I’m tired of all the tedium,
the mediocre unctuous glum
of images fed through word-machines
from the barely serviced slum.

The Weight

Word thoughts melt, fading, away in memory,
running like a sailor
late, after messing up on shore leave, left his uniform with the tailor

What’s up next

Hounds are at my door wanting to claw out my eyes
I say to myself “this must be it, this is how a poor man dies.”


The wind cuts like a stiletto, the flowers are starting to bloom
the soldiers lay down the dying, while daughters shoot up in their rooms

19 Years

Nineteen years, nineteen lies
Nineteen lockups where justice dies
Nineteen children dragged away
by nineteen others, one fine day.

Who Killed George Floyd

Who was it who killed poor George Floyd,
who made his life null and void?
“Not me” said the cop who stomped on his neck
“I was just tryin’ to keep the man in check.”

Ain’t no Words

An’t no words, ain’t no actions,
ain’t no turgid explanations
Ain’t no thieves, ain’t no captains,
ain’t no dirty complications

I Bow my Head

​In Autumn, Spring, or both, write the leaves
that fall, bud, blossom or bloom
and children summoned after breakfast,
clean plates, wash hands, to tidy up their room

If only

If only I’d had one moment
if only I’d had some time
if only you’d let me make some still small sense
of this imaginary rhyme


If I go down to the water I can see it,
momentarily –
It reveals itself in the ripples, as if it’s winking,
slyly, at me

The Way we Live

Fires are burning, lines are bracing
Nights in silence, hearts are racing
Tongues are wagging, shelves are clearing
help arrives, for the hard of hearing

I’m Not Here

I’m no longer here –
I’ve been in the papers, they use the word “tragedy”, a tragedy of sorts –
no longer able to breathe, that crash, others thrown clear –

Somewhere in the world

The mattress is comfortable, our neighbours are kind –
they gave us some spare clothes to wear –
our Father went over to the promised land –
he told us he’d wait for us there.

Writing to a Friend (Part 1)

Why would you bother,
with any of it, with any of it at all,
with nowhere to lay your head,
it spinning like a ball.

The Wise are Filled with Doubt

I sat with my professors
philosophise as they teach
“be careful,” they said “clanging bells may drown out,
the conclusions that you reach.”

Clive James

To parch me worse than all the ills that waste
My features.
The unbending justice which
Examines me and makes me breathe in haste.

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Colin Birtles is stuck in traffic

Colin Birtles is stuck in traffic, or more to the point, stuck in his car, in a queue, at a service station, idling his engine, with other unfortunates, in traffic, victims all of a garish advertising sign offering a fuel price discount, pock marked on the side of the road, with all the other pock marks, blathering the health benefits of Gatorade, the communication benefits of a mobile phone, or the freedom offered by the latest Jeep.

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Savages – all of us

Her father found him rather too overt for his finely tuned diplomatic sensibilities, but nevertheless agreeable. A talent to be honed. And so invitations to various functions were arranged, to see how he might fit in.

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How has it come to this

It was a woman at the checkout buying coconut oil. She had put it in her bag, with all the other groceries she was purchasing when she noticed that the seal on the bottle underneath the screw top lid containing the coconut oil had come lose.

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Who stole the time

I was approaching, in my car, some months ago, one of those ubiquitous discount fuel outlets that have become symbolic of our consumer age. As I had a voucher handy I decided that I should probably refuel.

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Thoreau was right

Am I happy? It doesn’t matter, it’s not relevant, I accept my fate. Thoreau was right, the mass of men really do lead lives of quiet desperation

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Floyd Collins

Floyd Collins sat on the hood of his Dodge putting on his walking shoes. The “hood” – a much more appropriate name to describe the flap that opens up to the engine than what the English would refer to as the “bonnet”, which is what you put on the head of a one year old English girl who’ll grow up to marry a gentleman of the aristocracy.

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The Boy with the Broken Arm

One wet, cold September night some years ago now, a boy was born. It was late, his father, a veterinary surgeon, was out tending to another birth, a cow, in a time when it was hardly expected that a father would be in attendance for the birth of his child, he would be much more likely to be asleep, or having drinks with friends, than with his wife about to give birth.

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Patrick Allen

Patrick Allen bent down, the brown paper bag lay on the ground in full view. He picked it up and he looked inside. It was money, a lot of money, crisp new notes. Someone’s betting money Patrick thought. Maybe it’s ill gotten gains, he had no way of knowing, it was a racetrack after all and gains were there to be had, both ill gotten and legitimate.

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King & Webber

Webber and King were walking towards the one cafe on the main road of Grey’s River, it offered what appeared to be the best chance of a decent breakfast.

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Lulu sat on the edge of her bed and contemplated it, before she started slashing. And so the violence began, controlled violence though it was, down the arms, across the chest, down the back of legs; none of it designed to inflict real damage but enough to draw attention to the inalienable fact that Lulu wanted someone to listen to her.

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Theodore Claw

What was meant to be an evening of conviviality amongst friends and acquaintances amidst the deep furnishings, large squashy cushions, paintings and dark woollen wall hangings from Turkey in the living room lined by book shelves containing manuscripts and novels, texts and biographies of those who pleaded to have their stories told…

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