Monday, 22 June 2009


I want to be a stone. Cold
and sober.
between his rock and
hard place.

There is no piety
at parties. Words
winding out of the dark; between
restless bodies
and warm cider spilt on skirts again.

I take an inch off my privacy
every time
I clean. Forty degrees
is hotter than it used to be.

I want to be a stone. Cold
and sober.
Cracking off
freeze-thaw mood swings: hot
and cold diet of subtraction
softening edges.

by eventide. I
wake up sticking
to stories of sea-labotomies.

June 2009.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Home is...

it isn't where I lay my head
it isn't where the heart is
it isn't pouring another drink
or admiring works of art
it isn't climbing in and out of train windows
it isn't losing itself in the landscape
it isn't where I left it
it isn't under the bed
it isn't in my retraced steps
it isn't collecting dust
on the shelves of lost property offices
at central stations
it isn't traversing this muddy terrain
it isn't hiding in the shade
it isn't in this song
it isn't in this crowd
it isn't locked in this sweaty embrace
it isn't in the guidebook
it isn't off the beaten track
it isn't anywhere I have ever dreamed of
I haven't found it at last

June 2009.

Friday, 19 June 2009


We are all cast
on rocks
strewn out across an open sea.

We stand, wide-
bleary-eyed, blinded by our neighbour's headlights
at the tip of some horizon
that is not the end of the world,
just the end of the only world that we can see.

We glare with one determined ray of light along each-other's lines of latitude:
note how the waves are weathering all our feet.

We erode elegantly,
two chins to the wind;
we try to wipe the lichen from our knees.

I would stick my fingers around any old equator if I could
stop turning,
if my eyes were not bigger than this steady beam.

Curse this bulb,
filthy filament,
shining farther than I could ever hope to reach;
as it dims the world is shrinking. Everything
will get smaller and come to me.

I want your photons touching mine.

The same ships are passing every night.

June 2009.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

ten-second delay

I know vertigo by definition alone
we emote remotely

my webcam points at stars
...gifs of gulls
...tinny sounds like waves crashing

(we pray the tears rolling down our cheeks don't break our keyboards tonight)

I am talking with my hands in my sleep

I wanted to write about you in your absence
but all I can see is my face reflected in computer screens
and fingerprints on glass, marking
the number of times
I have tried to touch it

I wanted to tell you
ever gets completely removed
and that
when I search for your name
your font still remembers me
and our history folder looks beautiful
in print

I wanted to tell you to come home
but i typed homepage.
and was disconnected.

June 2009

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

No-one's Ark

the early bird, bearing the brunt of too much leisure time, is sleeping in later and later; the hyena doesn't laugh anymore, not since the fuel crisis; tree frogs are looking for something a little more centrally located; elephants' trunks are too heavy for passenger flights; the grey squirrel has forgotten what he is fighting for; the camel, sick of commuting, has eloped with some young dromedary; krill would kill for anything other than phytoplankton; the honey bee guide is charging different rates for tourists; even the hermit crab sublets... cuckoos offload their eggs onto unchecked foster parents; Nessie is ghostwriting his fourth autobiography; the golden eagle is accused of being antiquated and unnecessarily flamboyant; Russian dwarf hamsters are lowering their suspensions; bats complain of light pollution and push passive agressive notes under the doors of noisy neighbours; the hawk is hawking feather dusters by the side of the road...

we are clamping tired horses
we keep molluscs in cages

only the uninteresting barnacle, shell getting thicker, is free

to slowly slide down the faces of rocks,
nucleus humming folksongs,

"I suck therefore I am..."

and only the slug still remembers how to dance patterns into a moonlit night.

June 2009.

Grounds for Applause

Two hands open and close
in undecided prayer.
Two palms
reciting short, sharp psalms
into empty air.
Two arms, at decreasing intervals, together and part

but never quite reach
There is always an On then an Off.

Two lips push desperate praises onto open ears,
fling desperate phrases
at half-cut saviours
and tremble at the slightest thing.

