Tuesday, 31 January 2017

I saw him flapping around in the grass,
one wing at an improbable angle.
I chased him,
caught him,
wrapped him
in my cerise and navy school scarf.
Jack, jack, jacko..
Then it was a bus ride to the charity vet
who set the broken wing,
wrapped it
in plaster,
a heavy pot.
He was subdued on the bus home,
but still managed to greet my mother,
Jack, jack, jacko.
He perked up later after tea
and explored the living room
placing bits of straw artistically
and decorating them with pooh.
Which was why
he had to live
at school,
only for weekends.
Jack, jack jacko!
But he enjoyed bus journeys now
and greeted all the passengers,
hopping from shoulder to shoulder,
waking them up with a wang from his pot,
nibbling an ear here and a nostril there.
Most were
but some
were not.
He was close to becoming
the only jackdaw to be banned
from public transport.
Jack, jack, jacko!!
And then disaster!
the wing had not healed.
There was decay
and gangrene
and the trimming
of his lovely long feathers
to balance him.
No more hopping
from shoulder to shoulder,
well, maybe later
with practice!
But no more
prospects of a wild life
for Jacko
Jack, jack, jacko...
And no more home with me
said my mum as the school holidays
loomed threateningly.
Jack, jack, jacko.....
But nearby the vet,
a budgie had died
and it’s owner,
had a need and
it was love at first sight
for both her and Jacko.
Jack, jack, jacko!!
There were photos
in the press.
He was famous!
A local hero!
Jack, jack, jacko!!!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Sunday, 29 January 2017

I Am A Child
I am a child of the revolution
created by the wake of
fascism and imperialism,
that sought to construct
a more just society.
I am a child numbed by poverty,
stultified by working class conformity,
of a mother who wanted better for me,
but also wanted to keep me the same.
I am a child of these contradictions
who became a rebel
in the cultural revolution
of the rock and roll generation.
Who was liberated by student life,
by control of fertility,
by other places,
by the music and art
all parents hated.
I am still that child.
This is what made me.
This is what shaped me and
became part of my present,
became part of my future.
Sometimes I have tried to escape it.
Sometimes I still do.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Motherly Love
I have spent a lifetime
trying to break away,
trying to break out,
trying to find myself.
Always on the edge,
always on the outside,
not quite a part,
of it, not quite
a beatnik,
or a mod,
hippy, or
I was early to realise that
what she wanted me to be
was what she had wanted
for herself, about her, not me.
I wanted to escape such love.
I thought I could escape.
I thought I had escaped.
And I did, surely I did
of it.
But not all.
Not enough.
So even now I feel tethered.
After all this time of leaving
her behind,
I remain
of my
First published in Yellow Chair Review, June 2016

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

My Bag
I have a lifetime of projects,
that I carry round in a plastic bag.
A paper bag would be better
but plastic is more durable.
And it needs to be.
It has had to last a lifetime,
my bag.
A lifetime of ideas,
doings and sayings
carefully annotated and stored
for use sometime later.
To be finished, or started
sometime later.
I can add an idea,
capture a thought,
write it down,
so it will be there,
in my bag.
It's getting heavy
my bag.
Who would have thought
that dreams
could be so heavy,
even encased in paper.
It's getting full
my bag.
So is my life empty
with everything on the inside.
Perhaps now it’s time
to start emptying it out.
Slowly though.
One at a time,
and with care.
It's getting late.
But not too late,
I hope,
to empty my bag.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

On the Edge
I’m standing on the edge,
on the rim
of the perimeter,
on the outside, looking....
I’m not sure where I’m looking,
outwards over the horizon
or inwards to the inner depth,
the inside of something.
The inner void or the outer space.
Face or about face.
But there’s no confusion.
Both faces are the same,
I think...
Can somewhere be full
of emptiness?

First published in Calliope, June, 2015

Monday, 23 January 2017

I know that
nothing will be resolved,
there will be no solutions.
So I will make no resolutions,
not this year, not next.
no more.
I shall free myself
from the unresolved,
throw the past up in the air
and not bother to catch it
on the way down.
I’ll laugh as it fragments,
as it disintegrates,
as it falls about my feet.
I’ll kick it out of the way
as I resolve to move on
and leave the unresolved
behind me.
First published in Vox Poetica, January 2017

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Grains of Time
Time is running out for me
And I sit here gazing into space
Watching each grain trickle away.
I can't catch them,
Can't stop them,
Can't slow them down
Or speed them up.
I can only live the moment
As it passes.

