On Domesticity

Watched by the skeletons of clothes airers,
I mountaineer up the sofa to water the devil’s ivy.

Bee-hum of the dehumifier, all our hopes pinned
to a spoorless wall, weekly bleached bone.

The mop forlorn by the bathroom door,
a gaunt wizard of cleanliness.

My hands soften in the washing up water
like petals in a puddle after a rainstorm.

So peach soft. Allow me then my forest
of bookcases, and among them the tumeric armchair

glowing like the sun of its own
peculiar solar system. We are caught up

in its orbit like a queen captive in a hive.
But closer to the workers, yes, their daily toil

and blunder. What else to watch – the kaleidescope
of laundry through a tiny porthole.

Feel your hand back to mine. Not trembling.
The solid warmth of a wood stove in October,

bearing all the seasons through.

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First poem in a long time

On borrowing my mother’s swimsuit – Suffolk, 2021

O warbler, calling from the soft
and sodden marsh, tell me it’s not true
that even newly blubbered I cannot fit
neat as a cherry pit in this
blue and yellow flowered suit

Once thin as the reeds of the beds I was
but the lockdown put paid to that
and now I snap lycra on stretchily
over swelling boobs and even more secretly
that strip of cloth that once covered her vulva
covers mine now

the slit of my becoming
and the slit of my being
fused by this nest of cloth

What’s New, Pussycat?

So I thought I’d try and update this old site and make something shiny and sparkly new as I am trying to find a publisher for my next pamphlet. First order of business is the excellent news that I have four poems in the new Spring 2020 issues of Poetry Wales. Thanks a million to Jonathan Edwards for choosing them. You can pre-order your copy here: https://poetrywales.co.uk/product-category/current-issue/

What else is new? Well since, 2015 which is when I think my last post was, quite a lot!! I’ve moved to Edinburgh, done a Masters in Screenwriting and started a job at University of Edinburgh. It was sad to leave Dubai but it was the right time. I’ll never forget the great times I had in the sandpit.

In memory of Dubai, here is my poem We Live In Water, which was published in the now-defunct Hinterland magazine:

We Live In Water

 

Dubai is merpeople

in neon fringed bikinis

 

no tails required

slick-skinned revellers

 

flitting between pool and plage

to finish in chromy towers

 

where we swallow as much

as we swim in…

 

Don’t tell me you don’t want

our poolside passionfruit vodka

 

don’t tell me you don’t want

our beaches that turn to nightclubs

 

our limitless champagne brunch

I won’t believe you

 

I never believed you

that’s why I came

Love Goes to Buildings on Fire

I just found this poem in some old emails. Enjoy.

Love Goes to Buildings on Fire

It rescues the photographs
crumpled, fading
washed with sunlight
til they are sea-green invisible
smaller unframed
like the kids who inhabit them.

It rescues the notebooks
not those elegant with poems
but the ones chiefly shopping lists
maps drawn by hand
telephone numbers
long ago doctors’ appointments.

It rescues receipts
for milk, butter, oranges
somebody’s train ticket
scoops them out carefully
from the battered old pedal bin
uncreases them.

Souvenir teatowels
at the back of the drawer.
A forgotten scarf
on the hallway cupboard floor.
Pudgy clay ornaments
shaped by playschool hands.

The dear routine. The detritus
of normalcy. It resuscitates the goldfish.
It reconstitutes a lifetime.