Monday, 26 October 2009

I have moved again!

But this time is the last time, I promise.

Join me! Follow me! Laugh at(with?) me!

Monday, 13 April 2009

The End.

Hello and thanks to everyone who's read the blog over the year: whether you've seen them all or picked a couple here and there, I have appreciated your unknown presence spurring me on.

If you're interested in seeing what happens next, feel free join me at CatalogueTwentySix. I'm not sure what this is yet, but we'll soon find out.


Sunday, 12 April 2009

This is it! The end of the year!

Self portrait one year on.

Saturday, 11 April 2009


From everywhere else to a first memory

I come from, and sing of, green carpet
up the side of the bath and false memory
of the feel of that. I come from a bed I slept on for years

as a mattress on the floor, from the painting of a tree
in the corner above me, from a wonderment for the thrill
of the wind and its movement through leaves. There is more to me

than this, you understand, but impediment is rife. I come from
house parties and sitting on my dad’s tapping feet
while he played sessions in pub after pub and our own front room.

None of these is first because some will always be wrong
I am germolene on my first spot, hands-and-knees-horses,
poems and poems and back-tickled songs sung in the dark.

I am in a room in a dream I have no memory of otherwise
and so come upon the idea that this must be the first: fear
and a resolution I am told it is impossible to engineer.

Friday, 10 April 2009


Portrait of a moment in Glasgow.

Thursday, 9 April 2009



The eyes are prominent as would be expected
in an animal as wary was the rabbit. Note the position
of the eyes on the head and how this compares
with the position of yours. The movable upper and lower eyelids
are provided with eyelashes. You will also see the edge of a third,
the nictitating membrane, which is whitish and fairly thick.
Draw it across the eye with the forceps.

The white of the eye is not visible until the upper lid is raised
or the lower lid drawn down. The size of the iris
and the pupil will depend upon the extent to which the iris
is contracted. The pupil is a window through the iris.
You will be able to note the presence of glands
that are pink due to the presence of blood vessels.
Take the upper eyelid in the forceps and roll it outwards.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


Holding hands

How it becomes an easy regularity
is a mystery to me, but it seems strange,
now, not to be attached from one side.

How is it that something so easily abandoned
becomes something so readily missed
when it is a possibility again with you around?

All I can think is that my hand temperature
is normalised now only with yours in it.
Without it I am colder than I thought,
even with gloves on.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


Colour co-ordination

It is not about the colour, but the naming of it.
We stand around gesticulating with arms spread wide

for brights, our posture closed in for cosy reds.
One girl stands looking up with one arm out and one by her side

and we all take this to be blue. But our room is only blue and green
by circumstance of naming: it is not about the colour

until we read out the shades we find: Pepper Grass,
Green Trance, Treasure Isle, Cozumel.

Monday, 6 April 2009

I can barely keep my eyes open.

Quiet revelation

It’s the sort of tired that makes everything almost,
and nothing for sure. Even air has negative connotations
on a tickly throat, and sleep is no guarantee for tomorrow.

There is nothing I can think of that is entirely without
the influence—except perhaps what you said to me today
and how it changes everything, knowing that.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Very near the end, now.

Ad for a partner

You want somebody who can land
just like that, with the air shooed
to the curls in their hair.

You want somebody who can stop dead
in your arms with their weight gone
hovering somewhere.

You want someone who proves
a point in the flair
of detail.

I'd like to say you want someone
like me
; but it's never as simple as that.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Friday, 3 April 2009

No, really... a backlog perhaps but I haven't forgotten!

Thoughts on kitchens

You are the breeze that shoos garlic skins
to underneath the fridge. I watch them drift
urgently to their resting place, dream lazily
of a future when they are finally discovered again,
brittle and crackled. It will be many years
from now, I think, as this house is home and home
means not cleaning under permanent appliances.

Your hands are pungent and you’re dressed
in a pinny I used to wear for Home Economics at school.

Time treats us well, I think, in the end.
Even if we end up papery and brittle like your favourite Grandma’s hands.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Do you know the difference?

Do you want to sail the stars, or the universe?

I am told the difference is political
but don’t know which way round I’d be if
it was me. Perhaps I would know the meaning of serene.

It must be the brink, an existence like that,
the Earth hovering and the blackness
elsewhere. My own paranoia

would be tenfold: at every creak and whistle
the threat of nothingness and implosion
from the very idea of it. And free from gravity?

The pull of my body would not exist,
the tugging, the nagging—gone.
Only functions would be left. Basic need.

In light of all of this it would seem irrelevant,
perhaps, to choose between the stars
and the universe. Do you sail for the sights,

or for the inbetween? Choose your side,
they’d say. Astronaut,
or Cosmonaut?

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Unabashed false optimism

It is the sort of weather that carries voices

It comes as a surprise, to hear it like that,
and it changes everything. It changes the fundamental
smell of things; it matters. It is weather that is longed for
from behind windows, that is perfect for bike rides
and relies on a cool breeze to keep it realistic.

You are not in it, but it needs a winter coat.
You only know all this because of how the blackbirds sing
compared to how they used to; and from the frozen puddles
you walk past at night holding hands against the bite.
It is the sort of weather that forces optimism you are not used to.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Just a small observation

Hello morning, you say, every day

And to be sociable with the concept, it takes tea
which you describe as delicious

even though it goes straight through you
like eggs, which you conversely avoid.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Got some dreams back!

