Thursday, 29 September 2011


Indian summer,
heat pressing down on the world.
Still sky, still air. Obsessions and
jackdaws calling and the sun
slipping through the curtains.

And even when the sun slips
away the heat smothers still.
     Thank god they’re asleep, we say.
     Thank god they’re asleep.
Their breathing after dark in the thick air,
bodies naked, curled like Inca mummies.
Their skin stifled by sweat.
My hands won’t stroke.
Three children, Russian dolls, equalled in sleep.
We’re not the only ones who were fools.

Peace settles in this afterlife.
The television is a crackle, the only thing that moves.
We try to glean a draught through windows agape.
We try to glean a harvest from the dark.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Some Time Before Dinner

You cry. My head a ringing place.
Your face a freeze-frame of outraged red.
We walk and waltz and you hiccough with tears.

My body is a besieged land,
defences breached and the headquarters
inhabited by music.

In my head I am riding to Juneau.
In my head a strong man, arms like fortress walls,
holding me hard against his solid ribs.

My waltzing does not amuse you.
My tuneless singing I cannot hear.
I don’t know the words, the drums are a heartbeat.

Your hot hands cling still.
Your hands entrenched, scaling the walls.
You may conquer me yet, but my mind is lost.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Seven, Until Eight

We slip upstairs, into the half-light dark,
leaving the tadpoles playing in their pool.
Time to be together, to shade the lights.
My patience is a skeleton leaf, each vein
frayed. I pray for peace. The Middle East
has nothing on you. And I lie while
you walk the floor, and drink, and milk
hangs at the corners of your lips. Outside
the sky is aflame. The neighbours fight quietly.
Inside nothing but your feet on the floor,
your experiments with sounds,
your mouth a new toy. Outside the
deepening dusk as day gives way
to shadowed hills. You cannot fight.
You fall like an old soldier,
surrendered to the hours, at last.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Fifty Minutes, Without Adverts

Exercise is good for depression. Picking out words with poetry. Watching people move on the screen. Sleeping baby giving a surrender with his nerveless arms.

Deep breaths make light work of pain. On the screen they are spying and cycling, long ago but vivid. Actors are writers, writers act.

Doctors sometimes tell the truth. Eat red peppers and tomatoes. That may work.

Brain stutters. Baby's hands twitch. Don't wake yet. Don't wake. Let me watch my silver-hearted screen. Intrigue and the tiny movements of eyes. Six foot three and broad shoulders.

He is awake. Milk on his lips. Tiny yearling sounds. You would be surprised by what is in my heart.

He nests like a bird in the crook of my legs. Tumbles back into sleep. Sweet, hot breaths, short and fast. How will I roast a chicken by five?

The credits roll.