Friday, 9 December 2011

It's No Wonder

It's no wonder my skin
Feels about to crack
Those days
When my head's in my stomach
And my stomach's in my head.
They say be yourself
So I turn inside out
And paint my face
With my own blood.
A picture of myself.
And they say
She's wearing another new mask.
I try to clean up the mess
With white sliced bread
And wonder how many alterations
I'd have to make
To be convincing
In a uniform.

You always were
The strongest man in the world
But now I'm stronger than you
And no, I don't feel very strong.

I'm going down town to buy
A decorative patch
Cut price and one size
And say, when applicable
Laundry is what I do.


Monday, 21 November 2011


How come we walked through
From the back
Indoors the gravely square
When guards stood at the gate.
Away from the crowds
Who light torches to how great it is.
The peachy reverberations in the sky
Footsteps crunchy, slowed down
Like in a film when the extras
Have all gone home.
And night never gets
As dark as your hair.
We walk in contradiction
To buildings who've made
Decisions for hundreds of years
For so long they've forgotten
Their reasons why.
Stand strong, no clues
For angels who carry crossed out crusades.
And the London Lion's handsome stone.
The roar we heard was a train
Engines moving people on
When it was good that day
To just stand with you
Over fairy light reflections
In the murky old river.
And drift around
Even though we were too late
For the Waterloo Sunset
That was 1967
And the English
Wave death like a flag
And I do
And it cuts the conversation short.
I think you know, I don't know
I really should have
Said I'm lost
Always looking for somewhere
To see
But nothing too bright.
And now it's next week
And I forgot to say
Something like skylight followed me home
Not statues cast for good as soldiers.


Monday, 7 November 2011

The Fancy Feather

She felt the lost fancy feather
I'd seen a breath before
Blow a stray confusion of kisses
Giddy wavers through our hair.
Did one sand hearted wing betray you
To float on the morning fray?
So you appeal to an off the shoulder
To rest jet landings on loan
Till a garland reins in the breeze.
After you, are you tempted to linger
To hear stories of the lost fancy feather
And be grazed on the cheek by a quill.
In a triangle we link for a moment
Then cross unrequited to wonder
Why our safety chain is tired and undone
When we sleep diamond mines all night long.


This Autumn

This autumn there was a butterfly on a traffic island, posing from daisy to mauve daisy, in the late sun. Fashion plate chic at rush hour.
I sat on a concrete cube and she let me watch her.
While a thrift store boy and girl were shining on each other. Natural as leaf fall, on the wall, the colours of October.
And cars slowed down for the lights.


Yellow Rose

Yellow Rose of Kemptown
Stayed out too late again
Not well dressed for winter
Every year you do the same.


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Dream Awake

My self has gone

With my daytime

I dance to what

You do to me

I dream awake

And watch you

Lift me from

The crowd.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Black Line

Chased by the spotlight of day

I hang onto the wheel

Counting numbers

Until the black line is drawn

And behind the curtains of night

She puts me in my place

I commit a million tiny murders

Or a knife attack, in secret

It's just the same

But I'm changed

Close as hell is hot

I stoke the coals

In my belly

And my face

Is just something I wash.


In Reality

In reality this isn't a city

Just the edge of land

Hysterical with immigrants

Talking so loud

I fight to hear

Her low dark moan.

Their illusions

A rocket ship

When a road

Is all I can see.


The Half Moon

The half moon

Reaching down for us

Her glittery pathway

Spread there before us

If we step in

The sea can take us

Or turn for home

Her light to guide us.


Monday, 3 October 2011

Ball Gowns

She's an explosion inside a circle, courting me with the sun. I burn just to be beside her, from her reflected glow. All day I hear her calling to me from petals of voracious meat. Raw velvet with thorns who taste my blood if I try to hold her. She bows her head now autumn is near, so I steal my chance to cut and possess her to darken and dry in my room. Where in winter I re-kindle her past.



Bleeding into the night

I wake to take part

In another day

Leaving a promise

To come home again

And fall into

The arms of sleep.


Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Crow

One undertaking the beach

In common air

I walk and you fly

Searching the shore

Shred of flesh in your beak

Some idea in my head

Thrown out to sea

On a stone.


