25 Sep 2020

Black and blue


Cumulus mountains drift by my window

Pushing the first cold breeze of the year

In the small open crack


It is fresh and tangible

And forces change

And so is to be embraced


Everything within has become like paper

Words fading away with the fall of each evening

Every morning a reset to zero


And what do we do to maintain

But try and steal away some order

Where none can live


Because our madness is a liar

And good at it too

As we revel in our own deceit


Noting has changed because

It never does

All these rules are merely presented as new


But you know

As do I

That they can talk and talk and yet


While they dictate that all must be

Either black or blue with no third choice

Their words are written in sand and made to be kicked





17 Sep 2020

Jab, jab, jab, jab, jab

My anger is boring

And old like me

To stand apart from the scurrying creatures and

Comment upon their insanity is not the writer’s job

It is not my job at all

And I am losing interest in doing so


But of late the world has decreased in size and

Ergo my world almost has become a fishbowl

I am unsure even as I write this

On which side of the glass I am


And so there is nothing else

External with which to distract myself

Innerspace has once again failed me

Empty as a pint glass stuck to end of a bar

Ignored there

As heavy doors are bolted for the night


And my disdain is tiresome

And tired like me

All I have is a stockpile of love

And ghosts and demons to keep me company and

Keep me from going just that little bit too far

In the wrong direction


To stand apart is to stand in shadow

In quiet and self-reflection

What a horror show

So I turn to madwomen begging for drug money

To dogs chasing children in the park

Men cursing from large cars

Ready to kill over an amber light


And my anger is boring

And old like me

But the sky is still there

And the air and the sea and places other than




Good mezcal

And at last to sleep

Just to sleep.








23 Jul 2020

Real scenes of Japanese whaling, etc

The TV was silent but I would always keep it on
In the background while I worked
A habit steeped in nothing resembling logic

And there were images of fins being sliced
And massive harpoons rocketing past ice flows into dark red blubber
Stock footage dropped in the middle of the fictional war movie

I was alone and so listening to the wrong music as

The words weren’t coming 
I held my breath and go get a drink
Pretend there was something else I could do

I know there’s rubble to clear away
Bent metal and rebar and concrete, cement, broken glass, brick, sandbags,
All of it

And under there in shadow on newborn grass is a voice or
Instruction of what I’m supposed to do and how I can do it

And so I sit with aching back and spinning head and ignore the
Madness I create in all those around me while year in year out

I fail to engage with what that exactly is
Or how I pull them down into my hole
Spin them round and spit them back out

Always working twice as hard to
Be half as good at everything I ever did
And that’s alright because I know what would occur
If I ever stopped trying and gave any of it up

The weight of the days was suddenly also everyone else’s weight
So less important to both you and me
A shared load of anxiety and countdown to the end of the world
Or at least the end of the humans

Jesus what a delicate animal we are
Wishing for better
Wishing for more
Just one

And I decided to no longer wish for anything
When a million people all do the same thing at the same time
Yours surely gets lost in the fog of wanton criminals
Their families and ex-wives and dogs and neighbours and bosses
None of who ever did anything to earn their wishes

Fuck them
They aren’t pulling my words out from under
Whatever concrete slab they are trapped beneath
They aren’t putting wine on my table or an acceptance letter in my mailbox

Dear sir,

We have decided after years of semi-deluded efforts and slightly above-average poems, to publish this one small piece of your work in our magazine no one will ever see, in order that you stop emailing us over and over again.

Kind regards…


I turn my attention back and see I’m now in the company of cowboys
And brown-faced injuns.
Dry plains and snow-capped peaks far behind them

Everywhere I see feels like a potential escape and
I still feel I’ll never get anywhere but right here.

3 Jul 2020

All the little things sing songs of madness

All I wanted was to see a lighting bolt. The flashes were coming and going and
the thunder, particularly impressive considering the mid-grey of the sky, shook the balcony after each time the sky was lit.

I stood looking down on all the little people scurrying back to their homes after being caught out. Always unprepared. And when they weren’t – rather than bask in it - they still retreated from the reality of it all.

I leaned my stomach on the railing and strained my eyes out and over the taller buildings to the right of my own. The clouds were darkest there and I hoped to get at least one quick shot of electricity bang its way down to earth.

Another flash from within the cloud cover, but no bolt. Damn… The rain was sideways now. I pulled my head back in, soaking wet and warm and alive.

The Chinese family in the garden below had pulled their two screaming kids from the garden moments earlier. The dog across the way that you could hear 24/7 was silent, nowhere to be seen.

It was too much to ask that’s where the next strike would hit. Still, I crossed my fingers for one last yelp and the smell of burnt hair. The rain became ocean rain and suddenly I realised its constant sound was covering everything else.

The scraping of cutlery on plates. The shake of downstair’s washing machine. All the voices – even those I love and will always want to hear. Buses, sirens, the children and the dogs and music of the stupid. All gone, though I knew, only momentarily.  All the little things fell away and for a moment I was sane.

I knew that one by one, these things would return, and mockingly slowly at that

That is not your normal – they’d say
This, is your normal

With my heartbeat and my fingers typing, the only sounds left with which to defend against them.

14 May 2020

Told you so

The world does not look to writers
for answers to the big problems
If it did we’d all be living in chaos
We are self-serving and ego driven at the best of times
But some would never admit that
They masquerade and live normal lives and
Write terribly in the process

They work normal jobs
Drive normal cars
And have normal conversations about
The larger problems of the world
With normal people
Of whom, are the cause of said problems
And they are published in some journal
A piece now/then
In some bi-annual magazine

But they have no answers
And nor do I
Not a single one for you on straightening
The twisted wire of the world
Because I don’t truly care about that
Or them
Or you
I remain capable only of caring about my survival and
The survival of those few closest to me

The all-knowing writer is a myth of academic proportions
Drowning in research and statistics
Desperate to prove their worth
To fund more publications
Pored over by a committee and yet
Becoming ash no later than the rest of us

Proliferating mediocrity
They endanger the very souls of those of us who gasp for air
In order to scratch down words that both defend from death
And carry death along with them

As finally we all run out of breath and black ink.

9 Mar 2020

Fast forward

There is only rewind and pause
No play
No fast-forward
No consumption of page after page
Character built meals of meat and stock

There is the first page
When it was all to come
And the last
To be ripped out and shredded
Eaten to ensure no one ever discovers
The screaming hilarity of your tale

Now is a mist
A smoke
Now is a million miles an hour
And choking on the fumes of it
Now is an instant memory
In a head already overfull

Now is fury become silence
Because the world cannot allow

And tomorrow is expected
Predictable and easy
Then the thousand more tomorrows
Bring weight upon their sullen mornings
So you tense up and focus
Leaping with all your might, to the end

Unchanged from the start
Unevolved and making all the same
Hiding your journey from them all.

6 Dec 2019

My god, what happened

Were you not once great
Boastful and scarred with hubris
Did the world not revolve around
Your gold hearted presence

And women would sing
And drinks flowed
Cars crashed and
Nights fell

And inside there was a soul
Underneath the sounding fireworks
And hormonal chatter
A soul aiming straight and true

Were you not once waiting
And given up
And sodden with autumn rain
Orange leaves a portent of
Your secret shallows

But a little curse
Of an ordinary life
Has now killed all that

There are no mistakes in life
Some people say.