Waking from a dream of air-trombone impressions

it is the wall of Wispas (59p each, 7 for a pound)
that stays with me. And it is early, so early, and I am waking
of my own accord and turning alarms off in advance
of their ringing. I am not as clean as I would have liked,

but my dreams don’t take this into account, only my height
and how the smaller objects are easier except
they’re out of reach, and it is only the big concepts
my short arms have any hope of carrying home.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Distracted, but all to the good.

Unexpected shift of outlook

Distracted, full of unprecedented smiling,
I am trying to conceal my cheek movements

with a turn of the head. I don’t know what any of this means,
only that it is a difference I had not accounted for

and the sun is so much warmer
on days when the smiling is like this.

Friday, 27 March 2009

A form of time travel in resurrection

The notebook tells a story of me over again

It was here that I found it, already half full
with the potential. If I couldn't have
locked the door I wouldn't have
read it but of course, it knew that,
and lay in the only cubicle with an easy bolt.

Just an unconventional form of time-travel,
of course, but it's strange
that it happened on the day they happened to say
on the radio that going forwards in time
is uncontroversial. It enjoys controversy, takes the trouble
to transport me to all the places
I used to know and used to go, and

here, with my pants round my ankles,
there's no need for avoiding the rules of time
by camping on a star
with some of the pull of the universe at my feet
or in my ears or on my inadequate
metabolism. Here, it
and I commune in timelessness and out of sync
with one another, and I can leave it,
when the time comes
to be found by myself again: just another poet
with the same urgent need to be locked in,
and the same urgent need for two hands.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

I don't even remember writing the first version of this...

I arrange myself artfully

as if the sheets of my bed were not cold
and hard with first frost. I
frame my poseable limbs
as if the brush of my hair falling here
is natural; as if the balletic point of my toe
is effortless; as if,
as if, I assume that he won't notice
and am just preparing for sleep.
I find myself unable to expect what really happens:
the gentle tipping of time and the spread
of a thigh relaxed to twice its size.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Rediscovered, sent somewhere.


A man across the road is moving in.
I note his possessions as signs of love:
the loose white shirt he's wearing and the pink
one he unfolds; the DVDs he moves
from shelf to box; the full bottle of gin;
the undressed bed that wears its ageing stains
like cow skin; how he holds his stomach in
and stands a while to finger familiar curtains
open and closed. He isn't moving in.
A woman stands in front of him and moves
her mouth like she is talking but the man
sees only lips and shapes he used to love.
There is no understanding on his face.
The room's half empty and a different place.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

From a small point of view.

The Curious

It is around us, deep and dark, the potential
and we are such unseen that it is hard to know
how far it is possible to go. We are incapable,

in the grip of muscle that stretches to others’ will.
Sometimes it is too much scented space, too far
to travel; temptation for our inability to influence

but put us elsewhere and we are lost entirely.
We change colour, but this is not distraction
only function and circumstance. We are made up

of your in-between, and you do not see us.
We have no voice. We are palpable time
because we count it, document and expect for change.

We do not know what makes us look beyond
but huddle together in this deep and dark
changing colours, changing shape, fitting in.

Waiting for a trick of the light, or perhaps
of time, to loose us.

Monday, 23 March 2009

As requested.

The naming of the clowns

Are the eggs blown?
It is always the first question,
whispered over these scentless hollow eggs; diagrams
of faces in red and white. Next word is usually creepy,
but it is all a grinning comfort for me.

You picture a hallway, with shelves and little stands.
It is not that. It is padded drawers and curating. It is cataloguing
and checking. Sometimes they need to add an extra tear,
take away an outline of black. I can help them with that.

I do not keep their wigs, or stick on tufts of hair.
Their outfits do not matter much to me, though most
like spots. We keep a note of employability elsewhere.
It is just the faces here, fixed and personalised. Named.

There must be easier ways of doing it, yes. But I like the feel
of the eggshell under chalk-white paint; the ritual
delicate hollowing. Nothing says ‘face’ better than an egg
for me. I always paint the eyes in last.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

I have hardly left the house today!

What’s in space.

Everything we want to be: beauty
and timelessness, the unknown. We are,
and our first words still echo
in intelligible clicks and whistle. Space dust

and our own junk. Violets; yes, even their delicacy
exists in space in as much as anything does
on this rock of ours. Everything we have ever been:
small and significant, timed and irrelevant, a blip.

A need for justification and delight; the first time
your mother called your name.
It is all there, waiting for someone to make sense of it
and its uncanny similarity to a face when you squint,
and angle the picture just so.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

weekend habits! terrible, muriel!


The peculiar motions of an octopus tentacle
cannot be copied, but are mapped in diagram form
on your wall. You dream of the ability to squeeze
through holes smaller than your own head;
change your limbs, boneless and elongated, caress
eight things at once, or one thing intimately.
When I ask why, you cannot answer, except to lose
your definition as human, a faraway look in your eyes.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Sooooo tired, again. But why?

Forced perspective

I am all skewiff with plans and unplans.
It is longed-for, this feeling of small, and we create it
by making our world ever bigger, the space
to explore ever more expansive. Your expectations

of me are verging on the ridiculous, but still
I try to fill them in with experience and detail.
I even sleep under a king size duvet; type poems
on a screen big enough for five; wait for the sun on my face

before I can wake properly, small and aware
of how enormous the weight of the dawning is.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Not so late that I feel guilty.

