Sunday, August 16, 2020

The end of it

 A dense, turgid, close evening. Thick with metaphor and pent up long expected electricity punching the air.
As the downpour washes away memory, leaving nothing but doubt that this summer ever existed.
And one bruised, over ripe, peach in the bowl.



I've met many super models in my time. Each and every one was super I am sure.
Save one.
Who didn't want to do the coke thing in the Cow
but sat outside
wooly hatted
talking about trying to write
one autumn evening.

It was a long time ago but
I can remember every stitch in her green hat
and her friendliness

The only time I had something in common
with a supermodel
a supermodel who was happy
to talk about
not being a supermodel

happy to talk about doubt.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Yellow lines

in stolen cars engine running
on yellow lines
gas syphoned from ambulances
attending the car crash of her life

on cocaine and amphetamines
white lines
stolen from dealers and pharmacies
while she trawled medical websites
for conditions
to embelish her needs
and lies
and litter her love songs


from the beds of the brutal men she craved
to me waiting
in stolen cars engine running

on yellow lines

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Roller Coaster.

And sometimes once voiced
apology becomes futile and pointless
understanding is all
what will be will be

nothing will break our hearts
something might mend them

the steep learning curves
of your roller coaster are
thrilling, quite frightening
and very, very new.

I went up to the roof in the rain
picked a passion fruit flower from the vine
laid it before you, an apology.
It sits unwanted on the table now.

I'll put it in water
just in case.

Sunday, June 21, 2020


I can give you some of my strength each day
knowing that, like blood, I will make more at night
watching you sleep free, deep and motionless
wrapped in the courage to keep your demons at bay.

Do not take all of my strength in one day
you might as well slash my throat.
Add one more
to your list of demons.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Borth. The end of it.

Be quick my aching feet
and rid this place of me
flat matt black smear of sullen land
wedged between rugged beauty
and liquid gun metal sea

the only road a stair rod of leaden hopelessness
finialled with village namesigns
umbilical from way in
giving life to a way out
that veers off, set square true
between graph paper fields of
itchy footed mobile homes
rooted in their own unhaphazard nightmares.
Towards a horizon beckoning relief

Borth beach slate grey
skid mark on the unwashed underpants of Wales
caught between a hard place
and unforgiving sea
grey upon grey upon grey upon grey
populated by innocent children, whom, having seen no better
assume that this is what life is and
gaggles of Whistler's Mothers;
arrangements of grey on black.

the tides are bullied in

hang around like a bored teenage
goth dreaming of Whitby
on his last family holiday ordeal...

then race away with glee

Of all the beauty of this Principality
what brings me here to this
to triage at the waiting room of romantic health tests
sitting, beach benched, uncandyflossed
as you walk out into the limp bara lafwr mor.

Watching and willing you to keep going
Knowing the prognosis to be terminal.

Knowing that I no longer want you in my life
nor me in this unhappy place.

In the time of Coronavirus.

She passes the window each dayPre-Raphaelite hair new penny bright catching the sun
catching my eye.
In this strange time of isolation
she is my only constant
when once it might have been

the morning ferry on the Dart,
the night-bus on Chepstow or church-bells.
she ticks away the days day in day out
heels, like halyards on idle masts, clicking on cobbles
I do not watch for her
I simply sit writing at the window that she passes
and as she passes
tick off another day happy in her constancy.

I do not know her and for that reason can imagine,
invent a life and circumstances
watching her walking in the rain
talking on a hidden telephone,
(she has an American accent),
Laughing and happy

oblivious to the drenching of her hair
perhaps to a lover caught elsewhere, planning a reunion,
a parent in New York, Agent in L.A.
or a comedienne in St Louis
practising new material for want of a live audience
Maybe there is no phone at all
she is an actress learning lines for a show that may never go on
or a schizophrenic happy in her own company

I do not know her name
I shall not give her a name of my making.
In naming something a sense of ownership sets in;
I could no more name her than name
a wild palomino or the salmon that did not rise
or the raindrops on the window.

She does not notice me
I am too old to be of any interest or threat
like a piece of street furniture, or a bicycle
chained to a railing, slowly losing it's component parts.
I am invisible and free
free to count her daily passing
marvelling at her loyalty
happy to have this constant reminder of time and place.

I will leave this house soon
and return to my home not far away
but not close enough to be on her daily route.
Perhaps I will catch sight of new penny bright hair
on Portobello Road, clumsily smile,  remember fondly,
lock-down in the time of Coronavirus.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Graveside phantosmia


Imagined scents, 
spring magnolia walks
missed birthdays
wet dog after rainy walks
pine needles and orange of lost christmasses
bicycle oil
antiseptic cream
playdo, paint and glue
summer gardens
caged tigers
autumn woods

that a child, dancing, scattering confetti on her mothers grave
makes real.

Saturday, May 11, 2019


Based on childhood experience
if I love you you will leave
if I hate you you will stay

by making you believe I hate you
whilst loving you
I hope you will stay

to protect me from the man
who would follow you
should you leave

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


She asked: 'Do you have anything dark to wash?'
I could not admit to my longings
but brought down some history
that might benefit from 60 degrees.

