Por Volver

Hola – I’m Lucky – you may know me
Buenos Dias – I don’t understand
that played out Spanish soundtrack
I tune into every morning
for my barefoot Yoga exercises

My filter coffee steams like road tar
as it thickens and fixes in minutes –
as my scarred white lungs enjoy
a smoke set off by my lighter’s click –
Look – another pack’s easy stick

So – Listen – I’m lucky to survive
a first deadfall – a foolish indignation
At my age – about tortoise-ish –
things slow down too easily
like a ship – a Large Slow Target –

like that sprung clock of death
which will not stop ticking for me
Truth is – it’s all going away
It’s fucking tough being Lucky
But I ain’t a convoluted piece of shit

Just south of Nash Street

Just south of Nash Street
lies an eye-straight road –
not laid by bent-to Romans
or rutted under lost pilgrims’ carts

but a later by-way pegged
between tool-twisted turns
of fleece-carding pricking wires
nailed to long-paced posts

Untouched oaks claim sunlight
in their overhead boundary
Their bare roots act as hazards
for my blind spot boots

which then slip on acorn grit –
that loosely rolled resurfacing
of brittle spawned shells
under emptied boughs

All found-hushes are lost
to door slams of a far off shotgun
At a saturated junction
unknown mushrooms stand

as if randomly placed bollards –
circles of tipped fragile caps
standing more connected
to this land than ourselves

We take a hard turn
to find – again – our east
to leave that subsoil route –
to tread on returning home tarmac

One More Named Illness

I do not want
one more named illness
that would be a sublime act of greed –
a selfish huzzah –

more drowning in remorse
as others swim carefree
in lakes – in ponds and in seas
without fear of sinking

Suddenly – an unexpected recall
of a place – almost lost – Coxes Lock
that maleficent flour mill
stood above a hand-dug waterway

Exclusive apartments
says Google –
still with brick-skinned faces
over that ever-dangerous depth

A near-redundancy
was obvious to all
forty years before
as a slow decay took hold

Above stuck sluices
hammered signs
denied access by trespass laws
and for all to Be Aware – Deep Water 

With its old labour came cuts
to flow – they filled reserves
to increase their grinding speeds
so reducing depths downstream

We were three boys
adrift in a rope-tied boat
pulled by our father
at his towpath distance

Coxes Lock and its dark pond
were not an option –
even for him
an old submariner

so we were towed
through shallower water
below those
high seeping gates

Now I have no anchor
in this floatation tank –
drifting in thought
and easing my set of pains

from a day’s equation
of hour-paid time
I cannot afford
one more named illness

Chelsea Girl

Nico took me on a trip
across a leatherette couch
at young Mr Warhol’s
last gallery party
We sipped old absinthe
from filthy egg cups
with that desert blast
from Jim’s
selfish rasps of eremic air
played back through
Andy’s Bang and Olufsen
We didn’t talk that much
My wet mouth was fixed
upon her age-pitted skin
There was a second time
but she was not counting
scores in ninety eighty-one
once punks stole her songs

My unpaired bookend

My unpaired bookend
An unescorted
found not wanting

to take her slotted weight
of a ripped hide binding –
of one more unreturnable

No end support
for true-life stories
featuring her bends in time –
of tippings and double backs

under fading recall
as a distorted monologue
No squeezing into space
left on a packed bookshelf

No loose dust covers
to keep at bay
her sparkling particles
Now half a brace stood
for others’ volumes

Poem #1,596 of 10,000

Birch Polypore

Scores of lady’s gloves reach
out on this chain sawn patch
whilst less urgent saplings
have slower ambitions

There a sometimes-killing –
but also useful – fungi
sprouts from a rot-set
silver bough

You see it too –
but as a foreign shell
washed up far from tides
without a limpet’s blind tenacity

I tell you – it is also known as
razor strop fungus – 
due to its rough edges –
many lost uses – like fire carrying

We crush this season’s litter
stopping at bright busting
sweet chestnuts –
buffed peel-able virgins

to be split by my heeled
crush – to an extraction
Along our crackling path
of bitter acorns – those

discarded ancient fruits
of last week’s storm –
we see where swung blades of gusts
broke a woodsman’s coppice


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


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


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

The Duchess

There are kinds of poets who give poets
a bad name – not me guv’nor

Perhaps bejewelled ones in headscarves –
those hosts of salons or saloons –

Sorry – my attention suddenly dimmed

Those who do nothing for our honest lies
in verse – with Mr. and Mrs. Thesaurus –

knocking off – and out – in parked cars
No grandiloquent words for us plebs

Before Digital

Revox B77 – high or low speed –
from my easier analogue ways
before everything got too fast

DN300 and DN360 graphic EQs
in 19″ racks – screwed and mounted
Even electric drills were rare

I could load a truck – but only after
being shown how to lift and turn
a case in the air
so that rubbed case knuckles fitted –

Tighter than Jan’s crotchless knickers
Sex wasn’t online or easy to understand
when fellow loaders joked – analogue days

If You Both

For Beth and Sam

If you both show kindness – then your love will survive
Within such an offering is your ever-guiding light

Sam, do not hold her too tightly and leave dark marks
Do not hold her too closely against your fear of loss
Do not hold her at distance and ask her to change
Only hold her tonight – So you can hold her again

If you both find compassion – then love is enough
Every kind word will settle and not be rebuffed

Beth, do not hold him too tightly and leave dark marks
Do not hold him too closely against your fear of loss
Do not hold him at distance and ask him to change
Only hold him tonight – So you can hold him again

If you both find joy – then there is a fabulous passion
and each kiss will seal and assure your marriage

Sam, do not hold her too tightly and leave dark marks
Do not hold her too closely against your fear of loss
Do not hold her at distance and ask her to change
Only hold her tonight – So you can hold her again

If you both offer freedom – then your love will flourish
All lovers are separate – but less separate when married

Beth, do not hold him too tightly and leave dark marks
Do not hold him too closely against your fear of loss
Do not hold him at distance and ask him to change
Only hold him tonight – So you can hold him again

Love is pure regard for another’s well being
You will find love forever if that’s all you are seeking


From our solemn mediator’s
lined notepad – Just a cheap thing
he referred to his underlinings

He instructed you to observe
Some basic ground rules
now he knows how you are

Do not put aside your husband’s
neurological condition
His Parkinson’s cannot be ignored

It all went wrong weeks earlier
as you pulled out your own pen
when you wanted to Strike a deal!

It all went wrong when you roomed
not for love – a family trait – equalled by
sisterly disruptions of vows

I could not fix that drugged damage
when you stumbled from Brighton
Off your tits and smelling of builders

Our mediator knows who you are
as he gives me a look of concern
and says Are you able to carry on?


We want to be heard –
us mutterers – we discontents
who can mussitate

I told you so –
because our righteousness
is so bloody close to Godliness

But we do not carry confidences
in such overbearing entities
and we would rather

leave prayers to those humbled
souls who kneel before altars
with their bare-faced soles

We malcontents will feed
in fast flowing streams
until they run with our blood –

torrents drip-drip-dripped
from our nail-hammered
word-wrung hands

Pinned up and posted –
just another Jesus Christ
expletive – re-fucking-tweeted