Poetry Please

My poetry has been published in The Moth, New River Press, and AKA. With three poems in the US edition of SMEAR published by Andrews McMeel Publishing. You can buy it HERE.

Some  from the archives:

Strange Windows

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The black doors here are framed
with yellow roses
and the women with neon burgundy.
There are fox gloves by the water,
what is framing me?

Lilith’s eyes
dancing in the glass,
I see myself
in the reflection as
she smiles and waves me in.
But I don’t have the kind of money
to pay for basic needs –
I’ll never have enough.

Her breasts pressed together,
like two magnets
forced to face each other.
Why hold them in if they
want to get out?
Or is it in the release?
Does that please
the gentlemen?

Her long hair extensions
have been straightened
into great curtains,
like the velvet ones she parted
to give a better view –
as she did with her long,
shapeless legs; because
she is too kind.

Her lips are lined with
what looks like kohl, and
words so well rehearsed:
“I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen it all.
I never wanted any more,
than to sit in the windows
of this city,
like the cats you see
forever napping
in the sunlight on the sill.”

Even stinging nettles bare flowers
but I think I’ve seen
enough for now.
If I blink she’ll go away;
but there’s the neon like a worm and
those strange window frames.

All the tears at my disposal
but no longer motivation;
what a happy lack,
what a happy missing.
I think of Lilith kissing
all the men,
does she need a friend?
An ally in bed
might improve the sex.

The grass blows by the river bank
in a breeze that makes
the houseboats creek.
Make me an aperol spritz
with soda like the sweat
from sailor’s necks,
Lillith licks her lips.
I never wanted more than this.

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The Boys Who Nearly Killed Me

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What more do you want than
these white waves?
The March Sun blanched middle
of the sea.
The sand snakeskined in patterns
by the rip currents.
Not far from where you’d find us
starting fires and drinking special brew,
right close to where you’d’ve found us
snoozing in the dunes.
If I keep walking with my eyes closed,
will it be over soon?

I’m not far from the
park where I got beaten up,
or the corner we took too fast
on that Honda 90cc.
I’m not too far
from the dart that only just missed me,
the bottle that nearly hit me.
On cloudy days like these,
when the cliffs are kissed with mist,
I remember with affection,
the boys who nearly killed me.

What more do you want
than a midge in the sun?
Than the branches above;
a filigree of wishbones
to crack, and whisper at;
then say, sorry, you’ve forgotten
what you wanted in the first place.
Not so far from the copper hope you gave
the well in Florence. When money
still had currency, and home
was still a place.

I’m not far from the bad decisions
that led that car to meet the banks.
I’m not too far from the axe he had,
the quad bike we crashed,
or the hay bails like boulders we
precariously stacked.
On cosy days like these,
when the sun comes through the window,
and there’s the buzz of honey bees;
I remember with affection,
the whistle of my maker
and the boys who nearly killed me.

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Here, Again

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I’m back.
Have you missed me?
I didn’t realise I was gone.
But I’m back here again
I recognise this feeling.
Full circle.

I’ve gone six roads in time and all I learned is
it’s going to happen anyway.
Just let it slide.
The key was not struggle, to keep my hands behind my back,
until I was left with nothing.
Until I got it’s all I ever had.

What of this job, this money, this love?
What of this land? These fields as quiet as a hand on glass.
I have lost much.
I dared to dream.
And while I slept
I lost more than I ever dared
to fear, and now there’s nothing left.

Thank God, or I’d not have stopped to see
this misty sun, these birds with banded wings.
I have lost much, right from the start;
but still I cast shadows from where I stand.
My mirror image,
this little mimic and I
have seen a lot.

I’ve done seven full circles of hell and all I learned is
you’ve never really lived
until you’ve been possessed by it.
It’s safe to speak.
Endowed with the inconceivable,
render yourself a miracle
in this patch of sun.

Down with the women in the rushes,
is the stream of all along and all the while,
that ebbs away in silence.
This is the only, only, time
you’ll get this life,
and the world remains beautiful regardless of you,
and your pain.
This circle’s all there is
and it’s sealed with a kiss.

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Las Salinas


Near the salt flats on the southern most tip, where the buildings turn white,
white like the sun, white like the dust, white like the cross that rests at the top;
a peacock plays night watchman to the well preserved and white walled souls.
At last light as I’m getting old, I see the advantage of a parallel life,
for this is where the rosemary grows.