She is asleep now as I empty the machine
drape history on radiators
dark things are still dark

clean but dark

She is asleep now


Friday, December 30, 2016

Portobello fog.

Its foggy in Portobello
the dealers are getting quite lost
they can't find their way to E&O
they are selling their wares at cost
I bought a gram for a plastic fiver
then sold it on to a young skip diver
who sold it on to a mate
who sold it on to a mate
then a mate of a mate of a mate of a mate
who eventually snorted the lot.
Without consideration for rhyme.

Now the mate of a mate of a mate of a mate
of a mate of a mate of a mate
is fucking pissed off at having bought a gram of petrol infused talc
and nothing rhymes with that.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Beauty demands nothing.

The beauty of the interweb
is that
ordinary men like me
in dying
may watch videos of
brilliance taken early
by the genius
it harbours
demanding everything destructive

to prove a point.

The beauty of the interweb
is that
ordinary men like me
in dying
may pass comment on
brilliance taken early
by the genius
it harbours
demanding everything destructive

to prove a point

The beauty of mankind
is that
to prove a point
brilliance is quantified by
not by longevity
nor by hits on youtube
beauty demands nothing.

Alphabet rain.

Today I burned my poems
on a bonfire of my own vanities
words sent skywards
on vortices of their own hot air's making

Some caught in nearby trees
others falling upon the Westway
the majority fly skyward
taunting a million empyrean chimps

at their monkeyboards.

imagine abstract condensing
within cumulus
then falling Burroughs-like
as alphabet rain
puddling nonsensically in foreign fields

Or circling vultureishly
over a poem's carcass

A barristers sock.

Sitting in the kitchen
underneath the clock
polishing silver with
a barristers sock.

It is not made of silk
nor is it made of satin
I've no idea what it is
the labels writ in Latin.

Citing habeas corpus
weeping into legal hose
Shouting: "This is cruelty,
as everybody knows.
Her lordship muttered sternly
"Sedebat in lecto cat.
Just polish the bloody fishknives
Sic biscuittus disintegrat".


Pig fat on the turkey
goose fat on the spuds
suet in the mince pies
brandy butter on the puds
lard on the sausages
bacon on the lard
butter in the stuffing
butter on the chard
cream on the yule log
cream on the lot
and grandma's full of baileys
octogenarian drunken sot

Brandy in pater
port and lemon in my mum
and kinky cousin Tarquin
injecting vodka up his bum
Dinner now partaken
napkins mashed and soiled
things going very smoothly thanks
now that every-ones well oiled.

On Death.

Death is a punctuation mark. A full stop.
Death states the obvious. A full stop.
The full stop defines nothing, it is merely a printers device.
Let us not dwell on punctuation, on the full stop
but let us celebrate that which precedes it.
Celebrate the life.

Memory has no punctuation.
No full stop.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Dreaming of tigers. Daddy what's it like to die?

Daddy what's it like to grow old and die?

It is like going to see the tigers.

Imagine it is a lovely sunny day and you say Daddy I want to see the tigers.

We get into the car and drive to the zoo and you say Daddy I want to see the tigers.

We get our tickets, you are half price and you say Daddy I want to see the tigers.

Daddy I want to see the tigers.

I tell you that the tigers are at the other side of the zoo but we will get to them eventually.

But on the way we see giraffes and eland
springboks and hippos
chimpanzees and wallabys
sad bears.

And you forget about the tigers.

We see seals and penguins
aardvarks and zebras
macaws and owls.

And you forget about the tigers.

In the insect house a butterfly lands on your arm momentarily and you forget about the tigers.

We see wolves and rabbits
dogfish and catfish

And then we see the tigers and the tigers see us, they have been waiting.
You smile and yawn.

It is a lovely day so we go to sit in the park nearby
lie on our backs looking up at the sky
searching for animal shapes in the clouds.

We close our eyes and drift off to sleep

dreaming of tigers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Regarding the Killer clown craze, I first posted this in 2009


Things started getting out of hand when the dog got run down in the street out side our window. She had watched it happen and when I got in from work she was standing there in tears. I held her for a while then took her to bed.

I’d first seen her in Stanley Park one afternoon when a bunch of us were sitting around with guitars, playing whatever came into our heads and generally fooling about. A number of kids had congregated to catch the mood and catch the sun, she sat away from the others under the shade of a tree; long thick hair the color of new pennies burning against almost white skin. She wore a green summer dress and red Converse.

I knew she was there but not really there until Gus came along in a daze, stood among us and announced Kurt Cobain was dead. For real! Shot himself in the head and was dead! I looked at her then, alone under that tree; tears running black from her eyeliner. I told myself she needed comfort only really it was me who needed her. So I went to her and held her. She sobbed into my white t-shirt.

We practically stayed like that for the rest of the day, talking about Kurt and singing his songs. Then somebody played ‘In Memory of a Free Festival’ on his boom box and after that the only thing to do was go home or someplace else.

She came back to my place.

We ate pizza and listened to Nirvana CD’s while she cried some more. She laughed when I told her she looked like a clown with her make-up running. We kissed before she left me knowing I would see her again.