First published in Scarlet Leaf Review, January 2017

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Weeping Mask
The mask weeps
diamond tears,
turning ruby like
as the blood
flow starts.
Then black
like coal
as decay begins
and the mask
begins to crack,
to distort
and disintegrate,
to flake away,
to disappear.
As all masks will
in the end.
Until only
the tears
First published in Magnolia Review, January 2017

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

I’m spinning a sphere
of mirrored glass and
I’m seeing my world
Upside down.
Round and round.
Making me dizzy.
perhaps it was always
upside down and
spinning out
of control
in any
Perhaps it always will be.
First published in Scarlet Leaf Review, January 2017

Monday, 16 January 2017

It’s pleasant enough
wandering these pathways
flanked by tall the rectangular cages,
each protected by a steel door
with a security code.
Even pleasanter later,
when the cages are lower
and less daunting enclosures
of decorative brick or pricey stone
surrounding quiet green spaces,
each protected by metal gates
with a security code.
Occasionally a creature emerges,
sometimes with barred teeth,
clenched fists, raised claws.
But mostly looking sad
and out of condition.
Lost inside itself.
Poor things.
Lost souls
Mostly though, they are seen outside,
moving purposefully to a destination,
not free to wander random paths.
Or heading back to their cages,
hoping there is no diversion
which may leave them lost.
Leave them in terror of
the unforeseen
The unforeseen
that may arise
from freedom.
to be lost.
Poor things.
Lost souls
in or out
of their
First published in Scarlet Leaf Review, January 2017

Sunday, 15 January 2017

It’s not that I’m not tempted,
she said
and I don’t want to offend you.
She took my hand briefly,
to show there was no offence
then let it go.
I held on to hers
as she explained.
Then we walked in silence
for quite a long way
enveloped in the dark night.
Hand in hand.
Quiet footsteps
that didn’t break the silence.
She looked up at me and smiled.
I smiled back.
Or was I the first to smile
and she smiled back?
I don’t remember.
It doesn’t matter,
but we don’t remember.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The End
Once up on a time
he thought
the worst would be
not knowing
what happened next,
not knowing
how it all ended.
with the madness spiraling
into an ever tighter vortex,
he no longer wants to know
he thinks
there will be no end
to the madness.
Only his end
with his death.
First published in Magnolia Review, January 2017

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Eye Contact
Look at me.
Hey, look at me.
I’m here
I’m real,
a real person
and I like you a lot.
You’re really special.
Hey look at me,
look into my eyes.
Look at me!
How the fuck
can I look at you
when you keep
kissing my eyes closed!
First published in Rat’s Ass Review, Love and Ensuing Madness, 2017

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

For Charlie

So many people marching and waving,
waving pencils and pictures of pencils.
Millions and millions marching with pencils,
asserting their values, showing their power,
paying their respects.
But it's not what it seems.
say the sideline snipers,
the underminers,
the false flag wavers,
the pencil baiters,
the Je Suis Fuck All-ers.
They're pencilled pawns,
just part of the plans
of the Old Pretenders,
the liars and haters,
the manipulators,
the plotters and schemers,
the money makers.
The bullets were blanks and,
the dead, aren’t dead.
Say the sideline snipers,
the underminers,
the false flag wavers,
the pencil baiters,
the Je Suis Fuck All-ers.
just look who's leading
from the front line.
It's the Old Pretenders, the liars and haters.
It’s proof enough
What more do you need.
But it's not what it seems.
It's a trick of the camera,
another pretence
to diminish the distance
between them and
the leaders behind them,
the pencil wavers,
the movers and shakers,
the history makers.
Not so say the snipers,
the underminers,
know better than you-ers,
the Je Suis Fuck All-ers.
They say nothing of Gaza,
those pencil wavers,
or climate, or oil, or this or that.
And if they can't speak for all things,
it won't matter if, tired by the baiters
they go home and draw cats
till their pencils are blunted
and the spell has abated.
and smiles back on the faces
of the Old Pretenders,
the liars and haters,
the leadership fakers,
the Je Suis Fuck All-ers
who love
to look at
of kitties.


Monday, 9 January 2017

When I was seventeen
it was seemed a very good year.
I'd moved slowly
back and forth
across the threshold
between child and adult
for a long time.
And it felt a long time still,
since I'd been ready,
to take that final leap.
Now I was approaching
a new threshold,
hovering between
ballroom and beat.
Moving on from US rock
to the Mersey sound
and British Blues.
Moving from home
to a new town
where I could escape
the mother's mould
and I was ready,
to to take that leap
and embrace independence.
But less confident than
the face I showed.
by the brightness
of my future.
of the dark mushroom cloud
hanging above us all.
And I was ready,
to do what
I could
about it all
when I
the threshold
and moved on.

First published in Silver Birch Press, January 2017

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Tell Me, Mirror

Tell me, Mirror,
which face do you see?
Is it a pale face,
fairer than fair,
unsullied by sun,
moist and unlined, 
unblemished by wind.
Glowing white,
white as virgin snow
unbroken by footprints.
Or is the glowing skin wrinkling,
the shining white greying.
As time has passed
has it picked up some dirt
in passing.
Maybe it’s darker still in places
as the whiteness decays.
As it melts away
like the snow.
Tell me, Mirror,
Which face do you see?

First published in Verbal Art, November 2016


Thursday, 5 January 2017


I am dancing
in the sunlight,
the bright, bright light.
I know the cloud is there
but I can forget it, till I stop.
And then..
There it is,
even bigger 
and blacker
than before.
Darker than 

It doesn’t like me dancing,
doesn’t like the laughter
or the sunshine.
Brightness breaks it,
shatters it into a grey mist.
But still it won’t leave me.

The brighter the sunlight,
the louder the laughter,
the greater my fear
that it will form again
and suck me into it’s


Sunday, 1 January 2017

Light and Dark


First published in Visual Verse, October 2016