as if

Barbie dolls



they needed permission to be exuberant

repression and prejudice joyously exposed

flaunts publicly in the face of all that approbrium

and dances in the streets

of a capital city alive – stripped of the nods and winks

the brothers and sisters and in-betweeners

make a riot in plain sight

the anarchy of self evident truths

rituals and history unstitched to reveal

reality made to lurk in the mainstream

a marching band with glitter and horns

tattoos and stencils, face- paint and flamboyance

defiantly, brazenly, a baby suckling at a breast

the  parade polishing itself as it progresses

a serpent in a rainbow that pulses and says

look at me

a flexed, honed torso wearing only a gold posing pouch

and on his head a fan of barbie dolls

next to him a woman – the two of them – an exhibit

a romance in a cameo of the human race

everywhere the promise of a crescendo

and nowhere the commonplace

this then a reflection of everything we can ever hold dear

the many questions and troubled faiths conjoined

as if

Not mine

Not mine

Not mine

A rubble strewn sky

Diaphanous white handkerchiefs

Wind-blown. Shambling

Against the blue of hope and space

That forms a shroud for us

Not just to me

That aching distance

Has always been a dream

And conciousness is gravity

In our high-blown minds

That are anchored here. On the ground

Not just mine

The last thought

Before taking action

May be fatal

May be an inspiration

May be an epiphany

Not just to me

More than blue

More than blue

More than blue


Lowry figures criss-cross on feathered snow

Sloping against the jagged blue of thin air

While this cable car cuts murmuring above

Ecstatic people all wrapped and bound

In elegant descent

With visors like fly’s eyes, mirrored bold

To conceal the mixed emotions of these dervishes

Hell bent on pleasure as they scar the surface

Of what was once the mountain

Clad in white paste

Where flakes most evident in their diamond shapes

Are tooled on the drooping limbs of firs

That line the route

And yet all this too must pass

When spring seeps into the molecules

The last whoops will evaporate

Into thickening air and green slopes

Another screen on the face of desire

Another opportunity to drown in bliss

So the moment shall move on

And the retinue of joys’ lost lovers

Lingers just long enough

For me to wish for more




Walk. Thought. Walk


Red soil rusting, a souvenir of the sun

Charmed fingers of furrowed soil stretching

Out across our fertile countryside

We dwell in the jig-saw of the lost and found

We lucky ones of the west


Today, the shortest

Begins in a grey shawl

Water-colour shades that seep

Against the edges of a brief history

When time is the fulcrum


Now hope teeters

On half formed desires

An ancient past and a future

That could be electric

So much in the balance of fractions

On hearing Leonard Cohen’s new album, ‘Popular Problems’

Popular Problems

Popular Problems


Reconcile yourself with the past

Buy some music from the mouth

Of a man who knows

Whose words rode over you decades ago

When even flesh wounds were deep

Tears were squeezed out of innocent pores

For the loss that the future already knew

Weighed heavily on that version of me


I could taste the void

The useless beauty

That would be the gulf

Between now and then

An ocean of lies

The dark passing echoes of closed doors

A concertina of blurred emotions

Emerge now


To his voice which sounds embalmed

Dark, grainy and spiritual

Stripped of peripheral notes

Unnecessary harmony

Just carrying flesh on articulate bones

Stretched to near the end

And still he makes sense

Of the solitary in me.


Mum on a beach

8.8.14 Funeral. Mum.


Surely today words won’t fail

When duty calls I shall salute

That passing stage

A passage of time spent

When honour marks the memory

And tears are a Godly stain

On something deeply held


Love and all it contains

Does not go away

Never will. Never can.

So that which fades

Will flicker sometimes

And a brightness that is real

Will shower me again

So you move on

But not away

Another Mixed Double

Another mixed double

Mixed Doubles


I take pictures. It’s what I do. Then they sit with me. A living history. Fragments of time I have consumed, shared and stolen. It is a privilege to have these moments at my command. I don’t wish to waste or abuse them. The element of trust is implicit. I honour these people because they have shared a stage with me. These are fractions, splinters of innocence.