for oblivion
since long before they were worded
or even dreamed

I strain and strain
in the sweat rivulet skirted
arch of a back and in half light,
my knees wide apart, scream without sound
birthing a twisted wish


Spent a whole life
posturing a Cohen
When truth tells
All I really wanted was to

bong bah dah dah dah dah


Time was
I held these winters in my hands
like soap

You stood by the open window
hair thick with gull cries

A pale flat spill of
clouded notes
rode their song across the coda sky
North of East down to a lullaby

There was nothing left to say

Our tabled cups brown ringed
and cold now, once
scalded palms torn of them

I haven’t written a poem
With a swear word in it
For fucking ages


the telephone line
said I said
and the phone
said back to me

with our words
all wound in wires
who can set
our meanings free?


From behind clouds
Moon is swirling
Spilling drops of liquid silver
About me

Cold clear silver light
On backs of hands that close
And hold nothing

Flowing through me
Silver liquid pours across my face
Calls my eyes

Cold light
Runs over
Empty hands
Eyes turn
Moon eyes
Bright eyes
Flowing into liquid silver
Liquid eyes


I write words on paper

Sometimes they fit
Together pleasantly
And I believe I have spoken wisely

But it is only temporary

So I write poems like this
Showing I understand little

All Under


the wind has risen, and
brought with it red dust
before hateful rain


all night I coughed
until the pillow was wet with it





she never lived
she would have loved the tiny ducklings
like dandelion clocks
on cornflake feet


everything is soot
my bite marked apple black with it
all the meat cooked dry


we raise our eyes across a table
the air begins to sting
someone’s hands over my ears


the door


I forget what I hoped for
the windows are stiff
I can’t even pretend to smell the sea

tuesday again

the wind is back in symmetry
the door
sunrise milked over hours

eleven o’ clock









the door
a cuckoo
a shadow nailed to a cross

friday sunset

the door
she takes my hand and steps over the dandelions
I can smell the sea
all under

Time aside

Sleeping, she
Quiet swooping
Down the night wind

Waking alone
She remembers little
Of night thoughts

Windows open air outside
Breath of morning, sun through glass
Coffee browning in a cup with
Her cigarette smoke

She picks lazily at the day
Aimless waste leaves her
Choking, in angry silence

Plummeting sun calls her back to
New sleeping
Through time not wanted

She cries in whispers to the fading light
With little desire to wake

Paper Universe

Paper Universe

Slow, heavy rolled
Unlikely fibrous amalgam
Of that
Which appears to be
And that which is dark
Held close fractiously

For a while at least or less

By something not unlike Time


The boy watched her
From his position of stillness
He tracked her darting hands
The flick of her hair

The curve of her body

He felt an electric thrill
As her fingers trailed over
The rudiments of his surroundings

Sweet horror
Of the growing desire within him


You draw your knees up
There is a wind outside
Clouds kicked past a drowning moon

The floorboards have splinters
To wonder at

The fridge clicks into a hum

You are oddly empty of words now
There is no ear that wants them
No tongue left to speak
And your hand
Shakes so

There is a smell of burning paper
And a cry
Almost in the wind’s hold
From the unchild

This is the arc of your learning
Skirt lap sodden
Your hair afraid

Hawk against the moon unnatural
Hawk circling
Hawk hard against the panes

Burning paper
Branding stone


I throw wasp stings into
Your eyes
By bushel
And leave my footprints
On ground above you

You took words
You cut words
From places I was silent
In darkness and ungrown

And made ladders to moons

I can’t touch that, you cunt

All curled screwed scraps over
A match
And a tiny fire
Puff puffing smoke
Making my eyes wet
Making my heart sting
Making my eyes sting
Making my heart sing

When the last words have been spoken
There will only be this poem
To remember us by