The Cedar Shingle Roof
(As published in the 2019 Anthology Reach)
Rain shells the sky
and slides its drama down;
while arching over us
the cedar shingle roof
is silvered with air
The red of its youth
washed with autumn
and faded strong;
a will bent with survival.
Dad hammered the tiles
or so years ago
pounding the doubled-dipped
galvanised nails home
to the bed of rafters
Reverberating still, his hands
ridged with veins and visible
as ropes beneath canvas sails
fold around newspapers
full with giving
as the forest gave.
The turn of sky to cloud
a blink away.
The Flat Line
Once in maths, we made moebius strips,
snaking paper from its brittle, flat plane
to the imposibility of infinity.
We'd cut the paper to thin long strands,
let them slide, smooth as laces,
through our hands before
We single twisted then glued
the stubs to invisibility,
ironing their separateness from existence.
Then we'd watch, with unfading awe
a pen skate a line, unbreaking
and running on both sides of the paper
circling endings to beginnings
and thoughts to overlap with thoughts'
experiences, again and again
as you would wind my hair
around the curved warmth of your fingers
coiling its fibres through laughter's
flash to helical perfection;
the coded core
of memory's reverberations.
(Gold Winning poem in Kevin Watt's Object Impermanence Competition)
I see you trek carefully, feet edging
the pitted fissures that the wilds of storms
melt to rocks cleaving their chalky damp cries
to sheer the falling heights and pull down slow
then swift to the vanishing point of shore
below the eaten crags.
Then your voice,
wavering as grass ridging the back of cliffs,
their burs and seeded ears sighing faintly
against the sweep of coast and hollow
flattening of the breeze,
begins to call,
sharp and acrid
through the lightning fused air.
And it is as it was once,
the summer a smile of sea
and sky tumbled russet bright
with longings and plans beyond
the edge of us,
before the sirens and urgent
quiet of the ending invaded,
lancing at today, listing
with the other obituaries.
Over the sea and leading nowhere
the pier soars, its gapped boards
pulling us to its promenade.
Planks are parted with a promised
glimpse of the ocean tumbling
and foaming feet below -
its waves climbing around
the wrought iron red posts
supporting us all
to the end.
Here the fun fair screeches
its rollercoasters into the sky
and the helter-skelter spirals
riders down on their coir mats
through Victoriana to
the pinstriped candy-floss stalls beyond.
The yellow heat of oil
and frying food wanders the air
unhealthily wraith like,
enticing as the ghost train ride's
their scripted screams
staccato stabbing at the thump of rock music
all around us until we are
full again of swaying knowledge
and vertigo; pitched against
good sense and firm land
somewhere inside forever.
Slashed as paint ripping
wild the canvas of its confines
you woke the room,
your music a stringed surge
reverberating the grey.
Around the round words
your lips move as
delicate as gardinias drift,
as electric as panthers wag
the minted night
owning us more than angels
and the very lyric breath
of each plucked pink note
is a danced destiny.
The First Flute
(As published in 2019 Reach Poetry Anthology)
Even amongst the mires and marshes
at our beginnings we envied the birds
their song grown sweet amid the tawny thorns
of survival. Schemes were lit and fires
laid smoke to climb through the roast heat of bones
and blister of wings until the remains
displayed their hollow, fleshless tunnel caves.
Here the first enchantments lifted from lips,
swift fingers coaxed the perforated pieces
of death to fresh flight of flurried dance
now strumming soul soft from our stereos.
A Brighter Burn
That night the light was slow,
a faint glimmer before a brighter burn.
The singed green shade twisting
in the faint breeze mouthed
through half open windows.
I'd got up, too hot to sleep,
too tired really for those ends
of things really that tangle
a mind's late thoughts,
when a moth traced the vaguenss
at the corners of the room,
its confusion crashing at the walls,
the brightness its beacon,
and then its silhouette inside the stretched
satin shade seemed muffled
and drawn large as those paper puppets
in shadow theatres of old preconfiguring
its own demise and fizzed throes
of death as staged and restaged tragedies.
Then the stench of absence and heat
was all, a universe swallowed whole.
Shutting the lights off, I stumble to the stairs
that fall into wheeling darkness.
Our coats straggle
clammy with winter,
into a fog that drifts
from our limp
cast off forms.
