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Mar 2021 · 54
The Other Side of Summer
We're the other side of summer now.
When days shorten
Leaves die
And we find ourselves alone in the dark.

I can't conjure happiness, boy.
I can't magic us back to spring,
When shoots of joy were growing
And we thought the days would lengthen forever.

I woke to gloom,
A grey day.
Fine rain dampens June
And makes us wonder how summer fled so fast.
Mar 2019 · 465
Lake Curious
Whittling reeds
The damp and the mist
A glimmer - a fish!
And dark again.
Jul 2018 · 332
In the Greenhouse
Steam. Overgrown botanical sprawl that dares to clutch the sagging ironwork and crush it, **** the life from its bones. Over the cracked chequer-board parquet, roses tangle. Their thorns catch at embroidered skirts and tear sequins from shot-silk dancing slippers. Ripped denim dampens in the misting rain and exotic mosses leave green kisses on the pockets.
Jul 2018 · 161
Gin and Crystal
Chandeliers by candle light and gin punch scooped from a cut glass bowl in tiny, gold-handled cups. Grandmother's rings ***** against crystal, from their inherited position on evening-gloved fingers: emerald, sapphire, diamond. Hazy music from the ancient gramophone. Crisp air through slightly ajar French windows, whipping cigarette smoke out into the night. Sequinned shawls hide bare shoulders and drape loosely over navy taffeta, fuchsia velvet and inky satin.
Jul 2018 · 252
Attic Nursery
Candy-coloured carousel horse, creaking in the draft. Bare bed frames, bare walls, bare floorboards. One long sock - cable, large knit - pulled up over a chilly knee, one folded down over the top of a scuffy, high-buttoned boot. Pink tutu, mustard woolly jumper. Buttons and laces and hooks-and-eyes, tying childhood down.
Jul 2018 · 94
Silk at Breakfast
Purple shadows under eyes, pale hands trailing the brocade tie of last night's kimono. In the cold chill of morning, cashmere bed socks are stuffed into pink velvet slippers and furs are huddled around shoulders, over silk pyjamas in hushed shades of pink, ivory, pearl.
Jul 2018 · 177
Box Room
Up-ending hatboxes, raffling through trunks, presses, armoires filled with sun-damaged silks. A fox fur draped over stiff taffeta and over-large, mismatched Wellington boots. Boxes of disintegrating books and attic bedsteads rubbing shoulders with brass tables brought home from the almost-forgotten days in India. Parasols falling to dust like moth wings, top hats with dull shine and worn bands. Dim. The light of ageing; the cloud-covered throb of a weak sun through the dust sheets at the windows.
Jun 2018 · 138
At the Office
She's a little bouquet of tanned limbs, isn't she?
Cocooned in a puff of boudoir baby doll frills
Trip-trap, over the cobbles she skips
It's not practical and it's not grown-up
But she's a rose
Let her flourish in the sun
While the adults sweat in grey nylon
Wiggling hot toes in sensible shoes
Wondering how the breeze feels
As she dances happily across the stones.
Sep 2017 · 291
The Death of Love
I write about you dying because I need you to live.
I dip a toe in the endless, echoing abyss -
And the breath's knocked out of me.
It's a painful love but it won't die when you do.

I've always been a dark dreamer.
What would happen if I lost an arm?
If I had a child and it vanished?
My preparation for life's wicked twists.

But you, my love.
You will be my greatest work of endurance.
I've been preparing for your death since I first met you:
For when the you you've been isn't you anymore.
And then last night I dared to dream again.
His voice was soft in the dense air, but cold.
Distant star that died a billion miles past.

Even in my dark sleep, he hurt with depth.
Where I had dared to tread, he cut my quick.
His dazing form. His twist, his melt, his haze.

Will I dare to dream now? Weakly sleep on?
When shadows of him fly to me so fleet?
Better to doze, wake-sleep. Light, keep him gone.
Aug 2017 · 209
Suck It
He saw beauty wrong.
Screaming street flesh,
Women leaving in the night.

It's OK to be lonely, baby.

Mom? I'm hurting.
Wet shame.
Burn that ******* memory,
**** it, swallow the flame.
Mar 2017 · 414
Sunshine Baby Heartbreak
Desert flower, ripped petals.
She's lying on the hood of a drop-top Cutlass,
Silver trim searing hot and reflecting white lightning.
Spread, burning, waiting for God.

When he pours a drop of warm beer into her open mouth,
Her eyelids flutter but stay closed.
There's a shadow of purple on her right temple
And her lips are chapped, too red.
Must be sore.

