Poems

A small selection of my poetry – I change these periodically so please visit again sometime.

Recipe for a New Poem

Saw the Lady in Half

Cayton Bay

Dear Dad

 
Recipe for a New Poem

250g natural imagery
250g inner turmoil
100g assonance
50cl dry London gin

Take one kernel of lucidity, born in the night.
Crush lightly, using your own backbone for a pestle.
Toast together with your thoughts on love
until they blacken and begin to smell like
your grandmother’s laundry room.

Add half a pint of longing and leave to simmer –
the longing should permeate the mixture
until it separates, forming a fine film
of heartache on the surface.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
While waiting, drink the gin.
Telephone a few old friends, remind them of the good times.
Make sure to always taste your poem;
if you can’t stomach it, neither will they.

Once the poem has set, transfer to an oil drum
infused with your country’s past.
Take the drum somewhere scenic;
rest it on a shingle shore
and allow it to draw in the ocean’s breath.

Return home, turn your poem upside-down
and slice it lengthways.
Listen closely for the hiss of misperception.
Serve cold, with lashings of pretext
and slip silently from the kitchen via a side door.

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Saw the Lady in Half

He is black satin and carnation
He is razzmatazz and Cuban heel
They are palm of his hush and saliva
He seasons with dry ice, garnishes with a grin.

She is feather boa and faith in him
She is stiletto-symbolic and virgin-slut
He tells her it won’t hurt a bit
She is curve in his right-angle box.

She is smiling at her own feet soles
She is eyelash-bright and no-cry woman
He is lapping up and clever dick
He has everything under control.

He slots her back like a dovetail joint
He is puff of smirk and fanfare strut
They are rapture and marvel, don’t see that
She is not quite the same as before.

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Cayton Bay

I’d argued with myself the whole way there
not joining in with the B-Movie script you all rehearsed across me
the hot car constricting my innards
I climbed out of the rear window
and strapped myself to the roof with the surfboards,
the 1960s pastiche we couldn’t shake off,
I stared up at the conflicted sky and waited for rain
to wash me onto the moss-tufted cliff,
shrug me from its chalk-bald scalp and into
silk-grey tears as far as the eye can shed,
feeling no more real than the bloodshot limestone wreck
squinting out over the gambling, sugar-scoffing town,
the wellied walkers with their creatures, pointless,
pointlessly I stared up at the conflicted sky
and waited for waves to rip the lurching from my stomach,
the melodrama I couldn’t shake off,
silk-grey tears as far as the eye can shed
I’d argued with myself the whole way there
and lost.

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Dear Dad

About the oversized jumper you leant me;
it has unravelled at the sleeves.
Fingers sought distraction in its torture,
left you hanging like a dog’s tongue
from its gaping mouths.

About those camping trips;
I now think I was beginning to understand
something about the wind.
We must go back.
You taught me how to start a fire
but not to put one out.
We must go back and check on the bear trap.

About my limbs;
why so long, so disproportionate?
I wish you had been more reasonable.
I wish you had warned me
that my belly would hold more than yours
and there was therefore more chance
of my being sick.

About the loneliness you left me trying to swallow;
I think it has got stuck inside my throat.
I looked for you inside the bathroom cabinet,
swigged you down with glycerol.

About the garden shed;
I think the griffin must’ve moved out,
even though she left her eggs.
Do you think she’s coming back for them,
do you think they’ll ever hatch?

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