Friday, December 16, 2016

"Powerful feelings: the emotions recollected in tranquility"

-- Wordsworth or some other Romantic fool.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

flahrs (for you who like flahrs)

not one more moment, not ever
but may you be full and honest
in all your fillings and love
may you in all things whatever
for one cannot countenance now

(so foul a day anyway but love
such stray as though we would
to the riverbank or something
 as we walked, look the shake of

tiny little petals
we look upon them
we marvel, oh
look now, one of us at least
look, for all of our shakes
in even effect


Saturday, October 08, 2016

DELPHINE by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated in 'askance' by Steve Parker.

Those reality that their peers 
to grow everywhere and to live 
gave, felt on related characters 
Same in the resolved rich, 
the god, with dripping Tritons, 
overflowed at times exceeds, 
for since the animal had shown: 
unlike the mute, stumpfgemute 
breeding of fish, blood of their blood 
the human inclined and from afar. 

A crowd came, the cracked, 
glad when she felt the tides shiny: 
Warm, Zugetane whose train 
as confidently ride crowning, 
easily attached to the round bow 
as to a vase hull and rounding, 
happy, carefree, safe from injury, 
erect, entranced, purling 
trucking and diving with the waves 
, the trireme further contributed cheerful. 

and the skipper took the newly agreed 
friend in his solitary threat 
and devised for him, for the companion, 
grateful one world and believed to be true, 
that he loved tones, gods, gardens 
and the deep, silent star year.


Friday, October 07, 2016

darkening snow-clouds
over this waiting lake and land
black birds whimpering



Saturday, September 24, 2016

shine (2009)

                                                  after a few weeks of this new start
though she could see he was trying

she could also see that it wasn't working

she loved him and everything

but she couldn't keep living through this
like this for ever
& so one night when he was fucked up

she slipped the gun
into his open mouth
blew his head all over the wall
behind the bed
where they had made their babies
she sat there afterwards for a while

cried a little
made some cocoa
read a Stephen King novel
until she fell asleep next to him

in the night she cuddled him

in his dark uncomplicated wetness


Epitaxy (2010)

"All of you know nothing; I alone know something" - Wilhelm II 

let this be an end to it

flowers unarrayed funerary sprays of moment 
..........................(whiter than Gogs) from the Northwith 
..............a surrounded look (just don't, don't) 
...........................or looks ..............on which 
..................they take wing each other his face 

shines flicker with digital craquelure 

"all this is drift only of interest
to the novelty hunters it obscures the true processes beneath

once in Macau in Spring 
a man sat in an alley with shears and 
live tortoises "zunguzung .......................the archbishop warns 
ungu..................................that Sharia law is soon 
zunguzeng". be implemented wholesale 
- Yellowman.......................across Europe 

they have lock-ins nightly till two
it is here that the real business
of the speed-dating enters its
tertiary phase 
........................................[behind shutters outside 
........................................policemen with moustaches truncheons 
........................................lanterns whistles smell trouble 
........................................up iron drainpipes of the now true process] 

you'll have to stop all this masturbating he said why doctor will it 
make me go blind no it's upsetting the people in the waiting room
B. Manning where flyspray flowers shook safe as houses 
at the passage of steamtrains—there there

is this drift into breakout.there.uncertain (even 
as) informations have not come to.our inattention. 
leave quietly the back door.there. 

they have till two by the back door uncertain .........he beat Old Ama Kow the first with a hammer fracturing 
...........................the rim of its shell began to open it 
with the shears its head concealed alive 
...............................(((legs moving in clear distress there there
as he cut in was impossible (not to look) in Old Rainwater-Macau they sang 
O lost songs of turtle goddess love not to watch 
.............................down running culverts 

to the harbour dreams (now virtually 
certain) quietly by the back door 

the busy temple terrapins in plastic bowls 
of banknotes assure the safety of seafarers 

..........................(that Stonings 'n' Beheadings 
..........................of adulterers and homosexuals 
..........................routine in London by 2010 a arcbishop infronted accusatives of High Trees and Heresay 
..........................qualify earlier abatements 
..........................—I didn't mean it as it sounded and one would really call the Queen a MILF 
......................................he says like aloud) 

new terrible vernaculars array themselves 
....................................on all sides on the beaches 

