Sunday, 23 November 2014

November Day

You said the most beautiful thing
about that day, was me,
in a Saturday pony-tail,
woollen jumper, and jeans,
and you said it didn’t matter how many times
you had seen, all those dresses and
heels that I wear – you told me you loved
when I was really there, as gentle and soft
as the autumn air, and all the wisps and spirals
of hair that, untamed, sprang forth,
from a hat - that,
you said,
was the diamond, the pearl:
and how your eyes could skate
across the curve, of the serpent of my lower back – and oh, you waxed
about the nip at my waist that was the
pinnacle, of joy amongst November trees,
all in filtered sunlight and falling leaves,
and the sight of my soul, you said you
could see, was smiling, like the light
in my eyes:
laid bare, we wore 
no disguise, only a promise
that all words here
were true. And I whispered, that yours were wrong, because,
what was truly beautiful
that day,

was you.

Thursday, 6 November 2014



Take me by the hand, and lead me amongst my scars:
touch every one
and it is reborn, a star at your fingertips, each fear,
all harm; nought but sweet air now,
in the safest of
arms, and feather-pillows,
deep, soul-cleansing
kiss –  and you can ask me never,
to live
without this, or the whispers
that all shimmer
and bend,
as it falls from your lips: “my twelve,
out of ten”,

and somewhere
inside me, spread wings, as doves soar,
behind all of the blinds,
and the skin,
and the tightly closed
door, on those predators, circling,
out there: because none of it matters with
your breath
on my hair,

and all of your fragrant
at my back – here, there is nothing I
could want for, or lack in the depths of my soul:
- no panic,
 - no holes,
can exist
when you say what you see:
strong, brave, beautiful me, no damage,
inside or out:
nobody’s prey, no doubt
I have grown

like a Guelder Rose,
covered in thorns
from my head to my toes, but
bearing more petals than you ever
might know without equal wounds from the spikes – and I beg you now please
 turn off the lights,
for you make me
 more woman
than I’ve ever been – and I want to remember
all I have seen, tonight,  
in the truth of your eyes,
neither one of us
with need for disguises, nor pantomime masks;

for here lies the sacred moment,
we both
were shelter

at last.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Don't Panic...

You know that fundamental thing, at the base of you? Whatever it is that makes you feel grounded and safe in the world? You got it from your nurturing; from your childhood; from your mother, perhaps…a safe base to explore the world from, a basic trust in other human beings.
You know what I mean, right? The thing that gives you a place of peace inside of you, that says it’s ok to wander away. It’s ok to roam and most things are safe to touch. And when they’re not, and you burn your finger, there’s someone, somewhere, to return to; to be held close and be comforted; and it’ll all be okay…it’ll all be okay…
It’s that thing that’s always grown within you, - go on, you can admit it, you’ve taken it for granted; didn’t know it was there, until I showed it to you – that thing that means you’ll always find the courage and the confidence to go back, to explore again, despite the thorns and the nettles that stung you.
Well, here’s the thing - I’m going to take that from you now. Not a bit of it. All of it. Every last internal attachment and scrap of core security – gone - in the blink of my eye, a single click of my fingers. Gone. Just like that.
And without it, see how nothing is true or certain anymore, how there is no feeling that anything is okay, or ever will be again, and how you will panic – oh, how you will panic, that you will not have to seek the thorns, but instead, they will come for you.
See now, how you hesitate at the menace of the first night of sleep in a strange, new bed, at the person who bumps in to you from behind, and sets a lump in your throat, a sea-sickness in your stomach…feel how your heart will hammer at the noises unfamiliar radiators stirring into life will make, at creaking floorboards on an unknown landing…not dangerous once, but now, horrifying - certain harm…see how sweat beads on your neck at someone walking behind you in the dark, at a firm knock on a door you cannot see through. Feel it grip you, like a claw to the chest, beyond any thought or rationale – nothing there to call upon to settle yourself, to soothe you – when the threats come close. And then, come closer... And they are everywhere.
I’m taking that part of you that knows, in those moments, that there is no danger, no peril. And you will not know, and you will panic so hard, and tremble with so many internal terrors that your core understands are nothing, nothing, nothing …but they’ll be everything now, everything that might…that WILL…get you, won’t they? Aren’t they? Every slow and sneaking thing that might creep up on you in the middle of the night, or on the bus to work, might pounce and grab you and back you up against stone prison walls, skin scraping, mouth suffocating, stomach nauseating…they might…they might…they WILL.
But you won’t be able to tell. No. No. Don’t tell. Don’t ever tell. Because all the world still has their safety, their nurturing, their born, human courage. And trust. And they’ll laugh at you. Laugh until you shake and sweat, and stand naked and terrified before them. And they’ll mock and pity you, all because of the things that I took from you tonight.