Bats sweep the water, looping the tropic of cancer’s forgotten daughter,
like the beats between their wings, we exist here in imagings.
Without a whisper from the moon the sea begins to move,
and the ships sway like abacuses, counting the chaos of the code.
I heard between the words.

At night light mixes on the water, and along the event horizon
holograms meet in emerald coloured rooms
where all the walls have suicide doors, so you can start again,
with no more pain than a bruise.
But the sun comes up too soon, white like the moon, white like
the long column that runs down my back, flat like the salt planes except for that.

Black coffee blots out my dreams and patchy reality comes sneaking in,
across the valleys with the mist, I am the creator of the glitch.
Breakfast casts my face in silver: the figure wears hot velvet in the mirror
of a knife, split down the middle and divided on both sides.
By the lake two date trees swing, eking out the echoes
of as yet unspoken things.
I’ve been silent for a while now, in two dimensions glimmering.



Good Manners

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Red lights start the night at 11.25pm for
smoke-lit amphetamine heads
whisky coke adrenaline, the air is wet, it drips
like rain from the collective cloud of hormonal sweat.
Long, black coated man it’s too hot to be wearing that
and I don’t like the way you sidle up to me.
Move on to a friend of a friend and win, I was just a stumbling block
on your mission to keep pushing a means to an end.
Smells like someone’s smoking reefer in the corner but there’s no one there.
We go outside to see if it’s coming through the vents …

“I’ve done more girls than all of you.
And I’m the skinniest here, what does that mean?”
None of his friends can tell him.
He’s 23 but his eyes have been punched by all the late nights
and all the laughing. I don’t think he’ll become a good man but he’s
warm in the smoking pens outside, where foundation
and drawn-on eye brows clash with the white of the outdoor lights.
The wind filled with men’s promises
and the cackles of the gargoyles of the night.

Not far from the alibi, and down the unloved stairs
her lips are slit and ready for a kiss. She’s smiling, and sticking out her chest
to compensate. She’s self-conscious of her teeth.
I watch him clock what and who’s around. What’s the time Mr Wolf?
Think it’s hometime now. I catch him take a last look back
and feel sorry for his girlfriend as I watch him rub her back
as he watches me. It must be the bare skin because
we’ve all received that pat.
I frown. Less than I mean to because I’m half in the past.
I’m supernatural baked girlfriend,
good luck with him.

Someone spilled my drink. You, who grinds your teeth
as the whisky sinks in to my vest that was on the floor next to it.
I wouldn’t say anything but my friend thinks you should buy me another –
doubt you’ll bother. I assume you’ll never return,
so when you do, it’s in less time than I could expect;
to the time-warping abilities of someone else’s trip.
Gently pass the full glass, and leave like you too were once blown apart.
From behind I see you’re lined with silver;
like the washing machine your jaw could’ve been.
But whatever, no matter, your manners remained.


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Orchestra of Pylons

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I miss the pace, if I’m honest. If I’m honest,
I miss making margaritas braless behind the bar, with my lost friends egging me on.
I miss lacking class.
I miss cracking glass, slapping tarts, watching boys brawl, crashing through walls. I miss creating new scars.
I miss the race, I want excess, I miss the tumble, I like disgrace. I find romance in it.
I crave attention, I like aggression. Can I entice you to fight me?
I’m born the year of the tiger, I like to be cornered. Come a touch closer,
I’ll be the pain you’ve been pining …

I miss the pace, if I’m honest. If I’m honest,
I miss your name in my mouth, like a sweet I roll around.
I miss crying wolf. I hate standing tall. I like being chased, but what I love’s
getting caught. I like bratty, I like bitchy, I like catty, I like spoilt.
I like smashing tennis balls in to the other court.
I miss dancing. I miss shouting. I miss big. I miss grand. I miss the West of
America, I miss all my worst plans.
I miss carelessness, recklessness, the mottling of flesh. I miss the clamp of fear
that held me together, kept in my mess.

I miss the game, if I’m honest. If I’m honest,
I miss being run through the mill. I even miss dead bluebottles on the windowsill.
Still, I’m nimble from my childhood years; and still,
there’s the thick, soft grass I’d jealously watch the horses eat,
there’s still rivers and streams, the nettles still sting.
But now there’s never a sound but the wind, that howl. That pain between the wires,
an orchestra of pylons, just to remind me
I miss the streets. I miss the hard concrete that once fractured my teeth.
I repeat: if I’m honest, I miss the pace.
So my advice is chase only the heat, and revel in it.