(want to die peacefully quiet in my sleep 
like my father not terrified screaming 
like his passengers - B. Monkhouse) 

.......................and landing grounds 
bedecked in bright bunting 

there's just no arguing with you now, is there 
let it 
be an end to that

(this poem was published in the Burning Gorgeous anthology 2010, and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2010 haha!) 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Iambics for the Dead

two end walls (mist)
of the ancient house
in the hill above the sea
the grass is (like fairies) rough
but yields above the knee
and there we swell
two chimneys snuffed
askance, we, side on side,
to sea birds' beck and call
(your wall there, my wall
looking hovered like the sea
hanged above the fall
of moon and sun
and rush and tide and spree
Saint Mary's Well
below the springing steep
the crickets every step
so the grassy (sun-filled) leap
and rear and wash
the maddened hare
upon the rock above the sea
all we know divided
as bells the boat
beneath the stoop, the fall
and bright at last
from Bardsey's overfalls
breaks free
the clutch of two
walls sad as smokeholes
fireless, grassed over
whistling as all
midnight is long in you and me
hillfog, love, one and one makes three
fret and spark and twee upon
these walls where once
a tree or two (again) made three
where midnight once blew strong
in you and me

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


dreamt you were a friend again
on a sunny morning
sharing a single bed
this lasted for three seconds
after waking

one assumes everyone
in whatever circumstances
such respite


better to have loved
and won
don't fool yourself


Thursday, July 21, 2016

unlived, unread

whatever its story now
its pages become dreams
lost to all futures

time gone away
lights gone out

a book that slides from the hand
of a sleeping reader
an ending before an ending
hitting the floor

all reality conspires
to this question:
does the impact here
rouse the sleeper
or merely shuffle off
undressed, derelict
into the unrecoverable
of dreams?


Monday, June 27, 2016

Haworth Park and the rock festival

on the grass with the boys with ice cream
heavy rock it takes me a minute
or two to realise this is the same grass
almost exactly
my time machine swinging
the car park the things that followed
born to be wild
it's too much too hot
down to the swings
our impressions left there

in that grass that spot
almost exactly
down the steps up the road
ice creams finished
we are away down the ghost road to
the Pooh Sticks Bridge
down the mud where it has
been raining hard and undried

in get in
it's enough, we run and run
it's enough
closing the door behind them
shutting us in and out
all a flurry of handings and leavings
bye boys
see you soon
there's no shutting out the grass
the day
the time machine, the long future without


Friday, June 17, 2016

Let us not arrive on our deathbeds knowing that we should have done more and listened more closely to our hearts—Madeleine Shine.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Time for this all over again...

"You are nothing to me until you are everything to me" -- American Hustle.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

tangles of hair
in a lost nail brush
the day starts badly


Sunday, May 29, 2016

a war on tar

brown or black zones, unstable of matrix or distillation
into the breath of bystanders, over many generations
Lysander at the Hellespont landing
at midnight
triangulated who knows they come running
in light all of it now in pieces on the floor to skate
like matches made in porcelain by mongrel disdain
went to see Sylvia's grave not stylish or cultic, but a kind

planting even of borage perhaps in symbology eek bees
which beo she approbeth in bear and wulf-honey
but anyway of a peace near the gothic reviv and the setts

unbrocked in gelato and quattrocento figures of rhet and stet
maraccas and whistles there were and a clapsed columnar
and in the writing a bullfinch at the glass looking, scratched


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Anyone need this explaining?

"Socialism for the rich, free enterprise for the rest ..."—Milton Friedman.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Nocturne (2010/16)

imagine a journey on a ship
and the ship is on fire
okay forget that you are floating

on clouds and you are a Hindu god

in the bushes off to the left something
is waiting for you and you are about to die

what does 'datejust' mean?

a man on a ship humiliates himself
he leaps on the table while drunk
urinates in someone's soup
this an old time steamer between
Liverpool and New York (and your Mother)
gets on stage and this is not
a Graham Greene novel

