Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Stuffed Animals

Dead and cold
In the back bedroom
That was always damp
Dad probably swapped them
For a tuppenny blue
Or found them
In a house he was demolishing
Maybe in its loft
The glass case jammed beneath a beam
Gathering dust
A squirrel, a crow?
I can’t remember now.
I was probably seven or eight.
I think there was a badger.

I wonder where they are now.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Twenty Five Years

Twenty five years
That pass in a nod
In a wink
Whizz by in the blink of an eye
Quicker than drinking
Before you can think

Twenty five years
Jammed to the rafters
With boxes of laughter
And crates of adventures
And loving hugs crammed into corners
and crevices
Shoved down the backs of sofas
And hoarded in cupboards
In nooks and in crannies
Momentos and memories
And even the kitchen sink
Is filled with flowers long gone
Black-eyed Suzies and yellow roses
But their perfume and colours
still lingering on.

Twenty five years
Who would have expected
The fun and the joy
To have lasted so long?
The stories we made, the music
We played, the melody still going strong

Twenty five years
And the past grows and grows
And each month overflows, and each day spills
Into the next like a song you can’t lose
Showtime of new shoes,
Tears in the shade
But fun in the sun when you ain’t got the blues
Such a shame that the memories fade
But the game carries on
New memories made
Our marriage just doesn’t feel old
Twenty five years, we’ve the silver
Now the thrill of going for gold

Monday, September 01, 2014

This Week I Like Cats

This week I like cats
I gather them and mould all around me
To the shape of cat
Cat plant holders
Cat towel rails
It’s an all-embracing cat experience
I line the walls with cat paintings
And the mantelpiece with cat figurines
And re-post hilarious cat videos
And cute kitten videos on Face Book

I worship the constellation Orion
And conjure ancient Egyptian Gods
I wear a cat-emblazoned tee shirt
And Siamese cats peek from my socks
A Persian cat sparkles in my naval
This week I like cats

Next week I will be liking frogs

Friday, August 29, 2014

Listening Through My Separator

Travelling along Forest Ridge
Also known as the Winged Eel’s Tail
Sometimes called The Devil’s Bridge
Or the Dandelion Moonlight Trail
Often called the Pancake Trap
Also the Valley of Old Tin Cans
Where the chrome-winged bone crows flap
And Ant Man Bee makes jagged plans
I am listening to Trout Mask Replica
On the border of the Land of Frown
Listening through my separator

I think I need a lie down

Monday, August 18, 2014


Silver, a metal of mystery
Spun by the light of the moon
Not brash like gold
That’s spun in the sun
All heat and fire
An unsubtle metal
Soft and so easily unshaped
And undone

No, silver
Suggestive of rivers
Flowing into a midnight lake
Of clandestine meetings in forests
Of lovers impatient
For that first kiss
Of the magical light
That just before dawn
Grants you a wish

Oh, and smiling
Lots of smiling

And all of the love you can take

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Who Do You Think I Am?

(For Liz Brownlee)

Who do you think I am?
The Fount of all Knowledge?
The Fountain of Wisdom?
The Tap of General Information?
The Well of Understanding?
The Stop-Cock of Interminable Trivia?
The Spigot of Specific Information?

Who do you think I am, anyway?
The Spume of Curious Coincidences?
The Spring of Eternal Hope?
The Geyser of Self-Consciousness?
The Waterfall of Disappointment?
The Gutter of Good Intentions?
The Hydrant of Poetic Gentrification?

Who the hell do you think I am?
The Faucet of Unreliable Narrative?
The Hose of Sesquipedalian Verbosities?
The Storm Drain of Gushing Sentiment?
The Standpipe of Cloying Sediment?
The Spout of Poetic Declamations?

The Drainpipe of Dithering Ineptitude?

