Friday, 4 December 2009

In Memory

The skies are moving fast these days,

They rip across dragging chins along the pavement

And taking the light against their bellies in

Pinks reflected in the oils of old masters.

The air sinks cold to my chest and

Against my ribs now pillars in churches –

Clean and indifferent.

Something snaps in the woods,

In the snatched view between sinking trees

There is the ghost of a man.

On his bench and waiting,

His companion carved there never came.

She slipped into the pond, between algae sheets

And let the weeds take her.

Bent like a bow sending scudding arrows across the undergrowth.

He is waiting for her face that sunk.

And he cannot swim

His arms won’t beat for her in this wood.

On their bench his arms won’t beat.

Swimming is like flying and the crows caw.

But his arms will not beat.

Instead he lets the rain fill his boots and the

Arrows scud into the undergrowth.

The skies move on fast, bringing heavy night.

And he fades like a ghost should.

I read their names on the bench as I soak up the cold.

And my boots fill with rain.

Saturday, 21 November 2009


They didn't know what they were getting into, the day the 1920s came. The 1920s arrived with its bags packed and they politely offered to serve it tea in the orangery. That was a mistake. Very soon they were smoking cigarettes from amber holders, drinking gin and tonics at two in the afternoon and talking in clipped radio-tongues. The 1920s merely lounged in a bamboo chair and watched the bobs get cut and the lips turn red.

Then the 1930s arrived and things became awkward. The jollity and the Charleston and the records and the flinging pearls faded to rations and bunkers and telegrams containing News. The 1920s and the 1930s did not get on. One day, in the orangery, they were found arguing over the wastage of butter. Things were said, waistlines were lowered and raised again and again all afternoon. Eventually the 1920s threw a tin of corned beef at the 1930s which missed (partly due to the three gin and tonics the 1920s had consumed before tea), crashed through the orangery window, ricochet off the Anderson Shelter and landed amongst the potato patch that had been so willingly 'dug for victory'. The 1920s packed up its things in a carpet bag and marched out the door, leaving behind nothing but the sound of clinking pearls and the scent of Chanel No.5.

It did not take long for the 1940s to turn up after that. It looked the 1930s and shook its head. Things were about to get nasty.


The stars! The stars; swelling and clear.
The stars that hang and disappear
Like the lighthouse gaze that opens and shuts,
As an eye to and from sleeping and dragging the dust;
The house of a star that they netted and kept
For the sake of the boats and the wives that They left.
But the void was not filled and the velvet sky cried;
"You've taken and left me with a hole in my side!"
And forever The Sky had to do just to gaze
At the star from her belly on the shore of the seas.
And the star knew no better, being just gas and air,
But The Sky kept on wailing - for fear! For fear!
She knew of the terror the seas could induce
When the winds picked up and the waves were let loose.
And when night such as this occurred on the Earth,
The Sky couldn't watch - foreseeing the worst.
But her star never knew her maternal plight -
For she was only atoms and light.

Her mother bore more children to remedy her pain,
To fill the space where the Earth Star had lain.
But the fishermen never knew of her tragic disgrace
For she was just a vacuum in the fabric of space.
For The Sky was only the absence of light
And her children just physics made visible by night.


Shore, shore, sure
drinking salt water
and trying to rhyme
swimming between green
making ale from kelp
and sawdust
and watching things be made
and waiting for an accident
to happen
-accident me please-
and diving without trying
and drawing
a line
in the sand
and running through locked doors.

I Never Was Good With Wires

I've tried holding my breath on the escalator
And holding my nerve as I jump.
I've tried keeping my buttons in boxes
And ignoring uncomfortable lumps.
I've tried listening for mice with my head on the floor
And hearing the days as they pass,
And licking the batteries that should spark the tapes-
Containing The Times - now elapsed.
But nothing worked to make it tick,
Nothing fired the coals.
All of this just left it lying
With limp connectors in fabric folds.

I've tried closing doors when sunsets bleed
And cooking flotsam soups.
I've given my salt to soapy-cuts
And pasteurised the boots.
The iron filings didn't work,
And neither did the sand.
The butter only made a mess,
And the acid burnt my hands.
Still to nought my toils all led,
Still nothing in there stirred.
The cogs and spindles lay splintered still
And no whirring fizz occurred.
The machine remained only parts-
Collecting settling dust.
The inevitable decay began-
Kept company by the rust.

