Thursday, 1 September 2011


Don José

This is history repeating itself,
except it's love that guides his hand,
aiding the crafting
of a worthless sorrow.

The first time,
honour commanded his will,
preached the greatness
of land and flag,

provided a benediction
to scour his guilt,
unneeded, if truth be told, since he
was a committed participant.

His bloodied mind remains a terrible thing,
distressed to all but piteous love,
and it is this he craves,
as they stagger to the ground,

before slumbering crowds,
which tolerate distant blood,
safe from the grim theatres
in their far vantage points.

He will demonstrate the certainty
of his love’s construction,
turn her world, withdraw her worth
to a flawed beat.

Does he pause the seconds?
No –
he is like you, and me,
after all, human.

The struggle is bereft of counterweight,
he guts with tutored passion,
cheered on by love’s suffering,
and all our blessing.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


I sprawl on the pavement
in my August skin,
tracking ants and bloodsuckers,
dust and grit powdering
my bronzed limbs.
The ants scurry my eyes
with their restless patterns,
the bloodsuckers,
fat and crimson,
thrill only my boredom,
and I blood my thumb with a few.

Tired of entomology
I sit up, wipe my hands
on my blue shorts,
and with long tempted fingers
reach down to my white dap,
pinch a lace head between my fingertips,
and fray my mother’s knot,
shaping another in my belly
that tightens the more I fumble
with the cotton strands,
until all I hold is an uncoiled Gordian Knot.

I call to my mother,
but my words meander
in the summer heat,
abandoning me to
solve the puzzle in my hands,
the confusion in my heart.
I stumble fingers,
knuckle knots,
pick loose,
try again,
fail again.

Then I breathe.

I study the other knot,
trace its curls and swirls,
and begin to hear
a sweetness in its circles,
a melody in its construction,
and I conjure a butterfly 8,
glimpsing the liberation in betrayal,
settling the strands that tie me
to my dap, and my self to be.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011



when the flowers had dried brittle in their
cellophane robes, and the hand written
condolences faded to hieroglyphics,
she sighed regrets to the inquisitive,
produced tears for the sympathetic,
unleashed bile on the ghoulish.

Her sorrow, it was agreed, was a
noble tribute to her friend,
a record of love that prolonged
a life beyond death,
and spoke of a beautiful friendship.

Recounted with horizon eyes,
her souvenirs allowed strangers
to reveal their brackish tears,
yet with so much love on show, she hid
her most vital sustenance, cloaking it with regret.

Only at night could she grieve the loss of
his muscular embrace, despite his dark strength,
his gentle caresses, despite his venomous bruises,
his delicate words, despite his caustic wit,
his love, despite his jealousy.

Dissolving to this lullaby she would
proffer the handkerchief,
until waking moments, taunted by hope,
soured to mourning hated love,
conducting a tempest of her every thought.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

La Traviata


Her Thursday regular has dropped to the bed
biting her name (fucking slut),
and she’s waiting for these seconds
to wither before venturing
to call time on his obsession.

He ignores her at first, but slowly
unpeels his body from hers.
Unlike another there is no irritation of love,
instead he paws a breast, hands her
a second flutter of notes,
dresses wordlessly and leaves the room.

Now is the time she would hide
her eyes in the room’s dimness,
but the watch-door shrieks his trespass,
and snatching dressing gown and cash
she scolds his steps,
Go out the fucking front!

Lock bolted, chain pulled,
she turns to the forbidden door;
the room inside is hers.

Nibbled toast, cold cup of tea,
unopened letters hold their tongues,
the ponderous tap keeps beat,
threads of morning perfume die on the air.

Scattered taxi cards map her travels
in postcodes rich and poor,
World's Best Sis brown rimmed
and chipped dries in the rack.

Fags, keys and mobile
are gathered civically;
the foiled tool of her trade
tolerated beneath the congress.

She aches for the certainty of this room,
for its calm in her everyday storm,
but first she will wash away
the scent of a well thought-of man,
only then can she be secretly normal.