Thursday, 31 July 2008

Again, needs more work. Not finished worriting with it.


Have you packed the right equipment? You will need
the gear, this time. The guts. They say the first step
is the hardest but graft doesn't guarantee success.
I'm hoping whatever you've packed it is conservatively.
It won't do to carry everything with you, or expect

to share the load half way. There will be company,
but they are not there just for you; they will not be used.
They will not carry anything you should've left behind.
Dropping things, though, that's inevitable. Whether you pick
things up, well, that depends. Can you bear to carry

whatever it is until the end? Do you intend to drop them, too?
How do you know when you've arrived, you ask? You don't.
Perhaps the climate will improve; perhaps you will just be
able to deal with it better. Perhaps new friends will be forthcoming;
perhaps they will be by the wayside. If you do need to let go,

please do it gently. Bear in mind the impact on your surroundings.
Set it down gently near the path for someone else to find and realise
they have arrived. Perhaps it will be proof of an alternative, all they need
to settle down. If you find yourself having gone too far,
there is no way back. Just keep travelling until you lose regret.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Early night for me. it definitely needs more work but I'm away to bed.


Such small concerns for such a big sky
to contain, and even the stars notice
this aspect of her posture and offer her
constellations as freckles on her feet.

The aloneness fills her like a song
everyone else is listening to with closed eyes or
discomfort. She is filling up with it like tears,
and tears do fall. They reach the floor

noticed only by the sky; still she beckons
the notes of alone. Lying to a woman
more in need than herself, she realises
it makes sense that the universe is expanding.

She walks over her own emotions backwards
in magnetised moon boots. Every feeling she
finds she looses to the universe, a little bit
of this and that to help fill any gaps.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Edited version, sent somewhere.

Dear bird,

I am home now, black bird, the rain
is falling through trees. I am calling your name
again, though I can't remember what it is
we called you. You must never have known; or else
you're out on the wing with the wind in your ears.

I presume you are happier flying. I have heard
your kind since—song birds only by association
—taking hold of their names in their own harsh throats.
Trapped by holly thorns then and your own beating heart,
you were a question in my hands, shock-quiet.

Were you trapped, though, bird?
Would you know if you were?

You were wild and fierce out of the box.
You were meaning for long summer days.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Crete, or Cyprus. Either way.

Crete. Or Cyprus.

My memory tells me slapping and deflation,
an octopus battling with air and sand
gathering in its dampness. These are sharp

reflections blinding from the sea. My memory
is afraid and hiding, with rocks in my knees;
being seen by the boy who shouts through

a language barrier with welts on his glistening arms.
You tell me things I don't remember yet, about
washing lines and drying squid. I remember

my first taste of the rubbery flesh and eight arms
flapping. It's all become a blur, I'm sure
he wasn't there when I went back to show you

just how close I'd come to the sliding octopus fury.
I'm sure you've coloured my own understanding
but the sun was definitely shining, then, drying us out.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

A couple more Crapseys

For the love of you

your feet flip flop
along the beach I find
the sand that flicks up your calves dis-


I choose the neatest looking bunch I can find in the florist

though beautiful
here, always look better
with unruly heads in all di-

Saturday, 26 July 2008

A couple of Crapseys

Paddling at Christmas we must look wild from a distance

Cold feet
made colder by
a winter sea, toes in
snowy sand we dance through waves to
keep warm.


Grandma is slowly going blind despite her love of knitting

Wool soft,
she's listening
to the click of needles
as her daughter follows patterns

Friday, 25 July 2008

For Tracey, 2.

A search for something brings me here

You are trying too hard, I say,
listening to her internal dialogue
as it appears to me out here. Try not
to force it
. Finally she succumbs
to the rhythmic three three three
of sudoku logic and that's enough
to know she's forgotten I'm listening.
Next she hums a song I can't hear
for easy listening jazz playing
over the coffeeshop speakers.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Some notes on journeying.


