Saturday, 28 November 2009

Royal Tender (a punt for the poet laureateship) - First Published in The Frisson Anthology by Stairwell Books

A truth dirtier than a nine-bob-note
is that we all crave our majesty’s face
multiplied and pressed tight
up against our thighs.

Coin after coin plunked in close to the crotch
with the jingling ecstasy of bed-springs,
or paper crumple-creased
as tissues soiled and greased.

We don’t much care which profile’s nestled there,
the young and thin, or the slight double chin
provided she’s replenished
again and again.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

3 New Poems Published in Ditch Magazine

Eletriptan (Why We Can't Own a Gun)



available at:

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Want if you will (first published in Desperately Seeking Alex)

This part (of the story)
could be cut.

A boy with his lips
to a keyhole
A friend with his head
on one side
A child fighting air
for a marble
A dog-collar waiting
to dry.

The principle actor
is quitting
The script-writer
doesn't know why
The director is fucking
the starlet
Her father is waiting

The boy's given up
on the keyhole
The producer says
"Want if you will."
The child plunges after
the marble
and sinks as his lungs
fill with silt.

Monday, 16 March 2009

January 22nd 2008 (Published in Ouroboros Review 2009)

"Your world seems as far away as my mind" (Jenny Cook)

Not that morning, the morning
after – the tomorrow as it were –first
there comes the waking, ignorant
as a creature still asleep in a tree cut down.

Then, following a shuffle through
the detritus of spent party poppers,
the name and face leaps onto the
buzzing screen. The room smells of rain.

Locking the door the morning dark requires
stiff fingers to fish for a phone to guide the key.
What used to be lighters are now mobile phones
that's simply the way it is.


Still enduring Class A hang-
over from a declassified night
stumble amidst the rain-cleansed grasses
as the solemn dew curdles to a thick soup.

The headache is painless so split
a fifth of absinthe or worse. Clapping crowd
ready; lift the heavy guitar
(more axe than ever) and pause on the stairs.

The stage awash with a week's worth of sweat;
one pair of eyes - filled with the knowledge of what
happened - equally glazed beneath the orange
glow issued forth from plastic palms aloft.

What used to be lighters are now mobile phones
that's simply the way it is.


That night seeking the familiar
comfort of popcorn perfume and dark
a performance to turn away academy eyes
and though they look now it is no less deserved.

Each of us, breath held, longs to be
nothing but him as he slides, with the
fibre-optic elegance his
talent allows, into anyone but himself.

Guaranteed is the award for the mimic
that gets to show the world his young chess moves
in the inevitable biopic being
fought over pre-script in studio depths.

What used to be lighters are now mobile phones
that’s just the way it is.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Adrift (as published in London Grip March 09)

There are no fish that swim here
in this mire dark green and viscous.
He always felt at peace in the water
and even now he remembers
how he would toss in a stone
and watch his face tear away with the ripples.

When the wind drops and the sun rises, lazy as lost spirits,
the coffin – a boat for the dead –
is anchored and tranquil
wreathed in tendrils and reeds
somewhere beneath the surface, crystallised with light,
out beyond the storm, beyond reach.

That Winter the bay froze
as his body turned with the sky from dusted
pink dawn into a bruised blue-green dusk,
all warmth and light drawn away like miners pulled
from their tunnels in subtle shifts.
But still he may return
like the others.

Every single one of them
a ghost-limb of the bay
as though the water forgets
to keep what it claims.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Waiting for Lucy

“Her eyes are closed and the rain stings as it hits her eyelids.” A friend gifted me that line once, but without a context it seemed destined to fester with the dust of my dreams until forgotten. But now, through the storm on the cragged edge of a Scarborough cliff, I see her. Her eyes are indeed closed but I’m unsure that the rain stings her eyelids, before it drips from her damp-darkened lashes, for she does not flinch. She is one with the soil, which quickens at her feet and with the wind, which whips her hair around her porcelain cheeks, and with the last light of the day as it blends with the mist into the sky into the sea. I cannot unsettle her. I can just watch.

Another figure, struggles hunched and breathless to the crest of the cliff. He has seen her and I know without looking for the detail of his face exactly what he is thinking. He sees a woman standing solitary, at the precipice of nothing, in conditions not found on postcards and thinks something must have occurred earlier in the day.

“Are you okay Miss?” He calls and, though I saw him open his wide, middle-aged mouth, the intrusion of his voice almost makes me drop my pen.

If she hears him above the swirl of wind and rain she pays no heed.

Her footwear, more appropriate for charging across vast planes of baked, golden sand in a Wild West movie, have sunk into the mire but if this concerns her she doesn’t show it. As she stands erect in the elements, the skirts of her coat blown about her, she is a vision of Nehalennia or perhaps, with that slight sigh in the corner of her eyes (a detail which always gives the impression of sadness somewhere deep inside even when she lights the world, by allowing it to glimpse her smile) Tin Han. Perhaps she is choosing the fate of the sailors invisible out in the backwaters of forever; either calling them to safety or guiding them to painful demise on the clot of sea-sharpened rocks below – though of course neither occurs.

“Maybe you should come away from the edge there Miss.” He calls, louder this time, determined to be heard above the roar of the night-time cliff. Determined to tear her from the roar of the night-time cliff.

She knows he is there and she knows he will never understand that the waves will never weigh as heavy as time. The moon, though just a small, white smudge, offers enough light, sparking off each shard of rain, to show that she remains resolute. He is determined to tear her away from here. He is determined to tear her from me.

“What are you doing out here Miss?”

And finally she surrenders to the stranger’s persistence and turns her sopping head, still bouncing with rain, a little in his direction. Her mouth she opens but her eyes she keeps tightly shut as if opening them would allow the way that she sees the world to fall out and give her away.

“I’m waiting for lucidity.” She offers weakly in one long, exasperated breath, but she is accompanied by a crack of thunder in a pitch-perfect harmony.
“Oh I wouldn’t fret too much Miss,” The stranger calls back. “That Lucy’s probably just runnin’ a bit late.”

And finally she lets her smile conquer her glistening face. She opens her eyes and turns back to the sea.