Sunday, 26 January 2014

dreamcatcher (he will add)

rise from dysfunction,
inherit your name,
from out of a pit.
As wits are lifted
dreamer, capture
a fresh night-vision,
glory from darkness,
a rapid high movement,
frequency tuned
to sights unseen.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Glory of Wood

chopped and carved down
roughened up,
no sign of sanding,
brought together:
larger, smaller
planks positioned
in a joust to join in joists
at right angles,
to passing angels,
hammered to the soil
through hardened Roman hands.

on a driftwood tree,
you died,
(two thousand times since round the sun
the epicentre circles from a growing oak still ripple)
your fallen branches,
stained and etched in blood,
you hung for me,
i live to tell the tale.

Posted for dverse: Poetics-On the Other Hand
Photo: Jim Rants

Sunday, 12 January 2014


The mountain is steep, a gradient that relies fully on gravity to keep you upright. The air is thin and the panting in your mouth doesn't reveal fully the pumping going on in your chest. Your back is breaking. All you think you need to carry is on there, like a treasured curse.

The muscles in your legs are splintering.  Each step sends a burning sensation up your calves like a blow-torch being fired from your heels. That canvas corpse on your back is balancing you, but only because you've readjusted your body to accomodate it. To live with the dragging pain of all that you're heaving uphill with you. It's somehow become part of you, and it's almost like you need it now. 

And now, when I'm trying to say, let me carry it for a while, you're looking at me as if I'm a little unstable myself...

...Put your hand on the shoulder strap and slip your arm out. I's not as easy as it should be. There are things inside that rucksack that are the very essence of who you've become. Still, try to prise it off your back. And now the other arm...

Take a step without those kilogrammes wrenching you backwards. Feel the difference. Your legs are lighter. You begin to catch your breath again.

Start to enjoy the view as you climb. Don't fret. Keep walking. You'll get to the top. When you arrive, you'll know that it'll have been worth the hard yards.

As for your rucksack, when I give you it back at the top, it won't feel the same. I'll be rearranging a few things in there. I've packed and re-packed a few of these things in my time. I've got a way of making it more manageable. Trust me...

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


nineteen eighty-four has come
and gone,
and now
we're going
to stick like you,
together in one shout,
our oaths
in tweets and snaps,
unique in all our latest apps.

smeared in
lipstick traces:
lines of listless
scared so witless,
shifting, guiltless,
all accepting,
all rejecting,
to be liked and

no big brother
as we'll watch ourselves
to death tonight
and let our hearts be troubled
all together,
in one voice

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Two Tunnels (a short story)

Hypnotic green fields were clicking past, wrestling down my eyelids all the while, when a small boy pushed open the doors of my private compartment and slipped through.

His light brown curls were the first thing I noticed. One of those hairstyles the kids who appear in modelling catalogues have. Shiny, bouncy curls that move to their own rhythm.

He sat down opposite me.

When he smiled his eyes opened fully and his thin lips parted. They revealed bright white teeth with one small gap on the bottom row. I couldn't help but smile back. This little guy had warmed the day up with some simple muscle movements.

I went through the usual. His name? Where he came from? Where his parents were?

Turns out he was lost. His parents had been on their way to the dining car with him, just as they'd reached the last station. There had been quite an influx of passengers both exiting and entering and he'd got separated from them. Now he wasn't sure where they were or where he was, in relation to them. He didn't seem upset though...

I said I'd help.

I was actually quite pleased to have something to do. I'd been on the verge of drifting off into dreamland, but there's always something slightly unnerving about sleeping on a train. The snaking movements of the carriage across the track, the disconcerting motion sickness feeling of watching the overhead lines just as you drop off, and of course, the possibility of oversleeping and missing your station...

I got up and offered a hand to the little guy. He must have been about seven.  He slipped his hand into mine and I opened the sliding doors which led us into the long corridor. We wobbled slightly with the movement of the express and I put my hand out against the door frame to steady us. 

I saw the sign for the dining car and headed in that direction, pulling my new friend like a rag doll behind me...

When we slid into the tunnel all went dark...

And I was losing my balance. I felt the small hand slip from mine as we both toppled towards the nearest compartment. In we fell, just as sunlight cracked through the window, like a champagne bottle opening.

I held my hand up to my eyes... 

The little guy was, first, in front of me, and then, scrambling to his feet, was behind my back, heading into the corridor. I glanced at his troubled angel face.

Then came the voice.

"Come here Isolot". And again, "Isolot, is that you? Come back..."

It was coming from the floor. He had been alone in the small, wooden compartment. A hypodermic needle lay beside him. His bruised veins lay bare against the velvet seating, but he was rousing himself. His rolling eyes, lurching under a mass of curls, suddenly resumed their interest in the present.

I knew the man's face. As sure as day, it was the same one that belonged to the little boy, now heading down the corridor.

I pulled myself to my feet and squeezed through the compartment doors, shutting them in his face as I ran.

He followed. Swearing. Scrambling. Running.

I caught up to Isolot and dragged him on.

We reached the doors that led to the dining car and went inside.

The faces were staring as we rushed through. High teas, top hats, cravats and summer dresses. Startled female cries and "tut tuts" from bearded penguins in tails. There was a second wave of disquiet as the door slammed again. He panted in as we reached the far end of the car. An urn of boiling water sat behind the bar and in its reflection I glanced the frightened faces.

The boy was pulling my arm, trying to say something to me, but I was only interested in leading him away from danger.

It was only when another voice cried "Isolot" that I stopped. We all did.

The little guy shouted "Dad" and ran. He was swept up into safe arms in the middle of the car. Behind them the chasing man had  broken his stride but not his stare. His frown lines creased as the train sunk into the darkness of another tunnel.

In the black, the mesmerising clickety clack held us in a trance for what seemed like thirty seconds.

When I looked again, the boy and his father had disappeared from sight. The man-who-was-the-boy, was pulling at his rolled-up sleeves and heading for the same carriage door he had entered by.

Spoons were once more clanking against tea-cups and polite conversations were being struck up throughout the dining car. Eyes were being averted.

I made my way back to the compartment and resumed staring at fields again. Later, as I alighted at Windsmouth, I was still thinking about that little guy, but I never saw him, or the man-who-was-him, again.




White trash-lovers, Freaks for all they’re worth, Anarchy in beady, brazen faces, Seizing stares, Standing ground...