Because it is late, perhaps, or I am tired of waiting.

I am reading a lot into silence
and it is late at night; later than it should be
considering how the days are adding up

or falling away. I am not good enough.
It is definitely something I have done, or haven’t done;
silence makes me look for it

and I resent, all of a sudden, the onset
of technology that records your own tracks
as well as theirs. I am reading a lot into silence

and considering breaking it with nothing
to say. It is not a game. I am tired
and will sleep. It is late, and this probably explains it all.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Some untruth.

A photograph she keeps of herself

She is painted in Tiger but her hair is lank
and her roar will never be scary. It is posed,
of course; though the happy must have been real
it is hard to remember. She does not know
how long she has left with her mother; how
this house, this garden, is temporary like the tree
she likes to smell in the rain which will soon be chopped down.

And the cat she loves will be flattened, and the bullying
she’s been getting away with will guilt her
out of the friendship this photo sums up in cats.
The Lions and Tigers won’t last. And neither of them
will fill the roles they think, and time will not be kind
or unkind, just constant. Unfurling like the fat buds
of a tulip she keeps on her windowsill now as reminder.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Some truth.

It is not its own event

I am not getting any better at this
but the sun is out and the sun
is shining on our faces while we wait.

It is hard to be bothered but I am finding time
to be bothered by this. It is not until the weight,
the weight, is taken by them all

that it comes clear. Their shoulders
must ache and the tears are clear now
of my eyes where they have been

bothering my world in mirrored wobbles.
I am no better at this but the sun is shining
and it cannot stop though it all went well.

The sun is on my face again and all that sobbing
all that sobbing. And I have no right over the upset
but the choices are the same. And every funeral

is cumulative it seems to me, and not its own event.
Every funeral is all the deaths I’ve known and
all that sobbing. All that sobbing.

Monday, 16 March 2009

I slept in today. Bodily payback.

Everything is every bit different now

How much I speak; what I have for tea;
the number of times I correct myself;

what time I wake up; the cost of toilet roll;
my choice of toothpaste; how often the towels

need washing, the soap replacing; what time I get home;
how I travel; the colour of my underwear; what it is

people say to my face; how long it’s been
since a lot of things; how I feel about all of this.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Catching up

Sometimes these things happen on Saturday the 14th

Scaffolding is trusted even though it’s temporary
and I have walked underneath unknowing
for what seems like years. The putting-together, a brutish
routine of heavy poles and nut-tightening, the percussion of metal
on sudden metal on wood, is a meticulous growth. But trust
is no guarantee from underneath. Some days the wind
shakes the foundation-less and they have no time
to consider their escape. I know someone who knows
who was the last one out alive.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Not necessarily truth, or lies.

I like wrapping presents, it’s the best bit

and my favourite dinosaur is a stegosaurus
though I love the word archaeopteryx. Coffee

keeps me happy when other things can’t. My toenails
are painted blue and I forget films I’ve seen twice

more often than not. I am no good at this game
but I like to try; I don’t know anyone here. It is not easy

and work can be hard. I like grammar. Sometimes
I am awful, but I can’t think why. It has been a while.

Just, a while.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Later than ever! Oh no! (wine).

Matter of Fact

A woman stands in front of a man, checks
behind her back for the view she'd like
and smiles a smile I can't see
from where I'm sitting. I'm in the picture,

captured staring on the steps of a monument.
I'm wearing red, I'm the only one there,
shining out from the background of grey.
They take the camera home, listen

to Mozart while they upload the data.
They do not see that I'm trying hard
to exude the happiness I feel; just
see me as stranger, and crop me out.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Hmm. I should be asleep.

I don’t remember why we started

laughing except we had all shunned the bed for the floor
and were trying to sleep when it hit. Bubbles
at first, private catches of breath and then tears
rolling down our cheeks in the dark, trying to keep it in.
Soon all of us were unable to hold back sound
or breathe, and none of us could speak. It didn’t stop
just because the jokes had ceased, all we needed now
was the sound of someone else. It carried on,
got louder, harder. It took hours before our stomachs
were incapable of more and the silence of sleep stole in.
None of us remembered even then what it was for
but it was good, and when we woke it was enough
to feel the camaraderie, our pillows still damp with tears.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Something a little less sinister. Maybe.

Cooking for two

There is something about the way you gather
ingredients for noodle soup that catches me.
Mushrooms, baby sweetcorn, mange tout.
You pause around the carrots and frown
for a memory of owning your own—find it.

You have counted the noodles, collected the soy
and now find yourself shy of coconut milk.
All done, you tap your list and reach
for tinned plums. You smile a secret smile
that is not hidden because here I am, watching.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

My first Stemistry.

Unity & the dolls
after Stanley Spencer

Do not look so sad, Unity, you were named
for your effect and you have had it
in spades. I hope one day you’ll understand,

the dolls are just a concept and simplified; this one
is meant to be you. Do not look to your mother
for answers to your life – she does not have them

though her biology is the same, and nor do I.
There is already difference we did not predict;
there are more swabs to take, more hair to test—

your fringe looks pretty, just like your doll’s—
but just because we take pieces, it does not mean
we do not love you, Unity. No matter what you become.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Thank you, again, Guardian. And Annie Finch.

Making the most of what you’ve got

You are the return and you bring with you
more than that. I love you with my whole waking self,
and the one that brings me home at night
though the wind is cold. You are what I have been waiting for

all winter, you are a cure for ills.
You are light, you are progress,
you are the return and I love you. I love you
like the ease of falling for the delighted relief
of the inevitable; longed for, expected, unhurried.

