As Much Help

Stars full of statics and rains,

Sleeps full of sharks

And poison-bomb planes;

The frames as much help as the door,

When the test leaves scar marks

And your soul’s face is pressed to the floor

And you’re still going down.

Every straight’s a corner

Every down is always up a hill.

The one you picked won’t

Everybody else’s will.

Next to the Fact …

Again I’ve been dreamin’; the one

That always has me feelin’ like screamin’:

Wakin’ up in a place I know but don’t remember, last

Night’s warmth, passion an’ promise already coolin’ fast.

When the friends that I wanted were out

And the ones that I met were not.

Drifted to the palace game, realising I

Knew neither the names nor the rules. Later

At the accident club the edges were dull, the

Twice-warm’d wine and cheap skin-sin far too pale,

Continue reading

Can’t …

Can’t find the minutes,

Wash out the blood,

Prise the grime out

From fingernail beds.


Can’t catch my breath,

Get shelter, get a grip,

Forget the stench that

Clogs my nostrils.


Can’t crack the code,

Hold my nerve,

See the light that’s

Meant to be there.


Can’t draw the line

Nor bridge the gap;

Can’t throw off the chains

That’re holding me back.


Can’t see through the fog,

Shake off the hunt,

Can’t afford the fare

That ought to get me there.


Can’t see the way forward,

Can’t see the way back

If there’s somebody out there

Can’t you give  me the  little

That would mean such a lot?

Things I Might Have Said ?


Be not afraid to sit alone and still

In moonlight (there is always company

Be had in that silver-friend place);

Seek out the edges of sky, sea and earth,

Travel the hidden paths as well as the crowded ones,

Give such respect as is due to

The latest phantom armies, but do not,

Without thought, join their marches. Continue reading

So Obvious Now …

I had believed I was better,

Oh so much better,

But I failed to spot  –

All around me –

The sliding alliances,

The glances, small-significant words;

The quiet ironies, turning tides,

Altered smiles, sundowner trails

Of those giddy, head-turn days.

They drift and sing, so obvious now,

Across the years: those

Boundaries that know no wires.

Believed I was better,

So much better …

I was wrong.

The Thing About …

The thing about planes

Is they’re too jet-jet fast;

It’s translation,


Missing miles

Between passport heartbeats.

No time

Between departures

And destinations.

Blink once, twice;

It’s done, and

There’s no going back.

It’s gone,

People left

Far apart:

No second chance,

No next glance,

No going back.


And, hey, did I tell you

The thing about planes …?

Before the Rain …

This is the rain

That isn’t really rain –

That comes before the rain

That will be –

But why the fuss?

Didn’t we always know the

Summer wouldn’t last forever?

If it wasn’t what you wanted

Surely there’s only your self

To blame for that?

December’s insanities,

Brewing in the still room

Begin to giggle, little

Secret red bubbles;

The dark that isn’t real darkness,

That comes before

The dark that is:

What’s next?


You have to ask?

Surely that’s the question

Best left to answer itself?

The Ticking of Other Clocks


What ghosts will sit

These patient seats,

Drift along aisles, up stairways,

Gasp and wave,

Believe and tremble

When these crowds –

Distracted by the

Ticking of other clocks – Move on?

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All Roads …

All paths lead to the Black Stage;

The one that hangs beneath the

Impossibly huge,

Lightning cracked

Longhorn bull skull.

But as the peaceful sun

Settles down to rest

In the hills beyond

The gathered tribes

I take a breath, a stance:

Feet below my shoulders.

From that point

Everybody knows;

This is my stage,

My tune, my song.

The notes as diamond-bit

Sharp as always.

“There once was a woman …”

Once ?

We look at each other

And the smiles are

Wider than ever …

Because this time around

We all understand

That the joke  –

If joke it be –

Is on those of us:

The light and the dark,

Children of smoke and water

Who are here in this moment.