A collection of poems and other writings...

Monday, 19 February 2018


What wild Caliban is this within?
The bastard monster progeny of my lust
that stalks the bloody corridors of my heart
squeezes the weakest part of me
inhabits these bones against my will
seeps like lymph beneath my skin

he steals this blood
sets adrenaline running
pumps the drug
into spongy lobes of flesh
invades these fingers
sends senses humming
tangles thought and feelings
weaves meat into lascivious mesh

Yet I abhor this seething fat-pricked grunt
who hunts raw, purple-lipped prey
his clawing digits open bleeding holes
part curtains of God-manipulated clay
delve into damp recesses
where my soft daydream led
and some swift satisfaction lay

and yet his eyes are mine
mine his hands, his tongue
mine his devouring teeth
mine his salivating orifice
his penetrating priapism
his appetite
his hunger
his lust
his, my wanton amorality
his Cyclopean cannibal code
he fucks with the shade
of my shadow
leeches the colour from my cheek
bleaches my humour
moulders the outskirts of my soul
starves me of the oxygen of joy

he, my brother is
my mirror twin
my double-dazed reflection
the bully butcher brother
who beneath a veil of loving kindness
slaughters laughter
massacres emotion
murders the moment of joy
with his acidic orgasm

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

It clicked

When Dad smiled
and his cheeks
drew back
from his teeth,
there was a little clicking noise,
so even when
he was behind you
you knew
he was there

When Mum died
he wanted us
to all carry on
as if nothing had happened
and we tried
but I got cross with him
so much
especially when
he ran the stew
under the tap.

And then one day
when I was going back to school
after lunch
I told him
that I loved him
- I made myself -
and he cried
and watched me
out of the kitchen window
all the way up the garden
well, up to the fir trees.

And I thought
Dad! Grow up, will you.

But actually it was me
who had to.

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

Friday, 2 February 2018

Dead Pigeon

Walking home the other day I came upon a dead pigeon in the street.  The way it lay and the colour of the carcass led me to imagine that rather than being crushed into the pavement it was actually emerging out of it...

I snapped a photo of it and my talented friend Adry Ruiz (@xxxadryxxx) translated it into a pencil drawing to accompany this poem

From the ash of the asphalt I am born
fledged from flagstone streets
I will dance for you through broken air
for you will I thrill in flight

I am the chill of the wild in the town
I am a child in the still of the sky
settle my soul in the spirit world
fashion me feathers and fly

as a shaman's cape will I shelter you
although I am crushed and torn
for though my entrails grace the ground
no harm to me now can come

I'll dance once more through the greasy air
dance once more by the bridge
dance once more on the frosty street
where you creatures of the city live

come, dance with me as the day begins
dance with me as it ends
feed me scraps from the morsels bag
feed me love from your lips

I have the courage of an iron bear
the grace of a violin
I have the strut of an ancient mare
that drinks by the river's brim

for though I am crushed and split apart
though I am shattered and crazed
I live with you in the city's heart
wherever a city is raised

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Prompt - The Colours Were A Little Garish

Sylvie waited still.
Even Jenna had gone now.
But Sylvie sat on the wall, a tissue crumpled in her hand, her thumb pushing at the ball of paper. Pushing it into her palm, over and over. The soft paper creaking under the pressure.
Some friend Jenna turned out to be.