Once I tried not trying,
But failed for paradoxes sake.
So I tried forgetting, failing
When reminded by the ache.
So it lay again unmoved again,
Except for shadow's slide,
And I tried constant trying
Just to pass the time.

Just to pass the ages
Until the mechanism twitched,
And yet I am still trying,
As I'm yet to find the switch.


And the sea shall sail, shall sail its ships
To lines of sight that fade to haze
When adventuring starts with failing tides.
And we can finally set away.
Our homes lie with loves - scattered to change.
When our wings catch the updraft
Our bellies won't weight us down.
"Spire, socket, seed" goes the spell.
Make a hammock from sail-cloth and
Launch in sleep.
And we shall hunt as pack, as tribe
For home, for light to set the place.

Saturday, 8 August 2009


Dear F,

This missive will be my last from here. I am sorry. This is all I have left to do. I will disappear. Fade into the ether inside these walls, inside these gardens that keep me safe. Or held. It had been so long I've forgotten how this all began. With dancing perhaps? Or birds made of paper that disintegrated when the rain began to fall. I loved the rain. It washed the grease paint from the illusionist’s face. Remember him running for shelter in the glasshouse? But the illusions did not stop. Remember the glass cracking beneath our feet? Crystal meeting boot sole and glasses that made a sweep of stars on the grass when the lights fired in the house. Perhaps that signalled the end of the party? When the gates closed between us. I missed my chance to leave then, it was moment between fading bells. Then the wheels turned and the bars came rattling down. The noise hurt like metallic twisting inside bone, like a needle through a tooth. The sound cut through the music, the calls of celebration and song. It drowned out everything because I knew what it meant. The division of something so whole it weighed on me with its simply being there. So present as one. Like a book torn in two – neither clutch of pages making sense without the other, a half read story forming to mush in the rain. And I was left standing in a room of spinners, lights exploding and fading behind my eyes and the makers of changes forgot me. Everything felt like glass and light. But perhaps you knew that's what it would take to save me? Perhaps you knew I could not last beyond? I could hope. But no longer. The time here never changes. The clocks repeat the hours but the days. The days never change. Oh for a day to shift into another in the night. But all here is laughter, song, light. Laughter song, light. The chandeliers are smashed again and again and I have begun to walk across in expectant pain once they have hit the ground. But no blood is drawn. Nothing touches me. I think there is a millimetre of space between me and all else. Everything else is a trace away from feeling. I am suspended and need to fall. I need to fall. Maybe you have already begun? We can hit the ground together. The lights are bursting once more. The ivy grows up the walls at such a pace! The only thing that ever alters here and it's the thing that closes us in. Fills the gaps for sighting outside. I am closing in and this is the only way; to disappear. To begin the falling. I shall fall in a million pieces. Pieces that will drift upwards on the wind and over the walls. I will divide and fall sideways through the atmosphere. I need to fall. I will become the exploding light. I am sorry. I am going to disappear. Meet me at the falling.

Yours ever,


Saturday, 4 July 2009


I am waiting as the night comes in waves,
Waiting as soft foot steps home-hurrying pass,
Waiting as imprints and half-prints are hushed to insect hum.
And under the cover of a willow’s grieving bends
I wait and watch the water swallow dark.
The day is over-worked and aching for bed,
As longest day is done,
As autumn begins her distant beckoning.
And night creates such colours to make the most of her short call.
And through the budding curtains I see the boat.
Rounding the bend with low slung heaving,
The water giving smooth progress for the sweat.
I cup the paper ship in my hands-
All folds and creases binding her will to mine.
I am holding time and my breathing,
But Battering wings shatter the stillness;
A birds sets flight from above me
And in the vacuum left behind,
A feather falls with rocking motion on the updraft.
My hand shoots into the twilight,
Pale and vein mapped as paper written in blue ink.
The plume is young and dark, traced with fluff.
It crowns the ship and tickles in the wind.

I am waiting as the oars drag onwards,
As the slop and slide rises
As my ship begs to be cast off,
I am waiting for the air to pass,
I am waiting for the birds to lift.