Soon we were living together and making plans. Sex wasn’t that great but I put that down to anything I could think of except the truth. I wasn’t going anywhere near the truth back then.

After the dog I started to find more ways to make her cry so I could comfort her. During the day I would make up sad stories to tell her at night. And I would buy her eyeliner and mascara, the cheap stuff that ran, and encourage her to use it.
But I should never have told her about the clown.
They found her on the sidewalk, crumpled and broken, except for her face, which, undamaged by the 30 foot fall from the window, she’d made up like a clown’s. Bright red mouth – I’d never known her to wear lipstick - and thick black weep lines running from her eyes. She had cropped her hair. Gelled it so it stood up like a fright wig.

Just like Bepo the clown who at my 8th birthday party led me into the cellar to show me the secrets of magic.

Saturday, April 30, 2016


Memory will go; this is what life is about, the future relies on the past and the past relies on memory and as memory diminishes so the future becomes less…less what, I’ve forgotten.

How I got to Judy’s house I cannot remember. I was 18 and fucked on amphetamines dope and alcohol and looking for a bed. I turned up with a bottle of scotch and a hold- all.
She had a terraced house, a husband in prison, a young daughter and a drawer full of drugs. Oh! Yeah she had rats in an aquarium. We drank the whiskey, tried many sorts of her dope and some of her liquid LSD and laughed a lot and laughed a lot more and then she showed me the stairs to my room before showing me her bed: she said you can go up there or stay down here…I was 18, fucked on amphetamines, dope, alcohol, LSD, the pheromones of a middle aged woman and the scent of fear from caged rats. I chose her bed. Less steps to climb. We eventually sublet my room.

We sublet my room to a fat single mother whose baby I often mistook for a pig whilst melting into the soft furnishings on paranoid trips.

For a lot of that time I did not know whether I was toothpaste or cornice moldings or both.

Judy had admirers who would come round and cook her crap meals without knowing that we were shagging in the downstairs loo and laughing and then laughing about that. 35 years later I can 
I don’t blame her.

She had a Mini clubman, green, British racing green. F
uck... I had to go. The husband was coming out of prison. I could not (would not) fight. We went for a picnic on cleeve hill as some sort of goodbye thing. The child Rosie was with us as we lay under the elephant trees and talked of what might be or might have been. The beech trees were monstrous with bark like grannies elbows and she told me she loved me through a gap in her teeth. I was closer to her daughter’s age than hers.

I went into the woods for a piss, as I stood micturating against a tree I sensed something and ducked; a sock full of nuts bolts nails and screws clouted into the tree just where my head should have been. I managed to wrestle the weapon from Judy’s grasp and force her to the ground. Needless to say she was loud.

Subdued she seemed pleased to miss. I asked her what she had intended and she told me that she wanted to kill me and then write obscenities over my body… She opened her bag, it was full of lipsticks… I cannot remember how this ended. It is true but I cannot remember… I’m alive so she didn’t kill me.

She said she didn’t want me to leave her.

Her husband had been imprisoned for stealing among other things underwear from washing lines. When he was arrested he was wearing it. He had curly blonde hair and a heroin habit. It was 1973 and David Bowie said everything was possible. But I didn’t think a ménage a trios with a middle aged mum and a cross dressing junkie was anything like probable let alone possible.

Judy is 70 now…

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


It is morning almost one
I reach out for it
fingers fumbling 
first in a satsuma of haiku
then in my glass of false tooth
my gruntle is gone.

It was there last night
I remember distinctly
smiling fondly at a childhood memory
before removing it
and dousing my thoughts
with the light.

I search the world but 
everything I find
convinces me that
I'm disgruntled.


gruntle. v. 1938, in gruntled "pleased, satisfied," a back-formation from disgruntled. The original verb (early 15c.) meant "to utter a little or low grunt."

Trainspotting at night.

Beside my bed I keep a little book

in which I jot down the details of
those trains of thought which
travel nightly the subconscious network.
Occasionally it will be the midnight express
screaming through nightmare tunnels
(its headlight mimicking hope)
towards oblivion.
But more often it is a
benign milk train
with it's churned up cargo  of memories
stopping regularly
at the village halts that
line my past.

My nights spent
supine upon an embankment of pillow
counting wheels
marveling at their locomotion
but no longer curious
about their destination.

Monday, February 2, 2015


I have no say in the matter
it's all chosen by them
the colour, the fabric
the length of the hem
the style of the collar
the cut of the tights
the straight jacket baby-grows
with ghastly highlights
accessory garments
for the accessory child
are hardly condusive
to the babe meek and mild.

I hear all the time
that I am a blessing
so why do your best
to make me so

Sunday, October 12, 2014


for Morgana.

I catch her breath
breath in what she has discarded

She makes concrete, dreams,
and mornings possible

She is therefore I am.

Monday, September 29, 2014

I deleted your name out of pure joy

I deleted your name out of pure joy

I wrote it on my school books for practice
I created new typefaces to suit
I wrote it on album covers to read as we hippliy listened
I wrote it in amateurish embroidery
on my first denim jacket
where an hells angels motto would have easily sufficed
I wrote it in snow
In weedkiller
In paint stripper
I wrote it in haste
and at leisure and in stables and with the lawn mower
with my finger in the dust of white vans

I wrote it in imaginary sky writing
looped the loop at the end of the 'L'
I tattooed my dreams
wrote 24 hour one word lyrics
in shy places.

