Friday, June 21, 2019

Sol Sistere

it's been lovely getting to know you
feeling your warmth increase
feeling your light spreading
growing inside
but we are fickle things
and already now, at our moment
of greatest intimacy
we begin to feel the faint pull
of our other love from afar
and every day now
we will leave a little bit more
happy-sad Solstice


Fake News

you see what he thinks is in those hands could be has been
in those hands those hands that reach out to pat
in front of Andrew Jackson patpat you see

the need when they shout you see the discolouration
of the air between them shout or shoot they like both
with equal dislike the trail of tears the codetalkers

the crowd the loud lewd crowd and crew in the sense
of crowed oh how they crew how crude they are
pussy my love my beautiful pee-green shove my hat

my red hat you see how all is pink and gold make it make it
great again the greatest generation they keep saying that
how many of the greatest came home and beat up black

and blue what's so damn great about racism even
one's soul is off centre now but see the wayward air
between them see the air like a car full of fumes

in a red barn a thrusting heaving gagged in an alleyway
left for dead swinging blackfaced at dawn for your children
to find your tongue that has snaked out across the land

the land which is not yours yes Pocahontas what a laugh
barely any DNA to show not thoroughbred like the thing
with hands that have grasped at all out of reach all

unwanted merely to defile no love no something else
do you feel the evil fucking in the air the air
you want fake news look there right there

Monday, May 06, 2019


then are we never to sit calling
as the sea brims through the grass
when your hair has all gone
and the clouds swoop so low
that we can no longer see
each other
in all of this world
when I even wanted to love
your absent hair and wonder
where it might be now perhaps
running downstream at night
all of it, every filament
to a bay which brims again
where the wind does not cease
where the tides that flow through us
make us dance and choke
where our boats and our hearts
seem so disturbed as the dawn
rushes away on winds of trouble?

Monday, April 08, 2019

This is the difference:
She doesn't want them to die
I want them
to live.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Magical Elements in Wuthering Heights.

There are three potentially magical or supernatural episodes in Wuthering Heights, in which mirrors or windows – possibly even eyes – act as some sort of lenses, and perhaps portals, through which time seems to slip. The first is when Mr Lockwood breaks the window in Catherine's old bed-chamber and encounters her ghost wailing to get back in, telling him that "it's been twenty years" (which is accurate, but which Lockwood can't yet have known). Entering the room, Heathcliff quickly reads the situation, and, banishing Lockwood, attempts to call Catherine back through the window — to no avail at this point, though it may be through a window that she later comes to join him.
The second event seems to mirror this scene, as though the two are connected across time; it occurs just before Catherine dies at Thrushcross Grange, tended by Nelly Dean. She looks into a mirror and sees a greatly aged Nelly, but sees also her old room at the Heights, with a "black press" to confirm the location. There is no black press in her room at the Grange, but there IS such a black clothes press in Cathy's old bedroom at the Heights (a 'press' or 'clothes press' is an old-fashioned clothes cupboard).
“The black press,” says Nelly, “where is that?” “It's against the wall, as it always is,” says Cathy. But she also sees another face there, which she does not recognise: “Don't you see that face? […] Oh! Nelly, the room is haunted!”
Could this be Lockwood's face, twenty years in the future, peering out from Cathy's old room? No one else in the entire novel looks out of Cathy's room and sees her out there, so if not then whose face? It has no coherent function in the narrative otherwise. Is this the moment when Lockwood and Cathy see each other through the window of Cathy's old bedroom across a gulf of twenty years? Just prior to this episode we are signalled that we have entered some magical space and time when Catherine says that her bed is at this moment the "fairy cave beneath Penistone Crag" – presumably a place with preternatural possibilities.
The third magical event comes when Heathcliff dies: Nelly notices his bedroom window is wide open, with the rain blowing in, and then finds him dead in bed, smiling, with his eyes also wide open, as if to echo these open glassy channels across death and time. What else could have enabled Heathcliff to die smiling like that, unless Catherine has somehow bridged an impossible divide and they have been reunited? Of course Emily Brontë leaves us with the suggestion that their ghosts are indeed now united, and have even been seen walking together, but has this been accomplished by this through-lined literary device of the windows and the mirror, and even the eyes?
Emily clearly devises and constructs these episodes to suggest that the supernatural elements might possibly be real rather than imaginary – for how else would Lockwood know of the twenty years gulf; why would Heathcliff be smiling, even in death; and why would his window (recalling the previous windows and the mirror) be open to the rain?
And – if we are not supposed to consider these supernatural intrusions as real – why would the sheep at the end of the book refuse to walk past "t' nab" after the shepherd boy has sighted the two ghosts there? The boy's weeping and fear might be explicable by superstition and ghostly gossip, but how is one to explain the behaviour of those sheep? Yes, sheep could be influenced by the behaviour and responses of the human shepherding them, but that really is not what Emily meant. She wanted us at least to consider the possibility that Cathy and Heathcliff had genuinely made it, and were together again at last.

