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