Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Only Thing For Certain

A corner of the curtain peeled back
to reveal a triangle of light. Night
is still mixed in with the angles
and will be for a while yet.

The light, falling on the table
and birds singing an autumn song.
Less frenetic than the full pell-mell
of spring and summer.

But despite everything,
whatever this day might bring
the only thing for certain
is that this light will keep growing.

Friday, 26 September 2014

A Morning Song

A low voice made of white stone
sends draughty words
through a corridor with a high ceiling.

A song of dust, granite and mice –
the first frosts of winter.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Hat Problems

Photo: Su Joy   

With this kind of thing going on, is it any wonder I’m confused?

But never mind, these things can happen to even the most sensible and organised of people…

Monday, 22 September 2014

Into Tomorrow

erase the smudge behind your eyes
look every one of them, in the eye

go back there
leave here
stay here
shift things, slightly

find a place
settle everything

go back on the road
just drive
distract yourself

see your way clear into tomorrow

spin the words
go on a journey
you have enough money
stop being so jumpy

see the stained glass window
see the freshly dug, soon to be filled grave
see the house with the yellow VW camper
see the house with steam leaking through its walls
see the street where the red-overall mechanic has his shop
see the shop with the tandem in the window
see the antiquarian chain-smoking book seller
see the aquarium in the Chinese restaurant window

see your way clear into tomorrow

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Grey Day

Grey isn’t everyone’s favourite colour. But Liana makes a point of wearing it each day. It took me awhile to work out her nationality. She had to tell me in the end. A small country at the other side of the world. Once we get through this thing she plans to go back there.

A small country, she says, where no-one really has a job because there isn’t any work. A place where everyone looks out for each other because there isn’t any money. If you are old, younger people will bring you food because there isn’t any welfare state. A country with strong religious faith. This means that there is rarely any crime because the people have a strong internal sense of right and wrong. And because no-one can afford a car or any electronic gizmos, there is little, if anything, to get uptight about.

‘Just like here, really’ I say with a wry smile.

Grey pervades this city. If you come in from the west, you see it on the cranes that unload the ships. You see it in the mangled heap of scrap metal that climbs up to the sky behind the grey car factory. Grey is the colour of choice for the people who are so beaten down they hide their faces beneath hoods. The colour of the crash barriers beside the road that is always clogged with cars. The colour of cigarette smoke, the pallor of mal-nourished skin. The colour of the pavements where grey people sit and drink beer in the early morning as others, in grey suits, hasten themselves to work.

Grey youths smoking a joint in broad daylight. A great cloud of grey I have no choice but to walk through.

Meanwhile, in a sunny country a man in a straw hat that wouldn’t look out of place on a donkey sits in a rocking chair twanging a guitar made out of an oil can screwed to a broom handle. 

The music is every colour but grey.

Monday, 15 September 2014


From the mainland,
a broken tooth of island.

First men in the world, we aliens
rise at dawn for the sailing
out of each separate cranium.

Sand, sea water and cement.
Just a few more feet gained in the attempt
to build the bleak house you have dreamt
from the red dregs of wine
following a string of twine.
Buckled ply,
a shovel blade combines
the slitting, splitting of bags.
Stray ashes get blown on the crags
as long waves fool
the forgetful time that lags.

Cast iron cannons,
Victorian barracks
shield the cliff
from Napoleonic attacks.

The last boat
timed for the tide won’t wait
for the flicker of the first bat.

Each of us lost, ghosts in our own vortex.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Are You...?

Sunlight comes through
the windows.
on the coffin.

Relatives vaguely recognised.
Others, like the man with the slicked
back teddy boy hair and rings
on his fingers
the size of planets,
who knows?

Uncles with mutton chop sideboards
and less hair than I remembered.
Another Uncle who was always
too restless to sit indoors
drinking tea with the grown ups
while they discussed the weather
or what was doing well in the garden.

An Aunt with hair turned
bristly and white
but still black down in the roots
like an old-time shaving brush.

She wears a hat that, what with
the veil and purple ribbon,
looks like it has been
modelled on a chocolate box.

She looks at me
for a good long while.

Her eyes have turned to marbles.

At one time, her question
would have been unimaginable.

Like walking into a house
on Christmas morning
and asking what day it was.

Friday, 12 September 2014


A discussion of boundaries. A green line sprayed on tarmac. Spray paint sounds like dice in a cup, smells like pears. The tunnel that leads onto the common. Intimidating shadows. Flinch on entering but the coast is nearly always clear. Patches, stakes, claims, territories. Somehow through unspoken agreements these segments are divided up. Signals sent when the time has come. On exiting two blue hands, palms pressed together as if in prayer. When all else fades an orange stencil of Daffy Duck remains. A feeling of a fairground ride. The ghost train. Black panels. A jolt as the car sets off through dangling plastic that creeps across the face and hands as an electronic sound sends shocks though the bones.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Hair Of The Dog

The front door and the jangle of a name tag on a dog collar.
Claws clicking on tiles.

It is six am.

The dull headache that haunted me yesterday has faded.
Sauna and steam room have left the skin and body generally
feeling light and clean.

September seems to be continuing with its mellow burnish.
I think about an old friend and wonder if it is too late.

I’m still breathing, so theoretically it isn’t.

Would like to see them before the last hair turns grey.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Threading Shapes


Threading words in the long flow
of this lamplight.


Keep leaning into the winds
which shape this day. 

Photo: Su Joy


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