halloween comes at the best time,
a drip down your heart in a churn
of words called oof- this ghost-lit
bad brain hook on one withered hand it

scratches itself in a forest etc, christ
it’s racy. quick- resurface the jingling spit
says headless / sleepless- nobody
likes you. thanks ghoul! do keep me

posted i say, it is helpful to know where
i’m not. fake blood in the whisper chain,
the dithering rain- childless strings of
lights in tooth, static, pickaxe, how

do you do. deconstructed in laser sharp
glee- my ribcage a synth, fanning out hard
into the red of black trees. the umami runs
deep. pls help. i am above, i am nowhere.


Fred West’s Cardigan

The sun so vicious hot the tarmac burnt
the Spanish intern’s instep mid-Flamenco,
Fred. I searched for the long gone Youth Club-
right forgotten at the poetry festival, run

by this African Rifles vet called Ken. You probably
knew of him within the jungle din of rumbling bikes,
your gypsy looks and grin, the bramble hair, all that.
The girl that smacked you up the escape

on Bye Street to the Homend where kids
still skulk in stilts, too bored to grope and eating
hands by stalls of drizzle. Scrim, more bloody
melting tea under a scowl of weightless breasts,

the Milk Bar’s ghost where you met Rena.
Lassoed with dirty promise, a cavernous mouth
of bragging entire wildness, a sausage plait
of shame the poets hanker on. Refined; Can the

air be more rarefied do you think? Do you miss
the knife-sharp bunting? Would I put on your cardigan
in this God-forsaken heat, the woollen embrace of a
scrambled animal, pre-Rose, like rape- some home?

Some of those beetles are so shiny they look like tiny bits of glass
before the tide whipped them about in a washing machine

The honeysuckle is in tip-top condition, the smell is arguably better than
freshly cut grass, which everyone is always a fan of

There is a black thing in the tree, it is possibly an amputated leg cut neat
through the middle, tied around with string to keep the sock up

Out of the window a cat watches with burning eyes as the bells of an
ice-cream van shatter the air into a thousand wafers

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.