We gather in halls
the silk of our scalped insides
murmuring and our skins
pressed into the animal darkness
of cloakrooms dripping
with the forest's damp
the room grows colder now
and greyness climbs windows
where nets sag with smoked days' deaths
your hands stare empty
and news suffuses the void;
heavy punctuated prose passes
inside the cavity opens itself
e-rayed exposure of an end
and ashen acceptance
are all the letters send
outside fish pool together,
gold as sun shadows,
trapped in beauty
and needing no comprehension.
the hush hangs itself
between our stuttering
As published online by spillwords
in the infra dark of red hues
he develops photos the old way
his hands tilting dark avenues
side to side, crossing, caressing
chemicals drift to oblong lakes
oddly rippling the grey-scale tones
of light to a glossed retina;
an imprinted code of vision,
fished from flimsy film to frame firm
the gaze of yesterday's wild eyes
dripping with days done and captured
for a slow show reformation.
each is pegged to dry and retell
forever that blaze of a second
live as wire crackling fresh
and kissing warmly back with life
lush with the moment.
It's the cool edge of words
That frees truth
To the heights of dark skies.
Cutting as the sharpest stars;
Slicing at those syllables
Uttered in hasty exchanges
And sauntering into the bleakest streets.
Here the unsaid elements exist;
Cut free and
closing, firstly hands together
then slowly pausing and parting
palms brushing warm with night softness
between strangers, greeting, passing
speechlessly to an intimacy
of evening and orange lit lights
winking at a journey now full
of pages empty as islands
drifting in a spiralled foam surge
of oceans' freshly fashioned form;
volcanic and heat swept upwards
from the very sea floored inky depths;
alluring as atlases mapping
newly a bright world unknown.
A snaking spool of steep
jagged chalk; this impossible slope
Cycles high to View Point
Where the eyes of ancestors
Looked as I look at the trees
Scragging their roots between rocks.
Like waxy years the yews vie
for dark space.
Beneath, The River Mole scampers
Round its stepping stones ever
Too widely spaced and patterned
With small damp imprints
Of many crossings.
From the soil crawl the
Rooted fingers of trees; climbing ghosts
From the pitted chalk
That thinly weeps its secrets
With the rain
While we retrace our sloped steps
To their base.
Tight, between your thumb and index finger
You hold a match ready to strike a flame.
With rushing friction bursting from the tinder
Of glassy powdered card and your swift aim
You will change something forever. Blame
Free and with a flick you could set the spark
Of destruction eating all of acclaim
To the hollow hunch of a charred burnt mark;
Searing all with just one match sweeping in an arc.
The curve of you waking wise baby
Strangely natural and unknown grows unstoppably within.
You float, swim, kick, my conscious self
demanding my wearied world
awake for your own daisy-eyed looped dance.
The greying mornings dawn hunched over
since the blue dividing line proclaimed
your presence. A drawn line in my life too,
Then the metallic bleakness and longings...
Never have I felt so far from known land.
The material world other, outer and distant dim..
and two thousand Christmas cribs cry anew
and rhythmically rock with visceral reality.
A pain suffused, strange secret of continuity
shivers as I pass past to you
Universal child. Can you carry our
paling shadows to silver solutions?
Expectant we wait and watch your image beat
on dark screens and hear the muffle
of new life snuggle the world within.
Baby bigger than beyond;
A universe to come.
(this poem was first published in 1996 in the anthology 'Turning Points')
Your sugar bones
and porcelain smile.
Too expert a host
to this weak, torturous guest
That shivers inside your lacerated mind,
and through your gossamer
How obstinate your eyes are,
Like two black beads
Riveted to your skull,
even chiding your persistent
Still your organs pump,
stubbornly alive, human
and reflective only between
the panes of hated mirrors
into which you gaze with morose curiosity,
watching always its sad winter faces
and blue, insubstantial masks, shapes
filtering between the forest of tubes
that devotedly offer up their sap
to sustain this liquid existence.
Your hands lie, so passively exposed,
huddling together their fingers
like spent match stick dolls
in silent protest against us
while you dream defiantly
of the luxury of self violation.
Yet such stamina
and so steely a will,
so determined and impassioned;
pure ambition inverted;
gobbling its own
flower from existence.