13 Jul 2021

Always straight ahead


More rain had fallen in the hour just past

Than on every day in the last month

And it fell on me


On the other side of the windscreen

Was a curtain of water

Car lights faded and the road met the sky

In a blur unseen at 60 miles per hour


Everything disappeared then

The road had no end

No symbolism

No metaphor

No soul or forgiveness


I looked for a break

For a time out

A sliver of blue or

Glint of light

A chance to just open the door and

Get out


Respite was not on the cards

The day remained a single lane

No hard shoulder

Stuck in a hell of inbetween places

Not really present and not really past


And though I knew what was there

At the end of the journey

Still my foot was held to the floor

Speeding blindly back to it.




12 Apr 2021



A meditation on monoxide

The siren’s singing bowl

Ear drum burst and a voice lost to concrete dust


The roads are littered with writers

Dead from the onset of spring

Poems half-written lay crumpled beside curb stone

Blown along by the final winter breeze

Pushing them down drains on its way out of town


And as magnets repel one another

Heat pushes instinct away

Blue sky raising dead spirits

Somewhere to lay heavy head supported now

By broken neck


How happy a world

A distinct lack of madness as interest dissipates

Interest in anything out there in the gleam

All so clean and naked

Truthful and honest and painfully dull


The summer threatens without storm


Just more yellow

More tomorrow



Hearts seek out the nourishment of bones packed in ice

Sinew as lichen for the carnivore poets

who wander the landscape seeking darkness and thunder.


The roads are littered with writers

Dead from the onset of spring

And there I lay alongside







12 Mar 2021

Come and get your steak


It was one of those days like one of those nights when

The storm blew into your face

Whichever way you stood

The world forcing its way down your throat

No escaping the shift of seasons

Unsubtle and sharp


The old lady tried to walk against it up the hill

The dog

Half dead

Followed on 3 legs

The 4th limping as an afterthought


They were both fat and close to death

I bet myself which would be the first to go

And whether it would happen before they reached the



I heard the mutt cough and gasp

            ‘come get your steak’ she garbled to it


I wasn’t sure if that was a bribe to keep moving

Or a reward for already crawling that far along the street

She dropped her 5 carrier bags and began to rummage around

I kept walking


A steak sounded good

But I needed to get out of this goddamn hurricane

That was cutting at me

Forcing me to stay still and

Keeping me from reaching summer in one piece.







2 Dec 2020




All caps

No apologies

Cut to death

Chewing fat

Grinding sweet marrow

Animal at the trough

Nails scraping

Knuckles down

Whisky bottle empty

Tears rolling

Teeth broken


But still half the world whines

Spinning round like a fairground ride fallen out of all favour.










23 Nov 2020

The politics of the world begin to seep in


A string of war movies

Cowboy movies

Anything except the real world


The vultures have circled for so long

They too have given up and

Flown home


The grey sky full of nothing now

But cloud and smoke and

Dreadful promise


And new habits form

Those of survival and denial

Which you mould and re-form into regret


But still a new and shining version

Of a time honoured disappointment

Until the unavoidable occurs


And there you are

Reading the morning headlines

The words seeping in

Old water from a broken pipe


Time has been decided by the devil himself

A game played on a broken watch

Nothing certain but purgatory

And so


I will go out under cover of darkness

And set fires across the city

Burn the palace

Torch the god’s houses into grey ash


Something to feel in control

Something to create life

Anything to jump start the failing world.














25 Sept 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


Nothing 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 Sept 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.