I wrote it.

Then I deleted your name out of pure joy

When you noticed.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Shades of doggerel.

Is it wrong to wear shades in the shade
Is it wrong to wear shades in a glade
when the sunlights leaf dappling
interferes with ones grappling
with a buxom toothed rustical maid.

Is it wrong to wear shades in the boozer
is it wrong to wear shades as a schmoozer
when your mates are all grapnelling
through their pockets for shrapnel in
the hope that you'll be the loser.

Wives wear shades to hide bruising
Cruisers wear shades when they are cruising
dashing stylists wear shades
because they are blunt eyed dull blades
and not remotely amusing.

Rock stars can wear shades in the dark
as can poets when ascending a lark
for the blind it's de riguer
and the louche nightclub ligger
and paedophiles cruising the park.

Otherwise take them off.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Uncle Reg. He died for Valerie and golf.

Uncle Reg smoked 90 fags a day but they never killed him. Valerie did that!

Uncle Reg was in His Majesties Indian Army and took one for the regiment up the Khyber Pass. He liked to say that he took the bullet for King and country but wags in the mess often suggested merrily that, since he took it up the Khyber, he more than likely took it for queen and country.

Reg came back to England something of a hero and a few months later they gave him a medal and the medal had 'FOR VALOUR' engraved upon it.

Reg was an humble man and wanted no attention so he stuffed the medal in his kit-bag and forgot about it.

On being demobbed Reg went back to his dyslexic wife Sylvia in Streatham where he took up golf as a hobby.

The day that Sylvia cleared out his kit bag she confronted Reg in the kitchen as he was oiling his clubs.

"You've been carrying on with a woman called Valerie she insisted throwing the medal in his face before killing him with a single blow to the head with a sand wedge.

When asked by the Judge at her trial if she had any regrets, she replied: 'Yes! I now realise I should have used a number 3 wood rather than a sand wedge and that Dyslexia can be life threatening!'

The eyes of Jarvis Trench.

I called at the house to view the motor bike. It was a 1967 Triumph Tiger Cub. I had owned a similar bike in my teens and fancied that it would make a project for the winter.
I was early. Mrs Trench answered the door in a flustered state but ushered me inside and led me to the living room. “You will have to excuse me,” she said. “You are early and it is time for my therapy but it won’t take long. Can I get you a cup of tea?”
The filth that surrounded her encouraged me to decline the offer. “No thank you,” I said.

She offered me a chair. I sat and looked about the room. It was littered with orange coloured objects I first took for balloons. I soon realised they were football bladders. There were perhaps 20 of them; each one sported a number of puncture repair patches. The patches on each bladder occupied positions on the same latitude. If they had been globes I would have estimated that they were on a line occupied by Stockholm. The patches circled the bladders. There were a number of deflated footballs, the old fashioned ‘lace up’ variety, and two or three repair kits. A professional-looking pump stood beside the chair she sat down in.
“Won’t take long,” she repeated as she took up one of the footballs and a bladder. There was an image painted on the ball but I was unable to make it out. She slowly and carefully fed the bladder into the ball, took the nozzle of the pump and inserted it into the bladder. With her right hand she worked the pump while steadying the ball with her left and her knees. As the ball inflated I saw that the leather was painted with a likeness of a man. He had bright blue eyes. She looked at me as the ball became tight and said, “I used to do the lacing once but don’t feel the need anymore.”

Gripping the ball between her thighs she took up two long needles then carefully and simultaneously forced a spike into each pupil.

As the needles entered she intoned the words: What are you looking at now, Jarvis Trench?

She then removed the weapons and laid the sighing ball on the floor beside the chair.
“The motorbike,” she said as she rose and I followed suit. “It is in the shed, it is not locked. Why don’t you go and take a look? It ain’t been used much. My husband only rode it to and from his camera club and he ain’t done that since the day he left his darkroom unlocked.”

A vegetarian fairy tale.

Brown rice. 

Jill lived with her mum on the edge of the village. Jill was 13 and had a faint memory of a father who disappeared years before leaving Jill and her mum with a little cottage and a field of pigs.

Jill's mum tried to make a living as a pig farmer but it was difficult, most of the other villagers were vegetarians and didn't like pork and whenever Jill's mum tried growing vegetables in the field the pigs ate them. Times were hard.

One day Jill's mum gave her the last of their money and asked her to go to the market to buy vegetables so that they could invite some neighbours round for supper.

On her way to the market Jill met a man leading a cow. The man with the cow asked Jill where she was going and when she informed him of her errand he said: 'Look no further young lady, I have just the thing for you.'

Come off it said Jill. If you think I am going to buy a few beans from you you are mistaken! The man with the cow explained that he had just traded his last few magic beans for the cow with a young lad called Jack but that he had the answer to all her problems.

He pulled from a sack a cage, in the cage was a small brown mouse.

I could spend an age describing the haggling that took place but you've heard it all before… Jill walked home with the mouse who she decided to name Regret.

