Monday, 28 January 2013


I wish I was more like my cat

when I go to sign on

and the advisor

advises me to apply

for a job

as a G.P.s receptionist.

To show my distaste

I'd squat and shit

on the floor.


I didn't think you were the type to.

I can't believe she done that.


There would be no misunderstanding.



and after two

snow falls

one head of hydrangea

I am convinced

is getting pinker


sky's cloudy

before bed

when I say goodnight

to the hydrangea


only I can't see

the moon


in the morning

one of

Sonya's ornamental birds

snapped by winter

the stone woman observes


one head of hydrangea

I am convinced

is getting pinker

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Term of Tuesdays

On reflection that term of Tuesdays was the best of it all. My train could go no further than Southend Victoria. This was when the rape carriage was a thrilling way to travel between Southend and London; and before the Black Alchemist had done some gale force damage to the engineering college where Kev lasted a week, wry grin reason – no women.

Then I was on the winkle picker scoot down Hamlet Court Road, often feeling as if someone had put the roof on Westcliff. Misty veils drawn over the sea. Past dark framed boutiques adorned years before with the nearly threadbares that retired to York Road, and I wore. Out of familiar days for me, the invented death waif, to the rooms of fancy dress house.

As clear as before the fog lifted was what anyone done there. All real life character actresses, cameos occupied with costumes for playing a part on stage or for a party. She put on gloves and a face to sort through the wash, 'don't touch those.'
'Why what are they?'
'Principal boy pants – unclean.'
Snug as the marzipan layer, all girls together. I repaired button holes. That's what I'll say I done there, but I don't remember being much more than a work of art in what I stood up in. On a mission to find a Graffiti t-shirt hanger screech on the rail, ex-orchestra waistcoat violin soiling, glitter frost on my astrakhan coat.

My chair was beside Ivy, who would have known that astrakhan in its youth. I fell into the hum. That was until David came in confusing and he said hello, his volume and tone control out of control.
'David,' Ivy confided, tap temple, held my elbow, 'he's not all there,' raise painted eyebrow, nod slow, gave back my elbow. The whisper over her jewelly snakings made of some kind of old yellow metal, 'Mr Marks gives him bits to do, friend of his Dad's you see.'
At once I was fascinated by David, far more than by powdered and mascara'd boys posing only out for the camera.

I kept finding reasons to go upstairs to the sailor suit bedroom or serving wench chamber, rails and rails of the same character, with a tucked away hope that David would follow me. He had a smell, everything there had a smell, I must have smelt, what patchouli doesn't disguise it fertilises. And David in his inch too small dark suit, cheek bones and nine year old boy's eyes behind N.H.S. specs; his hair growing in directions spikey as the way he moved. I couldn't have fancied him more if he'd played the guitar. I just wished his brain hadn't got stuck as a child.

The line we drew could smudge, what's the harm, what's forever. A moon stone moth flying for the web, skinny black legs you haven't got me yet. An egg shell, I would have to take care, whiter than my own phobia of sun tan.

And I would wait deep breathing the fust from empty sailor suits; my back to the door ajar invitation. Photo staring the Queens Hotel through the window, now a dead silent shell but something so loud I hurt to look but hurt more to look away.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


She nick-named herself Stork – spreads easy, and her navy school skirt had a shiny iron print on the front. Other times I think she wore jeans; fancy clothes weren't really the point of Pam. We sat together, near the door, in registration and English, and Pam's poems were much better than mine.


Pam came round my house a lot. My Mum let her smoke in the lounge; when she opened a new pack she'd turn one cigarette the other way up and save that one till last.


One day we thought a plum streak would look great in her fringe. 'Should I put that shower cap on,' she said, 'so you don't get dye in my hair?' It took me a while to catch on. The Ouija board played dumb to our questions but Paul did give her his leather and suede.


Pam never got spots, though I washed twice as much. The first time was alright she said; girls who go down the stables break in easy.


'You should come with me,' Pam said one Sunday, 'I'm going down that spiritualist church, people get messages you know.' Then on Friday, 'New Political Party are playing in town, we should go down and see them.' 'They're called New Model Army and it'll get all rough,' I told her. We didn't go, but I wanted to really and wished we had even more when I saw fuck this tour black markered on our favourite bench.


George the greengrocer gave her a job, and sacked his driver when word got out Pam had slapped him when he tried to get his hand down her pants in the delivery van.


Mrs Jones got married again, and I didn't like to ask Pam if she would call her Mum's new husband her Dad. 'That dentist only wants to brace your teeth to get more money. When you're sixteen that's when you can get your ears pierced and until then you come in when I say.'


Pam packed a lot in before her curfew. Like one night climbing into the derelict haunted house we called The Place. 'I want to live there one day,' she said. While I stayed out later, dressed flash and made-up like we knew what we were doing to stand in pubs with Wendy, and explain to barmen that at fifteen the law states we could go into pubs as long as we didn't buy a drink.


Then with a two finger sign to sixth form we left school. I got a place at the tech on the coast; George gave Pam more hours at his shop.