Sylvie awoke to the sound of someone moving near her bed. She cracked her eyes open just enough to let a little light in. Her father was stealthily creeping around, treading very lightly. It was still dark and as she quietly pulled the covers back to get a better view, she felt the cold air on her nose.
Her father seemed to turn towards her – she snapped her eyes tight shut again.
She must have slept again within moments because she didn't remember him leaving and the next thing she knew her mother was cooing her name softly.
'Sy-lvie... Oh, Sy-lvie.' she drew back the curtains. 'It's time to get up... You know what today is!?'
'It's my bathday,' said Sylvie groggily, rubbing the sleep from her eyes then driving the annoying itch from her nose with her knuckles.
'It is! It's your birthday! Yes! And how old are you?'
'I'm six.'
'Six! Yes! That's right. Such a big girl. But Sylvie... Look!'
Sylvie followed her mother's pointing hand.
Hanging from the central light was... a thing... a beautiful... thing.... She could not think what to call it. It was a... thing... a hanging thing. And it was beautiful.
'Can you see?'
'Yes! Yeeess!!,' said Sylvie. 'It's ...it's...'
'It's a mobile,' said her mother.
'A what?'
'A mobile... that's what it's called.'
'It's a rainbow...' said Sylvie. 'It's a beautiful rainbow!'
'Yes,' said Mummy. 'Daddy made it!'
'Yes he made it and painted it, and...'
'In the evenings after you'd gone to bed.'
'Where is Daddy?'
'He had to go to work, darling. But he'll be back later... He'll be back later.'
'Can we have cake?!'
'Yes. We'll have cake with Daddy, when he comes home. Come on now.'
'Can I just stay here and look for a while. I like to see it moving in the wind.
'All right for a few minutes, while I get the breakfast.'
Sylvie lay on her back on the floor - knees up, feet flat on the carpet - directly beneath the light.
She watched as each band of colour moved independently, all spinning around the same piece of fine thread. Each swinging freely at the slightest suggestion of a breeze.
Sylvie lay and blew as hard as she was able to wobble the pieces in the air. She blew again.  Wafted her hands. 
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.
Richard Of York Gained Battles In Vain. They'd learned it at school and even Mummy knew it. 'Yes,' said Mummy. 'I learned it at my school.'
Sylvie particularly liked the orange band as it curled between the red and the yellow. She imagined the ceiling was the wide blue sky and she was a bird flying high, high, high up into the sky – over the rainbow, up, up, up into the blue, blue sky.

Eleanor Brockless, Y10, pushed Sylvie, Y8, as she went past her on the way to the back seat.
'Get off,' muttered Sylvie.
'What?' snarled Eleanor Brockless. 'What did you say?'
Sylvie knew better than to repeat her comment.
'Just leave her alone,' said Jenna from the seat next to Sylvie. 'Just leave her a-fucking-lone!'
Eleanor Brockless pulled a long strand of chewing gum from between her teeth and then chewed it back into her mouth. Then she took the ball of gum right out and squashed It down onto Sylvie's head.
'Fuck sake!' shouted Jenna, immediately trying to pick the gum out of Sylvie's hair. 'Leave her alone!'
Sylvie said nothing; she just sat there waiting for this torment to end.
'Oi!' said Eleanor Brockless. 'Give me your bag, y'fat cunt.'
This was regular by now. Eleanor Brockless helping herself to whatever she took a fancy to. Sylvie knew better than to resist but she didn't offer it either. Eleanor Brockless grabbed it from her lap.. Rifled through it. Pulled out Sylvie's rainbow pencil case.
'Too good for you, y'cunt,' said Eleanor.
She unzipped the zip and emptied the contents over Sylvie's head. Pens and pencils, of course,
also flower-shaped rubbers, highlighters, felt tips, biros, a small plastic ruler, a pair of compasses, a pencil sharpener detached from its pot, the pot itself complete with many days' worth of pencil shavings. Everything was scattered on her head, in her lap, onto the floor.

Daddy didn't come home at four as usual. He didn't come home at five like Mummy said he would if he got the next bus.
At half past six, Sylvie blew out the candles on her cake and Mummy cut her a slice. She could hear Mummy talking on the telephone while she ate the cake, but she couldn't hear what Mummy was saying.

At the Freshers' Fair, Sylvie joined DramaSoc, the Debating Society and Rainbow Alliance. She knew she wasn't lesbian. Or at least she knew she was mainly straight. Dean had shown her that. And he'd come to Uni here too. She loved him. Not just the way his penis filled her, ground into her, pushed right up into her cervix, but his hands – his long fingers – she found them so alluring from the very first video he sent her. How he had caressed himself. She imagined him touching her with such gentleness. A musician. He learned how to play her. Draw sweet music from her.
No, she wasn't homosexual. Mostly. But she felt drawn to the colourful Rainbow logo and, of course, the idea of it. People coming together, gay, lesbian, bi and straight, supporting each other. Why wouldn't you? How could anyone judge anyone else for loving someone, whatever, whoever they were, male, female, trans, alt? Why? She couldn't understand it.
Jenna came and stayed the weekend of Pride. Jenna thought she might be lesbian. Jenna slept in Sylvie's bed with Sylvie. Dean stayed at Loz's.
When Dean came round next morning. Sylvie and Jenna were still in pyjamas. Sylvie's pyjamas. Jenna hadn't brought any nightwear. Jenna darted dark looks at Dean while she chatted with Sylvie.  She needed him to know, she didn't like him.
Dean was twitchy. He hadn't slept much. He sat at the table while the girls made coffee and heated croissants. Dean wasn't hungry. He wrangled his long fingers together as he watched them laughing. Joking. Touching each other.
'What the fuck's the matter with you?' said Sylvie when Jenna had gone to shower. 'You're so fucking gloomy.'
'Look...I....' Dean blushed.
'I just need to know. Did you...'
'Did I what?'
'You two. Last night. Did you... y'know...'
'What? Did we what? Did we make love? God, Dean, for fuck sake...'