Jill's mum was, of course, mightily pissed off and sent the girl to bed without supper… No hardship to Jill who was fed up with her daily intake of pork products.

The following morning Jill rose early and went down to her chores. she was surprised to find that all the pig scraps lying around the kitchen had been cleared up and that there was a pile of brown rice on the table. Jill scooped the rice into a bowl before going out to feed the pigs. The mouse slept in his cage in the corner.

When Jills mum arose Jill showed her the rice and declared that there was enough for a proper banquet for all their vegetarian friends.

The banquet of course was a success, a mound of steaming brown rice infused with herbs from the hedgerows and vegetables borrowed from neighbouring gardens had all of the guests singing its praises. The brown rice had a flavour previously unknown to them. It was magnificent. It was heaven.

By the end of the evening each of the guests has put in an order for brown rice which Jill's mum accepted while secretly wondering where it was going to come from. She need not have worried for the following morning there was a mound of brown rice waiting on the table.

Over the following weeks Jill and her mum discovered that the more pork they left in the kitchen the more brown rice appeared on the table the following day.

They made a lot of money from selling that brown rice to the village vegetarians and lived happily ever after apart from one small glitch when the inspector from the ministry of food tested the rice and declared it 98 percent pork and 2 percent mouse spit but by then it was too late, the village rabbi had already koshered it as fit for vegetarians.

And the mouse… Jill changed it's name from Regret to Regretta who lived long, fondly watching over her burgeoning family shitting on the kitchen table as it grew fat on pork products.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A christmas frog

Dear Mummy, I hope you can read this, it is really hard to write because it is hard to hold a pencil with a webbed hand.

It isn't really my fault. I want to blame you for trying to maintain in me a belief in Father Christmas. but it isn't your fault either.

I blame the jelly beans.

I awoke at four this morning and found a stocking at the foot of my bed, it was full of stuff that I don't really need but which makes you feel like a good mum but you don't need to do anything more than just be to be a good mum. Jelly beans are good though and if you find a box of jelly beans at four in the morning you are going to eat them and as one in ten jelly beans taste like poo you are going to eat them ten at a time to hide the taste of the poo one.

Sometimes when you eat ten jelly beans at once one escapes and that is what happened this morning. I hoped it wasn't a poo flavoured one that escaped otherwise if you found it you'd think I had poo'd in my bed. I couldn't find the escaped bean and then I fell asleep.

I woke up a bit later, I don't know what time because the watch you gave me last Christmas is broken and I haven't yet got the new one I am no doubt going to get this year.


I woke up to find a jellybean stalk growing out of my bed and then out of the window. I know enough about fairy tales to know that I had to climb it and would be rewarded by stuff like harps and gold once I had defeated a giant.

I started climbing but it didn't go up. It went horizontally out of my window and down the gardens at the back of the house but I climbed it anyway. I climbed it all the way down to 37 Oxford gardens where it disappeared into a window. I sat outside and looked in.

There was a really fat woman sitting in a kitchen, there was nothing on the table except an empty white bowl, there was a goose walking around and the really fat woman was crying but if I were really fat I would cry a lot too, either because I was fat or because I was hungry. Or both.

I climbed in through the window and asked her why she was crying and she said she was crying because she was a vegetarian and the goose had eaten all her sprouts and sprouts was all she had had for Christmas.

I did some really quick thinking and said don't worry, my mum has some sprouts at home, I'm sure she can spare some, I'll go and get them. I climbed back across the beanstalk to our place and got the sprouts. I also picked up a bag of carrots which were in the fridge. I climbed back to the fat ladies house.

When I gave her the sprouts she was pleased and her wails turned to sniffs. When I gave her the carrots she beamed, there was a loud crash and a flash and she turned into a beautiful thin woman with red lipstick.

She said 'Thank you so much because I was put under a spell by a wicked witch and could only be changed back to a kitchen goddess by an innocent boy giving me a carrot'.

She also said that she was no longer a vegetarian and she eyed the goose in a lascivious way.

I liked the goose. I grabbed the goose and ran.

I was used to the beanstalk by now and could move pretty quick but I knew that the kitchen goddess was hot on my tail. I made it back to my room then cut the beanstalk with my Alladin sword I got for my birthday. Jellybean stalks are cool because the minute you cut them they turn to jelly and I heard the kitchen goddess falling into the ornamental pond at number 16 causing the frog who lived there to croak a bit.

I was left here with a goose and I didn't know how I was going to explain a goose in my room but that was the least of my problems because the goose turned to me and thanked me before kissing me on the forehead and then flying out the window before I had time to explain that I had been turned into a small boy by a kind witch and the only way to turn me back into a frog was by being KISSED BY A GOOSE.

So mummy, It's me.

Not a frog.

You could try kissing me. It might work.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The beard. A poem for Murray Lachlan Young.