Monday, 12 September 2011

The First Bus

Sixteen years old and on my way to study for sophistication out on the coast. I boarded the bus at the station. Tired already, my alarm was set for dark o'clock, eyelids heavy with mascara and shadow, protected by a veil of patchouli oil, as the top deck squelched full of fry-up vapour jackets, wet dog denim, and ashtray perms. I figured the study for sophistication would have some rough to smooth, and travelled cavalier in my quest for visual delight when psychiatric nursing was the destiny of most art students. We drove east with bar room volume until one morning I heard silence coming, the fizz, whine, and creak of voices drowning. He was climbing the stairs. Silence from the lower deck audible. Mighty men, fear in their glance, clenched jaws, lacquered women swallowed their breath, everyone found their fingernails interesting. My admiration was thunderous, and by the end of the journey I'd made an idol of a man who could bring peace to the number eleven with a frock coat and hairstyle.


The Last Train

I'm in a carriage with the kids, on the last train back from the coast. One boy holds a skateboard, his shield of defence. He's on the defensive when the street style kids ask, 'what you doin' on this train?' 'Gotta get home, haven't I.' And he's out at the next station, looking over his back wheel as soon as the doors were shut. The kids, after a day on the arcade stock exchange, are flicking their lighters, and one has singed his hair. I hope this carriage doesn't have a smoke alarm. I really don't want any delays so I miss my connection. In the glass partition I see them shoulder walk, anonymous, caps-on, hoods-up, inflated, and armed with massive bags of pink candy floss. I perfect the art of invisibility………….. as if I needed to.


Sun Flutes

Sun flutes in a city bed where I let you grow. Like family our communion has no words, and like lovers you are the first I see when I open the day, and the last as I close at night. If I am awake to hear the rage and see you battle a storm, I reach to pluck and save you, but I stop my hand before I snap a stem. While you are alive you'll always be young. There is no malice between you and some rain when tomorrow there may be sun.


Monday, 29 August 2011

Dance Floor

Again I'm giving away

Pushed by the beat of living

The life I won't stop

Soft gliders on my skin

Feel like glass paper

Hurt is only when hurt

Is on me

I take it off

Maelstrom in and around

Held solid, liquid sharp

Young but no, no

I cash in for lessons

Tongues of light cut

But if I fall into

Their rhythm

My partner is shiny

Or I could kick out

Before they cut me

I am losing

Seam free and hungry

A colour sensation

The floor told a lie

I am a statue, not moving

Still for an encore

I am thistle down rising

Lighter than air.


Respect for the Night

Before I had respect for the night

I'd watch the band

Sometimes until

Their amplifiers caught fire

Not daring to tell anyone

About the sparks and smoke

I didn't want the dream to end.


Monday, 22 August 2011

Night Scent

Ivory bugles

Whisper to me

Through the dark

Perfume on their breath

You are safe

And we'll live for a season

And sway out of bravery

Under the wailing sky.


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Ring Return

I heard requiem mass down the telephone line. She's laughing. The Eiffel Tower is down, a toy on elastic. Because I laugh they harmonise. No, not you as well. Tighten the valve. I left that message, the rude one, I'm sorry, yes. If I could have her, she's alluring in my mirror, this morning, that woman here with me. I left early, gave someone a teaser, pass it on. My opinion is. High street satin, full blown hot house exotic at the intersection, new every time. Let go, no they're my reins, he gave them to me to look after. Look after me, backwards day, a toy on elastic. Lasso the whip. Lips to the mouth, drink a quart of fat, the glass neck. Risen from her gut, wishes rising. You have an heirloom, discordant blood, sheet music and a woman's name. I will use it sometime. But did you know it would be the girders that smear their colours across the strings? I wasn't really scared of you. Thank you. My feet want weight, but not here. The glass was slippery. I heard its noise stop, out of the pavement, no one will notice. In hiding I nurse it, kiss it, herself anoint, the edges, gently. Fire. Repulse. I don't feel every day. Her timetable was measured, a square has four sides, like an hour if you mix in some oil, lock the door, open the windows wide. You hear the traffic, it's the best thing. Safe house, I saved for it. Break. Dough churning, old fermenting. An ambition, an ambition for me. Air cushion soles don't bend, just bounce. I know, I'll go out. In her gymslip, or uniform, field camouflage on the flyover, over the gasworks. Look at me, rubber shaving the curb. Missed me, he missed me. Machine still pumping. Look where you're going. She's laughing again. I'm going, turn around, with you to the gymnasium. In school day socks. I never could jump over that bar, lift it for me, I wear gloves all the time now, Forget-Me-Nots in my in my palm, I mustn't drop them. If that's it, I've got this ring to trail. I could be ready for the next train. Tonight a night box. Her story. Returning. Pretty, pretty carousel.


