Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Falling asleep in the attic

The leaves are simmering,
Foaming at the lip,
Boiling over.
They froth like the wreckage of tide on sand,
But are soft like flour through a sieve.
My hand’s ear touches the soft outline
Of bowl, made in flour on the table,
The missed eclipse, the circle of drift.

My roof is cast afloat
And my bed sent tumbling
Into the sea.
My dreams are of oars,
sails pillowing like puff pastry
Or the starched caps of sisters on the ward.
Punched straight full of air,
Stiff with nothing.

My duvet is a bright soufflé
Of billow and blust and
My breath is heavy and slow.

My hand’s ear hears the white eclipse
Of spilt salt,
An arc of superstition
From shoulder to floor.

Thursday, 8 July 2010


I put my legs in the water
They hang like hams in the larder,
Cool and gargantuan.

In this heat
I am held suspended
Like a specimen in a jar
Or a bunch of yellow peppers.

You have put me on the shelf
And all I can hear
Is the sound of blood in my ears
As heavy as dumb bells.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Sunday, 28 February 2010



I get to be in these!

Pretty exciting stuff.

Kicking Against the Pricks can be ordered from editor@kickingagainstthepricks.com

Poetry and Audience can be ordered from engpanda@leeds.ac.uk

Do it!

Monday, 22 February 2010



Morning scores along the edges of the day
Like a tin opener on a can of sardines.

Your kiss on my lips is sweet with cider
And the sea-salt of sleep.

I am bevelled for you, parched.

With a line of question marks,
Shakily drawn with your morning hand of tremor
You rescue my whole world.

We walk together,

There is nothing but the artichoke stroke of your skin on mine.
The warmth of you is my
Eye, my smile, my sigh.
I am as happy as a tuna fish in brine,
drunk, cosy, packed flat, I am fine.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Inside the Whale

The great dental scurf of your molars
trawls lichen and krill and moss.
I am used to the dough smell, the tired yeast,
the fragrant fart of seaweed fermenting,
the Diaspora of scales
flitting by my feet,
trying the edges in tired waves,
again and again and again.
They make sounds like breath,
And stir a memory of leaves.

I used to climb your teeth,
Go rock pooling in their
Rotten crevices,
Tread carefully about the yellowing edges,
Slip on green dredges of plaque.
I have no time for that now.

Your name is for
Junk ships and the plunk
Of sinking pots
Into water
To out-pour
The overflow.

In the monsoon
cabbage leaves drift
like petticoat flotsam
against your knees.
Rotten fish flow
through the streets.
The power cut
Leaves roads
Black and wet
The drains
Full of paper
And pulp.
We eat soft glass noodles
Limp by the light of
A halogen lamp,
Haunted by the
Call of the siren
And the rasp
Of the water-logged
Gargling through the water.

Soft sound plugged,
Pitched high,
Like the staccato rickets
Of geese
At the moon
Just as sensible
And slow moving
As Oriental porn.

An alphabet of fence posts,
An alphabet of
Pick up sticks,

Your name is for
Whale guts,
Goat’s blood
And rice wine,
The chew of the
White intestinal
The hum of
The cockroach
Numbed by diazepam,
Under feeble bulbs
As dark as the
Moon glow.

I sit inside you
At the heart of your lake
At the arch of your neck
In the dome of your throat
Basilica cupped
And ribbed in the
High reach of your diaphragm
That touches with gargantuan love
The Delphic breach of your pelvis.

And I do not know what to do.

I am prey to the curious lunar
tug of your sleep patterns,
have forgotten day and night.
know only tides
spelt out by the starry phosphoresce
of shrimp
and sea horses.
And the tuba buzz of your snore.

In your sleep,
Your are one big wheezing harmonica
The great bulge of your B-flat stomach
Burps Yiddish protuberances,
Vov, Kof, Yud, Daled, Giml.
A phlegm ridden alphabet
Of whale parps.
And I dream of organ grinders,
Hot water bottles,
Tough rubber
And the London Underground.
Captain Mannering’s marching band
Red faced, ready for a nap.

Ha-noi I miss the earth,
I cannot remember a time before motion.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

I am writing a poem called The Whale. It’s about a man but these are some of the things I have learnt.

Whales used to be land mammals (they, like the Modernists and the Vorticists before them decided to exchange “the one ELEMENT for the OTHER. The MORE against the LESS abstract.”) They wanted to be in the sea.

Their closest living relative is the Hippopotamus. Some whales still have four limbs, complete with digits, that they keep hidden within their bodies. Perhaps one day, when the seas begin to bubble and dry up they will peel back their skin and clamber back to land using these helpful, concealed arms and legs.

Whales are made of blubber, a four chambered heart and flukes. They are very poetic animals and hear sound through their throat. It has been known for a whale to behave suggestively, this generally concerns the blow hole.
Just don’t tell the plankton.

A Poem by Hilaire Belloc

The Whale

The Whale that wanders round the Pole
Is not a table fish.
You cannot bake or boil him whole
Nor serve him in a dish;

But you may cut his blubber up
And melt it down for oil.
And so replace the colza bean
(A product of the soil).

These facts should all be noted down
And ruminated on,
By every boy in Oxford town

Who wants to be a Don.