I’m over here


Late October          in 

the kitchen of your beautiful home

drinking tea  from a queen-of-fucking-

everything cup


We get round to knowing

loneliness is also olfactory


Spark’s cruellest writing

says what’s sayable

What does your nose tell you about me?


Let me speak as a Russian nurse

Let me whisper         the real stories

are never told







So they were sitting beside the belvedere, in shade.

And they were drinking, barely exchanging a word.

The sun was shining and words were beyond them.


Past the low stone wall lay the river. Further off,

lost in the thin blue air, were the island’s three peaks

yet to exist, as if they existed.


A breeze got up; the world tilted and water, seen

slopping up the side of a glass, pushed the air ahead,

carrying birds, the clink of ice, notes of lemon.


On the lawn children ran like small dogs, yelping

with a mix of terror and joy, and occasionally

a mother or father appeared to gather them in.


He thought there must have been days

when people forgot even that they had gone to sleep

and woken, re-born.


That they had flowed, like the river behind

the wall flowed, huge and still and countless,

grey as all rivers are grey.


The sun continued to shine and the breeze blew fresher

and he drank again and thought

in the eyes of small dogs days like this will come again.





Memory of the Unknown

(i.m. Margaret McGrath 1928-2017)


Two years since you passed

Tiny bird-life dying in your bed

My heart’s full for wondering  

What shadow the creature calls

When sundown stills its feathers



I spy the gap in the neighbour’s fence 

Spring has landed hungry & cold  

Damn the blare horn of indifference


The Pole Star shutters into view 

A fraction’s wink makes light

Someone than us less



Shakes her hair at the paler gods

Who so cruelly in our absence

Enter the mud hut to hold us dear 






after Mina Loy



Flung to the moon

Straw man Pelele

Watches the night

Shadows shrink



Majas in their livery

Under drawn 



The bird-economies

Plumed in syllables


The lunar dust

Of Goya’s jig


Rise from a body

In trampoline rags

          outsize wig





‘Tween dance

                        & word

Pelele peaks

In the higher air


Face haunted by the sun

A kinder science rolls

Across that lenient tongue


Blasé glassy-eyed

To the marbled prospects

That once were he


to the cooked meats

                                    of Bowery

Preferring languor

Sky-worn bliss

To the idling coma

Of a sculpted wrist




Gravity brings Pelele


Unmarked from jinks

With the cracked



To the calf-skin bed

Of the tauromachs


Feeling atoms of disgust

The time-served majas

                behind a hand

Weep            dry their tears

Draw the blanket


In a fountain of stones

                watch him land



Who can pay


I know you’re there

when you’ve gone


it’s like falling in love

in some eatery somewhere


you order everything

the laughter echoes


I’m looking through

yellow paper

at a day that looks

& smells like roast chicken


Nowhere should be

this shadow-free


I’ll know you’re there

when you’ve gone






No such thing

as should


I meant it

when I said I loved



what do I remember





                        of bees







I would gladly

swim home


to get away

from place cards


& slim volumes

for the ambassador’s



but I can’t help loving



even when I’m dripping



& home’s




in sight

(Last updated April 2019)