Wednesday, 30 October 2013

1 New Poem

Church Shoe Monuments

A brush with breezy autumn's sunlight became
today's silver greeting chorus, stemming cut
of hallowed glass stain in quadrilateral window
cast: apostles of Christ and tales told by
furious chime rendered in grandmother's voice at
the bed foot beneath pine box and winter's comfort.

Childhood's time to ask intemperate questions of
the lines in mother's apron strings and the
starch stiffness of father's work shift drawings
was coming nearer its end in rhythmic repose,
asking how we'd fail at the next pace -

Like chalices of feeling offered to drink, knowing
you'll live a life and then some without its
bitter pill persona and be better for that
not; untangled a mess of hair, sopping dog
wet in Pacific's pickling salt, knots in ship dock
style framing in care your eyes of infant boy's blue.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

1 New Poem

Little, Late

Sitting here in a standstill, slouchy paunch posture
between five days gone going nowhere, jazz
dancing on rainy flagpoles in witch hour's
swirl of chemists crosses and Coca-Cola signage,
written on the backs of tatters maps of Edinburgh,
were stanza sheets in odes to cobblestone and
street lamps, colours of eye-shadow we could wear.

And I've met people just as lonely from Verona
to Lille and Yorkshire, cracking their wholesale
smiles for clack of Euro dimes on the top
of wishing well ice which didn't freeze in November,
didn't thaw in July; vivid as light rush
with Western sunrise columns, I am the pence
piece amongst them, you are the American dollar.

“There is a policeman and a Tory inside all
of our heads”, at least that's what I heard
from a subtle lips' motions between big band
trumpets and fumes of dry ice rum, enough
to replay, “there is a liberation theologian
and a Tony Benn in our hearts”; you said
I do too little to defeat them.

Monday, 28 October 2013

1 New Poem


The clouds clear here in five minute spurts
looking out and waiting, waiting for their passage,
waiting, searching out the sun beneath the crackle
of black ice, squeal of import car tires,
waiting, thinking of all the things I would have done
were it not for their tide-like forms.

Stuck in the state between two FM stations,
I have never wanted for much given daily bread and wine,
that which tied hands tight was not rusted wire,
nor shackles of word and deed but those self-fastened;
a flit of birds was better lucked, the salmon schools
swimming seemed the greatest fun with them.

But, sickly, shivering, I could not see their worth.

3 New Poems


I am all out of words,
all out of illusions and three-card tricks,
all out of pretty things to quote and off-set
the colour cold of rings willow-like about
my eyes off-lining and teeth half-corrected.

I am all out of lying,
when intemperate thoughts spill as hobbled
beer glasses, I should know that they are
at least true, at least a soaking water
plank to walk off into something great.

I am all out of suspicions,
I see nothing but a passage in your blinking,
nothing but a stepping threshold I could have
ran across in the dark without falling,
could have heard our breath collapsing into one.

I am all out of half-measures,
those winks and nods of teacup trinkets we pass
between ourselves as two children in sandbox,
plastic pails and shovels, at least in
imagination's meaningless meander.

I am all out of most everything,
but this one thought, turning about as
coin copper between two fingers, this one
feeling that you and I should dance on
the O'Connell Bridge some bright evening.

But I am all out of words,
the kind I never said.

Watching Walls

Aching in semi-colon symmetry, stretched out on
mattresses with the lights off, smell of potatoes
and eggs cooking on stovetop, the sizzle
of grease from crisp bag liners tracing streaks
into my daylight, into my evening shattered with
dry tears where I'd watch thoughts dance on your
conscience shoulders and scrub out the red eyes.

I am devoured by this desire,
I am puzzled by it as well.

Streetlight reflections draw pagan circles on
ceiling tile, ships tossing to-and-fro in stomach,
signs of some great point of turning; bathing
in saltwater cures, taking the advice of
party bagmen and mother's acquaintances to
settle in to something sad-eyed, live
in decrees and degrees, flick of bachelor apartment lights.

But I am on the wind,
I am not here.


The plink-platter of subtle storms
on black umbrella canvas, crooked prisms
bending charms of dead and shadow,
stains on classroom windows in the
shape of martyred heartaches; better
to stay in with the white teacups than
face the whistle-wind and dripping leaves.

I was trying to be honourable, let well
alone these foolish feelings, let needles
to their space in hay piles, and stop
with flaxen field rows, eye-twinkles
in the champagne glass midnight of
Dublin canal waters, and all the things
we compare our first love's smile to.

