Don’t cure too many madmen,

You may need us yet.

How would you know where Hell was

If you didn’t hear us scream?

And where your Heaven was once,

Did we not wander wild and dream?

We are canaries singing in your soul,

Singing the nightmare so you can forget,

Singing until the darkness chokes us all.

NaPoWriMo 29/4/16: Moths

All day they lie like corpses on sills, in corners

And masquerade as dust.


Night falls. I find them fluttering

Under my cats’ paws, describing perfect circles,

Their dance enticing

The very thing they fear,

Those longed-for claws.


Death cannot come too soon for them, it seems.

Rescued, they return. Consigned to darkness,

Cling to the window-glass,

Pink eyes afire with lust, the Undead, craving

That final, fatal light.



Golden Apple Earrings

“Pretty,” he said, brushing the golden apples absently.

I kissed him – but not the way I did before –

Being pierced through the heart by the one who gave them to me.

Never play word-games with Christians, they’re superstitious,

Truly believing in Serpents and Souls and Apples,

In sunlight stippling Eden’s long-ago leaves

And Jehovah’s moon asleep in the fork of the Tree.

Between my husband’s heart and mine stretches a silver chain;

I left him easily enough, but it pulls and pulls sometimes.

The links that make our chain are dainty fine:

A break in any one and the pain may end me.

“I am the serpent in your Eden,” I said

– so much throw-away imagery –

But my lover stared at me and stepped away.



Purple smells…

Purple smells

Like the kind of musk

A courtesan would wear, or

A woman spy

On some grim mindwinter train.


Yellow feels

Like the ears of an old cat

As if my very touch

Would raise a purr, or

Like the roses

On my grandma’s lawn.


Green tastes

Like the sap of an unknown tree

Something raw and magickal

The blood of a snake



Red sounds

Like a saxophone played soft

By an old man in some

Smoky city den

Like the dying din of an audience

When the act’s set to begin.


Eighty Words A Minute

It was February and the wind was bitter, the municipal park

Empty apart from us, who’d come to honour

Cynthia’s redundancy. I’ve got my skills, was all she had to say,

Eighty words a minute, girls, they can’t take those away.


It’s not the end of the world, she said.

So we slopped the wine into the paper cups

And drank to the world not having ended, quite,

And the cold wind blew away


The perfume she always called Anay Anay.

Those long nails curled around her cigarette,

Those narrowed eyes, that mouth made smaller still

To drag the smoke inside.


She clattered up and down on spiked heels

And every now and then she’d pause to stare

Hard down into the patent leather,

As if to read her future clearer there.


She’s got her skills, they can’t take those away.

They take your face and your fertility,

The bloom of youth, your sexuality,

Your hope, your laughter and your dignity,

But eighty words a minute – no, they won’t take those away.


I sail my paper boat across your sea,

A fragile craft, and sailing fearfully,

And when I sink, as soon I surely will,

Oh, let me sink through you and rest awhile.

I fly from you as on a sparrow’s flight

Across these sunlit days from night to night,

And when I fall unnoticed, as I must,

Be you my crowded street, my pavement dust.


bird blossom.jpg

Recording The Moon

– moon through the trees,

A tired, shining face;

The very smell of moon

Seasoned with pollen –

Why must I record?


My life’s a postcard

Never to be sent,

A camera set to run, a blinking eye,

A capsule for him to open in some other time or place.


I am a ghost town

In the desert dust,

Waiting for one who never went away,

Waiting, forever waiting, for the day he might pass by.


Somebody’s cat

Tiptoeing through the leaves;

No longer lived-in house

Dark under ivy; polished, empty rooms –




Painting: A Dance Around The Moon by Charles Altamont Doyle

NaPoWriMo 17/4/16: The Snow Man

Opening his window, leaning out,

He breathes the icy air and scoops the snow,

Spreading it on a black board

To photograph the flakes

Before they fade. 

Forty-six winters

Alone in a Vermont shack

No crystal a copy of any other

No man, either.

 After he dies

Jewellers will use his photographs for patterns

And children in school will cut copies

As best they can.


Wilson Alwyn “Snowflake” Bentley (1865 – 1931)

I can’t help thinking how well he loved, this man.

What greater love than to chronicle

The casual works of God?

 What higher call

Than the lonely study

Of the beautiful?

NaPoWriMo 15/4/16: Writing By Lightning

Writing by lightning, I’m

Wishing that we could share

Smell of paraffin,

Heat of the flame.


Beloved, is your garden

Incandescent green

And is the rainfall

Drowning your roses too?


Are you alone, or is she with you?

Do your fingers drift along that icy arm,

Hiroshima blue, then white,

Then blind again?


Whisper and I will hear you.

Lamplight will relay you.

Tonight the very air

Is charged with you.

NaPoWriMo 12/4/16: Dark Room (cut-up)

dark room, blue jar, long candle, pale flame

you did not return my letter;

stone sister, mad mother, absent friends, imaginary brother

 dear diary

mad mother, you did not return; imaginary friends

absent sister, my letter, dark room, long candle

stone brother, pale flame, blue jar

dark stone, you did not return

candle room, absent long, flame friends, blue sister

imaginary mother; mad letter, my brother, pale jar

imaginary letter, long mother, sister, brother

mad, pale, you did not return; absent candle

blue friends, stone jar, dark flame, my room

imaginary brother, absent friends, mad mother, stone sister

you did not return my letter

pale flame, long candle, blue jar;

dark, dark room

A Poem Can Bloom In The Middle Of The Road

A poem can change the colour of her hair

And dress up kinda tarty;

A poem can wear an unfashionable hat

And push a bomb in a basket.

 A poem can make you believe she’s a song

Crooned by some pretty kid;

A poem can paint himself on a wall

And be worth four million quid.

A poem can spill out her heart on the news –

Doesn’t have no help, no food;

A poem can wade to you from a boat

With all his children drowned.

 A poem can bloom in the middle of the road

Or climb up your garden wall;

She can build a nest in your guttering

Or be anything at all.