New poems in Shot Glass Journal, Issue #22

shot glassMy thanks to Mary-Jane Grandinetti , editor at Shot Glass Journal, for selecting three of my poems for publication in Issue #22, which has just been posted online at the website of Muse Pie Press.

Shot Glass Journal features short poems of 16 lines or fewer. You can find “Pillows” here, then click on 2 and 3 of the page links at the top right of the panel to find “The argument” and “A welcome haunting”. There are plenty of great poems to be discovered in this issue from 50 different poets around the world.

Two poems at Allegro Poetry Magazine

Bird graffiti underpass

Issue 13 of Allegro Poetry Magazine has just been posted online, and includes two of my poems, both of which have bird elements to them, coincidentally. Many thanks to editor Sally Long for choosing to publish Going Home and Empty nest in this issue.

You can find both poems by clicking here and scrolling down to just before halfway (or alternatively, read them all – there’s some really great stuff there!).

At Grandma’s house


At Grandma’s house


there’s a basement with a beaten sofa.

You can escape there by descending

an elbow of warped wooden stairs that

corner their way around the back of

the house from the side-deck. No-one


will see us leave. Take an open bottle

of anything brown from the cabinet.

We’ll refill it later with some cold tea,

maybe stale root beer and water. I’ve

got this little bag of grass, enough to


roll a slim one. We’ll be totally invisible

down there, getting high, beyond the wash

of their blunted adult voices. Don’t you

think they sound like they’re underwater,

like they’re the ones already underground?


first published in The Homestead Review, 2016

All breakages must be paid for


All breakages must be paid for


Too much shiny cloth gathered
between the trouser legs and
around the ankles of the
inevitably off-the-peg suit.
Too much product on too little hair.
Asked to stand a step higher
by the serious photographer,
he clings on to his bride,
half like she’s a chainsaw
in the poorly co-ordinated clutches
of a novice, half like she’s
something unimaginably fragile,
and no amount of tenderness
will prevent her future destruction.


first published in Love & Ensuing Madness, Rat’s Ass Review, 2016

Meeting their next taciturn new lover


Meeting their next taciturn new lover


You notice the deep shovels of
his hands are a combed-beach
collection of scratches, the knuckles
all wrecked, and still raw as lies.
Black flecks like question marks
on a map, sunken into the skin;
you assume them to be thorns,
but brambles rather than roses.
From beneath the frayed cuffs of
a cheap, over-worn shirt, the unruly
wire of bronze hair emerging, and
the first inch of a louder scar of
inscrutable tissue becomes visible;
terminus, direction of travel, unclear.
Somewhere in the high dome of his
chest, behind its tidal movements,
and quiet at the centre of it all,
perhaps a heart, a core you cannot
know, how securely it beats, if
at all. And you, continuing to tell
yourself just how little you care.

first published in Melancholy Hyperbole, 2016

New poems at The Open Mouse and The Poetry Shed

Two poems of mine with capital city settings have been published on separate websites in the last week. Finding a dead Waxwing on Braid Road has Edinburgh as its backdrop, and was posted on Colin Will’s poetry site The Open Mouse.

SW12 – a reflection on a train journey through south London – was published today at The Poetry Shed by Abegail Morley.

Big thanks to Colin and Abegail for their support!



Another poem at Algebra Of Owls


I’m really honoured that guest editor Oz Hardwick selected my poem “Ride”  as the Editor’s Choice Poem of the Month for March at Algebra Of Owls. It’s the first award of any description I’ve ever received for one of my poems (might have been one in primary school?), so I guess I can retire now…

Those wonderful Algebra Of Owls folks have also just published another of my poems on their website. You can check out “One last cigar” here.

Three poems at Clear Poetry

Many thanks to Ben Banyard for including three of my poems today on his excellent Clear Poetry website. CP was the first place to publish some of my poems when I began submitting again in 2015 after a (very) long hiatus, so I always feel a debt of gratitude to Ben for that early encouragement. And it’s great to be back there again.

You can find Clapham Junction, Christopher became a chief constable and Leningrad, 1990 here. Hope you enjoy them, and – if you’re new to the site – get the chance to check out some of the other poets in the archives. It’s well worth the time.

Leningrad, 1990


Big, shiny, new hospital

Big, shiny, new hospital

Big, shiny, new hospital

The notion may have briefly flickered, the way things do,

in an architect’s mind, in someone’s office, to make it

look breath-taking and lovely, like a Roman villa,

or a new baby, plump and perfect, who might be born there.


They surely considered it, momentarily at least,

until that meeting with the accountants, with the planners,

so what finally got parachuted into the grey fields

by the motorway, nervously watching the new estates,


empty business parks and billboards shouting out about

Development Opportunities from 0.5 to 9.0 hectares”,

looks more like what it is. Although the smooth lines aspire

to the classical, and the off-white concrete could be marble


from a distance, it’s probably better this way, factory-like.

If I live badly long enough in this town, they’ll end up processing

my faulty body in there, or sending me back to the manufacturer,

my warranty having expired many, many years ago.


first published in The Cannon’s Mouth, Issue 61, 2016