Miles Davis is on this ship
when the man starts urinating
in his soup he reaches up with fingers
almost each a foot long takes him by the throat
pulls him down says listen

the man by now is too drunk does not listen
goes on to attack the captain is looking
for ice ought not to be assailed so

shows his buttocks to the ladies in cabin 339
laughing as he does it oh life on a ship oh

of all he sidles alongside the chaplain
has by now spotted the ice has no time to waste
hey you wanna do it he asks
not now not now says the chaplain
for ice, ice

morning the man remembers little 
but signals come 
by noon he knows enough
within him starts to die
good intentions fail he cannot
venture on deck apologise
to the other passengers

not that Miles wants an apology
Miles thinks he is a fuck and isn't interested today
in a fuck
while he rows through the bodies

the Purser's daughter's body was not violated
but the intentions had been clear enough
at 2 am when he approached her bed
with suggestions of Jazz 

man doesn't know how to return from this 
retires to his bunk
where he lies urinating in his own soup
buzzing like a kazoo

something has died in him from this events
would rather now he went down

whose lights are even now 

I have fucked up again 
so profoundly 
that though the ship sinks
I will lie here and mime
for you just can't keep doing
this pissing in soup
not if you want
to stay in the group

Miles sculls soft
imagine him there blow
in the cold
nothing left
Carpathia hours later
where's the president?
a great sea monster beneath
a monkey at the prow laugh its arse

oh the birth of Jazz on the frozen sea

little pixies in Elmo blue 
drowning on all sides coughing as they go
you ever see someone drown they cough then go quiet

but I love you you know I do

keep your hands off 

something went wrong
all over frozen wrong
don't pick me up
play on monkeyface, drown


if like this, like this (2008)

hands in your hair
your hair your hair of olive wind
if language flowing outward

if filaments of memory if
everything here warm slow
wild and slow-wild if how you come to life

in my hands your hair flowing out
if all morning flowing out descending bright birds
our inside us calling long ago this moment keening

your contours your hachures your ascent
your planes your whirling Sufi gasp
if like this, like this

heartbeat and breath and hollow ground
and midnight morning and all day and dusk arcing between
blue spirit flames, radio crackling

and if along our hillsides
like this, like this, we start to collapse

fading red shadow of this our body

spray of night reeling out

[duende, red-black, in murmurs]


Friday, May 20, 2016

gibbous is our phase
though even our pale shades
still feel full to me

poem: get it wrong
means stuck forever
in iteration.stop


Thursday, May 19, 2016

the ontological argument

... that, than which
nothing greater can be 


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

those bridges
under water
still burning

midnight door
at last
someone to talk to


where all is secret where all is forgotten

some vacated scene
on the distant hillside
a patch of grass
ringed in gorse
caught in slanted sunlight as

though forever
an island
inside the atoll
in the green breakers
some wreck heaves, caught
as by lanterns
(in sunlight

only dull hares now stir
the brightness)
in this place, at this distance:
stunned, clustered in sunlight
slanted for a moment, muted
looking out
all else gone

warm silence
uncertain loss


Monday, May 09, 2016

on our deathbeds
we will cry to have it back
this wasted time

America: it's like watching
a brain-damaged child
slapping its own face
again and again


Sunday, May 08, 2016

I need to state this again...

across all of this
swooping bells
worlds of light


Friday, May 06, 2016

"like the deserts miss the rain"

all the things I never said
or did
all those words, all those places
all those futures
just dropped into a vast hole
and are still falling
my bundle of rags
a still-living thing
within, falling

Google Earth shows this scene from above
a great black well, stone-rimmed, at the equator
at the very mid-point of the Earth
a cry uplifting like a ghost
reaching out
a long shadow walking from it
never now to return

the screen is shaky, uncertain
then resolved

these are things of which
it can now never speak or think again


Tuesday, May 03, 2016

I should have been a pair of ragged claws...

'... a pair of ragged claws' is not synecdoche. Eliot means exactly what his metaphor says, and he doesn't need endless unimaginative critics second-guessing him and thinking, rather ludicrously, that really he means a crab. He says 'claws' because he means claws. He means disembodied claws, grasping, only able to grasp, unable to engage further, freed from the responsibility of engagement, lost in a silent world, picking over morsels, ideas, abstractions, detached from the world of people coming and going and judging, just pure apprehension freed from anxiety, freed from the slow death and banality of rooms and functions and society and coffee spoons. And yet infinitely sad in his loss of it.

