Saturday, 4 July 2009


Listening to carriage noises

on a travelling train, I’m wondering

whether to close eyes,

drop my head, sleep, but suddenly recall

the poetry reading tonight;

a school visit I almost forgot

and a message on my phone

reminds me again – 7 o’clock to pick up a


The train is murmuring, people talk

in one way conversations; mobiles.

And I recall a similar sound

in a queue to board a plane

when, impatiently, angrily,

volume slowly, slowly builds

until small children, hot and bored,

start to cry; then really Bawl

and Wail.

Andrew’s anger;

red-faced, glancing around,

shoulders tense. Beware.

He lets out a roar.

Then he lets out the roar – of a lion.


An aviation hanger drops quiet,

shopping stops,

people come out from stores

to gawp.

            Outside, travelling North,

the sky darkens

and carriage people ramble-on.

Nothing escalates: settled, whizzing, bored

but, back then, the boy responded

-always responds- to a crying child

because it signals a soul in pain.

A mystery trying to happen.

Poetry reading? Yes it was.

Friday, 3 July 2009

What Hurt is

One of my son’s stranger behaviours

is to feel hair, fingernails, toenails

as sensitive, like another body part.

So if you cut his hair, it harms

him and, next, a howl of torture

upsets all the neighbours

like I, his loving parent, would injure him

when a tuft tumbles his blue jumper

or a fingernail leaps.


To lose a part of you inevitably,

well, that’s a painful moment for anyone

although, some would claim

in a patronising voice

‘It’s an act of love

to lose what’s not needed.’

Easy to say when your hair and nails

don’t have nerves and, afterwards,

the stumps don’t ache.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Real Work

He looks out into his brother’s blank eyes:

familiarity and hoping

tilt his head – then you see a pressure of tears

held back with a gulp but still wetting.


Now you know how big an ask, a tough task,

it seems to reach for a guy who’s your

brother because (facing your own truth)

a mirror shocks. So turn away.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

In York

I’m sitting sat down with a bunch of twits

(the sort of crowd chasing realisation,

enlightenment or summat close to that)

at a wooden table eating  pies,


chuntering on about how a mirror shocks

(when one of the mullocks across

stuffs a load of crust and gravy into his gob)

and how no one’s able ever to unabstract owt.


Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Yard of Ale

Before the competition starts, take a breath,

look into a snow topped tube

on the floor, a glass of goodness

rainbow rising, as they say, good for you.


First taste and sweetness sucks, gulp, tip

and gulp for more, ‘Give me more!’

down your neck through the driving heart

and, ah, spreading out to every limb.


Now half-full,

with team-mates shouting, cacophony

egging action, obligation

‘Go for it, for the team, for your mates. Us!’


But now it hurts, belly full and round, busting

and, with pleading eyes, guys and gals need emptiness,

so swallow on, engorge the gloop, slurping,

trying not to gag, to fall.




Slump to the floor. The baton passes

and a new arrow flies.


Monday, 29 June 2009


‘I’m a Believer’ is such fun as

a song for dodgem

rides. With you sitting close by

my side, I can feel the heat from your left thigh

and we will soon go around and crash clockwise

staying within the tunnel of song

like other bumpers.


Now we go!! ‘Love is out to get you’

Bombing into cars

and off again at odd speed,

clobbering a sparky energy exchange

in rubber case-boards and touching knees, ramming!

I do hope bouncing and your soft skin

always stay close by.


‘I’m in Love’ would be too committing

a phrase for bumping

cars although certain pop songs

and dodgem rides colour memory – sustain –

and a surge of buzzing electricity

is touching, strange, stop starting and yes

I see you smiling.


Sunday, 28 June 2009

In Memory of Michael Jackson

The day of his death was warm, of course;

a day that stretched too long

and, when bad news rippled its curse,

it felled any chance of a song.


We love to peep into the lives of great

artists or, even worse,

ignore their performance until it’s too late

for a final note. Of course


the internet slowed on that day because

his talent had fuelled fame

and a martyr dropped in a moment’s rush

- a light put out of pain.


The earth’s core ached for weeks, days, hours:

he connected us all, of course.