She's a painting, a butterfly pinned.
An object, a dying thing that you'd pity but not save.
Poor fragile girl, little girl.
Sweet slice of pie.
Cool drink of water,
Evaporating in the sierra haze.
When the chestnut's glow dulls to plain old boring wood,
I feel my interest in autumn fade with it.
Yes, scarves and fires and leaves and nonsense.
But also freezing mizzle, aching bones and the sort of damp that doesn't air out over the radiator - just gets warm and wet like dog lick.

I picked up this little treasure (bright with shine, round as a truffle),
and it winked a cheery winter promise.
Beery smell of the pub, toast those socks on the grate.
But now it sits dead on my desk.
Just wood. Dark, dull wood. Dark, dull season.
Sep 2016 · 851
Poetry Groupie
Last night I fell in love with a fat poet.
Oh baby, don't blow it.
He's out your sphere and you know it.
But in the light before the stage I struggled not to show it.

And the rhymes that he rhymed and the bars that he spat
Coincided and collided to achieve the effect -
a love born in worship of word and symphony of step.
A prayer to the gods of rhythm and breath.

Last night I fell in love with a fat poet.
I wrote him a letter to let him know it.
He took it well, made a joke of it.
What he didn't see is that I wasn't joking.
Now I'm sat here kind of hoping.
A fat poet wants to know me.
Aug 2016 · 621
Golden Ether
She stood, illuminated in the golden ether of evening,
At once still and in cell-jumping motion.
Tiny insects glittered around her in a biblical shroud,
Darting and dancing through her startling aura.

The rest was dark, with shadows deepened in contrast.
Her light seemed to draw the life from the world,
To feed this magical moment that was all hers;
Lush lustre stealing all divinity around.
Jun 2016 · 652
In the hiddenness of June
The rain fell in shivering cords
Ropes of sky plummeting straight down
The way only summer rain really does

The air felt close, protective
Like the jungle warmth was on our side
June's hiddenness draped a damp arm around us and wept
May 2016 · 427
I NEED LIGHT
There's branches and scrambling brambles tangling over the blue sky and I need light but they're choking me I'm scrabbling and babbling nonsense in breathless distress

The tunnel where I end bends and blurs and blooms with dark flowers and dying fairies and I was wary but still wandered in wonder until the light ran out and I shouted in fear but no one could hear how afraid I became

It's eating me I'm just meat to it and no matter how much I bleat it won't release me until I'm consumed and my spirit is exhumed by the forsaken fates that govern this unsacred place

I can scratch at my throat all I please but there's a whisper in the leaves that refuses release I'll die in here where the sun's blocked out and the thick woven trees absorb every shout if I struggle I'm in trouble but I think it's too late and no matter how I pray they'll just eat me anyway
Jan 2016 · 515
Lonely Sound
It rained for days.

I sat out on the wet porch;

Wet rattan, wet canvas, wet timber;

And watched the mist moving across the sound.

When you’d been gone four – five – days

I began to think the rain would never stop.

Food ran out. Fuel ran out. Spores settled in my lungs.

And you still weren’t back from the store.

I sat there, staring out over Lonely Sound,

Picking apart the rotting rattan.

Waiting, but not expecting.

Just me and the weather.
Lonely Sound is an imaginary body of water that lives in the recesses of my mind.

It’s a desolate place. The sun never quite breaks through the cloud cover and it’s only ever warm and damp or damp and chill.

Looking out over the sound is a sad old cabin with a half-collapsed porch. It’s rotting from the outside in and it’s full of empty rooms that no one could be bothered to care for. The air is thick with melancholy and you wouldn’t want to be stuck there.

I started believing in Lonely Sound a long time ago, before I knew its name. Then I read about a place called Doubtful Sound in New Zealand and it gave me such a weird, creepy feeling – like I knew it somewhere in my memory.

Lonely Sound isn’t even a sad place. It’s blank. You might feel sad reading about it but it’s worse than that; it’s depression and the kind of hunger​ that exists when you’re past wanting to eat. It’s where you go when you’ve done all the crying and you’re left stoney and still.

I find Lonely Sound comforting. I can go there when I need to feel more than what my life is. Do you keep a memory or an idea that helps you feel pain? Lonely Sound is my place for that. My unhappy place.
Nov 2015 · 417
Watching Death
As I lay by your bed,
I thought of how many times I'd seen tears in your eyes.
That week you gave up and couldn't leave the house.
The time you were so worried I was going mad.
Talks about your father, crystal mornings after chemical nights.