I have been travelling for hours
please leave me be even though

most of that travelling has involved
sitting still. I have been travelling

since eight in queues and herded
like a sheep that is singular and

collective at once. Please leave
me alone I do not need to know

about your poorly knees or how you
recognise me or which your favourite

seat is or that you know the word wow.
The sky is shrinking and the only thing

I have left is the expectation of arrival
after arrival on a journey with

too many middles and a view
between seats without faces.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Travelling is fun.


The anger of this man seethes through the wall I lean on
and the smack of his flesh on the vending machine
is powerlessness. He is contained only by the firm grip
around his wrists and, at his back, precisely chilled chocolate.

The soft glow of the machine is calming through mockery;
people gather, necks craned. Check him outs turn the hum
into accusation but he contains another uprising with the muscles
in his jaw. The security guard, bemused, repeats himself.

Unsure as to whether the lull is real, he does not let go.
The vending machine is tilted backwards with the weight
of two. The man, quiet now, still does not know what he wants.
I just got caught up, easy, easy. I'm all right. It's all right.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

101, and superstitious tendencies.

The Black Cat Imparts Some Luck

It was just a cat. Being, as it was, bereft
of ownership in immediate proximity
it did not have a name, beautiful though
it was. The cat was all black without a whisper
of another colour in any of its fur. This was,
of course, a rarity noted by its owners
who had spent hours grooming, hunting
for some all-feared glimmer of white or pink.

I was not to know this, as the just-a-cat
ambled over the quiet road, shrugging
its shining shoulders with every step, the weight
of it rolling this way and that way, its black-skinned feet
padding firmly on the ground. I couldn't help but watch,
enthralled by the beauty of its everydayness
and the wonder of the universe—which
it looked like, funnily enough, black as it was.

The black cat saw me watching with
its great green eyes and, without any sort of fear
crossed in front of me, leaving, with each pad of its feet,
the tiniest piece of luck. I walked on my way, gathering
the pieces nonchalantly by crossing its path. I didn't trip
once, then, until the last of it wore off precisely
one week later when I fell with some force onto my elbow.
I don't hold that against anyone:

Nothing lasts forever, I just wish
I'd used the luck better, while I had it.

Monday, 21 July 2008

100 down! A milestone of sorts.

Pigeon prints on an outward journey.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Last absent posting.

Back for real tomorrow.

The way things move not what they're made of

Like the water puppeteer
who used silk for fish scales
and dressed wooden mermaids
in the finest until it rotted,
strand from limb, and cost
a fortune to replace; so the plastic
on the trees just goes to prove a point.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Another that hasn't had an airing yet.

Yep, still at Latitude. I'm waving. Hello. Hopefully it's stopped raining by now.

I didn't realise circular breathing worked for saxophone players

We both stood swaying to jazz rhythms except
you were thinking about the music and how your
pianist fingers could work like this and I
was thinking of the purple coat I didn't buy;
how well it would go with my fingerless gloves.

We talked a lot of triangles that night. The confessions
I'd fielded, the folk, the apologies; a whining sitar,
my infatuation, the saxophone jazz. It's all enough except
I can't take my eyes off the saxophone player and his puffy-in
puffy-out cheeks: the control he has.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Notes from a long time ago..

.. and now I am hopefully at Latitude, but do enjoy in my absence.

Feet and Hands

They seem too big for you sometimes but not
as you work. I could have been a pianist you
like to say. You're too busy taking photographs
of hands, hard and brittle, ones with painted
nails to match my tights. I like instead the feet
of people, and make you test your light
on mine. I wear stilettos and teal
fishnets; that flat arch of mine teased
open with a well placed toe.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Def Leppard A-Go-Go

...this is a bit of a falsification. I am in fact in Nottingham preparing to ROCK. \m/


Wednesday, 16 July 2008

From nowhere.

Emeralds aren't right, nor is a simple leafy green

And he kept trying to find a better way to explain
the colour of her eyes. He pointed at the top I wore,
it is, he said, similar; but it lacks a quality of light.