Hey Murray... I've taken your sage advice
and grown some hair upon me fice
but no West London moustachy thing
nor stylish Hoxton phizgog bling
no sign of goatee nor trendy soul patch
just a rustic kind of bohemian thatch

Home to spiders and flies unending
soft landing place for larks descending
and nightingales when not in ode mode
consider the thing a very safe abode
deep in the thick of a piliferous hexameter
safe from the words of this poetic amateur

It filters my soup
holds gallons of beer
(to moisten my words for your charming young ear)
It has yellowed from sucking on Capstan Full Strengths
and hintily mintily reeks of...

cheap creme de menth's

And... after...after... all of these years
has finally given purpose to my melancholy flower ears
which now spend all of their time doing their best
to keep an old mans beard from slipping down onto his chest.
It may well be grey but you have to remember
I'll get plenty of work come the end of December.

But Murray, oh Murray, when that's all said and done

It itches like fuck.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I killed Jimi Hendrix.

I was fifteen. I don't know how old Jimi was but you can look it up on wikipedia. It'll probably lie.

I'd heard about the festival on the Isle of Wight, packed a spare T shirt and a sleeping bag and headed south. Luckily I was picked up by a bunch of hippies in a camper van heading for the island too. They sort of took me under their collective wing and looked after me in their way.

There was room for me in one of their tents and I earned my keep by rolling joints and road testing the pills they didn't recognise. the Isle of wight for me that year was something of a blur but I came out of the fog of uncontrolled controlled substances to witness what was to be an epiphany.

He looked like god would have looked like if there were no heaven. He played his guitar like there was no hell.


At one point he squirted his guitar with lighter fuel then attempted to ignite it with a book of matches... If you see the film of the event now it looks like it was a pretty effortless thing; guitar, fuel, match, boom.

But it wasn't like that. It took him for ever to get that guitar alight and I remember standing there thinking this can't be right as match after match failed to spark or gutted out.

I thought to myself that this god deserved better than that. His guitar should  spontaneously combust or at least be lit by a gold Ronson.

I carried those thoughts all the way back to Banbury and they never really left me.

A year later Chris called from London, he had been invited to a party in Notting Hill that he knew Jimi was going to be going to, could I come down? I packed a spare T shirt and stole the Gold plated Ronson from the Old mans office, I hitch-hiked to london.

Chris met me in Shepherds Bush and we walked to a place called the Tabernacle in Notting Hill; a kind of squatted old church but Jimi had left, he'd gone on to a party on All Saints Road but by the time we got to that party Jimi had left there too, he'd gone home but one of the guys there gave me the address and I decided to go and give him the lighter so he didn't need to go through the earthly embarrassment of wet matches at future gigs.

The house wasn't very far away in a kind of crescent, Jimis flat was in the basement but I was too scared to knock on the door so I sat outside on the steps and decided to wait until he came out again and then give him the lighter and explain that it worked first time every click even in the rain and he never had to bother with soggy matches again.

Jimi never came out and I sat there a long time sitting on the step clicking the lighter then clicking it shut.

At some time a couple of guys came along and stood at the top of the steps down to Jimis flat. They didn't seem to see me or if they did I didn't matter. they were arguing. The big guy was saying to the other guy in the suit that he didn't want to do it, that it was wrong. the guy in the suit said come on if we don't do this we'll be broke watching a madman try to write symphonies for a hundred electric guitars. We got do do this.

He said have a cigarette it'll calm your nerves. You'll see.

He gave the big guy a cigarette then tried to light it with a book of matches that were too wet then saw me sitting on the step clicking that gold plated Ronson on and off and said hey kid give us a light. I stood up and went over and lit the big guys cigarette, he smoked a few drags then said ok and the two guys went down into Jimis flat.

They came out a while later and the small guy in the suit gave me a fiver and said thanks for the light kid, you saved a life tonight.

I sat there for a long time after that until an ambulance turned up and they carried a body out on a stretcher.

I knew it was Jimi.

And I knew I had killed him.

I was the guy who lit the cigarette which calmed the nerves and steeled the resolve of the man who killed Jimi Hendrix.

Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

Monday, September 9, 2013

after the poets convention.

Hey Susie remember me?
May I have my jacket back
you borrowed it last night
while sharing a cigarette outside
with the Tall hungarian poet.

I didn't see you again.

Had he been a better poet
he would have wrapped warm words about you.
removing the need for you to borrow my jacket.

Or for me to write these words.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Paper Aeroplanes.

Mother breakfasting
lost in Mahler peach marmalade on toast
smile lighting this end of tunnel eyes.
Father's bitter coffee
grounds for divorce his daily quip
making notes
embyronic verse
on the paper tablecloth.

Once upon a time
he wrote on pristine A4
but we would filch fold launch his words
into the surrounding Bermuda triangles
now he writes on paper tablecloths
of the poem and the paper plane
a perfect marriage of art and science
capable of unpowered flight.

And how as a child
copying copperplate Keats nightingale
launch it from Hampstead Heath
watch it rising on its innate thermal...
And how
Thomas Stearns Eliot
would fold his own complicated words
send them skyward
to lodge behind radiators, sofas and atop high wardrobes
that furnished his horizon.
Unreadable from here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A poem for last years husband.

You cannot mend it with poetry
you cannot learn how to be a poet
as much as
you cannot learn how to be an artist.