I knew I'd never see those tears again.
Blood, ****, *****, tears - they'd all dry up and die.
The you you'd been wouldn't be anymore.
Aug 2015 · 524
Lonely Farm
In the storm, I could hear the Bellwether sounding.
Leading his flock through the ravages,
Damp wool weighing down the poor beasts
as they sought some sheltered place.

I soothed my forehead against the cool glass
And felt my spirit moving among the heathers.

I saw him waiting.
Lashed by rain,
Resolute in the weather.
And shivered under his watch.
Jul 2015 · 581
My Tree
There is a tree in this world that knows my name. It breathes in my nightmares and stalks my sunlight hours. At the centre of my self, that shadow grove with pine-needle ground and the hollow where Beauty lies down to her forever sleep.  

I dreamed a chair of black wood, rattle-scuttling across the shady porch of my mind. Its twisted back was rough and alive, and moss surprised from its lureful seat. I knew beyond doubt that if I sat in it, I'd die. I'd be snapped into its tree mouth, crunched between twiggy fingers, leaves stuffed down my throat.

It's breathing in my nightmares and stalking my sunlight hours. It doesn't have to chase me, it knows I'll come back.
Jul 2015 · 360
Where We Live
A house we built, or family did. Out of the wood that surrounds us, strong but easily reclaimed by the earth. Deep porch, sheltered by eaves and supported by pillars smooth with the touch of many loving hands. Four steps down, grass.

The grass gradually gives way to gravel and sand, the lapping of water. On that stony shore, you can stand and see for days. There’s an island out there - it's hidden but waiting. Our boat is near; small but more than able for a storm or two. We painted her red and called her Jenny.

Climb back up the worn steps and pass the swing, drifting gently in the lovely, lonely light. Inside is the smell of woodsmoke, bread and the warm old blankets we'll drag around our shoulders tonight as we search the sky for icy stars.
Jul 2015 · 418
A Shadow With Claws
Deep in the forest, far under the sky
A stranger was calling, I don’t much care why.
I heard him and found him, followed him down
To a dankening dark hollow, with never a sound.

And there in the gloaming, with a whisper like ice,
I killed and consumed him with shining delight.
His eyes I ate last, with eye-rolling joy –
What a specimen he was, that wandering boy.

Oh, it’s quiet in the forest and the daylight is dim,
If you’re looking for danger, please do come in.
May 2015 · 452
Seeking Therapy
Feeble ***
Afraid and crying
In the wrinkled shade of the canyon

Rhythm stolen
He slowly ***** the love back inside

A grimy wrist swings limp in the stale air of a forgotten castle
Once the author of tangled charity acts, polished immortality
Now, some belated chick

Camaro snarls penetrate from out on the blacktop
As the blanket creeps, pilled up, over goosebumped flesh

Tomorrow finds disease
And sinks in the storm
Don't look back, don't take the cure
Apr 2015 · 543
The Joyful
There's not much in it;
the leap from jaded to joyful.
If one makes up one's mind,
it's more of a gentle, blinking shuffle into the light.

The small, the fleeting.
Moments and minutes that make up the time.

Trees turning to California gold
in the late afternoon sun.
The lazy haze of a Sunday morning
burrowed in under the covers.

Plans, such plans!
Go, find, visit, soak in.

A seaward village with a collar of dusty mountains.
Scorched tiles and bells that ring in the day.
A hidden human ecosystem that darts with glitter,
living in the green bowl of a Winchester farm.

The top tier! The Royal Albert Hall!
Where bold meets brass and feet jump to dance.
And darkness, electric - three thousand voices chanting the beat;
we're impossible and alive, and it's all for tonight.

I have reason to live
and my reasons are small.
But stitched together, they're tidal.
And I'm happy - that's enough.
Feb 2015 · 4.4k
Wednesday
I wake at five, the damp air kissing my cheeks, and my eyes slam open.
As I slither from my bed, I can hear distant screams. Mother.
I never smile.
But I feel something I suppose could be happiness.

The grounds start appearing out of the mist,
lumps of sullen stone that had meaning once.
Bon matin, grand-mère. Do you sleep well?
Pourrir en morceaux, grand-père. Maybe one day we'll find them all.

I am a spectre descending noiselessly down the stairs.
You would not hear me coming.
There is a shimmery delight to that knowledge;
I own you all, you basic peons asleep in your beds.

