So you wait ages and ages for an online literary magazine to publish your poems, then two pop up at once. On April Fool’s, of all days.
Bindweed Magazine has very kindly taken four of my efforts – “Inside-out”, “Growing advice for young rhubarb”, “Eaten up and spat out” and “Empty” – and you can find them here.
I’m very grateful to Leilanie Stewart and Joseph Robert for publishing these only hours after a poem of mine appeared in the first issue of Feral magazine.
I’m very pleased to have had one of my poems chosen for the inaugural issue of Feral, a new web-based literary journal of poetry and art. And I’m hugely grateful to the editorial team of Beth Gordon, Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau and Kolawole Samuel Adebayo for the honour.
You’ll find “Notes made at the start of our small civil war” and the rest of the issue here.
Hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.
Shapeless patches of light
shimmy up the hillside,
countermanding each separate shadow
for a second, washing the unlit,
warming the cold spirit,
like a note pattern in
the leafless trees below.
You’re coming back again,
or so I heard. A strike of the eye,
irregularity of the heart.
I picture you. The limpness
of the afternoon impels me,
makes me wonder which wind
is bearing you this time.
first published in Sleet Magazine, 2018
I’m really pleased to have my poem “Spurn Head” up at The Beach Hut just now.
I don’t generally go in for concrete poetry. Thinking about it…this might in fact be it. It was actually written many years ago and almost forgotten about. My recent discovery of TBH – which features coastal-themed writing – led to me digging it out and submitting it. I’m very grateful to the folks in The Hut for picking it out and giving it a bash.
If you’re unfamiliar with England’s east coast, Spurn Head is at the end of the dangly bit roughly halfway up or down, depending on your point of view.
Nothing much at all
Out on the rotting deck –
in that unrehearsed collection
of half-barrels, steel buckets
and terracotta pots –
all your flowers are surrendering.
Heads crumple like regret,
colours leaching into sepia,
leaves and stems cigarette grey.
Only one hi-vis marigold
proudly refuses to succumb.
It’s nothing much at all,
an asterisk, a subscript
somewhere on another page,
but I feel compelled to mention it,
to spell it out in words,
devote breath to it.
Anything to cast a
stone into the silence,
create the tiniest ripple in
this heavy ocean between us.
first published in Soft Cartel, 2018
I didn’t want to ride past your place tonight,
not with that apprentice sun – wearing its
demi-god clothes – embarrassing the sky,
and wasted on these ungrateful streets.
The beach would surely feel better, even with
the swelling tide of kids, just delivered from
the crush of exams, revving their engines.
But every road I followed seemed to take me
your way somehow – every convoluted loop
through the anaesthetic monotony of housing.
I had to avert my eyes as I eventually, inevitably,
passed by, so I wouldn’t catch a glimpse of
that other car spooning yours on the drive,
could avoid guessing what it might mean.
first published in Brittle Star, 2017
Reposted from 2018. Happy Valentine’s Day.
In the moment
The kids are in love, and so sweetly
you can see it melting out of them,
see gravity getting smashed into
a million pieces beneath their feet
as they bounce along, occasionally
touching down because they can.
In their free hands, the ones not
holding the other’s, they clutch balloons
painted in colours we can no longer see,
inflated with their restless thoughts of
an unmapped future, raw materials
yet to be processed into anxieties.
Don’t you remember the first days of our
being? The damage we caused to gravity?
Our balloons? How the brilliant shock
of it interrupted time itself, and made
the future evaporate, while we failed to
notice ourselves not breathing properly?
first published in Tales from the Forest, Issue 5, 2017
It’s a great honour to have had a poem of mine published at Ink, Sweat and Tears for the third time.
“Jumper” appeared at IS&T back in 2016, followed by “Lobster tail” in 2018. You can read “Nothing ever happens” (not a Del Amitri cover, by the way) by clicking here.
I’m very grateful to editor Helen Ivory for choosing this one, and for supporting my writing in this way over the last few years.
Sometimes all I really want is to lie
in your spent arms a little longer,
wherever we are, whatever I’m
covered in, whoever is crashing at
your door, or rattling at your boxes
with their greedy, insistent little words.
Let them wait. Let them stew on a
low heat. Open one eye at least, while I
use your heart as a pillow, and hum this
tune that’s burrowed itself into my ear.
Now – gently – pick the stones from out
of my hooves. Throw them at the stars.
first published in Eunoia Review, 2018
You make your mind up
like the rain.
Covert bands of threat, promise
line themselves along the catwalk
of the horizon.
Only some will make it, cross
the full longitude
of the ocean, grey smothering blue.
I await both
the storm and the steady drill
neither cat nor dog, proffering
a curious hand.
first published in Sleet Magazine, 2018