Imagine me
down behind the gasworks
where the obscene canal flows

stood by a burning brazier
my threadbare mittens
warming black fingernails

itching my twiggy stinking beard
pretending there are no crab-lice
that I shall be rescued

the sty of my cardboard-box doss
the unforgiving soul of slab concrete
not a single samaritan to liberate me.


I’d describe him
as unnaturally driven
the sourest of losers

prey to a multitude
of imaginary ailments
entirely friendless

the competitive edge
never blunted,
always looking to win.

His most treasured sound
is a full hall of applauding hands.
When the sycophants fawn over him

demanding private audiences
when a dizzy spoon-fed girl
swoons at the back of the stalls

his ego flowers like a hothouse plant.
This makes me recoil, this smugness
this back-slapping parade of lies.


You were always brittle
blown down by a gust
driven by dark question marks

distrustful of every being
you ever encountered.
I tried to boost your

placate your anxieties
but I only pumped up

your perilous blood-pressure
created new insurmountables
until your early death.

I have no way to mourn
no avenue to describe
the fragile beauty of you

your haunting sorrow
your compulsion to die
which claimed you at the end.


I’m going to struggle
with today

a fearsome swelter already
seethes in the sky’s

big blue sheet,
black drapes

cannot lock it out.
My obsessive-compulsive disorders

riot, my fingers are
tobacco-streaked and palsied

I cannot remember
how happiness

feels. No feel-good counsel
can overcome

the turgid lethargy
of being me

because eight damnable decades
have played out their curse

even soured my dreaming
vandalized everything which was beautiful.


My writing
has always been
something furtive

I don’t wish strangers
to read. It is displaying
your soul, a bloodsport.

Even as their eyes
trawl through my lines
I’m discomforted

I’ve never relished
the sordid fame
others crave

because it is vanity.
Only the words are paramount
are the magic I’ll keep to myself.


I’ve told all the big stories
that comprise my life.
Some truths I’ve diluted
for the comfort of strangers

sometimes I have
spat battery acid
but there has never been
a disingenuous line

in my entire opus.
The bellyaching
has all been of my
own provenance

the charmed epiphanies
I’ve dissected and nurtured
derive from real experiences.
A dishonest word

would simply distort
my sometimes maudlin
insufferably sentimental


Did you ever dwell
on the craft

involved in a child’s

or the incredible lustre
of teenage skin.

To think
this is some random

evolutionary outcome
seems preposterous

that the sixty million years
it took to create

the ravishing swirl
of a trilobite

is assuredly the signature
of a master poet.


It was one of the
most brave

radical protests
I ever made.

Mother had been
bullying me since

before breakfast
I couldn’t keep it in

there was a plastic phial
of her sleeping tablets

on the marble counter.
Raging, I leant over

clenched a fist
and hammered.

The pink capsules
skittered all across

the outraged kitchen
my cat scarpered

Mother was about
to explode

only she articulated
very quietly

very rigidly
that I should leave

and never
ever return.