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The Third Revolution of the Wheel

Stop. It’s all over now. This is all it ever was.
There is no time to mourn,
you have lost nothing.
It had already gone so long ago it never was.
This was it all along. This was that feeling of

The end.
A little death, the little future in our heads
put to sleep
with a pretty little kiss,
on the dot where our minds had met.

It’s all over now.
And so whole new worlds must begin. Whole new avenues
of bright roads
to fill the cavity of the past.
The vacuum of all that never was,
bags filled with everything you ever loved.

Such is life.

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Topanga Canyon


There was a car over Topanga Canyon and a White Whale
Sailing through the sky, cruising down to LAX.
In the morning light
I thought I looked beautiful wrapped in a towel,
I’d have liked you to’ve seen it, but it’s no loss of mine.

Ballets of Segway drifters floating past my sunny head,
Ukulele in the distance, meter on the mile and bacon on the side.
Bright light pacific breeze,
A wish empties my breath and darkens my chest,
What comes in on the wind and brings me to my knees?

Miss Marianne, I heard him scream your name
40 years too late.
On Hollywood Boulevard outside a theatre,
He stood there old and mad. So lost Marianne,
Just a short cab ride from where you took the train.
Still the sun glitters the palm trees,
And artificial streams rush to calm the mildly agitated –
that’s me, can’t seem to shake this city breeze.

Black on black Range Rover, I watch you hurtle down the 8 lanes.
Come, bowl me over this refill of my cherry cola.
Hit the view, all’s new, all’s cool, all’s fine.
Light another, take me to a cloud with numbers.
I’ve tied up my split ends and cut off all the loose ones
There’s no dead weight. Unless you count the floor to which I am stuck,
Or you count the thoughts, of which I think of too much.

And so to bed, to my sweet dreamscape hummer,
Revving to heaven with legs of white steel.
Trash the check list of sins. He is forgiven who forgives himself,
And he, like the space between a stepping stone and a crocodile,
Is dangerous in dreams.

upsideodwn topanga

A Guide To Bathing

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Listen to the steam that floats from your body
in the hot bath, eavesdropping with crossed arms,
your fortress of skin protecting your breasts.
From what? Not who, but what; what are you scared of?
There’s nothing here but Dark.

Let your hands spill down your sides and
part in the water. Feel the hot wet between
your finger tips. Momentary weightlessness,
and then your arms begin to slide. A small fall from grace,
like the change from major to minor when your lover says goodbye.
Feel the skin soften, as your epidermis absorbs the blossom,
like old Alhambran Queens. Rose water cools your cheeks
and the cotton pads press at the beads, crushing them into
tributaries, to replace the old riverbed of tears.

Citrus oils coil on the surface while you close your binary pairs,
in here your mind’s the eye you need to wear.
Now lifted by your breath – mist hits like incense, like innocence.
Reviving the butterflies that live between your naval, and coat your
nerves with tingles, electric storms as you suspend in your lake-like cradle.
With your eyes closed, part your toes,
let the tepid water run where the rivers used to flow.

See that glow? Re-set your course,
free fall forwards through yourself, towards it.
Nothing was ever that long ago; everything is forever
a short walk down the ice roads of your soul.
Pull your curves and bones, submerge beneath the laminate,
holding your breath. Now stretch;
feel air bubbles blow kisses from your ear;
hear your heart beat fast, faster, now you need air –
but still you count to ten, what if you never breathed again?

Breath in.
Your levitations at an end, emerge from the surface
with golden skin. Molten droplets collect on hairs as the cool air
surprises every one of them. Count down, it’s almost time to get up;
time to part your watery gate, to flood it.
Time to feel the slippery rush. A breath.
Raise those high arches and lengthen the key-stone again,
in preparation of the weight of all the steps you still contain.

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Forever Cinderella

Sleepless in your reason, trying to leave your mind behind,
The Big Dipper out your window, talks you through your lines.
You have the theatre of the earth and the language of the stars
And yet, your mind still lingers on the rush of passing cars.

I can see you’re tired, the lines around your eyes
Circular as pomegranates, tilted by your smile.
No goose feathers beneath your cheeks, you miss those broken wings.
I know why you can’t sleep, your dreams just miss their cornicing.