We do not rest on pretty, on phatic communion.
We do not bow, or bend, or erode.
We are Addams.
And this bleak morning is a glory to us.
Feb 2015 · 476
Untitled
She's eating up the world
with big wide eyes.
Naive fingers dancing,
tearing holes, ruined.
Her lingering pulse
beats against a grimy wrist.
Rhythm stolen
but not quite forgotten.
Jan 2015 · 1.1k
The Good Boys
The boys I have loved. Even the worst of them made me hot water bottles in the night, brought improvised snacks into bed.

They sorted out, they picked up, they dropped off.

They indulged flights of drama and dried tears.

They went after lost purses and rolled a thousand cigarettes.

They wrote letters, drew pictures, cooked dinners.

They lay with me on grass, on rocks, on planes.

They built fires, put out fires, fanned flames.

They had cats, mothers, little brothers. Square TVs from the 90s, TVs that went online. Striped socks, odd socks, socks I wore on my hands.

They bought me cider, shoes, a locket, a watch.

They came on foot, on a bike, in their mums’ cars without permission.

They shouted about boys, girls, money, drinking, work, rent, broken windows and writing on the walls.

They were banned for drink driving, damaged by absent fathers, babied by ever-present mothers.

They were heavy drinkers, hard rockers, light fingers pressing need in the dark.

They smoked Royals, Virginia, Drum, Thai stick, on Friday nights.

They went to school, went to college, went to uni, went to ****.

They got jobs, lost jobs, quit jobs, did jobs for a week.

They crashed cars, collected scars, got in fights.

They played scrabble, played guitar, played away.

They took me to the skate park, to Paris, to hospital, to hell and back.

They gave me red roses, ****** noses, confidence, cystitis.

They passed out, walked out, lashed out and found me out.

They were at war, at sea, at one with me.

They were all good boys.
Dec 2014 · 672
Silent Green
The buildings sank into the quiet water mist,
a desperate offering to silent green.

Once, there were people here.
Streets felt sparkling cool.

But this stolen valley reclaims,
and we never did belong.
Dec 2014 · 750
Not Civil
Theirs was a time of red dust in open mouths.
Have yam, sah? Have salt? Have water?
Smiling gone from the vocabulary,
any man with shoes would be swarmed by the blank-faced angels of our sweeping famine.
Living just got hard; death was never so easy
as in the swollen belly of starving Biafra.
Take your snaps, pretty snaps
to murmur over with knowledgeable sympathy back home.
Igbo is dying and only stains of blood remain in the dirt.
Slow writing exercise based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche's Half of a Yellow Sun.
You're small in death.
Reduced to this sack of flesh,
bolstered only by the grim mechanics of
belated cosmetic attention.

I hate you. You're not him.
This is a body dragged out to take his place.
That suit's brand new, and without the pirate smile all I see is a stranger's face.

*******, I'm leaving.
He'll be home when I get there,
Pouring wine on a school night.
That's where he is.

You can all take your *******
SORRIES
and ***** each other with them.
They're POISON to me and I want to **** every one of you.

Out, getting out.
Out into the light where I can smell our land.
Land of huge skies and pork pies,
where we love endlessly.

I'm not listening. Shut up.
SHUT UP.
He'll be there.
He's there.
He wouldn't go on without me.
Would you believe me if I said this was a love poem?
Oct 2014 · 991
Kid Freak
You’re a dingy freak with ***** claws.
Liquid stress, clever words scattering in the gutter.
Pick ‘em up kid.
Scrabble in the dirt like the hound you are.

That’s the best face you got
and it’s crumpled, raw.
An unfortunate colour,
shirt scratching dampness at the neck.

But the soaring fists,
wow, you’re the champ.
A collection of pollutants curated
into skin and bone.

Happy happenstance has consequences
and your mother knows it.
*** sold to a sailor
one gaudy Christmas Eve.
Sep 2014 · 1.0k
Shine Them Up
Swing that green door.
It’s open, it’s always open for you.
Step across the bare floorboards
and recite stories of what went before.
You’re making one now, don’t you see?

These boys are my immortality.
This house, my shrine.
I’ve walked its floors and ignored its locks.
She’s a kid. She reminds me to live.
Warms it all with new pajamas and porridge in the morning.

Sit down, not there.
He’s sorting the stamps;
spread them out and find the colours you like.
Ask him, he can tell you.
One by one, it’s a well-known family chorus.

