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.