I can't do it, though, just can't.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

2 New Poems


Making you out as a cenotaph reading was so simple,
when I knew nothing of affections but the word of old
sustaining grandeur.

When my love is none but a chain hotel in a
side-street city, two stars at most where breakfast is Welsh cakes
and cereal

instead of full English. The stiff refusal of it comes
the same as sunset in the evening, the same as
miner's lung.

Sitting in Airports

The tacky green shade of Aer Lingus stewardess uniforms
seems a shimmered emerald bathing post in hazy
illumination of mornings when I should have slept in,
on morning when should I have built bursting effigies
of the way five year-old boys think about Snow White
in animation cells.

The oily shuffle of breakfast warming trays,
cluttered clatter of baggage wheels on moving walkways
warm from the bottom of gum streaking shoes, the sound
that woke from dead-eyed shadowing, took day's
lapel and shook it subtle, slight disturbance only
to my thinking.

Propeller props spun up again, time's leaving for
a new plain of lonely air, a new place to wear
on ankle bone and stare up at the carved buildings
named for men of plenty long-since departed,
and it was what life had been long-since, sitting, waiting for
something to start.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

1 New Poem

Wintering Somewhere Warm

Black port jars stored for winter's coming,
car stereo clanging The Mamas & The Papas,
retreats most hasty beaten shoes path leather,
recent events making the distinction clearer,
between what was thought and wished about.

Diving in beneath snowbank calmness, the
mannequins we mistook as suitors, as lovely ladies
faded bright in cotton swayings, bouncers and
buckeyes all the things we had left of Ohio,
left of chilled nights in Akron motels.

Little-known was Pyrrhic nature, the cheap
signs long-faded for topless places which didn't
even stay open past midnight anymore, the
city fathers reshaping downtown's face to their own,
never the kind of teenage runaways, Soviet-chic enthusiasts.

Torching scaffolds drunken with night's rainwater
and beer sweat, it was all I could have the bearing
of, interplay of freshly-tasted concrete and
scents of Turkish kitchens hounding us homeward,
so gung-ho with fiery memory of the Empire State,

seeming sandy as rural routes of Kazakhstan.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

1 New Poem


There are four walls to this room
the same as everywhere, the same
as sleeping under flood lights of bated
breath, of cluckings hen-like gnaw from
pumping blood across blankness in pitied
words, said then falling in stomach chasm.

There are four feelings to this night,
the covered mask in silken finery confuses
a deeper knowing of futile movements,
that all could never matter the slightest
once It was miles replacing feet, once
it was rivers and lakes and swampland to step.

There are four pyres to make us warm
torching the woodpile in oil slick séance,
crackling dust on prarie winds down the
sea air and mountain snow in semblance,
holy ghosts drawing curtains on their impeccable
ends we have always reached out to.

There were four manners it could have ended,
the first two mere delusions of romance novels,
paintings careful in mass production animation cells,
the second set quills in hedgehog dilemna,
biting skin pierce to become close enough;
we chose the fourth, of solace turning bright.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

1 New Poem

Turning Back

The mists rose solemn in September dawns,
creaking swell of boardwalk planks beneath
our feet bare as they were in July
midday's sun remembering the way
your breath consecrated in fell patterns,
strained glass construction on the ceiling window.

Recaptured on TV crew camera prints,
sketches done by hand by the man in the suit and
tie who sat in park bends with easel and palette
and laughed as he rubbed out the mistake he made in
the peculiar shape of your eyebrows, wondered if
he should notice the bit of chewing gum stuck to your tooth.

I tired to trace the lines on compass point
last night in turning fevers hope to talk,
but would not, could not join the dance of
faithless lovers to tune of pouring glass
shapely neon holding as tight as they
do each other in posturing passions.

Stare at the clock's maddened face, wishing
once it would run counter and give some relief,
run back to mistaken haste and cover
ourselves in it like shuttered hotel blinds;
it never does, it never could, march bringing but
the scant relief of Boxing Day's dinner.

Monday, 14 October 2013

2 New Poems

Grown Up

Children's backpacks flood the city centre as Friday's
makeshift parade begins in pinwheel swirl the same
I'm sure it always has, but do not know.

Pondered by the stone arches, Cheshire waterways,
smiling sundown clouds above Ferris revolving
lights, peak air breath drawn from Inverness down,

how I could have been the pinwheel spinning sharp.

I could have grown up here,
and cheered for Celtic over Rangers,
and learned to wince at tourist camera clicks,
and ate kebabs with wooden fish-and-chip forks,
and walked the Royal Mile to school and back home.

