Poem accepted by Cacti Fur

Amongst all the fabulous places to visit in the galaxy of online poetry, Cacti Fur remains one of my personal favourites.

So I’m dead chuffed to have had my poem “Towards the end of our knowing one another” accepted for publication there, especially as it will go live on New Year’s Day and kick off 2020 in fine style.

I’m very grateful to editor Jim Thompson for picking this one out, after having published another one of mine, “Béchamel Sauce“, back in 2016.





From my second storey room

up at Eddie’s I hear the kids

screaming over at the park

across the street, squeezing out

the pulp of the summer holidays.

Through a thin stripe between

the cigar-brown curtains the sky

is darkening, but I can only imagine

the world as puzzled together

from random sounds, peopled by

grown-ups on blood-pressure pills

bumping their tidy cars at twenty

along the ruts of the avenue.

Gulls yack the shore in over

the rooftops. Somewhere near

there will be waves throwing up

the ocean onto a dog-walker’s

beach, waiting like idiots for

the mood to reveal itself.

My bed creaks out a lullaby

on its springs every time I move.

I’d lose my mind if I could only

remember where I’d left it.


first published in Stickman Review, 2018

Exit Strategy


Exit Strategy


Ahead, the muscular arms of the valley

threaten to close over, hack the daylight,

impose a night sky cleansed of stars.


I poured myself, and everything I think of

as everything, into the back of the car,

leaving more space than when I began,


yet still I’m weighted down, by a tombstone

on my shoulder, a last supper of cold soil

digesting inside. The road begins to climb.


I stumble along at the speed of darkness.

Behind me, you and someone’s army are

pasting my likeness onto every blank wall.



first published in Soft Cartel, 2018


Three poems accepted by Amethyst Review

I’m very pleased to have received news that three of my poems – “Gust”, Assynt” and Holocene” – have been accepted for publication by Amethyst Review, and will be appearing one by one over the next couple of months. Links to be posted here once they go live.

Amethyst Review is an online publication featuring writing which engages with spirituality and the sacred, and is edited by Sarah Law.

Thanks to Sarah for offering my poems a home.

Remembrance Day



Remembrance Day


When they silence the radio show at eleven,

leaving empty, unimprinted airwaves to spill


sideways from the set, I’m cupping rosehip tea

in two wounded hands. But there’s no peace.


The crumpled ringing of a ceremonial cannon-shot

slaps around the mile-away harbour,


while in another room, the washing machine

grinds on, waterfalling, buttons and zips


drilling at the glass porthole as they circulate.

Children – innocent as wind – shriek outside,


their insensitivity frightening off death, if only

for a moment. Settled in the mug, my over-stewed


brew exhales, wine-like. When I finally drink,

its flood over the ploughed field of my tongue


is fruit-red, blood-warm and unapologetic,

each mouthful a release of winter from its prison.



first published in The High Window, 2019

Putting back the clocks


Feels appropriate to re-post this today….


Putting back the clocks


It catches us by surprise every time.

We never manage to be ready for it,

even though the slowly-paling days

have already shrunken down so much

they barely even fit into their boxes,

and complain fiercely to everyone

about the lack of themselves.


Without any clear reason or instructions,

we’ve started eating porridge again.

Taking herbal supplements. Regular showers

of leaves spray from the parade of trees

lining the wet streets uptown. Certain

bolder ones – poplars, you decide –

are the first to go fully, brazenly naked.


Trying to ignore the wheezy darkness,

we roam the house, digging out timepieces,

stealing hours, pushing buttons, twirling dials

on the heater controls. It all adds up

to so little. But always there will be one

we’ve missed, will discover mid-January,

clinging quietly to last year’s summer.



first published in Northampton Poetry Review, issue 2, 2018

I want to kill your dog


I want to kill your dog


Actually, that’s not true.
What I want to do is
take him out for coffee,
somewhere quiet and
unthreatening –
that new place just off
the High Street, perhaps,
where you sit on bean-bags
and they play Coltrane.

He could have whatever
dogs have, and I’d
offer him that little
biscotti from my saucer
as a goodwill gesture,
although I imagine
he’d prefer a beef
or chicken-flavoured one.

Because I’m sure we could
connect in a different,
less rudimentary way,
you know. Maybe not.
At least I would be
careful to keep my hands
under the table, out of sight.
I wouldn’t want to make him
feel uncomfortable.


first published in Otoliths, 2018