And off, off, off on the glass surface,
Barely a bend as she sails,
Night-feather flickering, like a candle in reverse.
And the rower sees the messenger cutting her path towards him.
And the rower scoops her sodden form just before the wreck.

But I am nothing to the night.
Off down dark paths and over clipped lawns.
As the rower reads the letter.
And too changes course.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


As I fell through concrete skylines

In a rush of reflected glass,

The beat slipped from my heart’s drum

And split on the pavement to shards.

I watched it before my landing

And felt the hungry city sing

As it gained a new pulse to chime to,

To join Westminster’s bell ring.

The water’s so cold beneath bridges

And the current’s too strong for regrets.

Once decisions are made for the plummet,

The only direction is death.

A girl was waiting at Southwark,

Was rapping my beat on her chest.

One of a thousand pieces

Spat into her palm where she pressed

It deep inside her own heart-line –

Until then unbroken with hurt-

And I felt her beat echo my hollow

As I lay on the bank in the dirt.

With my face coated in city scum,

Ends of revelry caught in my hair,

I peeled myself from the flotsam

And staggered my way up shore-stairs.

The sound ricocheted through the tunnel,

Like a taunt propelling its pain,

She stood at the end, I the other,

Her eyes full of hunt and the game.

The restless city within me

Was a mess of spasming light.

Like swarming insects with blood-lust

That feed on those lost to the night.

With a flick of her wrist I was falling,

In a haze of sickening scenes.

Her laughing filled every atom

And The City strained at the seams.

As the cracks opened with the descending,

Sounds leaked out from the core;

Pounds of hearts soaked in Thames water,

Hearts broken and aching - at war

With their own lack of loving

And the lack of the city to love.

I could feel my hollow chest throbbing

And longing a beat to my blood.

The sound rose from inside me

From pavement and river and bridge.

It shifted the stagnant pools gathering

In my veins, now yearning to live.

And the water reflected the sunlight

Below Southwark where I found her dead.

I pushed it out with the tide-flow,

It sunk with a heart made of lead.

The City continues spin

And the bridges continue to call,

But my own beat kept its own time

As the bodies continue to fall.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Colour Story

The day the colour came I found
The difference between here and there.
I found the place we’d met
And all the moments spent.

In the grey-grey we didn’t touch
Distance would prevail and we would fail
To fill the gaps.

Then the sun rose in shades
That blazed across my eyes
And bled to the corners of the sky.
It was the first I’d seen
And the ink was spilt and spilt
Till the world weighed with it.
Like blotting-paper drinking stains.

When the grey-grey was all consumed,
You and I stood where we first met –
Now dripping in colour.
Even the dirt beneath our feet was brilliant.
The colour led to the kiss
And my lips were red
In the place we met.

We got sick with it and
Wanted to die.
We got drunk on it and
Attempted to fly.
We swam in it
And sung with it
And Painting finally made sense
And we forgot what grey-grey was
And we made whole cities with rainbow houses.
We lived in it and
Fucked in it
And died in it.
We buried the dead in techni-colour coffins
Under grass no longer grey and grey.

Then the sun set and you kissed me
In the saturated dark
Now so rich and thick with it.
Time spun to infinity
In a multitude of shades.
But then it ended.

And the sun rose grey.
You stepped away and
It filled the space between.
And my lips were grey.
My lips were grey.
And that was the end of the brilliant,
Bold and heaving.
The colour was too much
And too brief for grieving.
So again we failed to touch
And you again were leaving.
As the sun set grey and grey.

Saturday, 11 April 2009


Yesterday, I went back to the house I grew up in.
It was silent and cold.
The walls were caving and the windows craving light.
Dusty shrapnel spattered as I picked my way
Across the hall.
I'd torn the ivy from the kitchen window to get in.
The glass had cracked, unsupported.
And scattered over the mildewed sill.
And inward into the sink.
Crumbling debris and needles littered the floor.
And the air craved life,
And the air craved life.