But I grew up amongst the maple keys falling,
and slipped down the ice-slick hills in Winter,
and scoffed at the American accents of summer beach travelers,
and picked strawberries in August at the farm five miles out
and rapped on suburban fences with replanted oak branches.

Table Salt

It was you with the salt and sugar at the kitchen table
in linoleum and soap-stained fixture abodments that cost
thousands more than their worth;

you, restless and wild as they do come.

Dry as grinding bone meal between strange glades of time,
wobble-stout the bridgeheads built-up of dashed hope,
2-litre Aldi cider bottles,

the Sunday light level I retreat into.

Yes, it was you, with the rusted hair-trigger feel for all this,
the beret cap whipping about in autumn's leaf-winded shadows
on the porch of the faux-French cafe,

you sang “The Last Time I Saw Richard” like you lived its every word.

And, yes, it was me, carving plastique and table salt into
statues to your beauty and how close I wished to clutch
you as a renaissance repainting;

imagining every song by a depressing Scottish band was about us.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

2 New Poems

Do I

You looked your best at 3 on a Tuesday afternoon,
when I swallowed unsaid guilt as the bitter edges of shattered CDs,
metallic in catching prism's bursts but-once joyous
serenade out in voice of a man much better-dressed than I,
your tide hair still swaying harvest moon's swift current landed.

There was no supposition in your sake's simplicities,
little time for drawing room curtains and fair maiden's
wrist-gloves, not quarter-length of second hand's dawning
for lipstick loves and balmy perfume's tongue-kiss promise,
you knew of steel pens click-chiming charm all too well.

Still, I wanted to touch my lips to your cheek just once
to know the feeling, just once to know what alive was like,
just once to know, really know, the stories of singers
and mad men have spoken in cavern's endless depth,
just once to know life's chance did not merely mock.

Half-asleep in the Dublin airport, watching falling glass facades
recollect the time of new-built steeple-houses upon emerald tithings
built, looking ahead to the off-white of youth hostel sheet walls,
the blurry haze of Ryanair ticket stubs and continental breakfast plates,
I wrote a note on the crumpled reverse of Supermacs paper:

“If you could see the same grey Glasgow skies as I,
run together between the Clyde's dockland decline, and
the alcoholic ruby sparkles dressing nightclubs that took
their occasion, it would be my greatest sight to know
for you'd have finery in oil rag tatters to me.”

I tore it across the middle edge, and left.

A Recollection of Rainstorms

I am as impermanent as the Highland's rocky recollection:
we came both from somewhere long since forgotten, the
space made in time of ice storms, and must return
some day to mere murals on desolation's dust visage.

One day, it all crumbles and to the sea restores,
not matter calcified remain or limestone spire grand;
there is no reassurance in this matter, knowing
our pointless echoes stop in place at nature's hand.

Still, could carvings of glacier weight grand know the
immensurate pain of lonesome laying at evening's end,
could the wall stone paintings reflections of midnight's gentlemanly
airs in failing from polished shoe leather?

I wore no clan's title and a story half-thought,
you surrounded mists in pale-eyed sadness sweater-knit,
carrying pints in plastic cups, at least, we could
have that much tonight's together, it seemed.

Piercing run, clumsy-handled questions, shattered storms
a second lasting but decades wished upon, truly
those were the moments in deep night with the
flashing neon pattern to be held immortally close.

Beneath the melting pound of Prestwick airport lounge lights
sleep a haunted thought between mechanical spring clangs,
the disembodied rumblings of freshly-recorded warnings;
I was going somewhere, but no time so soon.

When we parted both tying scarves and looking for
streets we had seen only in map headlines, I stuck
with before's determined conclusion of the night,
but if I hadn't had been lying in steady breath.

I'd have spent until lochs hour of dust return
in Glaswegian streets with you.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

1 New Poem

Night's Retelling

I'd remember one evening in the pouring rain,
bounding of you in white scarf wrappings,
hustle-and-bustle down sidestreets where
canal waters lap-wash together above your feet with sky-fall,
the January timetable marked with gifts and
nights spent in with turf-fed fire and parchment
for company, I looked at you in shaded regret's blue.

Half-seven time read flashing on your expression,
I was blank, chipped-away as crossing sign paint,
cold digging you scanned for something better-mended,
minding umbrella hat strokes, turning up-side out,
it could scarcely be found in this skin's state.

