Flesh coloured lies

Flesh coloured lies

Those young men chasing flesh coloured lies

up and down Hope Street provoked by the scent

of their self emitting pheromones

I was one of them

Remarkable that I can see it now, still feel it, the tang

of unspent fuel from this far away and marvel at that useless

energy expended in the blind pursuit of trophies that tarnish

over time, the gleam and the warmth going off

like the promise on a barcode – spoken lines that perish

soon after the front door has closed.

And yet, and yet,  it is still so close,

desire tangible even at arm’s length when the lustre and throb

of a dreamlike race, a chimera, ceases to release itself from euphoria

It is always tugging at my sleeves, on a corner, waving with the romance

of a promise that was in truth left floating on the breeze called vanity

Oh pathos, why cling to me?

Now that I share my thoughts with friends who have travelled the same streets

and find that most of them are out of breath, long past the chase but ready

to reminisce as if the child within was still at play, still choosing

to chase flesh coloured lies. Still making parodies of our former selves.


the day has started in poetry as it must

I am in reflective mood, it’s my birthday and

The Poetry Forum have sent me Best Wishes, digitally

I am touched. Perhaps SAGA will too or even a firm of Funeral Directors

who I am minded to invent; Pushing Up Daisies?

I am maudlin. No, stop that. I have so much.

My wife, my children are all in touch. The house is warm.

I am a prune in the process of pickling. My wrinkled smile says

too much about me. Too many layers, too many lines

I am too attached to the “I” in me. The ego bleeds so

wounds are what I carry now. Those amplified imperfections.

I am stalked by death. Of course I am but I am also sustained

by the poetry in life and the acceptance of a flame

I am in the radiance of that fire, forever in orbit. A mad molecule

suspended in the sphere of my limitations

I am everything and nothing as I worship the light that has carried me

so far.

Today is mine to share. Am I happy? It’s my birthday.

I guess I am.

Dodgems – ( or tangled thoughts on a fairground ride)


Opinions differ sharply in the melt of emotions all of them skittish, as if, attached to volts running through thin metal wire suspended from an ornate ceiling with flashing lights and raucous music that throbs and robs rational thought from … Continue reading

Marking time

You will be seen shortly


If you could look at old photographs

for the rest of your life would you be sad,

not knowing what the future might have in store,

unwilling to wait for it


Deep voiced chatter below from the young men

who were boys not so long ago – unaware

that Dad is in his garret going stale

trapped in their expelled air


Above an aeroplane drones against heaven

sketching time, spreading dreams, reminding me

of the past

Of how elastic time can be. Except that it has stopped


The spring in the step of the man in that old picture

has uncoiled – it lays flat – lacks – kinetic energy

lives on in the losses of the past

Moribund. No better word for it.


Now people go out into the street to worship

care workers

clap and cheer to show solidarity against a single

malevolent cell


The wait goes on. The future stalled

Their voices below rumble on unaware of the past

because they live in hope, inviting the future to ‘come on in’

while my hair is grey, extinguished, so even pixels concur


This lockdown may become a permanent thing

I feel it’s characteristic embrace

A painless drowning – ennui

And ask again, why has it always been this way?

Branch telegraph

Branch telegraph. pic for poem


I have heard it said that birds are far from amiable

as they go about their daily business, it is

not so that chirrups denote bonhomie amongst

the tree people, sky artists and majestic scavengers

it is not the tittle tattle of the corner shop or post office queue

not Mrs Jones intoning in rapid outrage of the ‘doings’ of those people

from Upper Hyde

” far from it” as a falling apple would say, if it could

they are in fact constantly squabbling over food, territory or

when the season dictates, sex

so rinse the romance out of your susceptible minds

those birds are just like the rest of us except

they fly with a grace and ease that we must salute, otherwise

they are no better than the clowns at number 43 Station Road

and so it is with these thoughts I enter in to another New Year

already going off

sat here entranced by the sound of rain on the conservatory roof

and the blending of water and suds from the washing machine

in the newly announced second decade of this new century

the changeling and the selfish seed, perception – pure and simple

I heard it from the birds

bad, bad words

bad, bad words. pic


I can’t contain my words

they are feral

and when I go out

they let me down

bad cats and dogs and birds

bad, bad words

you know, I once saw a man taking a parrot out for a walk

it perched on his shoulder attentively

looking at him with its sharp beak poised

and I wondered if it ever bit him

for the impertinence of taking  it out unfettered

attached to his shoulder so somehow – owned

the wild bird in its native forest – exotic

would protest,  preferring not to be tame

bad, bad words

they grow into characters, they assume persona’s

I glimpse them as they frolic

I know them as they choke

a gale of consonants and vowels

incipient sounds like weather on the make

puddles of confusion – a mosaic of mistakes

I should have stopped to take a picture of that man

with that parrot on his shoulder so full of withheld

bad, bad words

and now my mouth is full of ammunition for another day


Pearls . pic for poem


I want to speak of miracles

enunciate my awe  at modern things

and give thanks on this bright day

that I am present  to behold

the gifts that shower me

day in day out  but

not seem fey, too abstractly thoughtful  or naive

it’s just that looking out of the bedroom window

I see our neighbour basking in the sun

a misshapen homage to beauty  with his beer gut

his paean to gods and mercies

quite evident in the pose

the shrubs, the seedlings and all that nascent growth

almost showing beneath his feet, his hopeful yards long stare

and I am struck by how much we have in common

and not

how we differ, on the edges, in the beds

in matters of colour or politics, his children at private schools

with hopes for higher things

but we are just morsels – innocents in the food-chain

as that Thrush on the lawn teases out a long fat worm

and a Robin inflates his or her breast in warning

the birdsong reverberates with sweet nostalgia

I must soldier on  just one day farther

in the rain




a white rag rides on the wind

flip flopping on the urgent breath

that rasps against roofs and eaves

as it complains against closed spaces


beneath all this I sit and stew

a quiet thing, compressed

alone in the vessel of my separateness

acquiring a taste for solitude


and gaze with growing detachment

at the scrap of white as it waves

with a careless detachment outside

receding into an unknowable distance

Take this morning

Take this morning.pic


A crow, darkly black, sits

on the red, rigid beam

of a child’s playground ride


A herald to rise

on a spell

mixing colour in the air


Sleek form glimpsed in a dazzle of blue

from the sheen on those wings

stealing away


Leaving static the surrendered plaything

for a mother to push

later in the day

a bulletin



dogs in the park shamble in

snow that clings to their fur

in a vanishing jacket of ragged threads


one black lab does looping circuits

of the spreading quagmire in search

of a ball so disguised by mud it vanishes


deer stalk to a tethered pile of hay

left for them as a staging post

for their ancient rituals in this Royal Park


and on the High Street oblivious traffic

is cautious after snow and the evening news

where word has it that speech in Iowa is dangerous


whipped to a frenzy by a polar vortex

the wind in North  America

instantly freezes boiling water


by ‘eck, I wonder what my family

in Cumbria make of it

a ‘breeze’ to them I shouldn’t wonder