He’s the words, the song, the companion at sea.
This house, my church.
I’ll collect the treasures; these boys are my relics.
Dropped joys and forgotten toys are why I’m here.
I can make them shine again.

Out into the light and it’s raining.
Take his arm, lean into that indulgent half-smile.
You’re a funny little thing, the eyes say.
Precious thing, off you go.
You’ll come back soon.
Sep 2014 · 706
Tomorrow Shadows
She’s silence.
The salty blankets are scratching
and naïve intentions weep
as her bruises are consumed in the dark.

He’s whiskey jealous,
imagining her dancing
out in the pounding season’s haze,
where the crawling fights of December
are torturing mothers who wait for a knock.

Paradise led to disease and stress,
liquid in shallow glasses is a measure
of glory sinking to the rhythm of fists.

Flash that stolen Sunday
when brave petals fell
on their ghosts in the pool,
grey sighs grieving a light they never had.

Oh selfish grave.
Misery weather makes your scenery,
and all the world must sit through the acts.

A fallen bird, what splendour.
Stitched together with words I collected from a thousand minds and put in an order I liked.

I think it might be about a man who killed his girlfriend because she didn't live up to who he thought she was.
Sep 2014 · 3.7k
Your Words
like love just know time life heart eyes want feel day way away make say think world words night mind things little look people big left need tell light long face right thought pain soul lost good man maybe head smile really inside hands place new hand end hope sun hold remember home fall body beautiful old wish thing got dark skin leave thoughts tears live girl cold days god stop gone sky going dreams better oh try lips knew broken feeling hard past told dream does years forever felt deep true fear there's moment black sleep far happy death air makes free care stay best hate open wanted blue sweet blood trying hair walk white times help breath believe kiss water close red loved friend bed doesn't rain dead touch die forget looking came you'll truth turn morning write friends you've run waiting today room voice stars real used hurt saw wind wrong arms longer beauty understand wonder change stand feet misstook sure moon lies door memories comes sit matter watch word bad sound darkness person earth song ask high fingers different seen thinking living start perfect soon break mother we're playground wait sea couldn't kind boy mean she's silence small lie sorry talk warm great work rest slowly looked yes sad finally falling making strong speak poem hearts fight child anymore dance soft gave held young reason lay set laugh read leaves knowing heard shall wasn't hell cause mouth dear tried feelings house ones bring filled music hide untitled knows he's instead feels listen reality bright breathe peace alive grow afraid eye fell wake apart year turned lives glass men floor green story trees walls happiness coming tired clouds chest getting woman leaving human future sing worth taste self running wouldn't summer they're reach guess children second space asked what's beneath lonely tree meant late called baby goes window doing line fly cut outside quite nights sense says memory okay poetry use holding hours met point simple watching realize family beat pretty truly chance 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flood subtle ate pulls crushed alcohol unto returned defeat wonders demon reminded swallowed strife bury spirits slipped expression verse drowned awkward yearning rushing slide addiction sail numbers til cell dusty rare strike resting guitar worthless inhale muse attack west pause screamed march swing dreamed tips support tragedy romantic insides iron opposite rid fires colours blinded american mixed animals goal slumber belly spaces warning odd closing consciousness business connection eyelids leading louder hid weakness married named hospital whiskey jealous 2012 princess value hat animal worthy contact cancer lessons drove crown horse reminder mirrors mood victim situation witness hall lean unlike freely glimpse current haunting depth guilty mass touches college silk imagined puzzle husband lingering success reply truths horrible rolled tone skull wicked panic christ visions faint lazy mornings fist candy ego erase feathers tides frown thread sting adventure social stains process mouths lingers thirst footsteps ruin surrender waist brand lands random cards pathetic struck discover brilliant drank sought sore shook risk advice whats electric dances stain bored abuse fixed dried forehead shop prayers dread disguise reveal heart's tasted consume wheel bars kills pains bits boots shelf stumble biggest continued sip tracks island south double recognize staying rule praise poetic bell sold blades awhile salty blankets scratch huge chosen granted harmony sacrifice brick giant band aches john ecstasy leg appreciate compare reaches cuz goodnight potential naive intentions weeping north drew shoot clue beaten jokes shooting stepped bay jeans lifeless jack storms shelter pile depressed pants certainly dusk belief breakfast surprised oil curious decisions ribs closet tap lately english plant ****** choke continues define source mend chin guard movies awful whilst absolutely religion instant crawling fights causing december torture terror compassion valley worried chain vulnerable el icy beings forms lifted struggling glorious plane colored curtains exposed level style sisters america justice consider badly conversations sensation rooms capture awe grabbed map curled helping thousands tastes meat alas yearn leather receive chances diamond adore
When I was young I used to write poetry using word magnets. I loved being restricted - it seemed to make magic. These are the words that are flying around here right now and the accidental strings are beautiful. It's a puzzle of human emotion. "she's silence", "salty blankets scratch", "naive intentions weeping", "crawling fights causing december torture".
Sep 2014 · 1.3k
The Sea
It's bleak out at sea and I'm no kind of swimmer
The waves hit me icy and the sun gives no glimmer