The last of bearings could be challenged through bitten lip,
bone-soaked half-literary pretension I took everything
to be, and not be; houses in distance so close,

we stepped beneath our porch lights, becoming shadows.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

1 New Poem


Taking the express bus from Battle River to
Swastika, the reversed magnetic rail from Paris to
Luxembourg, same windy wind of shielding
tundra held out cutting wire, stake pins
put through the permafrost in four foot's depth,
I watched ice fractles form mathematic on windowpane,
haunting plains from here to Rosetown.

The last of the city lights fading in 2-for-1 vodka
bottles, in tin-crinkle of cough drop packages,
only long-vanished heavens, bleaching shine of colours
only drawing closer shades of Winter's paradise
only damning in faint feeling one-time echo of
voice in the rumble of car on concrete, crossing the 417.

Your presence consumes this place as four strong
winds, forever bonded to the lonesome glint of
overpass lines, ghostly pastures spread about
in the dancing of fireflies on Northlander conductor
wheels; your breath in the exhaust of stream trailing
through yonder nighttime's soul-dark, clouding
above Thunder Bay in its diamond-rough keeping.

I wanted to take a train car all out to Bonavista,
the taste of salt and cod fishery encircling me,
body swamped in Atlantic's dead-end depth.
I'd still know tones heavy in the way you spoke
about chopping of evergreen trunks; I'd hear it,
even in the cedars of Lebanon.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

1 New Poem

And If

And if I'd asked in six months time about
the shape I was in last Friday's blurry tranquil
of pale moonshine by blighted docks,
you'd say “just fine”, a smirk and that would be

And if I'd said some half-remembered thing about
your belonging to the National Trust for Preservation
of Pricelessness, some more beautied than Pollack's patchwork,
you'd say “alright” with thanking and remorse of

And if I poured the stout glass too tall and
talked to myself in crossbeam's corner
most of night's clock and cowl hours afar
you'd be concerned with lights lapping, but laugh

And if I made us two fools falling on blank
page, wishes dripping ink wells, quills
shattered at right angles from tree sap weight,
you'd look lop-sided, characters matching but by

And if I'd write one-line poems of Eros,
addressed to no one in particular, but jammed
so tight with nodding winks none could deny
you'd exasperate and clasp hands as you did for

And if I passed out in those dress shoes
with the crack in the heels on parlour carpet,
speaking things I shouldn't about hair shades and wheat fields
you'd cover me in thin comfort, waiting on a

And if you marked the door in typists fingers,
in plain old handscript flows so that all could see
the Victorian manner you'd prefer to keep it,
I'd puzzle about its suspicion, question, still knowing

Monday, 7 October 2013

1 New Poem

Here & Then

The Ulster midnight sprang crooked wells
gushing forth beneath the staircase soot
and the curbsides painted Union Jack; embraces
furthest from memory, stumbled past the threshold
next morning's noon, feet unbalanced from pavement chippings,
head unbalanced from your memory in voice.

The moon's reflected temperance, steel pen sharp
in the long shadows of kebab shop windows and
taxicab vacancy signs flipping light patterns,
gave a mug warmed of mother's milk to ponder,
brought with its ticking tidewalls the looseness
of flapping springtime dresses in dull ache above your knees.

It was then we bit into each other as ripe persimmons
in Venetian royalty's covered garden, heat
of once-touched lips burning bright as October's first
snowfall, denied skin lapping together harmonious as
saltwater's carnival kiss, sweet as boardwalk taffy,
our bodies half-empty wine bottles along the sand.

The angel's share of whiskey cask coloured
crease lines along your back, smoothing stone
sweat caress as our last partings in careful construction
untangled, shaking, swaying time obsidian curls
unfurling, Rorschach tests of observed beauty on bedsheet,
quiver-tremble a second as we became.

Between Falls and Shankill in feeling now,
were you here I'd hold you aligned to the Sands mural,
kiss-write you love letters in the Peace Line wall;
were you, I'd say, “stay the same don't ever change
from springtime's green-eyed pastures”, but that was then,
and change was the one thing you always did.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

3 New Poems

Crooked Hourglass

Desperation held out a warm hand, patience
of its pursuit so apparent from the
hours spent in pacing planning to the
mere second consumed by nervous comment,
the kind you make at dinner
parties around people you barely
know except for the host
whose name you keep written
on hand to remember;
that kind of night
in fact, truly
I'd say
it was
the run of sand
grains in trinket shop
fashion, cheap blue plastic
to count on when all our
wound wires in transistor radios and
finely lab-polished microwaves some
day do fail, some day do fall as
old growth redwoods, the cracking sound
as arid gunshots bursting in December night.

