It is hard to recall
when he lost his joy
in living.

It may have
evaporated gradually
or simply leached away

into the soil
leaving no trace.
His head can’t disentangle

the baffling conundrum
it’s all a black quandary.
It must have been

when he stood on deck
watching the ship’s wake
and the white cliffs

recede behind him
the sun smeared
a sobbing red.

He’d grasped the rails
and projected his body
into the teeming ocean.


When you take
my hands

I notice how gorgeously
sculptured your fingers

are. An artist’s hands
moisturised clean

pinkened baby-fat palms
that’ve seen no graft.

My huge gnarly paws
my labourer’s claws

excoriated by the sun
are objects to be hid.

Whereas the world
should shout about

your angel-white
immaculate fingertips.


Mother always said
I could find poetry
in a manhole cover.

She invariably sneered
at my creative side
insisting it’d make me

no decent money
that it was an
improper profession

for any red-blooded male.
She was correct about
the pecuniary advantages.

Nevertheless I have felt
the compulsion to write.
Some indefinable urge

propels me. Maybe it is
Mother’s apparition
stood pouting glowering

waving a skinny digit
whispering that I should
never amount to much.


Her boyfriend is
such a callous jerk

I never trusted him.
She however

is enamoured
even when the boy

bashes her.
They have that

rare chemistry
which transcends

physical altercations.
He has lured her

into small-time
drug addiction

and major alcohol.
I should be delighted

to learn they’ve
severed ties.

Because once I prized
her for myself

but I don’t yearn now
after second-hand girls.


My Mother always
complained that parenting
was a thankless task.

We ran amok
while she drank
and generally frazzled

her mind. I did not comprehend
the extent of her unhappiness.

To me
it was acceptable
to see her

supine on the couch
spartanly clad
her full ashtray stinking bad

a bottle of the hard stuff
rolling near her bare feet.
She’d stir around lunchtime

plate up some unappetising
stodge and retire to her misery.
I never wondered if she cared

I was feral lean rudely healthy
she was the Mother
the world had given me.


the most iconic symbol
of the twentieth century

is the swastika.
Most probably
the lone gunman

who slaughtered
fifty-two victims
in our small southern city

wore it as a tattoo
emblazoned across
his vile back.

I would say it remains
a potent emblem
of hate.

Chilling skinheads
contemporary Nazis
prize its pure evil.


Scrawny adolescent

at my stupidity
more difficult
to prize

a word from
than a barnacle
off a rock.

Holed up
in your cave
I rap gently;

bassy thuds
of primate music
shiver the walls.

I edge open your door
you’re sprawled immodestly

across your unmade bed
tenderly caressing
your iPhone.

Appalling intrusion
you fling your hands
high into airy spaces

pounce from your bed
scowl thunderously
marshal me away.


When you’re reading
you pull up
your perfect legs
under you

invariably you pout
crunch your salted nuts
lick your long fingers
as you turn a page.

You love to break
the spines of all
your new books
an appalling custom

but it’s late now
your chin nods
your eyelids sag
your book slides

into your captivating lap
the accomplished pages
of the celebrated author
background noise.


Since your fall
your smashed hip

you are altered.
Too spooked to venture out

depressed anti-social
like an unwelcome truth

has hammered home.
Your acute proud mind

is dimmed
you are shaky preoccupied

with unnecessary trifles.
I think I understand

your sad subterfuge.
It is to hide the realization

that you shall live in pain
until you die.