Poetry

This is some of my poetry. Some of these won poetry prizes. The Kiss, for example, was a finalist in a poetry slam competition.

I have published in various books and magazines and newspapers and won an Eric Gregory Award for Poetry.

I am available for performance Poetry events. I can do a serious set or a comedy set.


 

poetry_03The Kiss

We met with nothing
Like runaway trains without tracks,
An accidental collision of appetites,
Storm cracking clouds at our backs.

We said little, there was little to say,
My old shoes, your scarred coat,
Lost in the laughing moonlight,
Obdurate sun so remote.

Then we made it, this thing, this twist,
This moment of something else,
This tap of anvil, hammer and lips,
This new shape of light, this kiss.

We slept in it, ate in it,
Let it arch and float and persist,
Until it buried us deep in itself,
And cradled out hearts, this kiss.

This kiss refused to lie down,
Insisted we loosen our clothes,
Step sheer and bare, empty of shelter,
Howling the dark to a close.

This kiss brought down power lines,
Made machinery panic and fright,
Created urgency in clocks, gyrated the dead,
Made angels of endless night.

This kiss remembers the future,
Ruins governments, embraces lonely death,
Put sparrow songs on our tongues,
The music of desire on our breath.

This kiss is the grammar of love,
This kiss silences, stuns, protects,
This kiss always knows in the heat and the blows,
The thing that’s coming next.

We watch amazed at this kiss
Conduct a dance of sinew and bone,
Make exquisite moments from tears,
Create enough heat to break stone.

This kiss, this bliss, this tremulous beast,
Smells of peacocks and September,
This kiss is the jive of primitive heat,
The moment that makes you remember.

This kiss amazes science,
Is damaged and wise and just,
It eats sentences from books,
Makes muscle and blood from dust.

This kiss flies out of geology,
Crashes through hammering hearts;
They say it lives now in the blankness of space
Where everything, inexplicably, starts.

 


 

Goat in Bed

Woke up to a strange smell.
earthy, dangerous, yeasty,
a wicked meat old as incest.

A goat is asleep next to me.
Great bone-haired whiskered head,
long white-lashed eyes closed,

the lips drawn back in a sneer of sleep
and a curdling whistle of goat breath,
showing teeth that could strip a tree.

Gingerly I lift the sheet.
Female. An udder and pink teats.
One cotton-snagged hoof caught and
trembling.

Nibbling dreams in a sky of thistle and milk,
a mouthful of stars and coughs,
her back a lean-ribbed xylophone.

I get up quietly, dress furtively,
fearful of waking such a sleep.
At work I feel like a Goth king.

When I come home she has gone.
There, on the pillow, a scatter of hair,
goat shadow still warm on the sheets.

 


 

poetry_02Snakes Mating

snakes mating by the pool
terrifying all the white sunbathers

they uncoil like lords of darkness
from a tarpaulin

five feet long
liquid brown
heads like bunched fists

indifferent to the screams
as they overlap, tangle, loosen,
pipes of sinew and arched bone
twining their storms

electrodes only interested in themselves
ready to thunderbolt,
love as attack

the gardeners came running
netted one who still tried
to embrace through the wire,
bludgeoned the other with a broom

then razored off its head with a spade
left it dead by the pool
for us to look at
and wonder what we are missing

 


 

POETRY1Night Sonnet

A mosquito, a blood-fat bomb
Machine guns past my head.

I am loaded with rum, ripe for the night,
Launching my missile dreams
At a god-squeezed ball of nothing much
In the dark aching adjustment of disguise.

Rich, this hot time of speculation,
The room an African wilderness,
Faint hiss of leaves baking,
A world unable to cool its throat.

There is nothing to hunt but myself,
Nothing to ransack but the brain’s tight bubble,
A sack of sinew and cacked laughter,
A Siberian snow tiger filing its claws.

 


 

Moth

Already, before I can move
He is Kamikaze mad for the hot bright lamp, a
Gossamer chitinous blundering of wings,
Velvet courtier’s head, moustachios like
Radar antennae frisking at the heat.

Only the dark can save him.
Then at some signal from Command HQ
He is off to a second lamp.
Why such a frenzy for death?
It is all streamlined, gloved, epicurean,
This chase to scorchment, this race to the end.

Is it so tantalising, so electrically sexy,
The headlong brain-fried fluttering rush
To the beginning of nothing?

Only the dark can save him.
I do. I catch his furious longing in a glass
And release him into the night.
He’ll be back, hunting for the end of himself.
Nothing will stop this hunger.

 


 

Minotaur

The great fisted muscle of his head
Ponders you asleep,
His close breath burns your cheek,
His mouth cocked for love
Of a sort.

A warm sack of glands
stitched tight by a distant moon.

Kettle wire hair coils over his immensity,
He breathes prairies and canyons
To your helpless sleeping.
This is the Ancient come for a reckoning,
A dark indifferent eye locks into your body.

The night will last forever.

 


 

I hate noise

I hate human noise
cicada crack of joints creaking their folly
pointless muttering and engine hum of talk
slap of tongues and teeth
mechanical chewing and rasp of thought
scattering its dead peals like broken thunder
squeak of tears and juices swilling
filling the air with human spillage
crack and dangle of despair
the heart breaking in its chains

limbs loosening in their cradles
swish and slosh of blood in the brain
the need to stuff every silence
rake every quiet corner with babble

why can’t something just stop it
and the world sleep for one night
without human clamour

 


 

Who is this Dog

who is this dog inside me?
I like her more than myself
the way she licks stones
sniffs interesting surfaces
bites her paws
cocks her ears
looks at the invisible
finds darkness fascinating
runs for the fuck of it
chases imaginary rabbits
pees on neighbours’ steps
chews a tennis ball
until it’s a viscous egg,
is afraid of nothing
except thunder,

doesn’t think about death
until it comes
then wants solitude
to let it happen,
take its course,
not make a fuss,
die alone in a bush.

my dog
sat in my lap
at the surgery
body a question mark
head curled round
to look at the big sky outside
clouds puffing like dreams,
say goodbye to everything,

it broke me up badly
but that’s my problem.
she was way beyond
in her knowing.

I like her life,
she is more interesting
and varied than me
and makes everything possible.