Strange voices cry out in the fog round the rocks
And I know who they're calling to the locker with no locks

There's lights on the shore but the daylight grows dimmer
And the howl of the sea sounds deeper and grimmer

White faces of crab boats yawn out of the dim
And lost souls keep screaming from ships full to the brim

The riptide licks hungry at the sides of the boat
And we know it's too late, we can't stay afloat
Written at West Bay, near Bridport in Dorset. A foggy night in February.
Sep 2014 · 733
The Froggy Pond
In the greeny depths of the pond,

There are monsters.

Pale fingers winding through the weeds,

Catching at my toes and trying to bite.

In the mottled and dappling waters,

There are jewels shining.

But I know they are only the mud siren’s call.

If I just dabble my fingers in

The monsters will swallow them

And sink back, satisfied.
Sep 2014 · 552
The Little Grey Sparrow
In the darkest part of a dingy, damp and echoing archway there sat a small grey sparrow. He had been born there amongst the grime and smoke, and had never seen a clear morning sky, or felt the cool breeze under his wings. Just beneath his hidden perch there was a tiny jazz club, and the bird could often hear snatches of life, laughter and…music. Sad, but with a pure sweetness that tore at his little heart, though he didn’t know why.

One night, the sparrow poked his head out from his perch and looked down into the street below, which was all lit up in fairground colours. The little sparrow hopped carefully to the very edge of his perch and stood there trying to make up his mind, tilting his head from one side to the other.

He thought to himself, ‘That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.’

Suddenly, he took off, flapping his wings uncertainly as the unfamiliar wind picked him up in its arms. He swooped over the lit up street and upward towards the top of the hill where he could see a glorious building, glowing against the dark sky like a fairy tale castle.

He thought to himself, ‘That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.’

As he reached the building, he could see still figures hiding in amongst the stone pillars, and he was afraid. But as he drew closer, he saw that these were only statues, with smooth calm faces. Laughing at his fear, he flew downwards towards a great set of doors. He swooped inside, and the little sparrow gazed into a vast expanse of light and splendour. Bright colour and glints of gold delighted his sparkling eyes, and he fluttered into the huge space beyond. Soaring upwards into a great dome, the bird gasped as he saw the figure of a man dressed in white, with his arms outstretched, flanked by angels with golden halos.

He thought to himself, ‘That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.’

At the very highest part of the dome was a row of tiny windows, and out of one of these, the little sparrow fluttered, drawn by tiny pinpricks of sparkling silver. In a rush, he soared out into the night sky. Upwards and upwards in dizzying spirals. And looked down across an endless view of light. This little bird, who had seen nothing but smoke and smog all his life, looked down on a great city of streets like strands of diamonds and buildings lit up like treasure.

It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
Written in college.
Sep 2014 · 1.2k
It's Time
That twisted clock
is still puddled at my feet,
reaching its grasping hands out to me.
Ticking like a chuckling bomb,
laughter all over its greasy face.

It’s always against me.
Chasing me with
clanging peals of
malevolent memory.

Faster, quicker, RUN.

Can’t beat it,
can’t cheat it.

There's not a quickstep on Earth
to outsmart the sickening,
echoing call of time.
Sep 2014 · 1.2k
Wordplay
The illusive allegory of dark and light
traces glittering trickery across your mind

Escamotage and dark legerdemain
are pulling the wool over your young eyes

You’re lost in my parlour of smoke and mirrors
And I sincerely doubt that you will find the way out
More riffing - meaningless wordplay.
Sep 2014 · 511
The Endless Light
The endless light.
The shift of a thousand bodies
crying laughing *******.
Hot airless corridors strip lit
and prison-like.

They huddle over their
guilty cigarettes,
hounded out into the bleak
dampness
to shuffle their feet
through wet leaves,
inhaling the warm laundry air
pumped through a vent
and into their smoke-blackened lungs.