Marks Left

Watching the EU funding signs and the green pastures
of centuries bygone roll past beneath strange
comforts of roiling grey Ulster's permanence,
the inaccurate clock and the flashing red seatbelt
sign that no one paid any mind, but the tourists
were always subtletly scared of violating,

the light seemed bent only to make prism astonishment
rainbow's end just beyond Belfast horizon,
and great star's setting hue close to touch the
village houses tucked between before time's
forbearing carpentry carvings of mountain stone.

I drew a signature on the air and let it pass,
I drew a time's presence on the window, in half-measure.

Tea & Ulster Fry

Contemplating the shape of sauce can
beans spread out in front of me by the
waitress with her cool indifference of manner,
the same eyes felt scanning across the Casey's
countertop seem to reoccur in spades.

Stainless steel spoons click off coffee mug edges,
roving banjo twangs sliced grey air in chef's
knife abundance, right around I looked to the
steeping of Orange Pekoe for some conclusion:
just some water cooling, just getting darker each second.

Thinking back on the Northern BBC logo, how it
looked so satisfied with breakfast bread, with
a ration rasher and cleaned white plates;
the grease seemed to melt with time on the
chip shop wall, carried vestment scent of long past years.

How was it, the right of peasant and king alike
stared blankly to face and ripped sharply lip;
knife-and-fork clatter merging Vivaldi tone,
I flipped back through old pages, canary-bright
as smoker's fingertips, and clarity became:

I had my tea on morning in Ulster, but
none to share it with.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

1 New Poem

All The Time

The same uneasy emotion as dry land docking
waters in Creole-speaking flood plain,
the same as rooms half-lost with the motel key
and number-crunchers handles, stick flames
to licking wound crosses, the twisted-up
way we always left it.

Struggled for standing, exasperation's grasp of idea,
thoughts to convince with low expectations
and half-exaggerations that I'd be just fine,
just alright, just peachy and all that
fine-balanced jazz they write in books
that end up in the quarter-Euro bin.

Hexing, vexing, spinning plates on
waterways, fisherman's fly casts catching
between our lips, moist the barren tufts
of pottery soil between our toes, last
winter's evidence they burned as cheap oil cloth
for warmth in 35 below.

Theirs was a lover's kissing, so strong
buried the conscious 'til tomorrow's frightful
sight, the standard thing when you can manage it;
ours became nothing of the same sort,
half-bloom, half-grown tulip half-gardened
and half-even-bought.

Lampshade shadows burst forth through
dreadful midday's sun; I thought
about a comment on it, died on tongue.

2 New Poems

Ducking The Question

As player pianos plucked out the last strains
of old Sinatra, we ducked beneath the barroom's
smokey facade, ashen dragons breathing coal dust
across the grandfather-like chimes of digital wall clocks.

It was fourty-and-three seconds with the coach bus
driver's puffing on hand-rolled cigarettes, flicking
ash under the bridge's prison limestone, adds
colour to the swirl of dreaming 10-pence pieces,

before I noticed your stepping boots, running built
in genuflection to all time's approach, much the better
than half-torn collections of faux-suede, I called
myself in half-jest, knowing the remainder too true.

Sleeping Early

Under rug swept, neuroticism of broken glass,
of toothy cliff walls fallen between in 4/4 time;
last of the bottles sink drained, last of
the three-sided shade I felt as crimson destiny,

you as fickle copper turning Irish post box.

I'd know it's all just half-heard sayings scribbled
in textbook margins, denied by the very words
wormed between, the grim echo of water spouts
still; some portion could have seem faint gold glimmer,

you'd know that too, but lacked belief.

Chest cough syrup fever dreams, tossed clock chimings,
turning light switches off-on in waiting, curtains
drawn to heavy-block the sound of reckless hearts,
the tone of less cowardly souls;

you might feel the same some night.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

1 New Poem


Grass stained knees from childhood misadventure
faded in time to rust-tinged stirring of leaves,
the kind so sodden in March's breaking of ice to care
about the high perch once upon they sat.

Sharp hangover steering through oaken folds,
arm's length from the promise of stable concrete,
pilot's downing led in foot trail tracing to
some open door: coffee and tea all hours.

Below the radio static, the bohemian couples
kissing shut their wound keepers outside the
frostbite metal of the Trotskyist party recruitment
office; suit and tie and Peter Hitchens talking point.

Death of cold coughing, comfort but a Wal-Mart
suit jacket and newly woven impossible tapestry,
I was starring at the woman across the room,
wondering of her fevers, her grass stains