At seven, Mrs Derbyshire came.
Mummy went out then.
'Don't you worry, pet, she's just going to help Daddy.'
Sylvie didn't worry.
Mrs Derbyshire read 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea' and 'Hairy McLairy Of Donaldson's Dairy' and 'The Rainbow Rabbits' from the big book. Then she told Sylvie that Sylvie must go to sleep.
Mrs Derbyshire sat on the edge of the bed stroking Sylvie's hair.
Her fingers were fatter than Mummy's.
Sylvie pretended to be asleep so that Mrs Derbyshire would stop. Mrs Derbyshire went downstairs.
Sylvie got out of bed and lay on the floor underneath the rainbow mobile again. It was too dark to see much but she could imagine the pieces swinging, spinning. Round and round above her head. Round and round. In the dark.

They had decorated St Andrew's Church Hall in the most garish colours.
Sexy Red. Hot pinks. Burnt orange. Turquoise. Green.
Streamers hung from each corner crossing the room in undulating arcs below the ceiling. On the walls they had hung the great tie-dyed drapes that Sylvie had made for her degree show.
Vegan food from The Loving Spoonful would arrive from twelve. The ceremony was at eleven.
Sylvie looked at her watch.
Twelve thirty.
And now Jenna had gone too. Left her waiting outside Her Majesty's Office for the Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths.
Where was he?
She had tried his phone forty times. Texted him fifteen.
Mum hadn't come anyway.
And all the Uni crowd had dispersed not knowing what to do. Loyalties to both Sylvie and Dean left them unable to act. They were aimless, stupid.
'If he... when he comes,' said Gryff, 'come and get us, yeah... we'll be in The Flag. Just come get us, yeah? But Sylv, babe, he will come. You'll see. He will. Send Jenna when he comes. We'll all be there... Just seems daft waiting around here. You know, now the next lot have gone in.'
Then Jenna's battery had died so she'd gone to find somewhere to plug it in.
'I'll go to The Flag too. I'll be able to plug it in there somewhere. Text me, y'know, if he...er shows....'

The tissue creaked again as Sylvie pushed her thumb deep into it.

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

The Elephant That Has Fallen Over

The elephant that has fallen over
is the last of the family of elephants
that Great Uncle Cyril
brought back
from Jaipur
in 1937.

We can see
how the ivory tusk has snapped
clean away from the ebony body
there is no glue
that can invisibly repair it.

We can note
how the ear has cracked
upon impacting the stones of the hearth
and the piece that has fallen away
has disappeared
beneath the gas fire
in the fireplace.

We are aware
that this
the last elephant
in the family of six elephants
that Great Uncle Cedric
brought back
from Jodhpur
in 1939
is of course,
merely a thing
an object
an object of little intrinsic value
a mere and momentary
collaboration of molecules
formally arranged
in time
and space.

