Remember me when I am gone away, / Gone far away into the silent land
Christina Georgina Rossetti
[Goblin Market and other Poems, ‘Remember’]

You upset too many people –
you cannot recall their names

You speak too many times –
you imbue too much pain

You suck on charmed fruit
of ret love –
then spit out lies

You wonder where you’re going
as you stroke your sex-soaked thighs

You look in long-blown mirrors
to greet your red-eyed burns

as you undress another woman
to whom you cannot now return

You seek with rolled-back light
without seeing ageing truths

Consider an apology –
before you look twice to seduce

A Bench Without a Name

My core temperature
has dropped
a few points –
Yes – I do allow for
seasonal differences

All the while
working timepieces
make veridical turns
between here and there –
ever evenly placed

like fixed hard chairs
in another time-sucking surgery
Sit with me –
It’s cold outdoors –
Stay – before my reminder to move

to face a dog-tired doctor
sat in another swivel chair
He / She will be leant forward
squinting – screen-reading
throughout my consultation

This giving wooden bench
faces due south
as if aimed by a pagan
rather than – truthfully –
at that required angle

to watch a ghost-stepped
amateur football match
After sitting in so many
bright muzak rooms
my huge catalogue

of Chairs Used
in Waiting Rooms
is now complete
[cancer wards excluded –
touch wood!]
I am ready to be published

Stud imprints in dragged mud
and ball-thumping boots
have mashed this playing field –
churned those naked goalmouths
with a good old-fashioned kicking

Standing is not too easy these days –
my cold bones
and low moans meet
Let us get to another bench
to talk some more about life


End of Shift

This is my digging hand
at those exhausted seams
turned dust to dust
in my late soundless hour

to prop whatever up –
perhaps underpinnings
beneath presses of kilonewtons
into compressed layers

All this darkness was once painted –
as if in tar –
by a Welshman’s guided tour
through an exhausted mine –

it saw my hard-hat lamp-dim
and my eyesight drop
to where my father’s coughed up
black blood stuck – fool’s gold

Other dead men stand
in a wall-mounted photograph –
to tell of them and others who went to dig
at that hand-bared stuff

I will sit alone – propped by this revisiting hour
as my recall waits for sleep
to take me from my tunnelling


Thanks to Helen Ivory @nellivory for suggestions via National Writing Centre @WritersCentre

Care of AstroTurf

I am to return
to my adopted small-town
of mischievous lies –
laid out unmarked –
landmines left for me
to put my weight upon

Until then a tardy parade
of rental days in Golden Cross –
in my contracted place
with easy-to-keep
plastic grass and off-street

I will build a wooden porch
to sit upon – there to look back on
leases – my temporary places
from my bought viewpoint
above my adopted small-town

and there to lose sight
of other – older – agreements
left to other’s disabuse
with a sofa for my dog
and a hammock for me –
no need to put my burthen
on that small-town ground


Half a waking aspirin
now taken down
and half a headache –
again – left to take

but screw her –
with regret –
more than tight enough
to avoid any off-licence visits –
or as an underlining
of twisted sorts
before not enough of her
causes concern?

A woman in a dress –
high chested –
so highly-grippable
and sweet-kissed in red –
her designer label states –
Mis en bouteille en France

Passing Off

[F.F.S. NOTE: In memory of a part played by J.K. This was written after an actress had passed away – but really in memory of the character she played in LOTSW – so an extension of that character into death – after the actress playing her had died: An exercise in stretching thoughts on a dull and lonely day made slower by reading of others’ misfortunes. The character I am ‘grieving’ for was a hen-pecking (Northern) wife chasing down her feckless husband – god only knows what effect it all had on her fictional family (never seen). No more misdirected anger if it gets misappropriated, again, please.]


Being a matriarch
was propounded as her


in their first draft
of an online obituary

Mourners hovered
and affixed false posts

marking up an ever-altering

Her kids had been suckled
under a tarnished scent

and they never lost their
fear of men


We were not taught
how to erase –
how best to rub out –
how to remove errors –
instead – we were told to
Put a line through it

Those eye-ruled
mistakes –
our slight aberrations
in our cobbled
They were honest flaws

Being seen to fail
won gold stars
against your name
on that constant chart
stuck rewards

Now we suffer
others’ comments –
sickly – green-ish –
spilt on social media
We are ink-stained
No dabs of blotting paper


Those mob-mindful
leaders –
your haters –
your righteous orators
have raised
their volume to that
once of The Left

They mop up swathes
of disaffected souls
in insolent heartlands
by underhand sales
of hope on Amazon