And yet not sad, because claws by themselves cannot be sad. The sadness is Eliot's projection onto that abstract world, and expresses the impossible dichotomy of at once being wholly disembodied and free, yet still—from without—knowing the loss inherent in such a state.

A partial allusion in 'ragged claws' is to the compasses or dividers in Blake's watercolour of Isaac Newton. They are also claws, and they represent again this detachment from the outer world. Newton's focus is entirely upon his realm of signifiers, perceiving through his 'claws,' oblivious to the silent, inhuman submarine-scape that now surrounds him and isolates him, in consequence of such determined abstraction.

Eliot at once embraces such a possibility, yet still shrinks from it, as does Blake, whose painting foregrounds the unnatural state required for Newton's fixation. Both of them regard it as something near to oblivion. Blackness with only one tiny chink of light permitted to enter, like the room in which Newton performed his experiments with prisms and refraction. One tiny bead of light, but such brilliant light to force the moment to its crisis, to admit the drama and urgency of a new level of human understanding... But oh, what darkness surrounding it... What sort of life is that?

There may be no such brilliance in the rooms, the tea, the ices, and the deathly, ticking coffee spoons, but they are the stuff of human life and—perhaps unlike the inhuman Newton—Eliot knows he cannot, ultimately, abandon them for the 'floors of silent seas.' His moment has passed; he was too fearful, and the eternal footman knows it. And consequently snickers.

(Hermeneutics: actually, there are three possible places in this complex: the claws, the crisis, and the rooms. He wants to force the crisis, but is intimidated by the rooms. He thinks resignedly, wistfully, of the claws, relinquishes the crisis, accepts the rooms. The claws will remain as latent potency and denial in his secondary levels of expression in the rooms, never to be realised, but a source of intellectual/emotional wishful thinking/refuge.)


Monday, May 02, 2016

Normal service resumed...

over all of this:
swooping bells
worlds of light


W (a blessing)

 Ƿenne bruceþ, ðe can ƿeana lyt
sares and sorge and him sylfa hæf
blæd and blysse and eac byrga geniht.



move quickly
lest Time feel a heartbeat
and stamp again

"To fight to save these fragments, when our own civilisation is in ruins around us, is to make a statement of faith in the achievements of Humankind, however small"
—Michael Wood, on the preservation of the finds from Hissarlik (Troy) at the Charlottenburg Museum during the allied bombing raids of WW2.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Simon Perchik...

Currently reviewing 'The D Poems,' a book of 183 (!) sort-of-ekphrastic poems by Simon Perchik, for the Triggerfish Critical Review. Hoping to interview him too if he's available. Watch this (or rather that) space... Will post links here.


Samboo's grave at Sunderland Point (revisited)

I knew I was right to leave
my washing out all this time
in the rain and snow
like a miracle
the sun just came out
now a gentle breeze doth blow

you can reasonably meet two assholes a day
one in the morning and one in the afternoon
but if you meet them all day long
you need to check yourself out—Anon


Friday, April 29, 2016

"... and of those tenne, one doth signifie nothing, which is made like an O, and is privately called a Cypher.” (Robert Recorde, The Grounde of Arte, 1543)
"now thou art an O / without a figure. I am better than thou art now. I / am a Fool, thou art nothing" (Shakespeare, King Lear, 1605/6)
"Nothing can come of nothing" (Socrates)
"Nothing will come of nothing" (Shakespeare, King Lear)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

"Fighting childhood abuse, and the resulting brain damage, one fucking idiot at a time"—Diana Cryder, 2016.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

once you've seen it you
can't unsee it
your apeface


Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Doherty Threshold

Damned American rhotacism: I just misheard "hit the Doherty Threshold" as "hit the Dorrity threshold," and assumed someone had tripped on a Dickensian doorstep into some tragic and sooty apotheosis.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Must-watch TV ...

This is about the most disturbing and addictive thing I've watched for some time:

I wanted to be a spy before I saw this, but now I think it's probably incompatible with credible parenthood.

