Tuesday, 25 December 2012


the room is edward hopper,
dusty sun beams shedding light
across the unmade bed.
i pin myself against the
shadow crucifix
created by the window frame
but there is no stigmata,
only the gentle cushion of the pillows
and the tousled, slept-in sheets.
across the road,
the bright white church stands
tuesday quiet
as i lie in patient, painted nostalgia.
armageddon, i am waiting. 

atrophy (for JW)

you lie in green silence,
a paused VHS -
still but still flickering.
your skin
like snow
falling down
and cold
to melt back into the world.
i hope that you are dreaming, not just dying.

infinity condensed

through this lens the night is blurred
and there are pixels where the stars should be -
infinity condensed and smudged
by technology's myopic eye.
there, beyond the ill-defined darkness,
lie planets and galaxies
uncaptured and uncharted,
solar systems snapped with imprecise wonder
to be uploaded as instant nostalgia.
but i recall the real reality of old
lying with my arms out in a daze -
"staring at the stars through an ocean haze" - 
and joining the dots of all the gods
that hid behind them then
and hide behind them now.
are you, too, still there that new year's eve
when we were in your parents' garden
with empty beers
and a bottle of wine
and much older hearts
than our teenage minds?
the wonders of the skies,
stretched out tight around us,
seemed well within our grasp.
little did we know,
when held inside our palms,
we'd render them redundant.


above its piers, three tiers of traffic
tear through brooklyn heights
where elevated eyes stretch towards
manhattan's wounded skyline.
it stares back defiant.
beneath the sunstruck promenade
the rush of trucks and cars
- a driven drone of restless lives,
all engine noise and toxic fumes -
is an exhausting sea of calm,
an infinite endless murmur.
across the water,
vertical ghosts shimmer blue and white.
impossible, then, to now not think
of tumbling towers
crumbling to dust,
rising and reaching
and clouding this picturesque platform
with dark grey smoke and distant sirens
and the putrid stench of burning flesh
and apocalypse death.
so take my hand, my love, and let us sit
and wait and wait and wait
and watch the world burn down.

bloody mary mornings

the page won't turn itself
but you can't turn it either,
holed up in a hotel
in the city where you lived once.
you drank yourself to death last night
and tried to talk to god
but you don't know what was said.
there's just the trace of a half-remembered smile
from a half-forgotten life.
but those bloody mary mornings
when you slow-danced with the world
on sunday-quiet streets -
you'll never get those back.
and 3 o'clock is morning
and 3 o'clock is night
and 3 o'clock is always on your mind
but 3 o'clock will never be again.
beyond the window,
the city is silent.
you lie awake
and listen to the years pass by.

Friday, 3 August 2012

midnight in manhattan

the rush, the roar
the space, the time
the jolt, the fire...
half stolen lines.

the heat, the sweat
the buzz, the lights
the storms, the rain...
manhattan nights.

the draw, the pull
the lift, the weight
the steel, the awe...
night fire escapes

the drunks, the drugs
the poor, the dead
the dreams, the dust...
all that's left.

"...like a river that don't know where it's flowing"

it was drunk and i was dark
brainwashed and rainwashed
and stuck in the past
on a cracked east london street
beside myself and seeing double
stumbling on sodden feet
as a storm came crashing down
as a nightbus rushed right by
as a couple kissed against the wall
beneath the bridge ahead
a headache coming on
but each swig sweet relief
as tattered shoes smacked battered ground
swerving but unswerved
nervous but unnerved
just following the footsteps
of springsteen's hungry heart
and its fatalistic future
step by step by step
by step by...

Thursday, 26 July 2012


so weird to see you now,
how - now - you balance your mouth
like a waitress with a tray of drinks
about to fall and spill them all
and maybe break a glass or two and
cut a jagged line across her skin.

but you, you keep your blood in
and your heart and teeth polite,
not quite the person i remember in those photos.
rather, an imposter in a stoic, brittle shell -
cracked slightly on the inside -
of the you i knew so well.

Monday, 14 May 2012

foreign policy

my bus doesn't stop at yours anymore,
much less 82nd street,
which, even an ocean away, feels so much closer than it should.
and maybe that explains my foreign policy
because after all this attrition it's time to withdraw.
i know i know more than those cunts in charge -
with their false promises, fake problems and insidious smiles -
yet still they have the guts to say they care.

impatient at the red light i scratch your name
into my arm as police police the car crash up ahead
and i trace this fake tattoo with fingertips
stained from last weekend's cigarettes -
the come up from the come down
shuddered by the judder of the bus
as it rolls past the past.
it's may and i'm cold and i want to go home.

Monday, 16 April 2012

those of those

all and far too often
i see the faces of all of those i love
in those of those i don't.
and i can't run away
or hide behind what's left behind
those bitter eyes that memorised
the memories that stretch beyond
whatever we've become
way back into our past.
the last time that i see you
is something i don't need to think about
or fathom just quite yet.
"would that you could touch this angel
in a clutch of snakes" sings blake
to make me smile so sadly once again.
and i guess it's time to leave
because that clutch just doesn't seem
to matter much
or count for more than
wishful thinking anymore.
so close the fridge at 3am,
a tin of curried herring in your hand
and wait for dreams to fuck you up once more.