Ten fingers stretch skywards
grasping at silver linings,
shaking the shit out of satellites
demanding a pinch of god.

Two mouths touch each other
and make silence: tongues swim and they swim and they swim

June 2009.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

When you get down into the middle of anything there are only pixels

This is the left side,
this is the right.

Memories are not six by four

of truth.

This is the paper.
Face down

inside warm ducts like armpits;

toward you.

This is the pigment,
truthfully fading

in damp boxes in corners of rooms, only

from view.

This is the composition;
these, the right-angles

of light to capture you within

an inch
of your life.

This is the back. Over

this is the only side I can look at,

this is the narrow margin
that separates me from you.

June 2009.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

on the eve of the eve of the eve of the eve of the eve of the eve of the eve of the eve of my birthday

you are lying in bed
you are sitting with eyes open
you are fingering the extremities of duvets
you are wasting your own time
and mine

you think that you are relaxing.
you are not relaxing.

you think that you are making plans
for the future.
you are not making plans.

you are trying to hide from your future
you move an arm under pillows
you turn a head toward walls
you dream of adventurous things
and conjure ambition

you kill time so as not to

you do not have enough time
to do anything more productive
you have no time to unwind
you are surprised you make it to work each day
when there is no time to eat or lock doors or get dressed or make phone calls

you do not understand how people have children
or clean houses
or buy houses
or get haircuts
or bake cakes
or tend gardens
or drive cars
or play chess
or read books about history

you do not even have enough time to list these things.

June 2009.

Friday, 5 June 2009

The world is vast and similar.

My father does not shake my hand any more,
he says he does not pass me on the street
he says
no, we did not meet.

I wonder then,
who have I been talking to
as if they had known me my whole life?

just who is this I am tipping hats at
as if they bathed me into this world,
and why do they not tell me
that this is inappropriate behaviour
for two so unwell acquainted?

and who is this I am pooring my misery onto?
and who is this one I invite to my wedding?
and who is this person clutching a list of my ailments?
and whose is this hand that is cupping my breast?

I am pursuing strangers.
I know.

I am stopping and starting at holes in the road,
at holes where we used to go

I have remembered too much in this city,
every corner has its story

it takes too long to walk this plot
(of ground)
so many times over

it takes too long to recognise so much
in what should be unfamiliar.

why am I pinning you down?

why am I pressing my knees in your shoulders
demanding to know why you look like my father?

why do you look like my father?

In this city one thing resembles another thing
and all things resemble my nostalgia.

June 2009.

Lydia Unsworth Just Found Herself


I tried hard to forge the words that would keep death away,
only to learn that
even a composer

At which point;

I vowed not to work for the rest of my days,
only to learn that
even a passenger
passes away.


i see myself looking both ways at the side of a motorway
all else running across my sight
in either one or the other direction.

i grow downward
my feet stick to the soil
my toes creep throughout the earth's minus numbers
my knees bend like old wood
my elbows crutch the hands that clamp that neck
these hands that point this face toward that road
and then my gaze
hoisted atop my two hard shoulders
switching from left to right.

from a left to a right that it will never squint to reach

neither direction will sway me
neither direction can compel me meet its chevrons
i am a feast in the grass
i am brother to these files of streetlights

and so between this bulb’s modest efforts and the blaze of that sun
i find i am constantly illuminated.

i am standing there still
and i know
that either destination would suffice.

2007 or 2008

An Old One

the knowledge that all feelings eventually end
the knowledge that all feelings eventually end
the knowledge that all feelings eventually end
the knowledge that all feelings eventually end
the knowledge that all feelings eventually end
the knowledge that all feelings eventually end

the knowledge that all feelings eventually end
the knowledge that all feelings eventually end
the knowledge that all feelings eventually end
the knowledge that all feelings eventually end
the knowledge that all feelings eventually end
the knowledge that all feeling eventually ends


Poor heart didn't know what was coming

Poor heart is pounding unabated;
persistent dog forever mouthing lousy stick.

Back and forth it drums lament into the stuff of rib-cages,
cajoling limbs and lips, 'charge forth!'
astride steady backwash of rash commands.

