kind sugar

He dreamt of rotting food
flies and maggots
in a room
where i was nursing

a sick person.

The dream
made him think
he should not work 
in the caring professions

Or that maybe i should.

blue pencils


I intended to deliver a mean sermon
on the power
of the sigh
instead I turn to brighter waters
and lisp weakly
about sunlight glimpsing on the ocean waves
i even dare mention a leaping dolphin
dark black in the burning sun
perhaps it was an orca

meanwhile the seething vehement urge
to spit
rotten urges of man
leaves me in peril
to growl
loud enough
for deep down i know
badness is nothing
the will to defend dumb pleasure

in the meantime
i look at the audience
a deaf lady with a machine in her ear
a child sucking a dolly
both seated
wondering if
this will end

i continue
the unrest

at last
the curtain falls
i hear a handclap
though it might have been a chair
snapping shut

i appear from inside
the puppet theatre
my human shaped gloves
and animal shaped gloves
and cut out scenery which danced across the stage
on blue pencils
take a bow

no one booed
though my main fear had been
adolescents would burn
my puppet theatre
with me inside
cheap combustable nylon
over flesh and bone.

the long river blade

Scan 1

it shook her
to realise the appearance
of the boat in the dim distance
meant soon
a man would arrive
and this would mean
a change in demeanour.

she put aside
her barbed wire knitting post
and sat up straight
the time to begin counting
had begun

one he would stand on deck
two she would draw her knife
three he would laugh and stroke his gun
four she would wink
five he would grin
the wink was not for him
six shipmate Lucy, a strong girl, would drop the sand bag
directly on his head
seven his neck would snap.

there was the water
to engulf his corpse
there was the land upon which the ship would yield
there was the sunset
into which they would both travel
Lucy and herself
til death do they part.

call back the black tree

up there on the horizon
in a field
silhouetted against the sky
wild wind blowing
tree bending
whipping back.

beneath hovers
bent over
a little boy
lost above
cold and hungry
green with illness
cut from falls.

the moon looks down
one eyed myopic
it seems
to help.
dim distant glow
warms boy’s heart
and makes him remember
once he had a mother
who kissed him tenderly
and even a father
who held him safe

long gone
and alone now
with the moon brought
dancing a whirling moth-like creature
twisting in the breeze
yet somehow capable
of landing directly
upon the child’s
quivering pallid brow

the touch awoke
within the child
a buzz a hope
of make believe
that everything
would be okay.

the quivering stops
and sleep arose
like a warm quilt
within and without
and in that moonlit
the boy dies a cold
and cheerless death
to decay
and disappear
in bracken, moss, and
distant timeless heath.


oh turn bee

a trillion trout lay on the floor
the world bites softly
no hissing
this will irritate
the only solution
is a calm one
which includes
turning about to face the other way
with hands in pockets
gently lowering forehead to floor
without a clunk
now stay there
let the blood fill the temples
let a throb grow above between the eyes
now roll onto the side
try not to hurt yourself
and rest
one hand may still be stuck in a pocket
this will have to do for now
and listen
particularly closely
to the ground
for underneath
you will find
a turning sound
constant turning
and beneath that
the hum
of nothing
right in the middle
remember the trout
they shout
and lay about
a trillion trillion
of them
gaping in their gills
and gone.


a lazy gaze

over the top of mug
sucking the edge
lipstick marking
sniffing the tea
steams singing nostril hairs

entered a tall dark stranger
awkward and gangly
nervous and gaunt
he wanted something
he wanted some

their eyes met
through tea steam
across the cafeteria
from door to seat
past paper readers
cake eaters
coffee stirrers

before each of them
a thought
a possibility
a want

she slurps tea
still gazing

he does not move from the door

a bus roars passed outside

‘shut the door’
calls a lady nearby.

he turns and leaves
and the tea drinker
slurps again.