Friday, 29 July 2011

Maria Marten Chant

Maria Maria

William beat you down dead

Blood soaked the barn.

Maria Maria

Girls who are easy with men

Invite their own end.

Maria Maria

A country born wench

Should not think to roam.

Maria Maria

Mother Marten she weeps

But we shan't waste a tear.

Maria Maria

Earth will hold you down

In the red of sunset.

Maria Maria


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Haunting Pier Hill

Haunting Pier Hill

Sea spray dust trapped

In the glamour

Gales shearing the skin of hotels

The fog a kindness to scars and her

Beating on oil drum island

Safe from a sky

Drawn down in pewter leaf

And rose petal fan light

The estuary a wind pipe

Her impression planted between the sweep

I left me there

In a loop of astrakhan armour

My lady forever reclining

In rock flower brocade.


Pearly Claw

Pearly Claw

I know you love him

I want your love too

My eyes turning green

Green becomes you

You climb right in

When I get out of bed

Alone with him

He caught a fish

Your song turns his head

Scale in my throat

Pray teach me your spell.


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Ragdoll Nancy

Feet in the air

Head first in a box

She fell out on the floor

Sewn on face smiling at me.

Her legs can't hold her

Nancy just flops over

Swung along by an arm

Made of cloth, wool and ribbon.

Think I'll run a bubble bath

And drop her right in.


Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Ex-Goddess

Sipping nightshade from a bowl

The Ex-Goddess

Rests her eyes on her hands.

Alone now in her room

I reach as far as her

And she has found

There is no God.

The night is passing

While her every hair

Will lift and grow and drop and die

I open to that feeling.

But she hasn't much time

And the scissors feel better

In her hand

As the other throws

A girl's hair across the bed.

The things he knew

He knew they were nothings

Weren't you born tired, confess?

Will the Devil twist shadows

Of you and me

By a kissing gate

On the empty Wall.

There is no Devil

The Ex-Goddess has found

Me making shadow puppets

With her hands

Of a woman searching for a wound

I believe I saw

When we spilt

A bowl of nightshade.


Monday, 20 June 2011

The Same

We walked on the cracks

Down flat streets

Box houses, a drone

The same

You saw no one

Eggs in a pan

That's all there is

Our washed out black clothes

A cover

I take you to a photo booth

If anyone calls

I've gone out

A reminder

We were there

One day.


A Hopeful Case

Stand on a chair

Sit down if you have to

But face me.

A straight line

Won't make me fall

I've come this far

The trip wires

Are where I put them

Listen and I'll tell you.

Your careful twist

Doesn't hurt

Tight knots don't break easily

And in germ bitten thought

The tunnels are deep.

Please, hear my voice

Not a playback average study

For you to smooth an edge

Trim a thorn

File away

A hopeful case

Course complete.


Monday, 13 June 2011

Canary Feathers

There's a man parading my road

I saw my cat slinking

Along the window sill

He has a large dog

Circling every garden

My cat runs to the bedroom

This morning there were

Canary feathers on my doorstep

I arch behind the curtain

And go to sit with my cat

On the bed.


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Town Birds

Town birds

Town birds

You don't have to stay

You don't have to pay

For a bus or a train

To drive you away

Fly somewhere new

Can I go with you?


Cobalt Blue

The other one of me died before I was born. They thought that was all but no, a cat was killed the day I was born out of that chamber I'd shared with a corpse. My danger was drowned, but the waving veil black butterflies aren't real so can't be pressed under glass. Even when a schoolgirl thought I should know the runt of the litter always dies, so my own would be soon. The slow breeze wings amused me enough not to rattle those close to reality who whispered my saviour behind the door. The shade of those wings a relief from sun dried smiles of childhood.

