Careless Talk

Play a required symphony
by a long-dead composer
in a suddenly quiet moment
during your commuted time
Then – perhaps – then scroll
to old depressing stuff
by now-dead-Leonard –
No – not Leonard Bernstein –
Life ain’t a fucking musical
you scream outside your house
as you pause – then insert
and turn your copied key
to unlock home’s passwords
of Bletchley-worth codes
found in confusing texts
and misunderstandings
between desk operatives and you –
their long-suffering field agent
And in this domestic setting
do not spill jargon weighted
from your second language –
work’s double-speak words –
such is unknown by those
sheltered in your safe house
where what is said is often left


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

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


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

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



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


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