Forever Cinderella, the fate of girls who lust,
Drenched in fortunes armor, like Sisyphus you sweep the dust.
Does he still remember you, the cloud that broke the blue,
After all the other rooms that he’s been passing through?

That rush outside’s an XR2.

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English Ground

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Hello old stone, weather worn and calm,
glassy and wet, little rivulets still pouring from the summer storm —
blood moss leaching across.
At the top of my thigh high sock
is a strip, pigmented by an American spring,
that shudders as I tread the damp English ground,
bruising slugs and elderberries on dark familiar gravel.
Sunlight parted by the church’s turrets
scatters between the crenellations of my frown,
adorning me a crown. I am blessed for a time.

Along the hills the flowering grasses are synchronized
in their sublimations,
Worshiping the wind, their holy animator.
‘Sing! Choirs of barley, of the bones of fallen kings,
Between buttercups and millet flowers the femur of St James.’
Then, as if the spirit were never there, still air dresses them for sleep,
bowing their seasonal canopies in wait of midsummer rain —
which comes, as routine as disappointment, but of a lighter weight.

Again the giddy rivers flow, and the banks are lined with sycamores
as the autumn in me grows — the wings of swallows show me East,
as if I’m lost with out a key, and direction’s all I need.
I’ll go. But not so fast,
I have time to lie back and let the grit seep in.
And as a statue I remember:
I am the sun, the trees, the King.

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Tina and The Flame

Under clouds like horses near a town on Aztec lines,
Tina would ride. Like the waves that drive
the swash forever forwards
she had no direction but time.
Grits fortified, they set her up for life.
Strong and tough since she was born,
she was the brewing of a storm, eyes like the flower before the corn,
was Tina and the flame.

As Tina aged and her face changed, men skirted
or froze and burned in her gaze;
so the women chose to isolate the drifter.
“There is a force around her!” warned the bearded, lonely pastor.
“She is fire and disaster, the pull of every game
running lose on open planes.”

Like the stars she drew their eyes,
her loneliness her fame,
her engrained. She spent more time in the wild
than in the town on Aztec lines,
where jewelry was only worn at night.
Heat steals the space between precious metal and flesh;
until it’s cooled,
so in the darkness she wore gold.

Tina knew the sinews of the Yucca tree,
the nine dimensions of the cactus plant,
Why the purple shrubs took shallow root and fought for dust,
Why widowed crickets only cry at night –
something to do with life.
One day she chose to ride,
left the town for seven nights,
No one noticed she had gone, as she slept out on the desert lawns
and lit wild fires in her name so she would leave no trace –
save for the ash that fell like snow, the tundra of the blaze.

When Tina came back to the town on Aztec lines,
she set the streets on fire.
First with drop top wings and assorted smiles,
then with petroleum and dynamite; those streets burned all night.
The Pastor blamed Glory’s sister and after that the men who’d kissed her;
the Sheriff blamed bad ammunition, too solid to shoot an apparition;
the men blamed emancipation, she was the omen of a wily nation;
and the wives blamed Tina’s ways and shape –
she was the shadow of her own ill fate.

But the inferno raged, and burned all their brains, their blame.
Sadly, there was no other way
than to take their days, and start again on some new plane.
Like the coming of the rain, like the wiping of a slate,
like the pain that makes the saint,
was Tina and the Flame.

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Dairy Queen


Venice Beach heat, I can’t
reach my drink.
As the blaze of LA
beats and beats and beats;
the metronome to the wind.
I lie horizontal, like
Sylvia Plath. Hand on brow,
mind askew. Chocolate milk,
just a hair, just a breath
out of reach.

I. Just. Can’t. Reach.

Well, FINE. If that’s how it is,
Cruel world, cruel lord of jesters;
Then I’ll just die. Enough
Minor defeats.


The Condition of Being Alive

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She took a walk in springtime in a city she no longer lived in,
Round the corner on Homer’s Road she no longer felt the pull.
On the bus she no longer felt the simmer of the blues.
“An open return to the 7th circle please, keep me on the peripheries.
And my conscience with the sycamore trees, keep it clean.
I hope he leaves and comes with me.”
Doesn’t feel like it’s a possibility.

