Saturday, 29 January 2011


You called it your dried salt cod,
and we laughed,
remembering Shakespeare and Milton
and all the crudities of being eighteen.
Strip lights on the ceiling
and the subliminal buzz
and windows wide as our ambitions.

And over coffee
you pinched a petal from the tulip
that stood at centre stage,
and dropped it from your fingertips.
And then your laugh stuttered a little.
And slipped.

Saturday, 15 January 2011


I can forgive you
for dancing the salsa with two left feet.
I can forgive you
your clam lips with their deep-sea silence.
But I cannot forgive
the slow dropping-off,
the descent into the abyss,
the seaweed you used as a gag,
the pale-fish mind and the blind eyes,
and the turning as if from the lights of Alvin
when you came back to my world.

She listens to her music...

Her skull is a cavity for notes and words
spread on the interior as cavemen daubed their homes
in dark, misunderstood days,
in delicate spindle-brushed times,
fragile as mediaeval glass that has been dug from the ground.

Her skull is a whispering gallery for slipshod tunes
A nave where the gossip is passed around.
An arching vault that captures the tremulous voices of
the aged and the lonely and those close to god and death.

Her skull is a dry gourd of curved bone
A drum-beat, percussion house
for natives to beat out their messages.
A hollow shell, a thrum of life.

Her skull is a sounding-house for new ideas.
Her eyes see only the interior,
Dark like Africa, full of new things.
The latest remedy to come from there is Bach.


Orange Days

In a morning of translucent golden light
you peeled your orange, piece by piece,
a globe in god's hands.
Each tear a continent drifting – 
discarded islands
of interest only to the ants.

With the soft mantle exposed – you smiled –
flayed flesh in your cupped hands.
(A kind of straw-tinted plasma wept
from the carelessness of your nails)
The scent of citrus in the air,
sharp and urgent,
a chemical weapon, a call to arms.

Your religion is your own –
you choose to sin.

The pious eat only apples.