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




God once stopped while I was hitch-hiking,
barrelling south down the Ghost Road
through that endless stretch where
Yorkshire almost starts to resemble Texas.
He flung open the door of a long, white
Mercedes with seats made out of cows.
Given all His hard work, I couldn’t begrudge
Him it, nor the platinum signet ring on
His little finger. He looked – that day – not
unlike a young Topol, or Trotsky, with a
well-groomed neatness to His silver-threaded
curls and goatee. We talked about cars
and girls, the usual stuff, vulnerability.
He asked me how I liked His ride; I guessed
the ambiguity was entirely accidental.
What would you do – He asked me seriously
– if I were to reach out and touch you,
right here, right now? What would you do?
The question hung in the slim air between us,
like a brand new planet, still in its wrapper,
dangling innocently in the heavens He’d built.
Gazing out at the reams of road ahead
waiting to be swallowed up, I shuddered,
understanding for the first time that my soul
was really only ever going to be on loan.


Original version published in Algebra Of Owls, 2017





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







I stand by the gaping window and

wonder how you do it, just watch


madness drive by erratically in its

slow car, round and round.


See the children stomping schoolwards

every morning, slumping back, afternoons,


as old women and men, heads

too heavy and worn to hold aloft.


Garbage scatters like crows quarrelling.

The sun warms the concrete heroically,


but no-one feels it. There are an infinite

number of ways for nothing to happen.


All of them end in emptiness.

In the evening, there is no darkness,


just a curious light laughing at gravity

breaking its laws like ribs, one by one.


Death has finally found a home

in your open mouth. It is


furnished with stolen goods

found discarded by the roadside.



first published in Ghost City Review, 2018

Aftermath of a minor collision


Aftermath of a minor collision

The damage is inconsequential, mere molecular exchange

that it’s not worth bothering to get fixed. Those fanned striations

to metal and polycarbonate. The cracked plate remains legible.


But then the talking begins, and you gate-crash the narrative

with your machined hair, your plastic-coated name badge, all its

accompanying officiousness, its way that things have to be done.


Oblivious to the audience, you circle, fucking vulture, hungry for

the programme to kick in. You don’t get it, do you? This journey

of ours through the asteroids? You have no idea what’s coming next.



first published in Thirteen Myna Birds, 2017

Three poems up at Stickman Review

Anthony Brown, editor of Stickman Review, has been kind enough to include three of my poems – “Driving around town, 2 a.m.”, “Eddie’s” and “In which you are still leaving” – in Volume 17, Number 1, which has just been released online.

Big thanks to Anthony for finding space for these three amongst some very fine poems indeed. I’d particularly recommend checking out David Lohrey’s “Saturday, the 19th or the 20th”.


Last view of the island


Last view of the island


The ferry banks, only five minutes out

beyond the stone corral of harbour wall

and into the channel, the broad crescent

of its wake painting plumes across the

glass of the ocean, engines humming a

rhythmless vibrato. Smoke funnels skywards.

Cars hunch like crated eggs on the lower deck.

Over the tannoy, our cheery captain announces

a bottlenose pod, surfing in the bow-waves.

My eyes lock over the stern, watching as

those grey mountains begin to melt on

the horizon, taking a lifetime to disappear.



first published in Red River Review, 2018


Traffic report

Road ahead closed

Traffic report

From here you can see the future
– a free-market version of it –
but not exactly where it ends;
only where the blinking red eyes
of its tail-lights disappear, inching
like hope into the underpass.
Bunched in its sneering wake,
we are all indignant but resigned,
each rehearsing their part in a
symphony of rage. We’ve evolved
to breathe in nitrogen oxides,
metabolize particulate matter.
Somehow, none of us is where
we think we really should be.

first published in Thirteen Myna Birds, 2017