Yearning for the sea-
something about a white boarded pod
and down the road a smokehouse
that wraps the fish in silence, dog.
If I were asked I might say it was hot

white horses, some crashing. A trip out
each day to the sweet shop to see Graveling
with the big old ears like bacon, how
do we get there. TV in the evenings and a
simple meal of Gothel, coke float.

High-stitched, I don’t much care.
It was your voice on the line, you unmet me.
Prying open my day like a mouth, you
muddied my pearl. I am not interested
in you and your lack of poetry,

don’t care for your aggregate view-
trying to squeeze your body into the hours
like a fat old foot, rushing for trains, moral
mathematics then skating on the surface
like some finely shanked bug.

I am not interested in hurting or filling your
silences with reupped words- I research
the most awful things. The sun opens a
cloud like a curious knife, the grass is
a various city, I don’t have time, I’m

aiming for the shore. The crunk of shingle
and the roseate cubes that shrink you,
targeted toward the gaggle of girls that
carve up sand and play in ribbons,
unwatched, there’s no display.

The games of the ardent bore me.
While on the tide we flutter- roaming
in wellies, in ourselves, out. Lost
to the deep we strain to conch
the loud black aches of a mermaid.


We have elders that are made of ash,
they try their best, they die, you came
like blood, gentle as a clay hut. You
grow up quick, the gods say no, say

off you go. We sail to boys, the soil,
the kids go round and soon they know
how short we come, how narrow- though
you must not ever think I do not love you.


Mark flies home to Baby
for Mark E. Smith

You were on my cassette up in my ears with your
violence. My walkman was a scratchy portal straight
to your gammy mouth. I liked it, and the tight sound
of the drums, mounted with the skin of pigeons.

I was also frightened but not of anything.
The time the kids spat on my woollen shelf and
stoic as a pink sparkler, I knew you knew. In your
tank top, casting flames from your ancient hanky.

Something dumb and vicious that ran through all of it.
The ditches laced with porn- distaste in the kitchen,
I knew it. In our world apart, the southern quarters,
we knew the flailing, social hurt. I hid in woodlands

and heard the silence, we were better after all. You
in the gnarled old roots, a latchkey in the darkening
cover and I, proper with my bronze spoon, my
residuals, my uncanny face all flattened by

witches and tarmac. Now gone, into the farflung
corners of the disco- cosmic gargoyle, rings
of smoke around your ankles like A-OK, and
up in your thorax, the flickering burden of joy.


Outside, the twerpy birds flit mad
special into the sunlight. The dog’s ears
robo-swivel to the drama of rustling ivy,
unravelling like an unwound cassette.

Fox-bothered pots, imperial in carnelian
drape themselves over shingle,
business-like over the brown shouting
of spilled soil. Dog finds a hurt yellow

balloon, popped dead on the forecourt
and tries to kill himself. Items revolve
through his sharky mouth, impish sticks
and pink bits of flip flops- he chews on

the cryptic roots in unending query.
Far away, the sound of a seabird sends
him quivery, whiskers gone hi in electric,
the Musketeer pins that scurry him in.


Kingsley is alive with life, a puppy and a world.
I will stroke him senseless and he will be my hand,
a smiling horizon of fluff with a collar of dawning blue,
an extravagant Fibonacci tail of promise. This dog has
small Tourmaline eyes, I don’t know them yet but will-

that’s what they’re for. I will learn how to play, steer-
in the middle of the night he will swish round the house
like a silent boat. His tag will merrily ring the hours,
the hero of a larger dream. Soft and found, a Christmas
dog for life- he pulls the sled. Noble, he will trot

through the years, his tongue kept shining best
for the child that never comes, bright river in a garden,
some halfling coming home. He will eat up old shoes
and knit me boots to stride dark mornings hard and
chase the marsh, the wobbling reeds. He’ll race

the rain and crash through bracken, sponge
with paws like hooves that cleave the doom.
Watch this dog explode in droplets- a small silver
spring at a fairy-tale ball. Bear out of starlight,
our doglet- the best goodest boy of them all.


A Winter’s Tail

Now you are a lion
in this dim lit room.
Your watchful eyes
scan mine like cubs,
I like your chest &
heart too wry for our
un-slice of time. Post-
captive & plain, our
fluid tooth of force,

one whole world in
a world. A thing of
snow now loud with
masculinity fights
mine, half quiet
as mechanism, the
happy hour paws, we
wrestle our trestle, all
exit, pursued by a bear.


Supposing there is a tiny kernel of life
lodged somewhere behind the furious wave
of your ailing masculinity, hear this-

we are not for you. We are not for your
tears as the shock of cold air hits you
square in the gullet. More powerful

than you understand, we watch, can see
the desperate boy, red as an egg,
your failed excuse. Buoyed with need,

the big man- hear your foghorn, feel
the scrabbling, all the -ests then more,
most right, most loud, most sexed.

And all behind your blinds of meat,
the old days gripe- that time you touched
the sleeping girl, the feels you copped,

the castles built and smashed. You know
we know, your default fear, some idiot pride,
your fingers dank with beer, with blood,

the well paid plans that never birth. Don’t
sweat it kid, you’re still alive but brinked
and beached for sure; A kind not long,

your war is done- a violence all unclothed.


Leaves chuck themselves onto tracks, flashers
in their airy clearings. A stack of mags with hot
chicks, the haunted caravan in Weeley, Essex-
haunted with Essex. My roving 10 year old mind

like a priest in a lady of wicker- a rubbish witch,
dropped off at dawn to the seafront toilets where the
mirrors are sheets of metal. Dark tearooms of fudge
and lingering death. The fracas of rain on a skylight

which cuts. Wore his t-shirt in bed for months,
breasts pressed flat in penance, the neck too
high, the way he called his sister slag. We burnt
the lanes, as fiery idols of corn that flickered

bright then slipped down cracks to London.
Mocking the plimsoll line, our cat-right reflex spin,
locked in hedgerows with glo-worms and peat,
slight openings and watchful glassy silence ftw


Clean shelter and bounding dogs between the lake
and I for miles. A queen in the fresh mountain air,
up above furrows and vines arranged in perfect
portions, a full-fat exercise book of juicy maths.

Not a mountain person with this pouch, a little twinge
in the back of the knees, cold-stuck in coffee, art,
watching, don’t care if you’re better than me, it’s nice
here. The air is rarefied and sends me dreams of

dead babies, a party at which I am weightless as a
ballerina. I rot in the pool like a lily pad, dangerous
underwater as a sister. The unicorn has popped,
grappled in fabulous rodeo, the horn gone down.

Not my Dad. I am on holiday and keep working
to fill up the silence. We hear a story about a
bricklayer whose fingers stuck fast in a pulley,
crow hard at absurdity, dress light.