The rooms once had names and hosted moments,
Before time slowed with the boarding of ways in.
Before ivy gloved the house from sun.
I found the cellar door open,
And poised,
And waiting,
And ready for light.
The stairs vanished too quickly into Unseen.
Memory collided with instinct then.
They joined forces -
Both running the same way.
Get out.
Get out.
I'd heard it before.
The door
The glass on the sill had cut my hands as I scrambled
The warm crimson dripped to the floor
In tick-tock drops of wet on chocking dry,
Creating craters.
The shivering whisper hushed again;
Get out.
Get out.
And everything went wrong.
Everything went wrong.
Something had grown in the time I'd bee gone.
It had been left unchecked for too long.
Like disease in old trees,
Like rumors that lead to foul deeds.
And I ran.
And I ran.
The edges catching my hands
I left the air to crave
And the cellar door calling for life.
I left the house I grew up in yesterday,
Regretting the blood on the floor
As too much to leave behind.

Sunday, 29 March 2009


It’s about changes in space and lengthening time.

It’s about doors that fail to open and mis-directed signs.

It’s pine cones in pockets just to fill the void.

Taking breaks around the building, just to check the noise.

It’s about altering affectations in the hope of better ways

But failing at the first and leaving overplayed.

It’s when the exit sign flickers, and reflects below the rake

When I’m sat with long exposures and documenting tape.

It’s about sweeping circular routes for pointless cups of tea.

About a secret on a post-it I’d rather no one see.

It’s closeness in the first place and distance in the last.

Nothings that turn to episodes and slip into the dark.

It’s about rushing and not stopping until it’s too far late

And the marble stairs are empty because I failed to wait.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Corn Doll

Girl in black, boy in blue.
She Felt and he never knew.

There was such a lot she said,
Thinking talking would turn it into sense.

But words only made a corn doll.
And a fool.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

You Could Change Space, I Could Not

If I inhabit your space

And paste myself over the walls, like dust and glue,

Would you come home?

As I unravel the bandages,

That hold the most important parts together,

Could you please turn away?

I don’t want you to see this.

I don’t think anyone should see this.

The words can come like modern mantras,

Propelling me through the wasted day.

But they don’t consult with the actions.

Separate script and mime.

I am sorry.

Tell me it has all been worth the mess and it will stop.

I am sorry

That I couldn’t do it better than this.

Friday, 13 February 2009

End Song

This is not your story and I am not your friend,
We can construct meanings from traced etchings
Or we could just pretend.
I won’t tell you of heroes that never fell to fault.
I won’t weave a yarn from frayed endings,
All I have is circling salt.
Perhaps I’ll sit inside it and look out at the sands,
And you can sit beside me,
Whilst I unmake our plans.
Don’t think that we were lovers, we weren’t even known.
I think i need to see the edge,
Where swan’s songs chime alone.
You could watch me as I set out; you could turn away and hear
My cry as I let it out,
That fills my distance to the pier.
Before tide, sweep smudged circles; now mixed with sanded dust.
Reform them to make your fortune,
Whilst my riches wear to rust.
Oh, but this is not yours or even mine,
This is just a moment,
Beats of inevitable rhyme.
So don’t think this is for or of you,
You are a shadow on a shore.
You are not and cannot
Reach me anymore.

Monday, 26 January 2009

The Lady in Blue

“And the clock”, said the Clockmaker, “shall chime the days,
And the bells will ring out to sea.
And the men at arms will fall away
When the wars write their own decrees.
And the Woman in Blue shall sing her last
As her sailor knows not his own sails.
And she’ll pack up her birds in cages shut fast,
And ask again to ring out the bells.
And time will take our freedom away,
As though it were a door made of locks;
Each turn of a key a new minute drawn,
And each cog a tick-followed-tock.”

And the Lady in Blue knew the truth
As soon as the Clockmaker said
That the clock, oh the clock, will render the days,
Will craft the sunrises from lead.

So she took up her birds and descended the stairs
To a chamber below ocean rock.
She plucked all their feathers and cut off her hair,
And set one thousand keys to their locks.
And with all the down and the hair from her head
She carpeted the walls and the floor.
She feathered cell, feathered not bed,
Her sailor turned the keys tight in the door.
And so, the ticking from the Clockmaker’s hands
Resounded across the shores.
But the Lady in Blue, deep beneath the sands,
Could hear none but her birds aching calls.

And so, with no time, no tick-followed-tock,
The Lady in Blue was set free.
Freed from the minutes – made free by the locks,
Keys spread across fathoms of seas.