The outline of a heart on my sole, where I walked through the skin of my foot. My chosen protection eggshell blue mothballs from my grandmother's hatbox, my favourite place. A special treat to look inside the mahogany keeper of her Sunday best. Remember the mothballs to scare bugs from the cloth to keep me prettily covered, even if I'm eaten with holes. The more livid a dress shouts, the less words I'd have to find. The first drops of celebrated death, each a glistening bead fell from between my legs. She's out wearing holocaust cross and David's star. In time moulding my skin grown around, like grandmother's wedding ring, the meaning forgotten when doctors asked if they could cut the band.

The mirror with rust creeping around the edges more and more. A whole new picture in creation, the space for your reflection getting smaller. A meeting with old times, nothing seems to have changed. When the photograph is developed it's see through and grainy, a ghost who looks the same as someone you once knew.

I continue to walk, so one day I'll see marsh fire. I hope to have time to lift my skirts and drag all my shadows clear of the flames, so I can prise the wrought iron stitch work from my ankles and stand amongst my shadows. My legion, who may fight for me, or not. Is my creation so grand they could not see my nice cosy iron maiden with spikes poised at my gut if I got any fatter?

I am no oriflamme or electric blue. Nor can I carry the insanity and disease and sordid offences from a century before. I'll break the line, the bottle of tainted blood smashed and drained. I'll stay at the party until I tire, my vodka switched for water when no one is looking. And if again I see a stream flowing with petrol, the crime of liquid peacocks, I will gaze on this poisoned wonder once again and calm myself, for I am not to blame. Then unfurl behind me streamers of ultra violet, cobalt and emerald, through the church yard of oatmeal gravestones, worn clean of inscription, but the deaths head raised in definition.

One day I sat on the beach, the sea serene, my thoughts milky. An old woman walking from the water, her sodden swim suit the colour of a surgical bandage, fallen down to her thighs. I turned my face away, but to see a Japanese girl walk from the water, her blood running over her cheeks. I invisible, one east, one west, only I aware of exposure and blood.

Some days I feel too exposed and raw myself. What will she do next time, go naked? No, the bravado of nudity is the greatest shield of all. I'd rather wear a burka, just me, skin, hair, meat beneath and no one would know who I am. Invisible, solid, black shape…… Until my time to die. I may burst open, my bed a mass of fleshy, bruised and weeping orchids, rare and grown wild. Or I might just fade until I'm ashen, a fine rust of blood. A contour of lace, more air than threads. Unable to stretch into life, but complete. Gone, without the dust of a dream.


Saturday, 28 May 2011


The weather didn't come out today.

Only rain fell like tears on my face

Before it touched the ground.

Eight magpies, white and sapphire and black

Wearing formals by the headstones

Looking to me for something shiny.

I'm here in my nightdress

You can look, I don't mind

But you can't have me today.

If you think of her, perhaps Medora

Will dance for us and shimmer.

A phantasm is the only show today.

Then in two nights, when light was high

In a dream adorned and sparkle

Jumping light to hang in poses

Held in the air, in a room alone

Everyone else downstairs.


Tuesday, 17 May 2011


Your back a clean page

Firm beneath my hands.

I spread my fingers

And feel rise and fall of slow breath

In time with mine.

But no, not your heart

To feel it beat you would be a man.

I want you my instrument

Unmoving, with legs bound.

Your back my canvas

Symbols drawn from my fingers.

You see by a feeling

That fades as it cools.

I warm you with wax drops

Red, I peel them away

The first marks.

I trace lines between them

My nails a rehearsal for a blade

Cleaning away all other sensation

But for the salt I brush in

With lemon juice I wash you.

Your arms unbound

Muscles tense to tear cloth.

I bite your shoulder

Earthy spice of sweat

Dries on my tongue.

Your arms I stroke unmarked

Slow to your wrist.

Your hands will touch no part of me

They are just for my eyes

To hold and imagine

How you will play for me

In the final movement.


Thursday, 12 May 2011

Trinket Box

A paintbox girl in the mirror frame

Hallway washed out to sepia.

Gemma is swinging the locket of Mary

She's wearing high heels

For lounge bar climbing.

A mystery of perfume

Sent from her mother

Leafing through a scrapbook of hopes

Torn from the dusting.

She leaves charms

In her way to the door

The key on a chain, hypnotising.

She's polished her girl to cut glass.

Gemma has around her throat

A silver rope from her father.

The clasp is strong

And she knows the cost.

He's welding a ring to cage her.