On these distant city pavements, slithered distant bitter failures,
Past the tainted architecture of the swallow, the twisted industry of the ant.
All walls and closed doors, where when the first back was turned
The tail would eat the head, if the tail could get away with it.
(Which it often did.)

It was easy to get lost in a city trying to get discovered,
Like blackbirds in the dark, like flashlights in the sun.
Born to be a colour prophet, just dulled along the way.
Born to be a queen of dreams but turned at dawn in to a whore.
Watch him whitewash the eves.
Too in tune with the moon she felt the tides in her eyes swelling,
Wild as a deer trapped in the headlights. He wants a good wife.
In between thinking of him she imagined white veils and black daisies,
And wondered how big were little changes.
Girls in pink pulled at the weeping willow, hunters instinct
To pull the saddest leaves from the trees,
To me, we were the only ones who are not them.

Heaven sent to chase a squirrel along an old picket fence,
To watch a fountain loose the rain, hear the eggs fall from the trees,
Trace a line of Georgian buildings.
The stolen columns of demi-gods that miraged her eyes
And beat the winding symmetry of the white walls of Park Square East.
You were once ten, still remember the pain.

Soon it will be September,
And the signets will have no trace of grey.
What wonderland has she been in? What wonders has she seen?
None for almost seven years,
For we all know that when a wheel deals a dead end
We let go of what we love most and watch it slip away in tepid waters.

Pressure turns dust to diamonds, and diamonds in to dust.
The highest ceilings are falling cinders, as in this life there is only mist.
Her feet touch the waters edge, St James’ Lake in mid December.
Winding roots mimic prehistoric mangroves, black space echoed in the lake.
Today she will accept the condition of being alive,
If just for a while.

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What’s Chewing Gum Got To Do With The Secrets of the Universe?

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Hello old man, what homeless drum controls the behavior of the sun? I’d like to know because I‘ve got to go there, in about 70 years. Can we slow it down or speed it up? Depending on my lovers touch? Or is it set, like a winding clock, that tortures every Capulet?

We’ve walked a long wind to find the wild kind, tripped beer cans and chicken bones round every cursed corner, primordial mementos like a raptor’s family slaughter.

Is this loss of faith I’m feeling? Another bought of mardy bum? Have I really lost it this time?

Or is it just low blood sugar?

But take a look, enchanted youth. What’s chewing gum got to do with the secrets of the universe?

There’s a Templar’s pentacle under your feet, between Charring Cross and 10 Downing Street, all the way from St Paul’s Cathedral right up to Cleopatra’s Needle.

Under Wrigley’s over Extra, I’ll have my eggs done easy over, sunny-side down, the embryo’s frown, I like their melancholy texture.

I’ve spent a long time watching the long line, that traces the coloured tracks, installing forwards, no turning back. Sweet slow Alabama, sweet send me round the twist, I’m out of town I’m out alone, sweet Jesus make me feel at home.

What about the Borrowgroves?


Nar Shadaa?

What about the Heron Tower or the Byzantine Bogomils?

Filthy demons, grotty robbers, keys cut at the Catholic cobblers, bronze in to the Golden Section, Pharaohs found heavens reflection. What stars are found in my foundation? Pretty girl, Page 3 complexion, run until you know you lost ‘em.

Then, take a left in to my new, light blue door of perception.

I’ve grown some fine lines since I found you first, I saw you most, in July 2009, warped alchemy of time. Let’s out of here and hit the seas, there’s war on the news and the bees have knees.

What about the bricks and mortar?

Then I’ll find you at the flaming Sphinx, between quarter to five and ten to six, all links in time lie on these lines, a divining stick won’t find this water.

But hold on now dear darling star, why illuminate the infinite?

Just for kicks?

I do hope not.

Or I’m the land that time forgot, just like the kiss that never was, just like this thing you need to mention, oh dear old man, I forgot my question.

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The Colour of Dreams

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If blue is the colour of our dreams,
And we have felt the lighter side of stones;
Then I can draw a summers breeze,
And sew one man a shadow.

If spiders spin bigger webs when it is dry,
And love is locked in the lifespan of a turtle dove;
Then when it is wet all souls divide,
And swim amongst the flood.

If we are stained by the careless lily,
And the wildest fires are given no name;
Then lost girls spiral like fresh fussili,
And linger with moths in the lake.

If great elephants have our human eyes,
And telescopes hold the boney moon;
Then it’s our secret that we long to die,
Let go that red balloon.

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