drifting past unnoticed
my heart beats a path
in silent steps, following

hanging around your space
this place and that, slipping
in and out of view, waiting

sideways, casual glances
give no clue of my intention
to inhabit you, inside where
your energy burns

I’m going nowhere
nowhere without you
in my sights, I’m waiting
preparing for something

A So-So So-And-So

just when you think you know yourself
life can creep up on you, the unwary,
to reveal a new persona that stares back
from the mirror at your disbelief, now

that you’re normal, a mere mortal, no
longer edgy, racy or extreme, eyes
lacking twinkle and sparkle now
average has been bestowed on you

your confusion will wonder where
you were when the change occured
and why the ordinary had selected
you for a makeover of the mediocre

that will see you spend typical days
doing regular things in a routine
way, hugging the middle of the road
and embracing the run of the mill

finding adequate more-or-less acceptable
and predictability par for the course as
you calmly assume the reasonable role
of master of the mundane

meaning everything about the everyday
is suddenly alright and you’re always
feeling OK, fair to middling, nondescript,
but not so bad, just a so-so, so and so.

Felling Us

your will of course would
eventually do the work
driving a wedge between us
edging deeper into the

splintering cracks, slowly
revealing the tumour
that digested the bark
of our rotting timber

and sensing the end, an
accumulated intent added
weight to your will with
exaggerated swings

and staccatoed slashes
of blades that finally did
the felling, as silence found us
on this killing floor


Jazz Notes, Harlem 1950’s

smoky underground sounds
of free spirits of the street
fill the Harlem air.
it’s improv, it’s in the pocket
hands, fingers and mouths
breathing life, it’s the
birth of the cool,
cool notes of jazz.

drum lays down the beat
that pumps the bass
that drives the rhythm
Miles and ‘Trane free-blowing
blowing out blue note
messages to the street.
Monk in full flow, flowing
blood through red-hot veins
the sound of jazz
on sweltering summer nights
feeds the soul of the city.

Being Someone Else

I’m wearing
someone else’s smile
teeth that don’t fit
in this mouth
that can’t speak.

I’m not OK. OK?
don’t ask me anything else
because I’m not myself
I don’t know why,
I couldn’t say.

I’m striding
around town, out of step
in someone else’s shoes,
laughing clown’s feet
that don’t fit my mood.

I’m driving
someone else’s car
on the wrong side of the road
going round the bend
meeting myself coming back.

I’m feeling
someone else’s pain
it’s more than mine
it’s all in the mind
I picked up by mistake.

please don’t ask me
again today because
I’m just not myself
I’m busy, too busy
being someone else.

Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling

hitting the ground
on Cooper’s Hill
a nine pound round
of Double Gloucester
rolling around and
careering down.

and here come
the chasing crowd
flailing arms
stumbling, tumbling
some falling under
stampeding feet.

hurtling down doing
seventy an hour
ambulances racing
fetching folk
hit by a cheese
rolling out of control.

but now chasers
are catching up
arms reaching
desperately close
until finally someone
scoops the prize and
we have a winner.

Queen of Camden

the streets of Camden still mourn music
royalty, the queen who lived too much,
soared too high, near to the scorching sun
where only the mad and geniuses fly.

and twenty seven arrived too soon,
before your time but time enough to tattoo
yourself on hearts and minds. On that day
I heard the legend of Sarah Vaughan cry.

and wandering into Stables Market I hear
you breathing from a bronze statue that echoes
your raw, sweet sound and everything that
is you, hand on hip, beehive, the pose of

the pained Queen of Camden who now
shines with the spirits in the sky. Amy,
forgive me but I have to ask, if by chance
you see Marvin, could you tell him I said hi?

Black Dog

I learned soon enough that you
were not just for Christmas,
that long winter of ’97
when you first arrived.

how quickly you became a
constant companion, never far
from my side, matching me
stride for stride, more faithful
than night’s darkness.

and how you grew, fed by my helpless
hand, unable to resist those hang-dog
eyes that penetrated mine and claimed
my vulnerability as easily as locking
jaws around a bone; already, you knew
me better than I knew myself.

and how soon your presence cast
a lengthening shadow that darkened
my days as I lost the fight for control,
relinquishing myself to serve a black
dog-god, a barking sergeant major
whose iron bite and vice-like grip
told me who was master.

Days Like This

on days like this I find myself
seeking things I will never find,
locked inside the circle of a shell snapped shut.

on days like this I avoid
the rotten teeth of the crowd
who bring dread to the door
and keep me stranded in a lake of bed

where I lie dressing and undressing your ghost
sketching the outline of your smile in paints
that drip, drip and wash away

leaving familiar patterns of grief
on the table top of my eyes,
olympic rings baked into aching pine
like coffee cup stains

by a sun that screams
through windows I cannot face
and blinds the cries that hide
in walls in rooms
drowning out birdsong

on days like this when
whys outnumber ifs and whens
and time surrenders to piercing light,
the light in which I watch dust
drifting down in parachutes
to conquer each surface.

nobody tells you
there will be days like this.

Here’s The Sting

dive out of bed on a duvet day

to go a-wandering

away from your comfort zone.


do these things in order:

put your worries in the wash

drink two too many coffees

skip the organic muesli

fill up on a full fat fry up

then go…only don’t leave

without sensible shoes and

clean undies (you never know).

follow the route I gave you,

1hr 42mins should do it, 82.6

miles to the base of the mountain.


park up. climb, climb as if it’s

your last day on earth; at 1,832 feet

carve your name on a dead tree and

laugh like a drain as you imagine

Sir Edmund Hillary singing “climb

ev’ry mountain” whilst doing a John

Cleese silly walk and having the

thought that nothing really matters.


by the time you hit the summit at

3,213 feet you’ll sense Sartre’s being

and nothingness. catch your breath.

stand up, strip off (who cares, no-one’s there)

and dance like no-one’s watching,

it’s just you skiving off on a duvet day.


and here’s the Sting

I’ll be watching you.

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