You do not feel this way about me; my loss
of you is gain to somewhere else.

I love you for your equal indifference to the others
who you are happy to leave, again and again, for me.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Batty batty.


You tell me we have lost our vespertilian ears.
I watch them busy with their silhouettes
making soundscapes that echo
around endless space getting fainter by halves.

Bats are lucky in Poland
but they still cannot hear them there.
And it is not only there
that people angle boxes lowering batspeak

from clicks to whistles. Everywhere
there is loss and nostalgia for a half-heard sound
I am sure I can still hear. I close my eyes
against your claim. I have no proof.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

I've been worriting at this one, so here it is again.

Just one of the ways in which I have become my mother

I have never been a boat person
but the pull of the sea had us both that day
as we set off downhill. The road was mossed
with abandonment, lived-in empty houses either side.
We only stopped at the end and granite sea.

There was a broken pier, and tied to it
a boat. Big enough for ocean voyage,
it was sudden and red, stark
against a Scotland dusking sky.

I looked to you for explanation
but you did not look back.
There was recognition in your admiring eyes
and a longing for her and for the sea.

The waves were unalarmed, only darkening,
and they marked a calm end for us then.
Your face was blue with reflection, and my hands
followed suit. I don’t remember words.
The hill home was left to climb and we climbed it.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Yep. I really do love New Scientist.


What you see of me is incomplete.
I know this because of what I read
on visible light; its rainbow variance
gapped and patchy; aspects of colour
absorbed before release.

You do not believe me, I can tell.
To demonstrate, I hold up the teal
saucer that came with your tea,
and ask your definition of its hue.
You say turquoise, but pronounce it
turquaaz. I sit back in satisfaction.

See? I say. The colour is impossible
to define, and even your words
are obscured by the incomplete
layers of green and blue.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

For something in particular.

My Cup of Tea

Give me my cup of tea and I will sing its praises,
or I will sip it before it’s cooled and curse it

without meaning to. I will blow sweet nothings
through its rising steam, improve the taste

of a biscuit in it. Give me it so I can function
and I can feel at home. So I can tell you

exactly what it is I’ve been meaning to say.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Phobia poem; still working on it!


I came across your careful list of fears this morning:
a fear of snow, of ugliness. A fear of waves. Meticulous
and private, I read them quietly though you were out.

I saw something of myself in the list, which went on for longer
than I thought there were words for fear. I re-imagined
your unwillingness to approach the sea, your dislike
of my jumpers, the problem of dancing.

Perhaps the fear is of fear itself, I thought, perhaps
tomatoes have nothing to do with it
– but still I took it upon myself
to uncover my tracks in your list. One by one, day by day
I found your list again, changed all your fears
to philia; a small task in handwriting terms.

I was slow and careful; if you noticed, you never said a word.
I watched from the bed each morning, from by your side
every night, for the smallest change in you. You got quieter,
perhaps, but nothing more. There was no sudden shift of outlook.

I sought out your careful list of loves this morning:
a love of small spaces, of blushing. A love of novelty.
I do not know who you are any more, or what this means for me.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Throw it..

To the wind instead

The wind is back and not as fierce
as it seems. It carries rain to your face
and through your shoes; it cools
your knuckles, gloveless and wet in air.

She tells me that the wind here defines
persistence but I don’t remember the last time
I had to be careful of the skirt I wore
except today. Still air seems as common to me here
as anywhere else I’ve been, but, she says,

it cannot be: it’s so rare she savours it
as separate, wears different clothes. It seems
a shame to me to waste the throwing of caution
to an empty, unmoving sky.

Monday, 2 March 2009

A fairly heavy-handed reworking...still in progress.

Just one of the ways in which I have become my mother

I have never been a boat person
but the pull of the sea had us both that day
as we set off downhill. The road was soft
with abandonment we were keen for.
We only stopped at the sudden end and granite sea.

There was a broken pier, we crept on it, and by it
a boat. It was red wood and shining, stark
against a Scotland dusking sky.
There was familiarity in your eyes.

The waves were unalarmed, only darkening,
and they marked a calm end for us then.
Your face was blue with sky, and my hands
followed suit. I don’t remember words.
The hill home was left to climb and we climbed it.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Happy March.

Changing the bedcovers, Sunday

I have missed the cafés but gained perspective
wound up in King Size crisp-and-clean.

Gaps left are long-since filled and nothing
has moved me more than this

today at least. Alone
is only missing; and I don’t miss you.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Thank you Guardian.

The names of the lost are read slowly at the end

A farewell in primary yellow and faces
running with paint, they are lined up solemn
as eggs. Happy is reduced to neutral, and sad

even more so. They all toss confetti
as if it were their own final act,
and their clothes mask shuddering emotion

they are otherwise painted not to betray.
The names of the lost are read slowly: Jim
Giggles; Uncle Bozo; Dippy. Frankie Fun.

Friday, 27 February 2009


Portrait of... some zombies.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Fag-end of winter.

A look back at the day’s weather

Winter is only the last three months
and it has been cold. Today, though, mild
in comparison. My feelings have been hurt
and mended by the sun; it is light again now
for the way home. The rain, nothing too heavy,
is sporadic and patchy. I was caught in some of it
and my hair frizzed – the wind fixed that.