Post to Facebook your prizes

And Left-Wing resentments
seem to threaten more
than resolve

as old moderations are now
spoken of as if weaknesses
in politics – else whipped

Extreme measures
are needed

Politics is now a
vomiting disease

A Fly

Their work is a helix
of holding patterns

A vexed blackhead on
a narrowing radar

Making no sense
to us

Look across its eyes
at your broken reflection

Pass over its light speed
of thinking centrifuges

Be left behind
on our side of thought

We are not quick enough
to read their flight plans

We are fixed lives –
we are their filth givers

Medication Due Notification

My medication-taking
app’s notification rattles
as if shattered bones
pummeled in a bag –

like marbles shook
in school uniform pockets
to test competitors’ nerves –

as sudden as foul complaints
in response to
an unexpected doorbell –

it hits out – shattering at
a kid-tipped glass of panics –

like a parent’s blunt trill
of oft-repeated commands –

and it is a wake-up-to-me alarm –

sometimes fresh maracas in year six –

and then its repeat is more equal
to all of that mentioned before


Our Cemetery of Companions

You will allow yourself
to re-settle
into old comforts
on his threadbare sofa

and then enter into
a layered removal
from this other man
full of arguments –

from a disagreeable
who lives uneasily
by designing trip hazards
and elephant traps

In that room air will double
beyond that level
required for meditation
and a balanced life

Find a neutral buoyancy
by letting your lungs
half-fill with his kisses
Do not sink to him


I contemplate
setting it all to

(even my
rum scuttle of thoughts
from toils)

By cutting connections
to swealing news
on my device

By undoing clicks
to remove agitation
and find a hermitage –

perhaps a bolted
with my tumbler locks

We cannot blunt their knives
We cannot nullify politicians
of any kind –

they who
make us into banshees
and howl monkeys

When that switch
is flicked
you will not hear me

A Visitor

He dropped in and
shifted everything –
not my furniture
more of a loosening –

a reformation of views
without drugs or booze
as dark coffees cooled
in talk’s elbow space

Nothing in that time
was left untouched
by his too-close-to-truth
Revelations etcetera



Thanks to Helen Ivory @nellivory for suggestions via National Writing Centre @WritersCentre


It was too easy to accidentally
stand stock still in Blondie’s
unlocked dressing room
at a fleapit corporate gig –

their’s – another £100,000
act – should-be-has-beens
but always being better than me
by dint of being so old cool

and untouched by rushes
of lame fame-struck stuff
off us eighties peak-teen kids
Now dull mums and dads

we recall a loucheness
on Top-of-the-bloody-Pops
We ached for sex – not knowing
their’s was breathless lip-syncs

We predated MTV’s tape heads
and VHS and widths of Betamax
I saw her standing – she turned around –
Debbie’s lips still blew my mind

A Deal

If I paid you in cash
would that make
meeting up
an easy trade to do –

without those afflictions
brought on – again –
by your loud dam?
(How she stage-whispers

in your shell-like –
that ear-piercing hiss
about your choice of men
and your other failings)

You never liked her
enough – be honest – love –
your mother’s devotion
will not be won – not yet

If I paid you in cash
would you lie down
for me? Currently (I see)
there is no queue

but then my appetite
for easy ways
seems long spent –
Let me pass on that deal


So we look alike –
a connivance by genes –
but he smiles under higher

He is (still) crowned
by bottle-blonde hair –
we both have enough on top
to brush aside – for now

We make such
similar guttural grunts –
as if our low voices
have just broken

But we have been
for so long
without knowing how

to deal with sour differences –
our slighting jealousies
and curdled

It is up to wives –
and ex-wives – to try
and fix things
Spilt milk leaves a stinking stain

which is hard to lift
from trodden-in places
Perhaps our ways
will not cross again

Grandpa? Not Yet

Look! Waking white etens are tailwind-struck by onshore gusts. That tall flock of unfixed turbines. Into Kemptown they will march by France’s orders beyond La Manche ..

A readied Grandpa story – not yet –

not now – not pinned – not aligned
above high tides by unseen wordy fixings –
by birthdays – yet again – by cakes with candles

blown out – Once more – and finally out
Those one-legged giants were plummeted
into cedings – by borings into seabeds

through lost layers of petrified trees
into our once-forests washed off-shore
Let me tell giant stories to your children –

about hundreds of acres before this began
Our grandchildren do need to learn
that history is scribed beyond this land


It is impossible to maintain
a rooted perspective –
Heraclitus observed
as he openly wept

It is not the same river
but we are also
not the same people –
that will be my shooting stick

to lift me from stiffnesses
of age and old iniquities
Those rivers now rise
under too-warming urges

My car’s curved high glass
requires less screenwash
through summer-flown months
There are no insects to smash

All through it my kids sit blind
behind their bright-eyed phones –
we do not know how much less
they see on their screens now