A collection of poems and other writings...

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

House of Cards

I have found the
house of cards 
that you have

It is here on the coffee table.

I can see that
you have taken trouble here –
(I will not say more trouble than it justifies.)

I can see how you have spent time
controlling your fingers,
staying their minute tremor.

When I stoop
hands behind my back
and cease breathing
I can see,
close to,
how you
have flexed each card
so that the slight curvature
might assist the delicate
pretence of strength.

You have been occupied in
buttressing suit upon suit
back against front
tip against tip
finding the balance
failing but
not being defeated
Found here http://sebtown294.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/a-card-house-life.html
edge to edge
one against another
faces to backs.

Your dedication to your task
is exemplary
and you have constructed a mighty piece
a temple
a castle of whimsical dreams
a fairy fortress

you have indeed
this delicate dance of physics

and I applaud you

but can you clear it away now please.

Monday, 23 February 2015

We ar gowin on hollyday

are pulled closed
then open
then closed again
as the security debate
sways back and forth.

Lights on timed switches
are plotted
for random hours
during each evening
and after dawn.

An occupied air,
a lived-in look is
carefully cultivated,
- we are 
here and we will always be 
here so do no think of entering 
here for we are 
here -

and neighbours
are informed who reassure
with their promised vigilance.

And as the final bolt is slid
and window locked
the daughter on the pavement,
the one dancing in and out of the car
while waiting for the parental juggernaut,
feeling the release 
from the anticipation of
these past weeks,
in her exuberance
finds her bold chalk
and in newly learned letters
writes her message

all along the garden wall.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


Brewer’s Gold
Left Hand Milk Stout
Modus Operandi
Dirty Stop Out
Down at The Two Brewers
on a hook above the barmaid
a tankard hangs
with his name engraved
upon it, ‘Ron’,
in a thin, unpractised hand.

A small plastic yellow clip
coils around the base of the handle
to distinguish it
from some other of a similar design.

It is a warm evening,
one that shepherds delight in, and
Ron trudges down to the Brewers
to take a nip.

Ron loves the ale.
Real ale.
Ale without hiss or fizz,
ale with honesty, brewed
with truth and taste
and sweet bitterness
that curls gently around his tongue
and dwells in him
for hours to come.

Black Betty
Smog Rocket
Neck Oil
Chiff Chaff

She sees him pass the small
window before he gets to the door.
She reaches the tankard down.
He walks in.

She knows his familiar time
and his familiar taste.

“Tanglefoot, Ron?”
she asks.

“Not tonight, Jan.
Bit too strong for
a school night.
I’ll have the Wadsworths.”

He knows them all -
specific gravity
hop mix

Fursty Ferret
Black Sheep
Green Devil
Goats Leap

Three is his limit
on a social night
when Richard is there, or Tom,
but most nights
it’s just one that he’ll sip for an hour
stood up at the bar
waiting for someone to talk to him.

Nun’s Ruin
Warlock Stout
Ghost Ship

So the week he died
and they brought him home
and we gathered
like elephants
gently moulding his bones
with disbelieving trunks
I could not bear to think of his tankard
hanging unused for months
before someone
there behind the bar noticed
how dusty it had become
and took it down and washed it with just
a short thought
for Ron and
rehung it in its place
for fear of dislodging some fixture
in time
and space.

And then to repeat the process
A few weeks later
and wonder again and
maybe ask
the landlord or the other staff
whether they had seen
him. Had Ron been in

I could not bear to consider
that outcome. And so,

one frosty afternoon,
a week after the funeral
I wandered down to the Brewers
and with my heart pulsing
in my throat and my eyes
burning with uncried
tears I asked
if I could have Ron’s tankard,
the one with the yellow plastic clip
as Ron would not be coming

Jan was not there. The young
man who stood behind the bar said
“Oh, right.  I don’t know him.
Has he moved away?”
And all I could do was say


And take the tankard
and flee back up the sobbing hill.

Dark Moor
Black Mule
Barnsley Bitter

And so
I’ve got it now
stood at the back of the cupboard.

The yellow clip has gone,
there’s no mistaking whose it is,
the looped engraving
still names the man


Funky Pigeon
Fat Sprat

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


There has been a wild thrashing,
a water’s edge panic
and now this man,
with whom you have smiled and sung
and slept and eaten and swum,
lies unconscious, half-drowned
from grappling with the sea.

His life teeters on the edge of a decision,
his fading mind wandering
towards a clouded cliff
and you crouch there at his senseless side
pawing at the clammy body
in a passionate desperation
to claw him back from
the watery sucking in his lungs
to drag him back to this
gritty scene where sand
grinds between your hands and his
greying flesh.

But this is a holiday beach
and the moment
catches the attention of the Bugle photographer
who all afternoon has been
combing the beach for local colour.
She is already constructing a caption,
an alliterative appliqué,
as she raises her SLR beneath her sun-visor
and snaps the taut moment,
crystallising the image
within the expert beat of her eye.

And despite your anxiety,
your crass flailing to revive,
to re-engage the man with his breath,
you are conscious of this
sudden unexpected distraction.
You look up
as the shutter clicks,
and flash your applewhite teeth in a

dutiful smile.

Monday, 2 February 2015

You, in your skinny jeans

There’s a tautness
around the seams
that’s rather pleasing

a tensing of the fabric
as you move

the definition of your buttocks
is quite teasing

and of the creasing
across your thighs
we do approve.

We take pleasure
in the way
the cloth enfolds you:

there’s a harmony –
the touch, the look, the sound.

There’s a sense
that a voice inside your head
still scolds you

for wearing skin-tight jeans
around the town.

But please pay no
attention to its chiding

never change
don’t toe a puritan line

for there are some
the other side of living

who think
that you
in those
look rather fine.