I knew this morning when I put my comfort scarf on
that it was too much considering. I still
put it on again on leaving the house
for the evening; and regretted it on the march home.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Ivor speaks

He is trying to talk, this cat,
but has to settle for mimicry
of sorts. His hello is best;

warms us as we open doors
in our own house. He doesn’t bother
with goodbye, but you know

when there’s a funnyfiveminutes.
It is easy to wonder what he means
in his vocal interludes

through Eastenders. It is easy to muse
on his need for attention, the way
he stands on the crossword

or presses laptop keys with his motor
purr revving, his tail your moustache.
I think, though, meaning is beyond him.

It is only adamance, self-importance,
an assumption of understanding.
Listen harder. There is only mowwl.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


In an age-old debate, I find myself on the side that most resembles sin.

I can’t decide which way round it goes;
should the shining fake fur be by my skin

pattern-side out, or this intricacy a secret
underneath a shimmering sensation of fur.

The other day—I was half undressed—it was spread
across my bed delicious side up. Yes this, I realise now,

is the side I favour. After all,
why just look when feeling’s so good?

Monday, 23 February 2009

Post Scarborough.

The ferris wheel is turning but it is winter still

It is definitely the sun which reminds me
there are aspects of myself that need walking.
We choose a man-made level round the bottom of a cliff ,
act as only one segment of a caravan in the camels
and deserts sense. We have the incentive
of the best chip shop in Scarborough—though
neither of us are hungry—and it is round one long corner
that deceives us into miles. It is not until we are nearly there
that we catch sight of it: a hut in a building site
with a snaking queue of all the bikers
we have been admiring under the guard of their engines,
their orderly helmets glinting in the half-strength sun.

The way back is not as quiet and goes quickly
now we are not straining to see our destination
but striding towards it. We see a man with no wish for death
being coaxed from the ocean ramparts; there is something
about how close he is to the edge that makes us look away.
Meanwhile I do not stop my chatter, step into the anarchy
of oppositeness. It is busy when we get back. The ferris wheel is turning.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

An adorable truth.

A few weeks in

He’s all a-practise still with squirms
and a thumb that is elusive
even with two hands to control it.

The sound he makes is a creaky door
but still we are all drawn
to the fascination of him and his lack of control

but utter honesty; when he laughs
we are happy for hours.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Friday, 20 February 2009

A distracted sort of weekend


He is asking for something we are unsure
how to give him. He gets offered
a combination of lengths: numbers 0-4,
or a short back and sides; a buzzcut.

What he ends up with is an appointment
at Escapism and a Hollywood haircut:
a little slice of glamour in a seaside town.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Out of sequence.

On the train

I am out of sorts and out
of sequence; at York when it feels

like Darlington and sleep
has switched on my eyes.

My head corner-nods and my bags
are still. I am off the train delirious

for connections and stuffing
my face with fruit pastilles.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

I put it off in my head to leave room to think about something else.

Just in case

I am at work, and work for me
does not involve memory
often, but it is a gnawing sort of let-down
today that I cannot remember what it is
I cannot remember.

it seems obvious that things
I always keep close would be there.
I know someone who keeps a special sort
of shoe, some chalk, and a whole loose outfit
in his bag, just in case.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Ah, sleep.

On waking

I have tried a sunrise alarm
but turning over is too easy and
it is no match for the sky.

I have tried four other alarms
time-staggered to trick
my mind out of expectation.

Now Enya is playing loudly next door
and I am glad for all the hours I have clocked up
as replacement for those I’m losing.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Happy Valentine's Day to me.

Cut flowers are not a true representation of my love for you because they die after a relatively short time, even if you water them.

Roses are puce, violets
are purple; I'd give
you these flowers but they'd only
go hurple.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Friday the 13th! Hoorah!

Audience Participation

I am covered in you
and I’m sure you’d think of a funnier way
to say it
but that is the way it is.
I can only guess at your smell
and the shampoo you use. But
these are details we can fill in later.
Like meeting one another
when I don’t have leave to stare. Or
acting natural. I’d like to start,
though, with your name.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

I'm not sure if this is allowed, really. Maybe this is a good thing.


His voice is almost breaking
and he is late. The snow began to fall
this morning and most things are covered
already, not even casting shadows except
as white on white. I am inadequate
and need to be more inadequate
because that is how I feel. Sorry sorry
I say. What I do not say
follows me around all day: it isn’t hung;
it’s hanged

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

I just noticed I am past 300.

Mutual anonymous portraiture in a café on Clayton Street, February 2009.

His hair is a friendly white and he is beige.
His drawing face is not attractive; he chews his cheek
and his pen. He keeps looking at me

but hasn’t caught me looking at him yet.
He keeps his ringbound pad on his knee
and lager on the table. His trousers are just the right length

and not quite tweed. He is angles mixed with portliness
and sketches me in ink with food in my mouth.
He sees a me that is covered in a strange small smile.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

So late, it is unforgiveable.


My life is faster now, but also colder
and I am losing parts of myself to a numbness

that is upon me as fast as I can climb these hills
on my bicycle. It is all I can do to work the brakes

and I am still too embarrassed to ding-a-ling pedestrians,
even when they’re ambling in the cycle lane.

My seat bones do not give me jip except
in the mornings when I first sit on the saddle again.

Every time I come upon it where I left it,
unmoved, I am pleasantly surprised.

Monday, 9 February 2009

The cold is beginning to haunt me.