Sunday, 1 May 2011

If I Leave

If I leave now

I won't see you go

I only turn away from you

Not to wait here alone

For a ghost or some sign of you

That might never come.


Monday, 25 April 2011

Good Friday

Under the cliff in the midday sun, the chalk and the sea. Left, right onward pace. My left wrist hotter, the only thought I give to my watch. It's a day of easy heat. Let the sun in, no one will burn, it will let itself out.

Nothing to be tired for, but a rest in the garden is something to do. A young girl is basking and fluttering with her sister on the grass. Her mother's finest work, stretched, skinny, and unaware. Early in the day I said all birth should stop. The race should end. We're all past saving, all we can do now is give the earth back.

We go to the church, well the grounds, well the graves. Our divine vision, he must be a raven, he's the biggest crow, flying, commanding. He lands and walks, limping. Walking got me here, but it's all I can do, left, right, sometimes backwards.

We read the gravestones, the big, black bird never far away. People who die have whole stories in their names. I vow to change my name before I die. I see a name for a famous woman. I resurrect Lena Scola. The bird calls from a tree. Was she adored? Did she wear rubies and silk? I see the bird drinking at the pond. I look for Lena Scola again, to be sure I didn't imagine her name. Was she a teacher, a baker of bread? Did she stand in the spotlight? I hear birds' wings. Did she rest softly?

We find a bench. The bird is on the wall, passing time, watching us there.


A Night Out with Black Annis

We grab a corner of the town each

And give it a thundering shake.

Annis rises up through the dust cloud

She's caught her cloak on the church spire

Spinning it around in a twist.

My name I scratch into tombstones

While she's up on the roof tiles

Drumming a tune with a cross.

I follow the time of her rhythm

Lighting new colours in stained glass

To end I leave them all black.

She leads me through pathways unheard of

Where houses shiver and moan.

In the air there's a whisper from Annis

Turning the brooding womb barren.

There's an act going on through a keyhole

Temptation has his legs round a virgin.

They flock for a peep for a coin.

So we have the people distracted

A wailing babe is our next pious cause.

We slice it through a window left closed.

An eyeball for cats to paw pat

Hounds make carvings in bone

A crow soars away with a milk tooth.

The only use we can find is to eat it.

And I give twenty good reasons

When asked why.

We count the devils footprints

The crossroads is where we meet.

He knows of our occupation

And thinks it wise not to stay.

But he keeps on the right side of Annis

And offers to take up the blame.

Now she's become monumental

Her hair flying thrashes open the sky.

Annis is out on her own now

The time to be on the road home.


Hearts Grating

Yesterday the curtain closed

And you spoke in abstractions

The room filled with smog of opposition.

Your eyes blocks frozen on me

I couldn't see to leave you alone.

I threw stones, anything

To break into you rock face

But they just made a wall

Too jagged for us to touch.

Tomorrow we will beckon

Our hearts grating fall open.

We'll be a God and Goddess

Who murder their children.

I'll plant gilded stepping stones

And cross them with you.

Where you tell me a staircase

For us to ascend and descend

To a room where

No words are ever spoken.


Monday, 11 April 2011


In my bedroom

I can hear the sounds

Of a sea shell.

I'm pinned awake

And I can feel

The weight of moonlight.

I'm a mobile

My strings hung

From a crescent.

I search through tree tops

And behind tower blocks.

I find her

She's looking at her reflection

In the sea.

She's the maker of shadows

I'll always be in.

The night is hers only

And she has nothing

To say to me.


Old Country March

The dead have left Glastonbury.

Stone faces proud and brave

Above the abbey archways

Have lost their memory

But smile euphoric

Like an old drunken beauty

Above her ruined body of walls.

A short road

Took all day to walk.

We hoped to find

Around the next corner

Graves of men and women

Who were born and lived and died.

But only found a sign

Saying an ancient king

May be buried here.

I knelt to touch iron cats

Waiting to scrape boots at a doorway

Needing something to follow me home.

The sun a high and golden crown

Seeing everything, again

Made me think I should feel warm

But I didn't, it was cold.

Outdoors caving us in, we climbed.

I battle to find an easier path

And the sky line is long

But I see nothing

But land bitten and sucked dry

By tribes who want too much.

I turned away

And wondered instead

Of the story you'll tell me

When you come down.

And I see that we are

A bigger place than this.