On Luxford

The old boys’ bench
affords a wide view
of Luxford Fields

of trees to the north

Here is my basecamp
on the ascent
over difficult terrain
of root split tarmac

Dog walkers and kid strollers
criss-cross the scuff

taking turns to shout
and to chase

Behind me shoppers steer
between tight spaces

which revs and white lines
take for three to ten hours

Two boys on bikes gob
and then dare each other

on their brakeless machines

to ride the Tesco steps


British Summertime
day one
as seen from this flint field

high above the Winterbourne’s
estate dictated course

above the rush of the bypass

that continuos inland tide

Here I listen for the reduced birds
as seagulls are distance summoned
by the hip-jiggered tractor’s
turn of furrow

You have walked on
with me left here
above this valley landscape
with an extra hour of light

as if the clocks had stopped

West Pier

It may have been the 1970s

it may have been Brighton

but no one can confirm
when my father saved a pier

I was railing high
navigating the gaps in the planks
with a slender fear

a cheap thrill
as you walked above the sea

and below

under the bolted timber

waves hypnotised the iron work

the tang of salt over candyfloss
was taken up like Friars Balm
through your head

As we passed the rides Dad saw smoke

a daft smoulder rising up from the deck
and we stopped


to look
for timbers

for them burning

but it was just a cigarette butt
still curling


as he was at work

called out to an attendant
and the fag was drowned
with a red bucket marked ‘FIRE’

Brighton 1 – Watford 0

This concrete and steel
oozes last week’s freeze
where I sit with my pint
high in the East Stand
having travelled with my boys

but they are already perched
on the folding seats
as I wait for my beer to push
me there via the toilets

where scarfed men shuffle
and queue in silence for urinals

there they unwrap and rezip
after pissing a few quid
before the match
on to others’ left pubes

theses gentleman hope
beyond hope
for a home result
as they wash down those hairs


As if there was enough death
to recall at this time of year
there is another one to add
to the villagers’ engraved lists,

but she shall not be set to stone
in a public place, instead placed,
for now, in a far-removed room
to wait, to wake to dried tears;

she will not cry, or laugh, again,
pull faces, look for the moon,
take a selfie, be misunderstood,
she will not cry, or laugh, again.