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”.
When things were good and I still believed in us,
even the mundane obligations sang like whales,
and taking the wiry road down the hamstrings
of the island to its full-stop, on those bastard mornings,
a single cassette on the stereo to numb the losses,
always made unquestioned sense. Sometimes in
light hushed with pearls, sometimes with the blade
of the wind knifing clear to the marrow, I’d time each
arrival against the tide, sifting it for treasure, perform
the errands, light the fires. Then return to you, the road
now huddled into a spool of knees and elbows, the
mountain a tight wedge tripping over its own steps before
falling like a tantrum into the kettle-grey ocean below.
first published in San Pedro River Review, Spring 2017
In the moment
The kids are in love, and so sweetly
you can see it melting out of them,
see gravity getting smashed into
a million pieces beneath their feet
as they bounce along, occasionally
touching down because they can.
In their free hands, the ones not
holding the other’s, they clutch balloons
painted in colours we can no longer see,
inflated with their restless thoughts of
an unmapped future, raw materials
yet to be processed into anxieties.
Don’t you remember the first days of our
being? The damage we caused to gravity?
Our balloons? How the brilliant shock
of it interrupted time itself, and made
the future evaporate, while we failed to
notice ourselves not breathing properly?
first published in Tales from the Forest, Issue 5, 2017
Finally, we fell away and into fractious sleep,
to the sound of rain, gentle as the ebbing
of each dark layer in a long, splintered night.
The heart’s gutters choke with stripped leaves,
damming the torrent of tired, uneasy words.
Another day awaits with nothing free, nothing
resolved, but your familiar breath across my ear
is like the first footsteps taken inside a new temple,
breaking the seal on an overwhelming peace.
first published in Poppy Road Review, 2016
Somewhere within me I rarely choose to visit,
I suspect this is perhaps not going to work, and
she’s insisting it should only ever be made
with all-purpose flour, though I’ve been
coping fine with cornflour, or store-brand
packet mixes for years, and it comes out OK
three, possibly, four times out of seven.
And everything in her kitchen matches like
it was all bought with a flawless shrug
and a customary swipe of the store card.
But then we share uncannily similar tastes
in music – Wagner, Kid Creole – and I like
the way she likes the way I smell, even if
I don’t. I’m rafted to this quaint belief that
if you put the work in, there’s no limit
to the lumps that can’t be smoothed out.
first published in Cacti Fur, 2016
I’m delighted to have had three of my poems published in the online magazine, Across The Margin. You can read “Thoughts from an early morning train”, “Afternoon, hillside above town” and “Bookmarked” by clicking here.
I’m really grateful to ATM’s poetry editor, Richard Roundy, for choosing my poems.
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
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
My poem, Eve and her mother have a little chat, appears – along with loads of other great stuff – in Issue #7 of Picaroon Poetry, which has been published this week. Picaroon is well worth a follow, if you don’t already. Thanks to editor Kate Garrett for including the poem.
They were always building new houses
beyond the fence at the end of our street,
disappearing ten thousand years of field
beneath the brick-stacks, the untidy foundations.
She led me down toward the hole; she was two years
older than me, after all, so I followed like a daft pup,
wagging his tail. I knew the story well. Everyone did;
how she’d plunged off that cliff, a hundred feet,
and walked away. In the newspaper cutting
they showed the cliff, but not her face,
those caramelised freckles and her frog eyes.
A big arrow pointed to the beach below.
She told me how if you kiss someone three times –
one of them on the lips – you have to marry them.
I looked outside at the wedge of blue sky
above her head, and thought about falling.
first published in Dream Catcher, Issue 32, 2015