Friday, June 06, 2014

The All-Smiling Man

I am the all-smiling man
I am smiling for you, the trees
You are losing your leaves
and withered winter branches
I am smiling for the last leaf

I am smiling for you, the clouds
covering the blue sky like similes
or with slate grey metaphors
I am smiling for the last cloud
as it wisps beneath the departing moon

I am smiling for you, the stars
the final stars of a false dawn
And for the morning star

 And I am smiling for you, the new sun
I am the all-smiling man

Tuesday, June 03, 2014


I can’t remember arriving
At Coventry station
Or how I found my way to the pub
I found a place to stay
From a card in the newsagent’s window
Left my suitcase and guitar
In the large, shabby room
Full of cold space
I can’t remember what was in the suitcase
Or what I wore
Headed for the college
I do remember thinking
That the art students
Would have claimed a pub for their own
And would now be in out
Renewing acquaintances
Swapping stories of summer conquests
And finding the pub
I do remember
Talking to the new second years
Exotic, long-haired
Bright colourfully-clothed
About the college
What I could expect
The noise. The music was loud
All Along the Watchtower by Jimmy Hendrix
Was that then or later
It featured heavily that year I’m sure
But some things seem so vague now
I don’t remember how the evening ended
I don’t remember returning to my room
Or how I slept
Or if I dreamt
I know I only slept there once
In the morning I lifted the mattress
And watched the bedbugs

Scurrying from the light

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sky of Bone, Land of Stone

I can’t write another poem.
That’s what I think sometimes
I’ve nothing more to write
Just another poem for another place
Another fizzing morning
After a noisy night

Alone in Edinburgh
In a hotel with Perspex walls
A drizzle of rain
After the hot southern cocktail
Sky of bone
Land of stone

I wander the streets
By chance I glimpse a lap dancer
Through through the open doorway
To an empty bar
She sticks out her tongue
In, what I imagined afterwards
As I walked the half-familiar streets,
A come-hither gesture
Using reverse psychology.

Sky of bone,
Land of stone.

Do you know what I fancy right now?
A cigarette. A roll up.
If I were on my own
And didn’t have a loving wife
Three hundred miles away
I could do that so easily
Embrace the deathly cocktail
of chemicals and carcinogens
drawn them into my lungs

My friend and I
We’d would walk out into the night, together
Beneath the bone sky
Into the land of stone
Into the dancer’s arms

My friend would glow
With the warmth of human contact
And the glow would finally die
And the wind would obliterate all traces
Of his soul, his dying breath
And I would toss his empty carcass
Into the road
And only his shadow would remain with me
In the land of stone

And then I’d want another friend

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Making Love to the Dead

Making love to the dead
It’s all you can do
Thoughts whiz round your head
Shed a tear
For the things that they said
They’ll no longer see clouds
The sun on the golf course
From high on The Downs, the views, the windmill caught in the wind
They won’t see the daisies, buttercups, hawthorn, the blossom
And they won’t feel the wind on their faces
Or the wind behind them
As they rush down the slope

Making love to the dead
It’s all you can do
Thoughts that dart in your head
The people you knew who are gone
Good times that are done, bad times got through
Can you dance with the dead?
Can you speak with the dead?
Sure, It’s a monologue
But you hear them speak back in the wind, in the traffic
Time races
You imagine the things that they’d say,
Each moment, each day, every week, every year
How long have you got?
Will you be next?
Your turn to be dead
And your spirit becomes the shadow of cloud that’s sweeps
Down the hill, filling the head of the walker
Still walking in hope
Making love to the dead

Friday, May 16, 2014


When recently attending a wound
I was struck by how much
the cotton wool resembled clouds

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Where friends once lived
Friend-shaped spaces

Walking along Brighton sea front
A bag of fish and chips
A sharp sea breeze chopping up the past

An old train ticket to Rochester

found in a favourite jacket
Standing next to Lennon in the cathedral loos

A jacket, clothes, blankets…
Imagine a tent, caught in a ferocious gale
pegs ripped from the ground
flapping through the air

From school laughter
and the smell of paint and charcoal
to a hospital bed
And now, another space
that can never be filled in

How big is that space?
The size of a room? Of a stadium?
A planet’s atmosphere?

And these spaces clump together
like magnetic poles
into a huge emptiness
an enormous why

Can we ever know many holes it takes
to fill the Albert Hall?
You saw Clapton there…
Stray images fly
Caught in the sunlight, like dust
Dust to dust
Dust is never in short supply