Will the last vestiges of detergent,
clinging to infinite molecules of moisture
cleanse those
feeble organs, or be rejected with the cool clean air,
to be scattered,
a pollutant?

Would that I were away,
dissolved in vapour,
a mere shimmer in the heavy air.

My ceiling hums with the life that fills this place.
As if too many heartbeats
have synchronised,
giving up just one pulse.

I put a finger to my wrist,
and count off the beats
to the rhythm of banging doors,
racing footsteps,
coughs and futile curses.
I wrote this at university and I think you can tell how I felt about the experience. I was just counting off the beats until I could start my real life. And I didn't make it.
Sep 2014 · 736
To a Commonplace Notebook
There’s nothing commonplace here.
This commonplace notebook,
bound in ashy card and lined with blurred red.
It’s not so commonplace at all.

Is the mud commonplace, that puts forth new shoots of Spring,
and feeds the hungry mouths
that stoop to seek their sustenance?
No, not so commonplace.

And here is the sea,
awash with thought and alive in dreaming.
Fall in, be curdled by the riptide and buffeted by the bluster
as nightly thoughts come rushing in.
Not so commonplace I find.

The whale is sleeping, dreaming, drifting.
Buoyant in lights that blind and glitter,
floating in shoals of angelic and dying phosphorescence.
Is that so very commonplace?

And it is there in the library of thoughtful books
that gently age on their sun-warm shelves.
There in the gloaming dim, with its dust motes cascading in golden highways,
leading to that eternal resting bench – on the hill, in June.
No, not at all commonplace I’d say.
One of my favourite things I've ever written. The words belong together.
Sep 2014 · 822
The Trees
There’s a dark reaching in the trees tonight,
I can hear them singing.
That cold wind has risen and it’s raking through the tangled heights,
bringing down homes and scattering silent beasts asunder.

I wouldn’t take that stroll tonight.
It seems likely you’ll not return.
There’s creeps in there, and snarls and webs.
Catching and biting,
waiting behind stumps and wrapping gnarled claws around unguarded ankles.

Stay inside where it’s bright and it’s warm,
sit at the window and gaze at the storm.
But be not too smug and be not too clever -
it’s never so wise to laugh at the weather.
Sep 2014 · 372
A Little Story
BANG.
And then: BANG.
The door was slammed by something with a clear grudge against the grain.
A big grudge.
Slowly, so slowly that they thought their hearts would escape their chests, the handle inched downwards and the door crept open.
A child stood there, shivering like an old dog left out in the rain.

And lo, there he was.
Standing stock still as though fixed to the spot with a strong glue.
His eyes dripped salt water, or was it just a surplus of that mossy-scented rain about the place?
No.
It was more than that: he was as afraid as a child can possibly be, knowing little of the world beyond what he feels in the pit of his empty little stomach.

The boy poked his head forward, sniffing at the sodden air with a nose that wrinkled at what it found.
Stop, they urged silently, Oh please stop before it’s too late.
Step, step – and another step.
Stop.
Shakily, he lifted a hand up to his face and wiped the damp sadness away with mottled fingers.
And with one long, low and lingering gasp, he began to speak.

Like someone who had been locked away from others for a good while, the child had a peculiar way of setting out his words.
His mind told a story: his mouth dropped pebbles of heavy sound.
But stone by stone, the pebbles were polished up on the listeners’ sleeves and they began to build the story in their own minds too.
He had been hungry, they had been hungry; he had been cold, they had been cold; he had cried out to the night to take him away, they had begged to that very darkness.

What spake he?
Oh, nothing of consequence.
Slow writing again: so interesting what it does to my sentence structure. It's not structure I'm comfortable with, which is of course the point. I often feel like I get trapped into the same ****** style, over and over. So this definitely helps.
Sep 2014 · 576
The Gibbet
Woodpeckers are beating their heads against the morning, brrrrrrrah!
Mist still hangs in the valley.
And the golden light turns everything to green fire.

This is where I come alive,
where happiness finds me.
In the quiet chatter of the trees
and the deep seams of hill paths, leading down into damp gulleys.

The colours are super charged. Nature made this?
Oh yes.
Long before we knew the shades
and gave them names to claim them as ours.

Thank you, happenstance.
Thank you, evolution.
Thank you Gaia. Elohim. Ptah.

