Two poems published in issue 49 of Otoliths

PigeonsI’m really pleased to have had two of my poems published in the latest issue of Otoliths, which is – as usual – full of intriguing things. You can check out “Living next door to a man who keeps pigeons” and “I want to kill your dog” here.
Many thanks to Otoliths editor Mark Young for choosing to include these two pieces.

 

Image: makamuki0

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He didn’t sleep again last night.

It could have been the shouting from above,

the hard fist of concrete under their hips,

or just the endless hum of emptiness.

 

One day he’s going to cross the river,

when the low tide catches the cup

of the moon on the horizon, with nothing

but a tall, rigid stick to steady him,

 

his money knotted safely in a bag,

and a length of blue rubber pipe for air.

From under the water’s urgent flow,

he’ll aim for that point where the fence

 

appears to droop wearily, where there are

trees lashed behind with dense vines.

The rattle of dogs, straining against their

rope collars, will announce his arrival.

 

first published in The Homestead Review, No. 36, 2016

Naughty Boy

Naughty boy

Naughty Boy

You’ll know when he’s back on the whisky,

because the taxi comes all the way out

from the town carrying the bottles, on the days

when the postman brings his cheque.

 

You’ll see it bump back down the muddied road

from the far end of the glen, to where the shell

of the family house huddles in its broken square

of unmown meadow, wire and pebbles.

 

His skinny dogs – the bearded collie

and the mongrel – chase its spinning tyres,

their sharp rasps spilling over the hillside

like too much water over a bath rim.

 

His muted, rheumy eyes gaze through them

and the lowered window, and for just a moment

he’s all his accumulated ages at once, and then

the man he is, older than his whispered years.

 

And when you finally call by at the house –

the days it’s taken him to drink it all having passed –

he’ll stand there sheepish by the missing front door,

and tell you how he’s been a naughty boy.

 

first published in Clear Poetry, 2015 and included in the Clear Poetry Anthology 2015

Dog love

Dog love

Dog love

 

Of course dogs love the same way we do,

even if our human minds narrow it into loyalty

or faithfulness with their busy machinery.

 

She kept me awake all night, pacing,

balancing the certain with the uncertain:

back and forth; back and forth.

 

Her claws fretted the kitchen floor,

eyes on the darkened windows,

nosing the strange air in search of

 

any familiar molecules of her master,

but finding none. All the while

those anonymous surgeons were

 

spinning his life like a china plate,

piecing together the broken heart,

somewhere on the edge of a nearby town.

 

first published in Scrittura, Issue 2, 2015