So, find a way. Find a way right now, to push it down, down into the dark, depths of where the safety used to be, where it dwelled in dead calm, inside you, before I had it. Yes, where something cold and shivering, now sits instead. That’s it. Push it there, and hold on to it. Live with it; right inside. The quaking, the churning…the fear. Yes…because I know, none of them mean you well now? Do they? Not without it. And I have it: I have it all for my own.



So what if I told you, sometimes,
that you walk in my dreams? That
you float like paper amongst the
cotton-wool trees, that pepper,
the mountains and gentle
streams, as you stretch along banks of bright fire?

And what if you lay, as the flames lick
higher, and tell me all the woes of
your day? Do I reach out my fingers and
trace them away, as the catkins that swing
in my mind?

Do I turn and roll over,
and stiffen and hide,
for all the times I have willed you to stay? For all the
right things
I have not heard you say as the swimming
night becomes intrusive day, and what way
do I find
to give
as you take?
And quiet this yawning soul?

Just to be still,
and to need.

am the one, made of paper,
is all.

Saturday, 1 November 2014


This could be
any love story,
if I whispered about your eyes,
if I brought tears to mine
and cried out about the sanctity
of your arms.
This could be
any declaration,
any abject devotion, if I honoured
the shining temple of you,
left offerings at your altar like
a stupid pilgrim seduced.
It could be any
tale of tender worship, any yarn of salvation,
if I prostrated before you, and polished your
ruby-studded wings…
It could be any of these things,
if it weren’t for the sacrifices
and martyrdoms of your cross
born upon a back so beautiful
and the tears of blood I let
weep forth
from their host.
So come, come now my deity,
entomb me softly in your
feathered embrace
and mark my emerald eyes, 
remind me of the moment
we decided
it was better this way?
Remind me why,
my faith grew weak,
and I promise,

I will let you go.


Profound grace
and utter harmony
Beauty, light and
palest ivory.
Silken sheet, fairest pearl,
All but call my name.

Scarlet lily, bird of paradise,
follow a trail of coolest ice
Whispered from ear to brow.

How now if butterflies land there
do I believe them yellow
not blue…?

Ah, but you…
angel, glory, starlight,
fever, desert night.
Violet sunrise, silver sea,
Hear my velvet tongue…
Believe me,

And give me what I want.

Requiem for the Ghost of Forever

A ceiling above us, and a floor below,
don’t touch, don’t touch,
this forever-ghost,
watch the cracks
 as they spread and flow,
all mine for the taking,
if I want it,
I know. Stop.

Stop, at the edges,
put your hands out now,
and knock me, tender, to the floorboard-ground,
roll me beneath you and without a sound,
speak the words, say them over again.
Listen, listen – can you hear
the rain, on the slates,
down the chimney shaft? Raise an eyebrow, make me
laugh, like the water
as it scurries through drains – watch the forever-ghost wax
and wane, like a moon in the window pane.

Lay, lay,
lay my head
on your shoulder,
so much time now;
past and older, so much tomorrow
and yesterday grown colder,
so much ‘sorry’ already…too much.
All passed,
all is trust,
in your eyes as you smile and make plans;
and the forever-ghost sits down
on the
bottles and
cans of a barely contained future,
she bows her head, as a weary creature,
for she knows
the awful truth.

Those words are spoken again,
and I cannot answer - because it isn’t you.

And the forever-ghost fades away to nothing,
leaving behind her,

a deepening blue.