More seriously, it reminded me of how we are all running cover stories and living double lives all the time, mostly beyond our recognition. Other things than ourselves drive us, and we don't usually operate with our own voices, whatever they are, assuming they exist... Perhaps there is a way to discover them, but generally we are already given over to some monstrous, overriding agenda before we even become aware of ourselves and start gasping about it. It's not really me speaking, and it's not really you responding; the entities engaged in what Bakhtin calls a 'dialogue' here are others, positioned further back, instilled through pain and urgency. They are survival functions and responses to the imposed scripts of others, often to others whose scripts we would least wish to internalise.

Watch this weird series with some self-reflection to feel the deep dislocation of yourself, and perhaps to recognise that really, however clichéd, the best shot we may ever have at decoding our own hermeneutics might just be to accept some versions of our ancient, most primitive narratives of love. Already that concept backs itself up into philosophical emetics, of course, but keep following the wheel, and just perhaps us humans really don't have much else with which to calibrate our compasses. Or we just keep recycling the same self-deceptions forever. It feels like the drive to address Global Warming: even if the entire theory was wrong, it would still be the right thing to do...

the night's travel (2009)

in and now out the same door
like all knives whirling
our utter politics in collisions
of limestone pavements

across all this she travailed
with sepia sandbags
of County Clare

all sailroads to traverse
and only 8 O-clock
by the whale's chime

this big hand by the night's wild travel
points to 12
the little hand
flickers and stops

iris of heart attack hope
—love of small things
and wild places

be certain now be sure

it's that time
in between
where the hands don't count

it's okay to be scared here
to lie down and breathe
to lie a little
before waking

(Published in PoetrySZ 2009)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

sex squalls

the TV people always have sex rapidly
without foreplay, sweeping the papers
off desks, breaking things, tearing
clothing, thrusting against walls. grunt
they say and uh uh, then gone. i guess
they want it over quick, the TV people
with everyone watching. i would too.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Alice Aforethought

a little tremor shook the house
and all she had ever written
meant something slightly new

but before she could even wonder
if the words might all change back
her eyes were adjusting too ...


Saturday, April 16, 2016

fairies of light
along the beck
green morning



18 straight hours
of binge TV
as primal screen-out


Sunday, April 10, 2016

she left her tail
in the outskirts

we all listened
the river stopped


Saturday, April 09, 2016

the motor of this
moment is a vote started
in the heart

leaping out in front
of a car like Canute
no, he says, no


Thursday, April 07, 2016

"Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry"—Auden on Yeats
man with failed parachute
has this decision
looking down
5 seconds to impact
should I hate this
or enjoy the rush?


falling in the air
a drop
stopped and thought

not over
not quite


Wednesday, April 06, 2016

just a-walking in the rain

sorry about the timing
;this isn't my fucking clock—Madeleine Shine

this Papua New Guinean thing of wearing
the thighbone of one's grandfather
I embrace the concept even for more recent ancestors
though one might usefully hasten the moment
of availability

Monday, March 21, 2016

battue at easter riff

On this matter, the oracle of which your contributor
is the prophet has never yet been prevailed on to declare itself
JS Mill

Also, ð and Ð (eth)

[can a plane on a conveyor belt take off?]


   _/::o・ァ   .....................   _,,,


the ochre mask of the heath fire a colonial subtext
shamanism in the word deceit a managed landscape
enough in this to occupy
(can a plane on the ground
lower its landing gear?)

(Left: House Sparrow hatchling (altricial-naked, blind and helpless on hatching).
Right: Ruffed Grouse hatchling (precocial 3-downy, open-eyed, mobile on hatching, 
follows parents and is shown food)).

each thing in its place presenting/obscuring the other thing
we are walking/passing along a corridor
leading to everywhere stop anywhere
"alight here for the rest of the world"—KWVR
the old man in the palace trying to find
the old man in the palace trying
each door in turn

this could take
and like birds in the battue
you come sweeping low
across the moor

(him there astonished six years-old
with his feet in the mud. .all around him are
red grouse erupting like springs)

poisoned vultures rising in gyres until falling back

into the story running towards you the funicular
rail of it stop look the funicular door of the running
in the mud the broken

spring whirring silent as disturbed birds

((falling lead))