(Publication forthcoming in the Brontë Society magazine.)

Monday, February 11, 2019


my date from an online location
just died without much explanation
face down in the soup
she glooped one last gloop
which rather fucked THAT expectation

Friday, February 08, 2019


I've had it with Brexit, with Trump's fucking wall, with Marine Le Pen, with troll-farms, with children drowning every day crossing the Mediterranean, with isolationist anti-immigration Alt-right neo-Fascism in all of its forms. The world is facing the biggest refugee crisis in history, due to runaway Anthropogenic Global Warming. The war in Darfur was caused entirely by global warming making traditional tribal lands unviable, causing mass migration into other territories, and consequently—warfare.
If I was a member of IS, I wouldn't bother filming myself in a black Batman outfit waving a flag from a tank turret, I'd be driving around the now-just-marginally-habitable Muslim areas of Africa explaining how global warming had been caused by the Kuffar in the industrialised areas of the world: those places that now—having totally fucked your eco-systems—are refusing to let you in. I would expect a few angry and committed recruits.
So I've had it with anything that looks like not allowing drowning people into 'our' lifeboats, just because we happened to find them first. I disagree with nationalism and nationhood in all of their forms.
So pretty soon now I am just gonna blow. I'm gonna find me a mad partner on a dating site, steal a car, and take off to France. In fact, I'm doing it today. I figure if we set off at twelve we can be in Paris by midnight, drinking Green Fairy and talking about art and revolution. In the small hours of the morning we will curl together drunkenly in a cheap hotel with the shutters open, to the strains of a distant accordion. Tomorrow we will write wild poems about throwing policemen into the Seine. Then we'll hit the road south to Marseilles, where we will become romantic dockland gangsters into leather jackets and Braquo.
Qui vient? 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Samboo's Grave at Sunderland Point (revizh 2019)

Samboo's Grave at Sunderland Point

Let us not arrive on our deathbeds knowing
that we should have done more, that we
should have listened more closely
to our heartsMadeleine Shine
On our deathbeds we will cry to have it back,
this wasted timeAlice Aforethought

creeps of sunlight over the salt-marsh
there in the wind from over without
Barrow and Overton, from here to there
up the Irish Sea the overfalls sing
then all out southward freaks of wind

curving in eastward on the intent, the raptor
look of it (in 3Dlook againSamboo
(bells everywherewhat bells?
nothing left below only a tiny skeleta)
your mother dead on the beaches, the bone-beaches

of the endless western Afrique; far-off the sluff and slough
the gold and the kohl the markets of Cathay and Shendy
for this for this, you here, you herewhy here?
all of it, ten thousand years in the marram the cow-heads narrow ring
and no homecomingjust this loneliness
just this violation of the co-opting into everyone's dream
everyone who came here to stamp (and steam)

like cattle about your little garden of squashes
pumpkin-head boy from the meridian lands
sleeping soft and lonely beneath below and black
of beyondand how was it done, Samboo, was it just a wheelbarrow
some seaman's cartno gymkhana plumage, no funeral cortège
only the function, the deposition, the sediment
the geology of the placement of a little black heart, deceased
there at the wind's wild edge where it mattered most and least
dislocked now from his beach-heart and heave-head 
trampled a thousand over, Samboo universal Samboo
weeps soft over the haunted bay
whirls thrice through the cockles
lingers a moment like a ghostly Susan
then thinks again, then is gone
here, spirit, here … we have caught your soul and you

are forever our little semantic boy
all in pieces and scatters underground
squashed and overarchinghow little and lost and longing, all of it
how tiny and lost and ferocious
down there Samboo, down there in the warm and endless cold
where your mother gulfs across all of time
some great universal choke
where is my mind?

across all of this, swooping bells, worlds of light

.(Published in Burning Gorgeous Anthology, 2010
Published in the Triggerfish Critical Review, 2009)