My souring undersongs
seem to scald me
by bloody detestation
at more coughed-up ugly gobs

Swallowed pride rides low
on my short gnawed-at list
of to-dos and do-nots
as advised by my reviewers

Another plug was pulled –
it was tugged far too hard
Do not mix running water
and rewired metaphors

Is it still right to imagine
one’s other-half sucked
from this too-loud life –
stuck in a pipe to drown?

Then a body would slop
into the plumber’s pail
And he would turn to say –
There’s yer problem, mate

I would then tip it out
among such beloved flowers
and let our neighbour’s cat
choose whether to devour –

or play – with that wet corpse
But such afternoon fancies
are too sweet for my teeth –
my only solution is self-denial

How to Sell

She lifted one of his pillows
to fill her long-emptied space
Another shift to save her blushes
before an observant estate agent
stood before their split double bed

His leaning tower of to-iron
had been put away and hidden –
nothing stands for long enough
He will return his pillow to his side
and his sleep will be disturbed

Our Nation’s Favourite

Under vintage leafless beeches
you gauged your variations of steps –
it was too easy to tread unevenly
on a path of cross-hatchings

and line workings against sunlight –
there you dipped into a greyed intensity
of illustrative shadowing – losing our dog –
briefly – in a denser pencilled place

Then sweet eyewashes of flowerings
lifted your head – a sugared inhalation –
a thickened spoor of air-blue scents
poured from that ancient under-storey

You stood above ten thousand bright dabs
bent to old arts across a green daub
of workings among greys and silvers –
your count of a whole year gone

was marked by a favoured calendar shot –
another easy colour-by-numbers to fill
once you made your way back to our car
to tell of your walked losses and findings

Estate Agents

Your virgin fence panels went up
on both sides of our scored land
as flimsy ramparts to mark

your own extents and hard edges
before our house – our home – was split
by an auction – of sorts – of blind bids

You tipped complaining barrows of earth
into a hired skip and into low indents
as you oversaw each shored footing

for fifteen freshly hewn fence posts –
and at least a thousand splinter risks
You put everything into place

after your tie-knotted estate agent
had advised you on such necessary repairs
to achieve the best price possible

now that you no longer wish to live
in this haunted house with me
and with my unmet Ghost of the Future


Our frail back door sat double-locked
as I did not want another invasion
of pitched voices from passing-by
knocking salesmen

Her cheeping sister and clucking mother
hammered loudly – an unhoped arrival –
with hops inwards and trite explanations –
Them: Some small gifts for the birthday girl!

Me: Sorry – She’s at school
They were here for mere seconds –
slipping gift knots and propping cards
My offer of lattes was not taken up

Because they were –
In such – such – a rush
Our sat dog and I were stumped
by their removal to a local hostelry

when we do
a damn fine cup of coffee
and have our kind selves
as such – such – great company

Mr Cohen’s Words on the Matter

I’m reading Lorca’s poetry
whilst Leonard sings to me
on the hottest Easter Monday
since nineteen-sixty three

My poorer verse dissipates
dispelled by blows of blame –
She vaulted ‘cross my body
on her way to another game

He’s old enough to be her father –
she was fool enough to be his wife
Their papers have been posted
He typed out her loving lies

He will see her in that lawyer’s room
who’ll be paid to watch them fuck –
his hourly fee is twice as much
as she was paid to suck


A too-bloody-loud blonde
stood gin-fucked at the bar –

stretching and over-pitching
her filthy lung-and-gut cackle

It was high-and-wide enough
to threaten every nervy glass

as she – blindly drunk – upset
those low murmurs of diners

who slyly turned to witness
her public orgasmic judders

She split atoms and chatter
and spilt wine across matting

as punters’ mouths dropped
with her heavy-footed acts

and re-enactments of others’
disgraced and shamed ways

Ariadne’s Clue

Ariadne’s ball of thread was called a clewe
that word being of an Old English source –
cliewen – which can mean a skein of thread

Now – no trial and error among your words –
instead my art is gathering your scatterings
of clues and insinuations – of what you said

before your lies fermented to find you drunk
Our shared bottles of removed inhibitions
took us both into a playground of sweated beds

They oiled your snare – your sour smell of sex –
your perfume to attract others under bindings –
those you bought to find pain without blood

I found your lace and black bits curled sullen
in a hard-knotted bag – One item – a mouth gag –
admits your desire for ill-use outside your head

As If She Had Struck Herself

Banshee my first thought –
followed by lunatic
and then spitting feathers
but was spitting nails better?

Her hand was sudden –
flat – iron-hard on my face
in such a swift upper arc
It was well-practised –

she was beating
every man and boy
who had ever dare ignore
her high pitch of orders

Those grey eyes revealed
a fleeting wince –
as if she had struck
herself with this hate

An instant recoil
of her upper body
as her buckshot rebut
kicked her back

And every crease
on her lined face
doubled up
She had struck herself

Taking Stock

Under such circumstances
as these in which we live –
an old skill of mine – of gauging

by tipping
chiming barrels in cellars
or more likely cold side rooms
of ex-forces drinking clubs
to blindly assess levels left

Under such circumstances
my senses should be well-attuned
to any watering of truth
in unsighted places

By eye and by hand – in
old weights and measures –
my work was to balance stock
and it was never greeted well