Two more poems at Ariel Chart

I’m grateful again to Mark Antony Rossi, editor at Ariel Chart, who’s been kind enough to post two more of my poems. You can read “Balancing Act” and “Learned Behaviour” by hitting the links.

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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”.

 

Errands

Errands

 

Errands

 

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

In the moment

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

4 a.m.

Choked with leaves

4 a.m.

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

Béchamel Sauce

Bechamel Sauce


Béchamel Sauce

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

Three poems at Across The Margin

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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

Shoes

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...

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