Sunday, 27 December 2009

Reminder of Life

That crab made of stone
that's watching him from the shoreless desert
probably thinks he's crazy.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


and whenever you call me I hear a bell,
and whenever you touch me I lose a year,
and whenever you kiss me I see a flame,
and whenever you fuck me I cry a prayer,
and whenever you leave me I break a bone,
and whenever you shun me I leave a scar,
and whenever you need me it starts again,

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Marian's Hobby

Marian held shears in her left hand, and the glass-eyed body of a mallard in her right. The mallard was mournful. Its downy wings were rigid and its stiff beak was open in one silent endless quack.

Marian stood, holding these things, in front of her workbench. Her workbench was very useful. It held a sewing kit with needles and strong thread; a plush, fluffy mallard with a smile on its decapitated face; and a storybook about a duck who was happy all day long.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Testing Twitterfeed: A Haiku

I have never found
that a new technology
works without a test.

I'm attempting to bend Twitterfeed to my will so that it'll automatically link this blog's entries on my Twitter and Facebook page. I do believe that it's all set up, so all I have to do now is cross my fingers and wait.

Then again, technology hates me and wants me to suffer, so it might not go as smoothly as all that.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

News: Interview with Elizabeth Jane, winner of the 2009 Bristol Short Story Prize

This one isn't a poem, folks, and it isn't posted on some obscure student blog. This is fame at last.

So there's a rather fascinating woman by the name of Elizabeth Jane, who blogs here. She recently won the Bristol Short Story Prize with her snapshot of a girl's experiences during the Second World War. The people behind the competition were looking for someone to interview her. I was the person who jumped up and down yelling "pick me!".

Was I nervous? Very. Was I going to let an opportunity like that go flying past? Aw hell naw.

So here is the article in all its glory! First thing of mine that's been published since that poetry contest when I was in secondary school. My pride is tangible. You should imagine this whole post said in the tone of a father showing off his newborn baby.

The title ("Elizabeth Jane talks about...") kind of looks like it's the first paragraph, not sure what happened there. Note to self: to avoid confusion, make titles shorter than paragraphs...

Friday, 20 November 2009

What Happened When I Ran Away

When I got to the edge of the desert, I saw the distended belly of the sun flopping huge over the landscape, chasing the shadows out of their holes to squat behind the stones.

You told me, "You know, if I throw one of these stones, I can hit the sun and it'll pop and fart away like a balloon."

It was as if the desert heard you, and hushed, and the insects stopped mating to see what would happen.

When I got to the edge of the desert, I saw a carpet of beetles, as black and shiny as the inside of a bucket. I threw water on them to get them away from my shoes.

You told me, "I did it. I did it! I killed the sun with my sling."

It was as if you didn't realise that night had come and the moon was laughing.

Monday, 2 November 2009


The men on horseback lift their spears so that the points are those of a compass.

The lion, which is North, watches them sardonically. Its coat is burnt golden by the rock and sand, but its eyes are the green of the sea: deep and wise, calm and violent.

The men on their horses rush towards the heaped gold.

The lion does not make a sound. That moaning you hear is the people.

The lion opens its jaws that are redder than the sun at night, and breathes on the men on horseback. Like the sand they are scattered, and when at last they come to rest they find that they are changed. Their feet are burnt brown and orange by the rock and sand, and their eyes are the white of bleached skulls, and blind.

Why I Crash Cars

Killing a man is like crashing a car.
Pick one with a sleek body;
hood not too low;
strutting like a deer;
out for a spin.

Acceleration = exhilaration.
No-one sees you break the law
speed limit

and the wreck leaks viscous fluid.

When you walk away
your feet won't touch the ground.

Explain Yourself

Was it easy to close the door?
Was it easy to hang up your hero hat,
to let the portcullis fall on your life, fly away?
Your stranger’s face laughing
at jokes we’ve forgotten,
in dozens of photos -
but just passing through
like a shadow on all of our faces?

Just a stop-off
on your way to something
clearly more important
than us.

Was it easy to seal off the door
of the car?
Stab your key in the silent ignition
and drive? To a street, to a wood, I don’t know –
to a park where you once loaned a ring to a girl,
I don’t know –

Was it easy to pipe – or to waft – or to
Only you know – and you planned – from exhaust into window to mouth and to heart –
Did it hurt?
Tell me –
Was it more easy than making a life?

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Promise

I'll be the rock beneath your house,
The pedestal on which you stand;
I'll lead you from the desert bleak
Into a fertile, greener land.
The shadows cannot touch you now.
Don't be a martyr to your fear
When - even if you cannot see -
I will be there to guide you, dear.