I found myself offended, though I understood exactly
what he meant. They are, in the end, mossy ponds
with the sun shining through them, endless.

It has taken him this long to find a place this might be true,
but here he is now at a stagnant pond and pointing.
I am waiting for a revelation of glistening frog-skin

to snap him out of the obvious: can hear instead
only the false shutter-clicks of a digital camera
in the throes of duty and whirring.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

flying dragons 'n' that.

Trapeze Artist

You are not gaudy but power movement
with your heavy blue thighs. There is daintiness
only in your toes, wrapped tight as a bud in black
trainers. There is not much room for training now.

Your grip is chalked and dusts on contact.
Your most important movement is a silent nod
of your upside-down head. This happens
often and always when the others are ready.

There must be pain behind your knees
where you hold the weight of twice gravity.
You dismount steadily down a wire ladder.

When it comes to your turn to bow
you cannot bend but allow the others another
moment; all eyes but mine on the sequins.

Monday, 14 July 2008



The man I am hugging is decidedly taller
than I'm used to and wearing a trenchcoat
in a fetching shade of beige. It almost reaches

the floor. We are skewiff, my head towards his shoulder
out of line. We are not alone, but I feel our own hearts
beating. I am encapsulated, in possession of his shoulders.

My arms tighten, my grip is stronger. I test myself
against his ribs; he responds by breathing. Our breaths
stretch us out, give us purchase for the deepening

hold. It is not just his heart I feel, it is the veins
themselves; tissue fluid whooshing between cells
all calling for combination. There is no way out

but through. It feels for the longest time like
stalemate. My arms are shaking. I am lighter than blood
through his head through his knees through shoulders

I am lost in a singular us. I hear his silence as now
and break out. We turn to each other. His coat is open
where a button is missing; on my chest its imprint fades.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Back to Salsa after a break.

My keys drop to the floor and are accidentally kicked under the sofa at home

Caught unawares in the moment of losing,
my pockets are imperceptibly lighter.
All of a sudden I do not belong here and
without a way in I am unknowingly
unfastened. I shrug off the weight of home.

My feet begin to lift; I could go anywhere.
I have packed light with no belongings
to choose from; so light I do not need
a plane. My big toes are the last to leave

the ground. I am glad I wore leggings
as envious glances skyward see me billowing,

untethered, heading high above the rain.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Perhaps this gives too much away...

I would like to set myself up as some sort of opposite

I am listening to the Rocky soundtrack and it is hard
to separate from love. My life in montage before me;
I am no screen icon, I have no speech problem. I have no desire

to box; or for the chap himself. Here is the day-to-day
we never learn of him: I like coffee and muffins, get athlete's foot
whether I run or not, and prefer being bendy to strong.

But when I run a race in the name of charity, I know
which tune will be trickling through my brain; that at the finish
it will take all my strength to restrain my arms.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

High-powered lunch break moments.

There is a meeting going on

Only I hear the gasps
of despair when one guy leaves
for the toilet. Figures bounce,

two hundred, twelve hundred.
There are divisions down the line,
in equal measure. He is being

straight-up, up-front; the brand
is what's important. Cool as fuck.
A need for dumbing down.

In receipt of the pitch, the other man
stops to take a phone call; confesses
to a parental divorce costing his mother

one million pounds. There are intricacies
and positioning; there are beginnings
of many things.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

A digression.

There is never enough to go on

The rain was falling but you weren't to know.
I was cold, even there on my bed, but you

couldn't know that either, wrapped up,
as you were, in yourself. Perhaps

conversation came back shortly after that.
Perhaps we were drinking wine again

the next day. I am not sure. Water fell
and the air was sharp.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Yet another letter. Thanks James.

Dear you

We have never met. Because of this
I feel no need to apologise for this letter
but by means of explanation: hello.

I have been told you are nice, except
that is only because I have come to expect
that this is what people say.

You must be flattered to be chosen
like this. It was your name – It means
wisdom – and your 13th place.