I must have been eighteen when my Mum called me over to see Pam's picture in the paper. She was wearing her wedding dress. I heard she left the man stood beside her six weeks later.


The last time I saw Pam she was wearing lycra aerobics gear in the library, with her kid in a pushchair. I didn't ask who gave him to her or about her marriage. We just talked the same way like before.

The band are distorted
to perfection
I can feel my sweat
under t-shirts we wear
sleeves hacked off
and have to dance
close together
in a room this size
the only light
is on the stage.

Some guy's right against me
I push back
but he's not moving
only closer
I can feel his erection
I could move but I won't
I'm standing here
to be close to
the band.

Friday, 11 January 2013

The Day After

The day after I heard

Wilco had cancer

I got the train to Southend.

When I got there

there were guards at the station;

they didn't fine me,

I bought a ticket,

I didn't mind.

Then quietly ignoring the time

I drank earl grey in a posh café,

wrote a poem and

stole a tea spoon.

Once it was dark

I walked down the front

and could see lights

through the mist on Canvey.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Corneal Abrasion

I'll take on the personality
of a torn optic nerve
I'm used to it

Victoriana in stays
fixed up like that
is a lot to live up to

dry creosote can I
touch the fence now
creosoty splinters in

a cutting device
what's it called
a guillotine

Julie pulls my hair
through the slats
nothing personal

you are not an individual
you are one of a number
blamed for deforming the equation

entrenched or selvedge seal
is in good spirits
to exhume

the cosy mausoleum
it's my favourite word
lucky ring

lucky beads
lucky belt
lucky ring

no not really
I wear it a lot
eye size

has to be lucky
seeing the rain

come down in prisms
pulling colours like
doctors appearing everywhere

in Blackmore
plash when they plant
a casket

and the day after
all the whites were rose
cutting off hazy

towns and villages where
we need a vehicle
bright lights

are bright lights a problem
yeah but I don't
wanna go anywhere

lost due to poor hygiene
is a hook and eye

jaggy tear clot rancid
rust on my temple
stuck pillow to brow

like stem puss
soft boiled sap
she's under size

to take seriously
her interior scar
shivering in bed

with two hot poke holes
in my face
dreading shiny sun

just smile force
scared to electric light
November 5am

is it alizarin
to make a scene
like this overflow

with crying swastikas
make romantic fever poetry
detach disconnect

optic nerve over
a full black bath
with star sharps

can happen even
on your birthday
good luck

lucky ring
lucky beads
lock of never

just her tears
need time to
adjust after a trauma

the wrong man tortured
one eye cored out
during interrogation

he'll be alright
in London just needs
a heavy overcoat

I think bearded men
look more vulnerable
file under politics

future history
extinct and blind
Siamese cat

adopted before injection
is beautiful
lives by sound and feel

very well thank-you
Munch and Joyce
attack of the cry

can you thread it
for me
corneal abrasion

impotent weep on
the hour dropper
ovaly dissolve

primary yellow paraffin night
grease open the morning
split ended veins

secondary orange
affordable air travel
for the lower classes and

artists I don't
remember nightmares
somewhere between

taste and smell
lighter fuel
when I wake up

that'll be the medicine
no I've always had it
that'll be the medicine

have another
plastic dolly curse
has fallen down

the side of the bed
her eyes stuck open
scraping the wall

scathy water
lick spirity
as they snap on

an examination glove
for human protection
latex free

please keep watching
I'd really hate you
to miss me

digging my knife
and fork
into my lap

when I'm quite bloated
I'll start on hers
if she's not on me

helpings of memory flesh
ushered into my orbit
that had to happen

it's on my circuit
of admiration for
anyone who tags

an object of desire
I might go back

for my scrap book
of slipped notes
hey pixie girl

come to the
after show party
hey been dying to

meet you
hey it must be
the devil between us

or whores in my head
whores at the door
whores in my bed

but hey where
have you been

I'd like to take you
for a drink

my name's John
please call me

yellow rose didn't
flower this Christmas
just one hydrangea

frothy pink world
in December
Nan was like that

till the end
you're either born with it

or you die with it
she said
night scented

that is not
a condition the medical
profession recognises

slot into my diagnosis
and let me point
out the door

said the automated
chair press
professional smile

as if I'd waste
a smile value of
£3 to a photobooth

chemicals slide out
rejected by a smeary lens
rain stain

imagine the worst
a hair wire
hours days blind

trying to pluck it
ringletting tweezer aim
shard of a tear bit

was the achievement
of the day
you are not unique

in thinking the room
is so full
you dare not

put all your weight down
in one step
should the floor give way

you mean other people
think that
and they haven't

smashed in broken agony
two storeys below

I confess to
a love–hate relationship
with plastic that's

really fresh greens
and all my tipsy nights
are made of it

light and replaceable
after informal goofing around
an office

for years
giving myself the
under arm paprika test

you know what
I mean
I seek a position

as a translator from
English into English
see sawing

I saw it
unbalance and scream
out of the eyes