Friday, 31 October 2014

How You Are

Unknown, unsafe,
body-heat scent,
already too warm on visions of
spent time,
under a dragon’s fire,
request, resent
rebuffed desire – turn on a dime, a slimy smile,
dirty, greasy,
hot-breath all the while – “you know
you shouldn’t
dress that way,
body speaking differently
to that which words
say, attention, attention,
then brush it away,
enter the game and refuse to play…”

Levelled anger – apologise,
no intent to mislead cold eyes,
as far as I know, I rolled no dice; I moved no
pawn, no rook:
no invitations are needed to look,
equally none
were offered for touch -
but closer, closer, disquieting,
back to the wall,
you can’t come in,
vile whispers standing
between fear and escape,
paralysed steps to knowing ‘safe’,
that towering presence,
…that smirking rage…

the wolf is wearing
the clothes of a sheep,
a vision too benign for them all to
see the things that pitch
and churn inside,
pale and trembling beneath a thin disguise,
hammering heart, neck-hairs aligned,
no quieter now
with the passage of time,
and the turning
of the world 
under all of these stars…

Just one thing: old adage - ‘I’ve seen how you are’
- wound opened, fresh scar.

Friday, 7 March 2014

We have to talk...


I’m glad you’re here. We have to talk. You, and I, and the rest of the nation. We have to talk, about tea. You see, tea, is becoming a very serious business. And ultimately, a very problematic one.

Undoubtedly, whether you have a ‘cuppa’, a ‘char’, or a ‘brew’, you’re particular about how your tea is made. ‘Not too strong’, ‘not too weak’, ‘not too much milk’, ‘more milk’, ‘sugar please’… And it’s not just the liquid itself that concerns you – ‘No! Don’t stir it that way, stir it this way!’, ‘ you’re not using the right mug’…’too hot’, ‘too cool’, ‘fill it up a bit’… Yes, unless you’re one of those people on the edge of society – ‘no thanks, I don’t like tea’… - you surely have a recipe for your perfect cup. And largely, though you accept substandard versions politely (we are British after all), nothing but this honed and hallowed formula will really do.

I admit, I like to drink my tea, from a cup with a pale interior. No, not a cup, a mug…cups are too small. You can’t get your hands around them, and I like to ‘hug’ my tea. You see, if you’re going to have tea, I believe in HAVING TEA! Sipping a thimble full from a china cup, is far less satisfying than sloshing a brimming mug full against your wet lips and dribbling it on your chin. To me, mugs with dark colours inside, make tea look funny. You can’t get just the right tinge of orange to it, without a pale, preferably white, interior, to your cup. The tea bag then needs to be sufficiently squeezed, with just the right pressure, to obtain a brew of perfect strength. The dash of milk, not too much, just a dash, must be stirred in with a proper teaspoon. Somehow, a hasty Biro, produces far less satisfying a blend. The liquid must be stirred, gently, the cup being sufficiently full of tea that to stir vigorously, would spill it. No one likes half a cup of tea, do they?…or is that just me? This is my tea formula: (mug+pale interior) over (tea + splash of milk)+ (optimum volume) over (sufficient stirring) = perfect brew.

All of us know our tea formula so well, we could probably achieve it wearing a blindfold. And it is a good job, since it is the nature of tea, that much of it is made in haste. Tea is most often a quick and thoughtless process between the endless tasks of the day, a swift route to comfort, or warmth, or a five minute rest of a weary, working mind. The ability to apply due reverence to tea-making is an exception, rather than a norm. But even hurried tea is a very personal beast.

I have met people who, to my shock and disgust, leave the bag in, whilst they drink the tea. Imagine! I like my tea strong, but imagine its soggy paperiness brushing against your lips as you slurp?! No thank you! Not to mention what the prolonged presence of that bag does to a beautiful, white interior of a tea cup. And it is these differences of opinion, these variations in formulae, that lead to the problematic depths of tea that are the subject of this concern. You see, in their haste to make tea in their well-practiced way, every person is liable for the production of a personal ‘tea trail’… Like soggy Asaam snails and Earl Grey slugs, they slide over everything in sight, and forget, tea’s only fundamental flaw - it stains. And where tea unites us, tea-stains have the very real power to divide.