We will not cry
nor yet will we weep
for the object
we will simply
ponder upon it
think upon the time
it has been amongst us

We will cheerfully
cherish the memory
of our lost friend
and consign
his broken and battered
to the all-consuming fire.

may I just say that...
the largest of the eight elephants
in the family of elephants
that Great Uncle Collins
brought back from Pondicherry
in 1947
has successfully survived
seventy years
upon this shelf
even while its family have perished
until you
my dear boy
until you turned up
with you

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Trivial Pursuit

He'd noticed her when they'd walked in.
And then when they had come to sit at his table he became quite agitated.
'Do you mind?' she said.
'Do you mind if we sit here, only there's nowhere else.'
'Yes,' he said.
'What?' she said. 'You do mind?'
'No, no! Be my guest... guests...' he said.
She smiled at him and sat down on the stool across the table from him. She was small, he thought. No, petite. That was it. Petite.
The friend sat on the bench a little along from him. She had altogether bigger bones.
'You all right there, Chelle?' said petite.
''Course,' said Chelle. 'Why wouldn'I be? My round. What d'you want, Vick?'
Chelle looked at Trev. He smiled at her.
She went off to get their drinks.
Trev's beer was a little warm this evening. It was a warm night. Thundery.

'Are you here for the quiz?' she asked.
'The quiz? Are you here for that?'
'Me? Nooo.... well not really. I don't do the quiz. I listen, like, and try to get the answers but I'm no good really. Except sport... I get the sport ones... usually.'
'Sport!? Really? Oh we're hopeless at the sport, Chelle and I. We never get the sport ones.'
'Ah... hahaha.'
'Hey! You'll have to help us!'
'With the sport! You help us with the sport and we'll split the winnings with you.
'Me? Oh no... me? No, no, no.'
'Oh go on! Chelle, Chelle – he's going to help us with the sport. That's brilliant, isn't it.'
Chelle had returned and placed her pint and a gin and tonic on the table.
'Yeah, sure it is. Great.' Chelle didn't seem overly bothered.
'What do they call you?' said Vicky.
'Me? Oh, Trevor,' said Trevor. 'Trev. They call me Trev.'
Nobody ever called him Trev.
But he wished they did.
'Well, nice to meet you, Trev. I'm Vicky and this is Chelle.'
'Good evening, both,' said Trev
'Hello,' said Chelle.

'Name your teams please on the top of the paper.'
The quizmaster had fiddled with the PA long enough.
'Name of your team at the top of the paper. Please write clearly. No Simon, I do not mean you write the word 'clearly' on the paper – you dickhead dumbwit – CLEARLY, you write your team's name – it is an adverb. A what? An adverb. So...
'Name of the team at the top – a pound per person in the pot!' he pattered.
Chelle went up with their three pounds and returned with the answer sheet.
'What'll it be then, guys?' said Vicky.
'What?' said Trev
'The team name! What'll it be?' said Vicky. 'I know! Some part of each of our names and we'll stick them together. Ok, you're Trev... er, Trev, Tre Tr... and I'm Vicky... Vick, Vi, Vee... Trevee... and Chelle... Treveesh... Trevi-elle. Trevial. Oh! Trivial! Like the board game Trivial Pursuit! Oh wow! Shall we be that then, guys? Anyone mind if we're that? The Trivial Pursuits?'
No-one minded, riding on Vicky's enthusiasm.

'Are we ready?' boomed the Quizmaster. 'Round One – Soap Operas.... An easy one to get you started... Which Australian soap star went on to play Joseph on the West End Stage? The Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and His Technicolor Yawn or whatever it was. Which Australian soap star played Joseph. Don't tell me – just write it down... Right... Question two...'
He didn't know any of the answers until they whispered them but every time they got to one Vicky high-fived him as if it were his answer. Her hands were small, her palms warm. He started to anticipate the gesture, prepared himself for it. He laughed with her as she joked with Chelle – even though he hadn't heard what she'd said. She slapped his arm as if he had made the joke.
He saw the sparkle in her eyes. The slight shine of the gin on her lips. He saw how her breasts moved as she raised her hand up top – as she laughed...

A break in the proceedings and Chelle trotted off to the use the toilet.
'Oh no,' said Vicky. 'Sport round next! You up for it, Trev? We're relying on you!'
'I'll do my best,' he said, his heart turning a little at her words.
'That's the spirit, darling! PMA as my Dad used to say. Positive...'
'...Mental Attitude...' Trevor completed the phrase, and she high-fived him again. Just him. And her breasts moved again inside her blouse.
'Here you write the next lot.'
'Yes you! You've got all the answers – you write them... Here I'll come round there. Help you.'
Chelle returned wiping her hands on her buttocks.
'Musical chairs, Chelle. You're there now. Sport next. Trev's up, aren't you Trev?'
And suddenly she laughed a shocked, dirty laugh.
'Oh Chelle! Aren't I bad?'
'Why?' said Chelle.
'Trev's up, y'know, UP! I'm not surprised sitting with us two banging babes, eh Trev!' and she smacked him on the arm again.
Trev smiled. Blushed.
'You've made him blush, Vicky,' said Chelle.
'Haha! He's up for it aren't you Trev? Well up for anything aren't you, babe?!'