International Flavour

I'm something of a traveller
(Though I don't like to boast),
And I've heard accents in far more
Variety than most.
The French guffaw, the US twang,
The English cockney slur;
I've heard the world so far and fast
That it's become a blur.
But sadly, in my line of work,
We don't get so much choice,
Since when we start to get stuck in
They all scream in one voice.

I Want To Eat Your Brain

I want to give you lilies white
And roses glowing red,
And see the joy infuse your face
As I unzip your head.

I want to hold you close to me
Beneath the summer sun,
And feel its warmth as I relieve
You of your cerebrum.

I want to warm you with my arms
And kiss you in the rain;
I'll brave the winter storms with you
And then I'll eat your brain.


Steal away with me, fly from your grimy old bed;
Let my arm lift to steady your hesitant head.
Of all of your cousins prostrate in my sight,
Yours is the hand I have grasped for tonight.

You're quiet, demure as we pass through the street.
You lean on my arm as you shuffle your feet.
Then, down by the river, the moment just right,
I kiss your lips, cold with the dead of the night.

Our passion completed, I finally rise,
And lift you up gently, my delicate prize;
Sneak you to your home as the sky becomes light;
Retire to my bed to await the next night.


Out on your arm,
An accessory.
Broaden your smile:
I will polish it.
Quicken your step:
I'll put bounce in it.
Try me out. I will serve

Worn on your finger;
Content to be.
Show me off, use me
To make you gleam.
That's what I'm here for,
Why I exist:
Shine for you, dangling
From your wrist.


Roses have a finite life:
They’ll wither at a glance.
Bluebirds, too, will flit away
If given half a chance.
The world, so used to suns that set,
May look on ours askance;
But take my hand, and through the dew
Eternally we’ll dance.

A Lover's Inventory

Cotton wool to wrap you in,
A precious thing, in case it breaks—

A key to lock away the world,
To make up for my past mistakes—

An ear to which you will not lie,
Not compromise your perfect self—

A heart to overcome you well,
For you unlocked its joyful wealth.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Sycophantic Repetition

Sycophantic repetition -
repetition - repetition -
Everything you say is stale with
sycophantic repetition -
unambition -
de-ignition -
you don't try to break tradition!
Both eyes full of all your shit,
you missed your chance to make contrition.

Here's what I think: you're asleep.
Shouldn't be a mental leap
to see that we are not your sheep.

Now that we show signs of thinking!,
you are left amazed and blinking.
Lifeboats gone, the rats are fleeing.
They can tell your ship is sinking.

If you want to hate me, fine.
Just know that you crossed the line
when you injured friends of mine.

Just a Phase

‘Just a phase’. But I take issue
With this phrase. I’ll tell you why:
If a craze can last for this long,
All this praise be heaped upon her –
(Does it phase you? Won’t you tell me?) –
If she stays within my thoughts and
Builds a maze of grand emotion –
I’m amazed you dare to call it
‘Just a phase’, and I will miss you.

But Do You?

Do you think I don’t know that machines need maintaining?


Who balanced the spring, rediscovered the wheel?


Are a beautiful piece, to align, to keep perfect, you see?


Are a whole. If you grind to a halt, so do I - I’m afraid.

The Moth

Sometime in the future, we
Might sit together, out till late
And see the ghostly moth of grey
Lent substance by the lamp, its mate.

Then, when we find the air too chill,
We'll seek a cosy room, where we
Might act the night-dance out again:
I'll flutter, and you'll brighten me.

Queens in Monochrome

A girl’s in the street
and her hair’s in her eyes
and she’s throwing her stones at the lights.
She’s stupid and blind and she stands in the flames
and she laughs in the wintery nights.

She falls to the floor with a china-doll smile;
she’s turning her back on her fathers and all;
it’s fine, since their backs have been turned for a while.
She’s ever so clever, and ever so small.

Her left and her right are the bridges she’s burned;
Her road has no future to fear;
behind, good intentions are patchworks of glass
and above, pearly gates disappear.

She sees a way out. It’s been taken before
by the near and the dear and the damned.
But she’s lucky enough to knock twice on your door.
You offer your beautiful hand –

The girl is now dead. There’s no body to see
But a chrysalis – you showed her wings and she’s free
And the sniveling thing that you caught became me.

Beautiful Words

I'm trying to fix some beautiful words on a string
(Chains are never for freedom);
Round your neck they will hang like a medal.

I'm trying to turn 'sweet sentiments' into a new and a fresh and a worth enough thing not to clash.
I'm seeing them all through a thousand bright lenses but still I can't get them quite right.
I need your better perspective.

It's practice:

I want to put beautiful words on a band and see it on your finger.
(They'll be picked out in topaz, sapphire, moissanite;
In dazzling colours like yours.)