The number has no significance to me
but here are some confessions
to get us acquainted:

I wish more people would notice
my colour coordination. I once weed
in my bedroom. It was cold and night.

Most things are more important to me
than I let on. This letter is not
one of those things.

When you reply, do not think of it as dialogue
except in the larger sense. I attach
no return address: look someone up.

You will never know if I am the first
or twenty-seventh (this number also
means nothing). This is not a chain letter.

I have no control, through ideas or CCTV,
over your life and this letter
should not influence your decision to write.

I feel I know you well enough now to share
the only piece of advice that has been real
to me: It gets no worse than this.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Another letter, this time from an exercise of sorts.

Dear bird,

I am home now, black bird, the rain
is falling through trees. I have called your name
over again, though I can't remember what
we called you then. You must not have known,
out there on the wing, and now you are most likely dead.

I have heard your kind since, with the wind
in your ears, taking hold of your voice.
I have heard you are happier flying. Trapped
by holly thorns then and your own beating heart
you were our rescue and startling for it.

Were you trapped, though, bird?
Would you know if you were?

You were wild and fierce out of the box.
You were meaning for long summer days.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

After an exhibition.

My life for a moment is observation.

I am digesting papers. Taxi drivers
in a static queue talk through open windows

and gesture through closed ones. Three flags—
Scottish, British, EU—wave similarly but out of sight.

A women with large hair struggles past. Her heels
are taller than my thumb is long. There is a ladder

I have never noticed before. A man who has had
a full Sunday yawns past trying to fit it into his mouth.

The world in a digital viewfinder skims past
in the hand of an enthusiast. Newcastle is at an angle.

There are seats outside but no-one's in them.
I catch someone's eye in the window I had forgotten was there.

There are lots of flowers, gaudy and brilliant.
And now a yellow car and no-one to punch; I am reading

about tennis and missing the best match.
I have no plans tonight.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

And again. It's a weekend thing.

Letter to —

I am thankful to be the first but cannot reply
in kind due to a lack of technology; gun-metal
heavy and courier grey. Take instead my hand.
My mistakes will be visible. There are things
you won't learn from me this way but they are far-between.

I appreciate the time you have taken not spent
over steaming conversation and coffee cups. I am flattered
you would think me worthy of four and a half pages
of meticulous tippex correction and mistakes left
for my own imagination. Please do not count mine.

I must admit I read your words in an unconventional position:
my hips now hurt and this translates into a wonky r.
I am indeed smiling—how would you know
but to make me do so with flattery? My hair, as an aside,
is growing as normal and is due to be cut tomorrow.

Well done on the job. I think it is not luck but courage:
I will bring my own when next I'm south. I'll try not to infringe
but bear in mind the pub you promised. Please can we carry
the typewriter with us and clickclack letter-lessons in the sun?
I will happily exchange for an education in verse-types.

Yours, —

Thursday, 3 July 2008


On litter-picking

It comforts me to know I have been your discarded
as well as handled it. In this way, the relief

of the unchanging is inevitable. You are weather-
proof and predictable, you berate my parking

but pay for it. You have not seen me until now
when there is nothing but what is left

and who will rid you of it. Here I am, handling
your history, dazzling you out of sight, visible

to invisibility, touched by you and other strangers
through hypocrisy and uncrushed pizza boxes.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Things I cannot do, 3.

How to record sound

To start, pick one you don't mind hearing
constantly. This might mean for days

or hours, depending on the size and location
of your album. The sound will become static

so don't rely on progression, only tone.
Do not try to capture it secondhand:

it is not like wind. It is not interesting
to hear the emotional response: see

dancing like trees swaying or vibrations like clouds.
We are not talking soundscape or radio.

Try first with the metal spank of flagpoles, or
wind whistling through late-night trolley lock-ups.

Think of it as a picture of moving air. Waves
and particles. Try now with a beat of your heart.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

portrait of berwick upon tweed

I was just passing through - twice - and it struck me how many of these birds nest on the rooves there.