The workplace is probably a good example of an environment in which to observe the production of a ‘tea trail.’ What in the morning, was a shiny, silver, stainless steel sink, throughout the day becomes a golden brown, jangling mesh of deeply tea-scarred spoons. Lying alongside are spent mugs, unrinsed and festering in the malaise, stains darkening by the minute. The body of the sink itself, has had all those who refuse to drink ‘the dregs’, believing tea to have some foul tasting sediment, pour together a soup of cold and congealing brews in its unfortunate base. The slick is now a quarter inch thick with teabags blocking the drain. Tea bags have also accrued on the edges of worktops, the corners of the sink, on the drainer, around the bottoms of taps. A dropped teabag on its way to the bin, lies forlornly on the linoleum. It won’t be long before someone stands on it – spreading its guts like road-kill across the non-slip surface. Brown drips have dried, mid-run, down the front of the kitchen cupboards, rings of over vigorous stirring and sloshing have appeared on the surfaces, and there are sticky patches of sugar, not to mention, brown staining on the tea towels from poor attempts at rinsing the forgotten spoons, and, worst of all, from a double-dipped teaspoon, in the driven snow of the sugar itself.

These are the daily tea-trails of a hundred people, crossing and double crossing and laying down one on top of the other like a gastropod party in a lettuce patch. And these are great sources of anger and division.     

Just as we all have a tea formula, we all also have a tea taboo. It might be, not rinsing the teaspoons that stands up the hair on the back of your neck. Perhaps it is the wet slap of a spent teabag from a colleagues mug, hitting the bottom of the sink, that sends your blood boiling to the surface of your skin. Whatever it is, it’s in you, and it lurks, read to explode in muttering complaints as you make your next brew.

*Tut* Why can’t people rinse the teaspoons? *Sigh* There are never any cups left! Why doesn’t anyone wash a cup round here? *Huff* Disgusting! Disgusting!!! The bin is two feet away – people can’t put a tea bag in it?

Without speaking, people take sides in these little protests. All present soundlessly judge and condemn either the complainer or the culprit. Comments become sly, seditious, in-jokes among tea sects with common irks… *hmmff * ‘I see the teaspoon fairy called in sick today’… ‘Hm, ‘bout time people noticed that their mother doesn’t work here’… This undercurrent of tea-related resentment, exists in every workplace…and probably every home…in the nation.

No one talks about it. No discussion takes place, and so grows the impotent anger, the gripping bottled vexation, caused by incompatible tea formulae…and tea taboo.

Yes. I’m very glad you’re here, because we have to talk. You, and I, and the rest of the nation. We have to talk about tea; our silent divider. Muttering and suppression is not the answer, I can feel the tension building to a dangerous proportion. Somebody is going to snap, and there will be an incident  – please, we have to talk about tea, before someone gets hurt.

The Burlesque Onion


She turned a burlesque onion,
in the too-dim lights of a smoky bar,
peeled off all the layers in slow motion… one by one,
to the edge of too far.

They came off at her leisure, teasingly,
a tiny part of her revealed, coquettishly,
with each movement
but, revealed all the same. And it wasn’t deliberate,
no contrived game,
just the onion would never let her
slice right down
to its bones.
It trusted no one
and it set like stone, to blunt and fail
every knife that assailed it.
So all of her came to light
in the pieces that made it...
and was never quite the whole of a moon.

And so, she came to be, all too soon,
in their dreams,
only the strokes of her twisting dance,
that spoke through
caresses of her tender
hands, that kissed and whispered
when all it wanted
was to shout.

Turn, turn, it howled…here it is,
just there, a little to the left,
or right;
a flash of the onion-skin in the dark of
the night,
and gone again
in the blink of an eye.

An eye…
All mine,
this enchanting,
burlesque onion…

Sentences and words, were said,
without thinking,
as she gyrated,
as she spun and whirled.
And thoughts, thought
without ever really thinking
were surely believed
in the glare of her world and her
blinding spotlight: “It’ll be okay, 
and you’ll be alright.

Because you’re always alright.”

Never injured by a storm 
or a battering night... 

