What Lies Beneath

Whispers of whale oil
And promises of 28 minute self serve dry cleaning
Adorn brick walls
Proudly proclaiming the wares of history
And urging the audience to
‘Protect your investment’
With a lick of paint.

This paint’s long dry,
Buried behind designer developments
And the promise of a brighter future
The signs decay
Until one day
They are awoken from their slumber
As walls tumble
With an almighty crash…

Come September,
They find a different world
With cents, not pence
Where nothing makes sense

Grandpa is a Scarecrow

Grandpa is a scarecrow
He guards our peas and corn
And greets incoming visitors
From his place out on the lawn

While straw is sorely lacking
He has clavicles instead
And seasonal blooms to decorate
The sockets in his head

Grandpa’s out there all year round
His bones are bleached all white
He stands out in the garden
Giving errant birds a fright

Our neighbours won’t come near him
They think it’s rather odd
That we should use a skeleton
To guard our turf and sod

But Grandpa, he’d be happy
He always used to say
‘So long as one’s a gardener
He’ll live to see another day’

For Magritte

the day sounds lullaby blue
and fills the mouth
with horizon

through the
hush-hush of the lapping water
the wind is holding its breath

faraway silence
in the summer noon
everyone is sleeping
just a moment in time

a leaf comes to rest
on the windowsill
time a looped
de ja vue

and She
still as stone
Madrid Red stains her temple
Salty, tepid

alone in the blue


That night she slept naked and alone,
waking to a diluted sky
and swollen eyelids where mascara should have been.

Double duck-taped and boxed in the corner,
shelves full of memories
The lives between the pages fading sepia,
draining colour year by year
as time sped up.

The walls were bare
yet the ghosts of building blocks,
of family bickering and of laughter filled the space,
stifled the room and she had to open all the windows
just to make room to think.

If only all ghosts were so easily banished
But her worry dolls had gone missing in the shift
And with no one to talk to the words ate each other,
Ate themselves,
Then ate up her tongue

If Only

If only, if only, the South wind moans
I could penetrate coats, get right into bones
I’d take over bodies from deep inside
As the glint of the chill crept into their eyes
I’d banish their warmth and then, in lieu,
I’d tinge their flesh with a blueish hue
Though they may shiver and protest
It’d be too late once I’d made my nest
Once I’d found a hold for my icy tooth
I’d still their hearts and preserve their youth,
If only….

The Man in The Desert

The man in the desert lay on the dunes
It was hot
A hot day
So hot it made him shiver
Oh, for a breeze…

Then he dreamed.
For a while the man thought he was on cruise ship
That seemed like a nice place to be
Tuxedo Suit
A different lady for every dance
He smiled as he sipped his champagne,
Clark Gable of the Seven Seas,
Breathed in the salt on the air
Tasted the ocean

If only the light were water
He thought to himself as he awoke,
As the white plains shimmered in the heat
Then I would never have thirst again

When the sun spoke
The man listened
Sing me a poem
Said the sun
And so the man sang

He sang of valleys
And battles
And ancestors
And ghosts
And the rain

And when he was done
The sun cried

‘Did I make you sad?’
asked the man
but he got no reply

So the man shut his eyes
Shut his eyes
And listened to the thunder


Language is not transparent
As a rule
Viewed through the centre of an ‘O’
Reality is skewed
(Glasses are brainwashing tools).

‘The Wonderful O’ went out of print
Some years ago
Since then
The ‘O’ has been out for revenge
Waiting to strike it hides
Finding refuge in our platitudes
Oh dear
Oh no

Oh well

And The Rain

And the rain, it keeps on falling
And I listen to the beat
As I shelter in a doorway
Drawing circles with my feet

Drawing circles, like the madman
By the corner store who cries
That all life is just a circle
With imagined things inside

I imagine I can see you
Glasses pattered by the rain
As you stumble to the underground
And run to catch your train

And this train, it takes you blindly
To a place out by the sea
Where you’ll dive into the ocean
Make the city leave you be

All the city-papers sitting
Orphaned on your desk at home
As you float about the water
Drawing mermaids in the foam

And the sun, it drinks the ocean
Turning water into cloud
And though the wind does batter,
The sun will not cry aloud

It will not give the ocean back
The salt as stories come
Adrifting down the river
From the land of ever-glum

One by one it gathers them
In its basket in the sky
Until it just can’t hold them
And then it starts to cry…

Water rains onto the city
Refilling empty eyes
And it soaks through all umbrellas
And I see you in disguise

And an old man with a walker
Squeaks by, battling the stream
And the smile in his eyes tells me
It’s never too late to dream

Cape Evans

Light slanting through the window
Colours the room
Like a sepia photograph

Highlighting the jars of pills
And powdered eggs
From the days when the world
Was black and white

Now it’s black and white and blue
Blue like the china in a faraway parlour
Blue like eyes as they blink farewell
Blue, fading sepia with every click of the lens

Leaving history a stain
On a blank canvas


In a place where RED flags mean ‘go’
Symbolism has been turned up



Here the colourblind never run lights
Even day and night are confused
Like a three year old on a sugar high

They are not quite on speaking terms with one another
Avoiding each other at the changeover
Like awkward flatmates living parallel lives

Giving each other a wide berth,
The sunsets of February a note on the fridge
Reading ‘Need more loo paper. J.’

When RED means ‘go’
It’s best not to read too much into that statement