Just before winter.

He does not ask to speak to me and I let his voice go on
in the background over the loud sound-flicker
of distraction. There is so much life around at the moment
it is hard to refocus; I talk to you of other people’s name choices,
a putting-on of weight, family traits. It is the first sign I’ve had

that there is less of him to look for, and grasp thankfully
for your gift of a winter-coat hope. I am silent.
This is not something I agree with in principle
but there are soft protective layers around my own thinned skin
and I do not fancy that persistent arctic wind.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

A second reworking. I think I'm getting somewhere.

Looking after leeks

We search for him through the mould on every greenhouse;
we are not sure, but hope for a well-worn man
happiest shooing smut and thrips away.

We have been told to wait for skies to bring him out—
clear after an unpredicted cold snap, perhaps, or shimmering
with an early frost—and wait we do.

Truth be told, he is a man that gets easier as the weather cools
and darkness forces home. Most nights he watches sun-shy leeks grow
slow and useful by the dimming glow of car headlamps.
Collared and watered in, he sits until dawn drowns out the rustle of growth.

It is the same night, the same dawn,
the leeks we eat are blanched like his and yet; and yet.
We have not seen him and do not know his name.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Seasonal Salsa workshop

To knit a winter

It was never cold enough while you had sight
enough to knit, but now the winters are long and windy
and I am without the promise of a jumper, clutching
empty needles. I miss your paperskin fingers.

She has learnt how it goes with wool,
and there is no-one among us
who doesn’t own a version of winter by her hand.
She can no longer decide which hat to wear, which to sell.

It is the sky that freezes over when the ground does too.
It takes time to reach this idea of cold, to dress
without woollen tights when the ground is slick
and breath knits clouds in air.

Friday, 6 February 2009

I'm so sleeeeepy.

Massage in reverse

A sign for intimate male waxing;
many certificates on the wall.
A re-dressing to the soundtrack
of whales. Sanitising paper

all crumpled and displaced.
A wet patch where my head was
and no memory of tears.
The closing of a door;

hands off. A spreading of warm
to muscles and bone. Constant touch.
Walking the length of the bed
to be by my head; pressing down.

Hands cool from the spattering of snow
and the weather that means. The spread
of oil. A briefest hint of lavender
and something else.

Towel-covered feet. A comfortable
ambient temperature.
An unsure undressing. A waiting room
nestled politely between tanning booths.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

For VL and T(?), by way of apology for breaking stuff.

Lonely Hearts ad for a knife

I am not just forkless but alone
and mocked. I am not one knife

but any one of many who are all alike.
I need a pairing to hold the world steady,

an anchor to work against.
Without this I am flighty. I am dangerous.

I cut and run. I am unable
to deliver the goods.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Some half memories.


Knocked back by a boy for the first time; eight times in a row
because the first was a maybe.

Scanning bike shops on the high street for bargains
only to find my dad’s fresh-stolen pink one.

Leaving the cinema, my lip shuddering
with the tears I should’ve spent in the dark.

Wincing at off-notes in Könige der Nacht
as if I could do any better.

Shovelling shit to keep warm in ammonia steam,
and move it from here to there.

Slipping into a tight cream polyester shirt; warming my voice
with vowel exercises whilst sticking on blue lapels.

A shapeless grey jumper I thought of as love
in the bin.

Driving past our old house and on the back wall
a gap where a tree should’ve been.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Sunday, 1 February 2009

I think I've hit upon a vein. Again. And it's not necessarily obvious.

My dreams become half reality when they make my waking self feel like this.

I wake up crying, and breathless
from trying to make it silent and still.

I have no idea how long it’s been
since I was in that room with a reason for it

but its fading fast. I count the blotches
of salty wet on my pillow, and two on my sheets,

but can’t stop just yet. At least this way
I don’t have to contend with

sharp dried tears in the corners of my eyes.
Only snot, and early morning composure.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Late again. My apologies... it's not through lack of trying!

Just one of the ways in which I have become my mother

I have never been a boat person
in the same way as you,
but the pull of the sea had us both that day
as we set off downhill. It was a melted-frost road
and soft underfoot with the moss and rubble of disuse
but we stopped at the sudden onset of the sea and granite coast,
the granite sky. There was a pier, we walked up on it, and by it
a boat. We were drawn to its red and shining wood, stark
against a Scotland dusking sky. There was familiarity in your eyes.

Now here we were and the boat with its toothed figurehead
was sneering. I had a dream once that I’d find her at the bottom of the sea,
it might as well have been me strapped to the front.
We are both alone without her.

But the waves were unalarmed, only darkening,
and they marked a calm end for us then. Your face was blue, and my hands
followed suit. I don’t remember words
but we turned around, and together climbed the hill.

Friday, 30 January 2009

For ML. And VL. And me, I guess.

The jigsaw’s beginning is completely destroyed.

She picks up a stray caribou head and sighs.
She cannot find the heart in trying again, it’s so hard, so hard.

But the caribou haunt her into corners of the room
not meant for jigsaws. I think to ask if she’s tried

the double-sided baked beans, but there is sadness
in her eyes which holds me back. I find pieces

for a conversation in the room. By the time I’ve matched the colour
they are all skewiff. I discard them one by one onto the carpet.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Winter working.


It is the time of day when perfume is faded
and things are lazy. Shoulders betray
emotions and, silent, people shift
in their seats like horses on straw, foot to foot.

