A collection of poems and other writings...

Monday, 24 July 2017

Darning Socks

Clouds on the horizon. 
Clouds, smoky and grey, pre-empting the passing season - sandal-free days. 
So I spend my afternoon darning socks.

There must be something remarkable in the angle of my toenails for no matter how short I clip them, they are inclined to devastate the yarn above.
They are the Big Toes that create the greatest destruction, incising against the inside of the toecaps of my boots, shredding the thread, fracturing the fabric. Now, the next time the socks are worn they must be slipped each on the other foot, so the holes hover each above the middle toe, Toe Three. Meanwhile, Big Toes set to work again, feasting anew on virgin textile. And come nightfall, as I toe-heel out of my loafers, there are now two pale planets of nail and flesh luminous against a dark woollen skyscape.

'Buy New,' she says, 'for Life is Too Short to spend hours darning holes in such insignificant garments. Buy New!'

But how can I reject my knee-high Prince of Wales plaid?
How can I desert my 'World's Best Dad'? An ankle-borne motto from a time when I was not so worn out by work.
What would I do without the Weekday Run-through – the circling calendar slipping unseen into my shoe? Monday Blue through to Lemon Yellow Sunday.

And these, my wedding socks, black silk softness, will I divorce from them so easily?  Should I slip them along my soles, though now crumpled and ill-fitting, stretched because the size I bought was just a little too short?
Can I render them up? Can I tender them in exchange for something fashionably new? Or should I darn and sew, the way I know how to? Darn and sew, mend and make do.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A Graveside Kiss

     dense and white
     and speckled orange
     soft-stemmed funnels of sorrow
     bundled within a polythene sleeve
     on the mound of churned earth
     that will cover her coffin
     thumb paper tissues
     into our palms
     sidle together
     our heads at forty five
     though a more subtle angle
     between your body and mine
     for we are inclined to weep
we each
     lean on the other's arm
     our soft palates each clamped
     against the grief
     tongues tying the tragedy tight

but here
     amongst the cannas and tigers
     a bumble bee
     fumbles one by one into the flower cones
     re-emerges after a moment
     reversing from each powdery trumpet
     pollen like polenta
     dusting its busby black and belisha fur
     its forage complete
     now all sweetness is gone
     it rises against the breeze
     and flies close
     between your shoulder
     and your ear
     and shudder
     as the wing-disturbed air
     broaches your neck
     an intimate breath
     a whispered kiss
     at the graveside

Wednesday, 12 July 2017


I climb the corner
from Valley into Upper Valley Road
the licorice evening
cat-curling round my feet

young boy
walking towards me
drops an H-bomb
as he passes

I stutter my surprise
but then
its sometimes
good to connect
return the greeting

I say

Friday, 7 July 2017

jockey shorts

In an attempt
to drive
his taunting teenaged son
from his bedroom
as he tries to prepare for bed
the father strips

to the blue thread veins
that run across his chest
to the varicose vessels
that meander
from his groin
and delta down his inner thigh

the lad jeers
at the whiteness
of the pallid skin
stretched shining
over the ridges of the shins

at the loose-toned buttocks
as shapeless
jockey shorts
are thumbed down from the hips

as a curtain of pendulous stomach
undulates in
a galloping adipose syncopation

but is silenced
as the father's flaccid weapon
larger than his own
claims victory
over the moment

the father
ignores the abuse
chooses to centre himself
in his thoughts
tosses the shorts
to the dirty linen basket
shakes creases
from folded pyjamas
stored beneath the pillow
ties a double bow
in the thick white cord
to ward against
more physical

the lad grows up
sees that
he is
now the one
who strips to the white bone
before sleeping
a ruined temple
as he yearns
for some more sensuous

corporeal sensation

Monday, 3 July 2017


Another piece from an Electric Tomatoes session - this was the first warm up exercise and the prompt was 'terrifying'....

Not there. Not like that.
Like what?
Not like that.  Have you done this before? Get your arm underneath.
It is, it is.
No, all the way round. Take the weight, take the weight.
I don't think I can.
Yes you can. Don't be daft. But perhaps first sit down. She wants to feel held.
Where? Here on the chair?
No, on the sofa, sit there. Take her onto your lap. Then I'll take a snap.
What over here? Shall I sit over here?
Now put out your hands. Put one here and one here. No, under her bum. Just there. Just like that.
Oh I see.  Right, okay.
Now pull her in close. Right into your chest.
Like this.

Like that. You'll soon get the hang, but don't let her head just wobble about.  Hold her tight – and relax. Just breathe – and relax.

Answers on a postcard as to what exactly is going on...