And so out of her mouth, came the default
sound-bite, time and time again,
without discerning;
 ‘Are you ok?’ ‘Yes.’
And the onion kept on turning,
whilst another layer fell off her
like satin or lace,

slid down her curves as silk lingerie, and she kicked it away
with a red-painted toe.
She kicked the filthy layer away,
and set eyes upon it where it
lay - there like a dead thing, there like dead skin,
because it wasn’t the truth. It wasn’t the truth.

Her layers were deeper
and dirtier than they knew.
There was new flesh beneath,
that was easily bruised, and tender with
the price of spent trust,
and for each silvery layer, so effortlessly lost,
the onion got smaller,
all the strength of it
pulled to the core.
And feeling with each word,
tinier than before –
I never said it, I never, she thought. 

Rivers of people and noise swam around her,
as the dizzy of words heard in heat,
fell across her. Of all that those throw-away words
had cost her  - and  I never said it,
unless it was true.

And in the morning
the onion
rolled into a new
day and a train carriage right behind her,
and someone had written upon it: get me out of here…
…too many imposters, just get me out.

She stuffed it in her backpack and went
without doubts, in search of moments she had forgotten
that she had once sought;
in search of wide open spaces, where no root-thoughts,
but all of the onions grew.

Big open spaces, the filthy parts of her knew,
were there only to hide amongst. There to conceal for however long
it took, to be somewhere you could be
somebody else;
a place to be smarter than the onion, still peeling,
on its shelf, in the larder of your thoughts ,
somewhere to be stronger
than the tears it brought and to know only words
from the truth:

“Ah but you’ll be alright…” she heard it whisper,
as it tried to take hold and root
at her ever-watchful back,
and she took the onion in anger,
and with a deafening thwack, she hurled it
across the spaces
at the closest of the trees –

“I will,” she told it, “in the arms of verity,
where I trust, I am safe
being me.” And she walked away,
with an embrace all around, and a thousand things to reveal
and be opened, and found,
in the aching
of passion’s beautiful hours
and the burlesque onion
lay shattered
in pieces, amongst the ground’s sweet flowers.  



Somewhere inside,
of the depths of my soul
flow the rivers of desires, that cannot
be told, lie hours once
spent, and expectant nights;
recline all that lives
in my filthy twilights and my dawnings, my
beckoning wants,
all of them bursting
at the edges to haunt
my touches
as slow-satin caress, to creep and to roll
as bound
tenderness. Hold tighter, push firmer,
sweet stars to ignite…scarlet dreamscape drawn
in the palest
moonlight through my window,
pressed to cold plaster,
skin on skin,
oh my lord and
master of the whispered, the inscribed,
the blind; palm in my neck
and fingers entwined to invoke and to writhe,
like ivy,
with a covering of lace,
not politely to ask, but only to take:
To take screaming moments
and whirl them around; possessed,
slammed hard against a wavering ground,
given no halt,
and no sweet releases,
until the choir of clouds swells and
increases over eyes
glossed with rapture,
every second 
something new
and different
to capture and chain and to viscously drain any traces
of a tired routine:
no words now: only feel,  
on your knees
bones to the wall,
called forth, and called forth, until I can’t
stand at all. Shaking and sheltered, cold
front, warm back,
and clear in all that I do not lack for a second
under cover of you;
all that I am inside, all I desire to do and to selfishly take,
hair pulled,
just enough, at my nape, by darling fingers, tenderly bitten:
and so the truth, is growled and written,
in my ear, from a hidden face,
born in our thunder and the golden grace of
our fires, and the beautiful dust;
born again: to know who I am,
is first to sift
the sands
of trust.    


You tell me you're tired, watchful
of my eyes, and that no one hurts while
angels cry; I say I'm more weary
of contradictions
and lies, of pulling and
pushing of hearts and
minds, of wanting and turning
the hands of time, over,
in my fingers like glass;
of words sweetly spoken and questions
asked; I'm exhausted in losing
and in winning the mask of tomorrow,
or the screen of today,
all can see,
that I,
am damned anyway;
whether or not
you show your true face, to me,
as you utter those sounds,
that only in certainty, should be
spoken out loud: said on the breath
of a sigh - and I turn my heavy head to hide,
and close my eyes:

don't lie...don't lie.