You have given me the morning
and there’s nowhere that could call me home like this hilltop.
This tree.
This land I call mine.
My happy place.
Sep 2014 · 3.2k
A White Rabbit
Married?
Barely.
To her own op-shop brand of boyfriend.
Hunkered down in a grit-dust apartment with crystals in the bed.
A bra tangled artfully around a broken comb, arranged on a book of poems no publisher would see.
There’s a cat somewhere, dragging life through the stale rooms.
White hair, a 60s carpet that comes away when scratched with idle fingernails digging for a gauze.
Glamorise the dirt, darling.
Wait till you’re 40 and the dim light and smoked mirrors have left you, Instagrammed out, with the awkward orphan escaping as the fridge door opens.
Do we have any eggs, he’ll say.
And you’ll feel empty.
When I wrote this, I thought it was about a writer I admire called Rachel R. White, but it was actually about me and how I have always over-glamorised the Dostoyevskian/Nabokovian/Chekhovian/RUSSIAN beauty of desolation.

It was clearly (in retrospect) a 'Pull your socks up kid, you ain't no broken princess' lecture to myself hidden behind a sarcastic literary diatribe. Aiming my bitter pretension at someone else. Or maybe even imagining I was her?
Sep 2014 · 1.4k
Slow Writing: Alan Pearce
There was nothing unusual about Alan Pearce – he ate breakfast, he liked golf; perfectly normal.

Rocking the boat wasn’t in a day’s work for Alan Pearce and he liked to keep to a fairly strict schedule in life.

But what happened to Alan Pearce just wasn’t normal, not even nearly normal in fact.

Like the sufferer of a sudden and unannounced illness, Alan Pearce was rather knocked back by a turn of events that eventually led to a sort of personal crisis.

Alan Pearce: adventurer.

Alan Pearce: wanderer and navigator (whether he liked it or not).
This is a slow writing exercise (http://www.triptico.co.uk/media/temp/slowWriting.html), which I like to do to tune up my mind for the day's writing. It's fun, you should try it. I think this one is HEAVILY influenced by the opening of The Philosopher's Stone: "Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense."
Sep 2014 · 3.2k
L.A. Calling
Lana knows I’m a ruined Bel Air princess. We climb up behind the Hollywood sign and smoke her mother’s cigarettes, waiting for Charlie Manson to save us.

Hot, flat days of fire and the Santa Anas tearing at ragged palm trees. Sat on the roof under a moon too big to bear, we pretend to read each other’s palms. We’ll both die young, we’re too beautiful to grow old.

She’s Charles Bukowski in a negligee but Bukowski is punishing you; Lana still hopes you’ll find her on that revolving bed overlooking Topanga Canyon. She’s been crying for days and her mascara has run onto the pink satin, but she’s got fresh lipstick on, a Hollywood smile ready for the lights.
Sep 2014 · 7.0k
The Chair
I dreamed about the chair.
Its black rattan legs scuttling
as it edged its way closer,
keeping to the shadows
as nightmares do.
Sep 2014 · 2.3k
Abandoning My Orphans
I always thought throwing out books was sacrilegious. You were supposed to pick them up gently by their worn sleeves and carry them home to roost forever on sleepy shelves. To then shoo them out into the cold, in their tattered jackets? Unfeeling, to abandon an orphan like that.

But I recently steeled myself to the task of getting rid of some books and found myself surprised by how easy it was. I was sheltering books regardless of merit (or merit in my eyes anyway – and it’s my house so my eyes that count) and offering them unconditional shelf space. I had a vast collection of awful, one-read crime books. I had ghastly chick lit charity shop smash-and-grabs, from desperate days of long, comfortless commutes. I had books that no one else wanted, that I picked up because I felt sorry for them.

But I feel happy with them gone. They were like sickly relatives who linger over-long. Their languishing was up, and they knew it. Now my books – MY books – all fit nicely on my bookcase.

They are sorted not by title, not by author, not even by genre. They’re organised by how they make me feel. White Oleander sits next to Fuel Injected Dreams because they call to the part of me that lives in Echo Park and drives a ’69 Camaro with holes in the floor. My Series of Unfortunate Events books live with the Sally Lockhart series – both sets conjuring ***** dens, freak shows and gas-lit streets for me, despite being children’s books.

So my bookcase is no longer a rambling orphanage full of trapdoors and ladders. It’s a carefully curated archive; a many-paged history of the building of me.
This is not a poem. I rarely write poems these days. I would say this is the same as a pianist sitting down at the keyboard because they have a little time and they can see blue sky out of the window. An essay, or an exercise. A stretching of the fingers.

— The End —