Wherever I am feels like a steadiness
and today offers heat-filtered air.
They say it is getting colder again,
our drinking water is glass-frosting cool.

It won’t be long before the afternoon waking
but for now we are clock-watching, shifting,
waiting for the offer of hot drinks
and the first signs of darkness and home.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Just a glimpse.

Summed up, it is mostly that I want to know more

It means at once movement and music and quantum theory
and a quest for skill that anyone is capable of. I have been filling my head
with parallel existences, tracing movement from one to another as easy as this blink
I do not know enough about. There is wonder in my garden here,
and in your breath holding in cold air. But mostly I want to know more
about why this hurts;
what pain it is that presumes so much about me.
Dark matter is rushing all around us. I want to know what colour your eyes are
when they’re full of a brightening sky.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

I have been reading New Scientist today. I may subscribe.

Perhaps you are closer to life than I

There are revelations: that we may have eaten
snake; that chimeras are a genetic trick
we rely on; that we are not so far away
from what we fear of our past. I am at home
in a web because trees are lonely, even
with family nearby. I secretly hope
for genetics to reveal what I should know.
I find Darwin wanting, even in his I think
sketch; I find myself wanting for life
you could be much closer to than I.

Monday, 26 January 2009

I need a telling off. No excuses.


There are ways and means to demonstrate the reasons for things,
and I remember wonder in a disc spinning slower
at the edges. If only I’d known

how easy it could be to explain the illusion away.
As it was, you explained that somehow
speed is constant though you might have further to go,

and it felt for a moment, while I couldn’t understand, like I’d found your limit.
Really you were just further from the centre I held onto;
but I’m closer to you now, and yes, the speed’s the same.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

A workshop with legs.

The house I did some growing up in is close-by

I am just around the corner, and from here I can tell
that it sweats with the breath of all the families it’s housed
including yours and mine. You still have our curtains up, though
I can only imagine how the constellations of cat-claw holes
must be comforting. It is a house filled, still, with the unknown choices
of a half-known past. I am just around the corner, with some jigsaw pieces
that may help. I have not stared for long, but can tell you
that you should not keep your cookbooks in the window there.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

'nother workshop.

Here is sweat like nothing I’ve seen in a kitchen before

Breeze-kicked garlic skins on the floor
drift under the fridge. The pinny you are wearing

was my own delight once, but I am glad it is part
of your artful stirring now. Your hands are pungent

and last longer than the meal you take such care over,
but it's words that are permanent here:

just keep stirring through the steam; it’s the only way to be sure.

Friday, 23 January 2009

cheating, workshop poem.

A small incident seen in the street

Here is expression in a face
lit in LED-glow and stopped
in the street. You have to step around him
wondering. His breath steams
like he is a tethered animal in winter,
but he is not impatient. You
consider him a while, watch his emotions
being phone-sent into air. He will not know
he is in the way until later, when others’ puzzlement
sinks through this expression on his own cold face.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

A search, perhaps?


The front gate goes like a radio
you can’t turn off, and unfocused fuzz
fills my ears. I’m trying to listen.

My newfound webcam means I am dancing
for two, and waving at you. I think you understand me,
but hope that you don’t. When I speak

the frames-per-second delay me to a series
of unconnected shapes, mute and meaningless.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

minty freshness.


The water travels quickly from the tap
and me and my shut eyes are enjoying the time
we have together in wakefulness. There is a mirror

in front but we are blocking it out. Perhaps
I look lovely, or ridiculous, with a foaming mouth.

Perhaps there is more harm than good in the mouthwash
I have chosen. I make room in my cheeks and let the tap run.

Can anybody hear the waste from the hallway?
I am ashamed and sheepish as I unlock the door,
the last bits of whitest foam already drying on my mouth.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

I like feet.

My toes, still and unused here in the night.

For balance, but slightly ridiculous, I am unsure
how the nails have been bruised. I note
slow growth and ridges of protest, their flex.
It will be painful in the morning, when I replace them
in their shoes. But for now, I stretch them wide
and separated, then curl them tight and wait for clicks.
It is moments before sleep and they are still and sure.

Monday, 19 January 2009


She is no marionette

Do not let her fool you into anything but a shadow puppet.
Intricate and purposeful, it is support from below that dances her

and the right background. Sometimes she is painted where you can’t see
but it is the dark she casts that you are watching.

She is no marionette. She does not look up for validation
or to you, but into light she could be naked and basking in.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Yet another wonderful gig.

Bits and pieces

He broke many glockenspiel beaters tonight,
but it was searching for puppet terms that inspired me to this.
And now, he’s asking what else he can do with a broken chair
and other bits and bobs. Sometimes it seems
that these songs might have answers—I am finding new ways
to find new favourites—but there is no official term
for the wooden cross controller, and lyrics are just poems
with longer arms and fingers that cling tighter than they need to.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Salsa inspiration.

In blackest night and on my way

It is an iron-shod horse that carries me

across the moonwort, and superstition that worries me
to slowing down, to thoughts of vision through the black.
I can almost see the horse’s eyes steady through its skull;
the movement of hair in the night.
The moonwort is crisp on the senses I have left,
and despite what they say of loosening iron
the horse is unconcerned and firmly set.

All four shoes ring soundly on the road.

Friday, 16 January 2009


A yellow heavy moon at the end of our road

It didn’t wait for you
but got smaller as I walked
towards it and home.