All you can try
to learn techniques
which you hope will allow you
to present yourself
as less of a
less of a
as less of a failure in the first place

a failure for not understanding
that poetry is innate

and a poet ceases to be a poet
when he ceases to fail.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The artificial hip.

He's the prosthetic aesthetic
the artificial hip
the coolest thing to hit the town
since granny took a trip.
He is the London Fields creative
the Hoxton neo-native
the ultimate self-oblative
hip hip hip hip hip.

He struts the walk
he slurs the talk
dresses alike to differ
then visits
twice weekly
his local Hoxton quiffer.
He is the pastiche fantastiche
is cooldom uber alles
likes erzatz Piazzola pizza jazz
and avant garde French ballets.

He is he is he is he is
he is he is
he is

Hip hip hip hip hip hooray.

He is he is he is.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rib eye.

I have not seen meat like this


that terrible winter of 61snowed in for weeks
grandma disappearing one bad Saturday

then meat on Sunday
grandpa's eyes glazed like honey roast ham
as he sang (between mouthfuls)
mythical carnivorous songs of long ago

long ago

The jeweller to the stars.

They are waiting in the cafe's
the restaurants and bars
or parked on unlit corners
in expensive cars
they are waiting for the snowman, the blow man, the let's go man
they are waiting, waiting, waiting
for the jeweller to the stars.

He is the closest thing to royalty
their business is all his
with his bags of herbert sherbert
(the silly rich mans wizz)
he makes them feel quite special
and just a
show biz
they are guaranteed to talk the talk
walk the walk as well
he is the pied piper
the piper at the gates of hell.

White christmas is his ringtone
on his prepay mobile phone
his sole visible means of support
the long suffering wife at home
he is the king of the powder rooms
his shit it smells of roses
to the vacuous trustafarians
silver spoons up their noses.

He is known to each and every one
the jeweller to the stars
he hasn't got a friend on earth
and there ain't no life on mars.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Always Never.

I met my love on Wormwood Scrubs
he was running for his life
'Hide me from the law' He says
and I'll take you for me wife.

Now, I'm a middle aged shy spinster
and I've never had a man
at this uncertain time of life
you've got to grab it where you can.

I put my coat about him
my hat upon his head
when the old bill came running up
'He went that way' . I said.

My first man was true to his word
his loyalty didn't falter
six weeks later in Turnham Green
he met me at the alter.

Standing there in the eyes of god
the union about to be blessed
up stepped a copper in a shiny suit
cuffed him... 'You're under arrest'.

I says to the copper 'You can't do this,
You're destroying our future lives'.
'He's got his life'. He says with a grin
'For the murder of his last three wives'.

I now visit my love in wormwood Scrubs
It is a love that will last forever
for when I ask the board about parole....

The reply is always never.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Picking Blackberries.

Picking blackberries

I met her in the usual way
she cancelled her dance class by Blackberry

If only she had been less nimble with her fingers
we might have taken things more slowly
but it was all arranged by Blackberry

             The blackberry way

In those weeks
we met 
we talked
we laughed 
we ate blackberry pie 

we loved
we fought
we made up

and all the while she Blackberried

In the autumn I took her blackberrying
in a rural place without a signal

she left me then... By the Blackberries.
             I let her go without a signal. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stalked and poetry.

Stalked and poetry.

I am being stalked by the coolhunter
How cool is that

She is good
she frightens death
and chills out hell

She can stalk in high summer 
without working up a sweat
she can stalk on the ice pack
while casually clubbing seal cubs

She can stalk you at truck stops
or at Soho house
she is just too cool to be noticed.

Except by Phil Spector

And she dealt with him.

Poetry defined.

A friend calls from canada and asks: '
What are you doing?'
and I say I am drinking milk and reading Bukowski
and she laughs and it is that laugh, 
you know, 
the laugh of someone you really like
and straight away you want to make her laugh again
not to make her happy so much
as to make her laugh again
so you can listen to it.

And when she hangs up I think of poetry
and what defines poetry
It is not as if writing a shopping list of metaphors is enough
to make a poem!

Monday, September 12, 2011

On Haiku.

On Haiku.

It is sad that it has come to this
that I must count syllables
when I would have counted
the ways that I loved you

the ways that I loved you
before you demanded a haiku
you said life was too short
for anything more than three lines.

Write a poem you said
write it in our autumn mists
I'm leaving you now.

The carpenters tale.

(With apologies to Lennon and McCartney)

She sat opposite me and said:
You are seeing someone else
you don't love me any-more
you are never here
you are always distant now.

I sat opposite her and said:
Sometimes a piece of wood sings to me
I found a piece of singing wood six weeks ago
it sang of your beauty and grace
it sang of my love for you
it sang of our happiness.
Since then I have spent every waking hour
working with that wood
making you a table
I built into it your beauty, your grace
I built into it my love for you
I built into it our happiness.
That is why I have not been here
that is why I have appeared distant.

I then brought the table to her... There!

She said:
You do not love me any-more
You are seeing someone else.

That table is in the fucking Ikea catalogue... Sixty quid.

She left me then.
I lit a fire
Isn't it good. Norwegian wood.

Forgotten things found.

The farmer's wife.

She keeps bantams
has no faith in god
no faith in art
no faith in science

put all her faith in one man
all her eggs in his basket

The tired ploughman.