From East to West poor heart assails steady chest;
from North to South poor heart strums chords through open mouth;
from top to bottom poor heart wails, lest she end forgotten;
and resounding on and off the walls of nearby organs
poor heart heads a noisy chorus.

Never a muscle who could cry harder,
never did tissue need so many tissues,
never was a beating thing so beaten
or so willing.

Two eyes looking out of train windows
see the same leaves again and again
at two-second intervals:
they never cease to be remarkable.

All is for you,
my beautiful wandering metronome.

June 2009.

Wednesday Was Either Yesterday or Today.

The letter was in the box. The letter was in the envelope. The letter was out of my hands. I retracted my fingers from where they stood in regard to each other. I pushed those prolific papers into the first of a chain of events that would escort them across the right-hand side of this country and it's adjacent sea. I sent words in my tongue to a tongue that I longed. I began the day's second retraction; that of my legs back down the post-box's prolific street.

I walked along the very edge of the pavement in the hope that the necessary attention to balance might give me something to think about. I remembered, for a second, last night's dream but by the next footfall it had vanished again.

10:58. There was nothing to be done. A world on every side of me and nothing to be done. Time didn't always elapse in this way. The day was surely nearly over and yet it had scarcely begun.

The dream again. More this time; a shop, a walk home (to my childhood home), walking home from school perhaps but as an adult (or thereabouts) and in the dark, a bicycle but slowly slowly, some sweets, an event approaching, people I recognised one after another but out of context out of chronology, small greetings, mostly cheerful, something to be afraid of, dusk definitely dusk. And gone. That's all.

10:59. So much has passed and only 10:59! This city was too small. I had seen every brick. I was familiar with certain cracks in the pavements. Still, at least I could cling to a sense of ownership, at least running my fingers across railings felt a little like something like home. I felt something like attachment to the litter crowding around bus-stops, to the missing letters of shop-front signs, to the roads in need of resurfacing. I avoided the lumps and bumps by instinct now. On the road. And in my life.

I counted the steps. I walked straight. Good posture. Fine. It's fine. The world is a fine place. This is a fine city. It is 11:02. I have posted a letter to which there will be no reply. There is to be no further correspondence. Or there will be a fairytale in a week or a year or more and I will die in warm arms by the sand.

I have seen the waves heading towards the edge of that beach and seen how, in the correct angle of light, it (the beach) gladly sparkles. I have watched how easily things fit together in a kaleidoscope of imagined futures. It doesn't stop. I don't stop imagining one because I chose another. I am still the active ingredient, even if the bread isn't rising. Even if my heart is sinking. Even if I am sinking into imaginary sand.

Three more steps. Five. I should have put on my yellow tights today. I am stifled in these clothes. In this city. In this hour that stretches out before me like a yard of dirt like bags of sand.

I will return to my room and change my clothes and start again. I will turn left before the post box and buy eggs from somewhere. Eggs are why I left the house this morning. Will it still be morning? It will always be morning. I am sure this day will never end.

And once I have bought the eggs? Will I make an omelette? Eat it? Wash the plate, the pan? Then what? Tea? A cup, a bag, a spoon, some sugar? I'll drink it slowly. Savour it. For want of a better way to savour time. And still, there will be a whole afternoon stretching before me, a lazy sun carousing gigantic sky. I will become restless, start thinking, find a pen, some paper....

I'll write a letter.

I can post it tomorrow, in the morning, when I wake up dress myself, when I put on coat or hat and otherwise accessorise; it will be better if I am dressed properly, if I give myself a function, if I utilise this or that part of my body, if I concentrate, if I tip my hat, zip my coat, flex my arms and stretch my gloves, flatten out my skirt, brush my teeth. I'll take myself to the post box and slip that letter right in. I'll send it on it's way with a merry smile and blow a kiss to the reciprocant's country as it flies out of my arms and into my dreams.

Into the past I am making. Away.

I'll return tomorrow to change my tights and stare at the clock and do the same again.

March 2009.