I thought of texting to let you know
how close it was, but got caught up
in the speed of its retreat

and the wonder of a stilling earth,
a shrinking moon and my own
small steps.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

A pint down.


I am not kept waiting long; my own warmth leaves me
through the tube taped to my arm. I open and close my fist,
field startled looks at how fast I bleed
and chat about my busy day at work, the nurse’s wish
for a foot pedal to raise us. I am late in the day

but later drink tea to quell the nausea I’ve had since the bus-ride here.
I realise now there is a guilt about me; frisk my health for lies
I had no way of knowing I would tell. There is a headache coming on.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

reworked, sent somewhere.

Looking after leeks

We are searching for him, a man
through the moulding glass of any greenhouse.

We imagine him happiest shooing smut and thrips away.
Truth be told, he is a man who gets easier as the weather cools.

He must take sandwiches, always, but that is all; his body
best lean, with tender fingers for the leeks.

The growth is slow and useful. We wait for his perfect skies
after small travesty—an early frost, an unpredicted cold snap, showers

to keep the ground close—and yet have never caught a sight.
Most nights he watches sun-shy leeks grow by the dimming glow

of his car battery. Collared and watered in, he is sitting somewhere
until the dawn chorus lullaby drowns out the rustling growth.

It is the same sky, the same chorus, and the leeks we eat are blanched
like his, and yet; and yet. We have not seen him and do not know his name. 

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Another one from Mark Doty's workshop.


You fit in my pocket. It is this fact alone
that wins me over. Your front feet are hands-quick

with pasta twists and apple cores. Your bareface lack of fear
startles. Sometimes you groom my ear. That must be strange

from your perspective, and such large features to contend with.
Sometimes when I groom yours you pause and rest your chin.

Monday, 12 January 2009

A very fine Random Hand.

And the dancing

It gets later and later and the lights
which are mostly red seem to have a bright white beginning

and you say that the weather will be sprinkles
which just makes me think of breakfast and the news

on the radio is grim and unthinkable, so much so
there’s no sense to be made. But the music tonight was good

and my back feels stretched though that also means sore
and all the people I saw were having such a nice time

and the dancing.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Illness abounds.

A sudden need for hot toddies

It could be the weather, but mostly
I blame the swollen throats everyone compares
under the lowslung kitchen light.

As if in response, I have washed my hands a lot today,
cooked a cobbler and only left the house
for the Sunday papers. And lemons.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Late, again. So sorry.

I will steal a corner piece of Yoko’s sky today.
after Stanley Spencer

There is theft, and there is a painting
that holds me remembering something
someone said about it once.

I am late, but shoulder time
to stare at him by sacrificing future
contemplation with a sky.

His naked face is ageing and alone;
he offers time to me and I drink of it
though I know only trouble will come.

Friday, 9 January 2009

kind of an old one.

You teach me a lesson in coming of age

Out here where the effort of it
reduces me to shaking, I am overall
grey. We wear our hardships like badges

here; I relate the suicides
the bullying the death
the death and we stare at each other

trying to remember if the weight
is on this time or off. I am the alternative
had you been privy to something more.

I list your hardships like a price comparison site:
the violence the abandonment the death
the frogs in the blades of a lawnmower.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

It's a small world. Especially in Newcastle.

I didn’t know we’d been so close

There has been much talk tonight of how I’m over the road
from someone we don’t have in common. I peer
out of my window and spy the right coloured door

and we laugh. I am watching now, though, for signs.
I have my eye open for you. You must’ve walked right by me
yesterday; my bed is right by the window.

I did tell you the number I lived at once.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

not as chilly any more...

More ways to be warm

It is not all about temperature, and I find myself
under covers but cold, or warm in the coldest room.

Do not ask me how, it is not something I have instructions for,
but know this: happiness is not part of it, nor is revenge.

I just did something I enjoyed and held my face close.
It could have been something in the glow of it, or something

unmentionable residing in my system. A hang-up
of metabolism, or an emotion like the most discreet of radiators.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Chilly chilly

Ways to be warm

Cold feet are not easily cured
though tales of robberies and bus rides
that take over an hour go some way towards it.
My pink cardigan reminds me of home; my green hot
water bottle of Christmas. I have thought for a long time
that my radiator was broken; it turns out
it is not, now I think to turn it on again. Perhaps
neglect has cured it of petulance; or now
I don’t take it for granted it has realised how,
all along, it only ever wanted to be warm.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Hoorah for January sales.

A new laptop is no small thing.

Purpose has been lacking but it is back
and just in time for chocolate. I have been saving
my favourite in the treats jar until occasion
for eating it. My new laptop is so quiet
I can hear subtleties of music I’ve been missing
for years; I never knew there was such intricacy
left in electric guitars. I have been listening
with my mouth open for hours, and purpose is back.
Chocolate tastes good at any time, but now especially.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Who knew.

A transportation

Cuddling my green hot water bottle cover
I hear that Gordon Brown likes poetry;
knows several modern love sonnets by heart.

Wool warm turns to fireside as I imagine a moment
of recitation; with that shuffle of his mouth
and his eyes half-closed, standing at the hearth.

Saturday, 3 January 2009


Three types of muffin

I am home from home today
but it only feels the right way round
because I have been baking.

Chocolate always has a habit of falling to the bottom,
but I have faith in blueberries and bananas.
The smell lingers but I have not tried them yet.

Friday, 2 January 2009