I've been ploughing this furrow for too long. Each time I look up from my toil the end of the field is still not in sight save an oak tree on the horizon; when I set out that tree was a mere sapling.

The seagulls that dog my wake have given up on fat worms ever being exposed and now eye my soft parts greedily. they swoop in ever closer.

Time to release the old horse from her traces (smack her on the rump and watch her trot back to her pasture) leave the plough mid furrow mid field (already rusting it will soon enough blend in visually and then soon enough decompose and vanish).

If I walk quickly I will make it to that tree under which sits a little old lady who has many stories to tell me.

I have forgotten what I was going to sow in this field any-way.

Hot chestnuts maybe.

Ode to a departed tooth.

Tristan has been having dental problems... Ouch!

My teeth are out in sympathy.

He sent me the following which I suspect may refer to something other than a molar:

Your absence has left a void
which I have filled with pain
The exquisite agony
taunts me with your parting

Although I realise that when the pain goes
I shall remember you for what you really were

It hurts too much to miss you right now.

Last years notes.

When I am gone
first drain the blood and set aside
Burn me
Mix ashes and blood with cement
Cast bricks.

with which to build a folly.

Build it in the meadow where we were happy.

According to last years notes.

A poem written in a silk shirt that you hated.

Her life was a discoball constructed from shards of shattered bliss

the blunt but self sharpening things
you bring into the bubble of bliss.

The knife you hold to your wrist
should I threaten to leave.
The new man you prefer to the last man
Who all forget to leave a forwarding address when they go
meet clandestinely in the pub

To discuss
the blunt but self sharpening things

You leave lying around

Amid shards of bliss.

Oh. And bullshit.

Women and swimming pools.

The perfect woman is like a swimming pool. she has a shallow end and a deep end.

my problem is I keep diving into the shallow end.

Much to the amusement of the handsome life guard.

Advice to young men considering falling in love.

Lose yourself in her
but do not
lose yourself to her

Enjoy the moment
but do not
assume it will last

Spend all you have on her
but do not
borrow to impress

Invest in the truth
but do not
expect dividends

Live for the moment
but do not
live only for the moment

Care for her
but do not
think that you own her

Tell her you love her
but do not
tell her too often

Tolerate stuff
but do not
let her take the piss.

But most off all
do not take sharp things
into the bubble of bliss

Then she might fall in love with you as well.

Early childhood.

I was taken back to my early childhood today.

An accidental journey brought about by getting shampoo in my eye; I was immediately transported back to my 2 year old self having his hair washed by his mother; shampoo always got in my eyes back then (there was no baby shampoo either) and as far as I was concerned it was attempted murder. Boy did I wail.

'Don't be a baby'. She'd scold.

'But I am a fucking baby!'

And if I knew then what I know now I would have stayed a baby.

Short stories about tall women.

There are few meaningful occupations that can be successfully pursued in a bar unless you work in one.

Mine I think is an exception; I can sit at a table with a ginger beer and a notebook. When I'm not writing I'm probably thinking about writing, or watching.

Quite a lot of material comes that way, walks right up to my table and sits down:

'What do you write'?

I'd looked up from my notebook, she was sitting opposite me. I said: 'Short stories about tall women'.

'Are you going to write about me?'

She had good hands, long slender fingers; the hands of a tall woman. 'Bits of you'.

'Which bits'?

'So far your hands'. I looked at her eyes then. She held my gaze, imprisoned it.

She said: 'You'll write about my eyes too. Can I read it when it is done'.

'Certainly'. I replied, where will I find you'?

'Oh, I'll wait here until you've finished'.

'I may take many years to complete it. I may never complete it'.

'That's ok... I'll wait'.


Sometimes when in a dark place someone will come along and light a match. Every once in a while that match will be used to light a candle. Very occasionally that candle will be used to find the switch...

To turn on the sun.

It is dazzling.

Whatever happened to chivalry?

Long, long ago a knight, while riding through a forest, came upon a familiar scene:

Roped to a tree was a white gowned damsel. A damsel most certainly in distress. Leering over her was a dragon. there was the usual smoke from the nostrils and stench of rotting flesh.

The knight dismounted, approached the dragon while unsheathing his sword.

'Stop!' Cried the damsel and dragon in unison. 'If you kill the dragon you will kill us both for we are two halves of the same beast'.

'But if I do not kill the dragon it will surely kill you'. The knight said to the damsel.

'No it won't'. She replied. 'This is just a game we play to entertain ourselves'.

The knight sheathed his sword, mounted his horse and rode away to the sound of jeering from the damsel and dragon.

The last words he heard were: Whatever happened to chivalry.

S & M

Self flagellation used to be the preserve of the religious fanatic.

Not so any longer... I knew a man who has been beating himself up since his father stopped.

The same guy had a girlfriend who was doing the same thing for the same reason. They met on common ground.

They split up when she realised that he was never going to beat her and he realised that all she wanted to do was beat him up rather than herself because she didn't want to damage her looks.

Time and memory are beating them up now.

Time is merciless.

As is god of course, if you believe that shit.

What goes around comes around... With a whip.