So how did YOU vote?

Fish

 

So how did YOU vote?

 

Gripping his daughter’s fragile hand,

and mangling the worms of her fingers

fiercely into his own, he spat the words

out into the humiliated air between us.

 

Because I need to know,” he said.

It’s important.” All the other parents –

mostly mothers – were marshalling their

creatively-fed boys and girls back

 

home from school to peel campaign stickers

from their windows and wheelie bins,

weigh up the final reckoning of promises

and lies. I looked first into her puzzled eyes,

 

then his, the seething milk of his eye-whites

coming to the boil before brimming over

onto his turnip skin, and abandoned all

those careful words I’d been preparing

 

in anticipation of this very question.

The same way I always do,” I said.

With a tiny little kiss,” before turning

and ushering myself furtively away.

 

 

first published in Snakeskin No. 243, 2017

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Streetview

Streetview

 

Streetview

 

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

Christopher became a chief constable

Christopher became a chief constable


Christopher became a chief constable

 

You once went to his house and

drank milk from plastic beakers.

His mother gave you one biscuit,

and kept the small house tidy,

and you never saw his father,

although you knew he had one.

 

What you didn’t know then was

just how handsome he would be,

a classical kind of beauty, like an

English actor from the nineteen-fifties,

always smouldering from a uniform;

dashing, yet incapable of empathy.

 

But you know it now. You see,

in your memory, his elegant nose

and immaculate skin the colour

of bones, the way his brown eyes

judged the world as if they were grey,

made of impossibly precious metals.

 

None of you noticed. You were all

too pre-occupied with teasing, and

something close to but not quite bullying,

with his bookishness – too dismissive

of the awkwardness in his limbs

to see where they were taking him.

 

 

first published in Clear Poetry, 2017

Drawing trees

Drawing Trees


Drawing trees

 

I thought I was doing them properly, the way

you’re supposed to, crayoning out raw shapes

that were, if not quite exactly lollipops, then

certainly something lickable, perhaps clouds

of candy floss wound onto sticks, or ice cream.

I filled them in with a pistachio green to avoid

any ambiguity, ticking in a circle of birds above,

a butterfly the size of a moose. A sun, smiling.

 

Those, she told me would lose their leaves

in the autumn, spend fingerbone winters naked

and heartless. She didn’t say why. I didn’t ask.

Hers were drilled brigades of triangles, isosceles,

getting smaller towards the top of the page

to suggest distance, within which you could

see each and every Starbucks needle, every

chocolate-coloured cone a dangling reproach.

 

first published in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine Anthology, 2017

Clear Poetry Anthology 2017

A fine way to end the year would be reading through this year’s Clear Poetry Anthology, put together by CP editor Ben Banyard. It’s a bittersweet feeling this year, mind you, because although one of my poems is included for the second year running (Clapham Junction, which can be found on page 13), it comes with the knowledge that Ben has decided to call time on Clear Poetry.

Total respect, Ben, for all the hard work you’ve put in running such a great online venue for both aspiring and established poets. And best wishes with furthering your own poetry endeavours.

 

The third and final Clear Poetry Anthology is now available to download and read, free of charge.

via Clear Poetry Anthology 2017 — Clear Poetry

Peeking Cat Anthology 2017 Out Now! — Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine

I’m really grateful to Sam Rose, editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, for including my poem “Drawing trees” in the  Peeking Cat Anthology 2017. The Anthology is available in a variety of formats, and you can find out how to get hold of a copy by clicking on the link below.

 

The wait is over! Peeking Cat Anthology 2017 is now here:71 contributors65 poems9 photographs3 prose piecesand a clowder of catsBuy it in paperback or hardback on Lulu.com:Paperback: £9.99Hardback: £15.99You can also get it as an eBook on Kindle:Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk Get free mail or 50% off ground shipping until 16th October – use code ONESHIP at checkoutIf…

via Peeking Cat Anthology 2017 Out Now! — Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine

Wee Lachlan at five

Wee Lachlan

Wee Lachlan at five

You can’t imagine the time he’ll be an old man,
and spend warm evenings folded into park benches,

cursing the aches that crept up unannounced, wiping
a brow whose furrows grew when no-one was looking.

His face will have become an onion, cheeks weathered,
and his nose broadened, all skirmished with veins.

The mustard hair will long have turned bone-white,
but his eyes will have stayed the same giveaway blue

as his superhero cape. With luck, the smile will still be
written through him, like his name threading a stick of rock.

 

first published in Right Hand Pointing, issue 105, 2016