'Next Round – Sport...' and the Quizmaster belched down the microphone. 'Question One. Who, in 1971, won the FA cup? 1971. The F-A Cup. Two teams playing – which one won it? Simple.'
'Well, Trev?' said Vicky.
'Well it was either Leeds or Chelsea that year. I was at school. Leeds, I think it was. Yes Leeds. It was Leeds United.'
Vicky and Chelle looked at each other and smiled.
'Right, well write it down then, love!'

The gin had enlivened her. Trev felt her hand, warm, upon his knee as she leaned in to watch him write. He only glanced but he couldn't help noticing her breasts pushing against the fabric. He caught a breath of her perfume on her hair.

'Question Two – related question... Who was the goalie on the losing side? The Losing Side – the Goalkeeper. Who was it?... No Simon... 1971! .. not 1966. Gordon Banks played for Stoke City so shut the fuck up and apologies for my colourful language.  Now can we proceed, please...

'Peter Bonetti,' Trev whispered.
'Write it down!' said Vicky grabbing his arm with two hands.

Trev had an answer for all ten Sports questions and as the answers were read out and checked off Vicky became more and more delighted.
Chelle smiled, said little She watched her friend go up and down his arm, finding ways to touch him again and again.
Trevor floated on a Vicky-flavoured cloud. Every touch burned him Every flash of her eyes buzzed through him.
Papers were handed in at last
'God, I must piss!' said Vicky and wove her way between tables, out of sight.

Chelle and Trev sat in silence. Their reason for being hooked together here in this moment suddenly absent.
A heavy, ponderous minute passed.
Chelle took a swig of her pint.
'She don't mean anything by it,' she said, wiping her mouth.
'She's a flirt. Don't put any store by it.
'What do you mean?'
'I've seen you looking at her... It's ok, but I've seen that kind of look a hundred times on men. They think because of how she is that they're in with a chance...'
'It's ok... it's not you... it's just what she does. She plays with men. I'm sorry for you really. She doesn't mean to do it. Not in a bad way. She just can't help herself.
'Right... I didn't really....'
'It's as much part of her evening as the drink and the kebab. Sorry Love. Hope you're not too disappointed.
'I... I'm just going to have to go the little boys room.'
He crossed the floor towards the door marked Ombres.
Vicky came out of Signoritas. She sashayed over to him. Took his two hands in hers and placed them on her shoulders.
She looked up at him. Moved her hands to his hips.
Dark eyes flashing in the dim light.
'Dance with me, Trev, ' she pouted.
'But there's no music,'
'It's inside. Feel it inside. Inside here...' She pulled one of his hands down and held it on her chest. Feel it.'
'Oh, I...'
'Can you feel it?'
'I feel I need a wee...'
'Oh Trev, you're so romantic...! Well soon then! I'll be waiting.'

He pushed at Ombres.
Stood at the urinal...
Looked at the weak, golden stream that splashed down onto the blue iceblocks.
When he'd done he came back into the bar. Looked over to them.
Vicky was sitting on the bench next to Chelle. A young man sat resting on the stool, beer in hand, resting on the table. Vicky was smiling and laughing with him. Chelle looked over and saw him looking.
Trev turned and walked straight through out into the street. Large drops of rain had started to fall. The air smelled of earth and sex and flowers as he turned down towards Waverley Road.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Dead Flowers

rustles in the undergrowth
we fling stones

stand silent for a moment
to count the effect -
stillness still

weigh the probable outcome
in our minds until

with nervous glances between us
we push our hands

among dead flowers
separate stem from stem

touch fingers in our searching
and draw from the wrecked bed

a grey frog
eyes sunken from the stoning

a shattering of limbs
soiled with earth

our eyes meet in an understanding
of the creatures death
and the strange power of our hands