Secret Paper Cuts Through the Night


Listless list-maker

do not stray too far,

do not disturb her

picking brains, engaging in minor masochism

a mirror the final frontier in plagiarism

she’ll copy it out,

watch her head tilt

rush in to disturb her

set her out into the wild…

Listless list-maker

born of tomorrow’s anxiety

she’s a free spirit

as long as it’s planned accordingly…

pulling teeth, engaging in willful silencing

the mind’s eye soundtrack on loop indefinitely,

every flaw mapped out

watch her travel through them

she sees beyond most things

as long as there’s someone else in the room to distract her…

Listless list-maker

incessantly engaged in inertia

she counts her eyelashes

before pulling them all out

laying them in a line

make them dance into the night

she surveys the state of things

worrying about taking her own advice

gnaws hypocrisy down to the bone

it costs the earth to pay her own price…

Listless list-maker,

stop scribbling, play nice.






Gin O’Clock Off

We drank ourselves dry of gin

And so turned to the end in order to begin.
Swallowed bitter mouthfuls of truth by night

They made the day seem unreasonably bright,

But that was apt for our apathetic fallacy

Which didn’t cater to sunbeams

Just an ever-stinging malignancy.


And as our fingers yellowed in the mid-week boozers

We patched together lost hours,

Our minds purged

By spirited hoovers.







Written Friday 13 May in The Knott pub, Manchester.

Loose Threads and Tight Knits


I want to wear my father’s jumper again,


And feel it comfort away the years.


I, instantly smaller,


Watching long sleeves trail down behind me.


They are streamers,


On the handlebars of a childhood scooter.


Before it was customised,


Sprayed silver and black to block out the pink.



A woollen haven here blocks out day.


Inside it is always dusk, after a hot spell,


A sudden chill creeping into ones bones,


Despite flushed cheeks


And hand clasped fervently around a mug.




I want to wear my father’s jumper again


Become wrapped up in a more innocent frame of mind,


Picking off the bobbly bits


And spreading them before me


As daisies in a playground’s patch of grass,


Making jewellery for all occasions.





The age or label of the garment is irrelevant,


And as for size


The more ill fitting the better.


Each sag of fabric creates more nostalgic caves to hide in.


Pulling it over my head at the end of the night,


I peek through loose-knit holes to a close-knit world


Of intermingled memories.



Once folded over the back of a wooden chair


It looks instantly distant and small.


Hollow arms can’t hug or move me.


And fabric left alone grows cold with inatimacy.


I want to wear my father’s jumper again


And be placed gently back into the bosom of a family.

Wrapped Up

Your grey coat,

A gift from yesteryear

Is now threadbare

It billows open in the harsh Scottish winds

All too exposing on your narrow frame.

A button is missing on the shoulder

Loose thread seems so upsetting…

How a once smart object,

Now seems shabby

Subtle changes in the familiar.

Though it looks worse for wear,

We both know it’s for the better.

What fills the pockets now I wonder?

How does it hang in new surroundings?

My throat tightens in remiss reminisce

Bound in the soft tartan you gave me

Still worn, still much loved.

On a cold Glasgow evening

We stand in each other’s clothes

Stuck in memories of old.

The Red Room

Here is where the lights are soft

They paint our faces in cranberry,

Every finger melts into liquid

And feels its way,

In a chemical daze.

A portrait paints itself in staring

Voyeurs from the inside

If David Hemmings blew this image up-

There’d be no mystery to solve.

In the red room we slowly absolve

Never developing we simply dissolve.

Eyes glazed over in film

Frame by frame each moment still

In the red room we slowly absolve

Never developing we simply dissolve.

Here is where there is no time

Bernard’s watch in motion

As the pendulum grinds to a halt

Nothing from outside gets in.

Our faces blushed intensely

Each pin-prick of flesh

Hazily recalled in vignette.

Seeped in each lingering tableau

No need to apply after effects.

Eyes glazed over in film

Click them shut

Slowly absolve

Simply dissolve.

Battling With the Absurd

Thought that statue
Was a knight by night
Just another soldier
Not quixotic
Not even quizzical.
He asks no questions
And was given no answers
Therefore wasn’t lied to.
How many battles begin on this premise?
That all that is not offered should be given
Even when those giving do not know what it is being asked of them.
Big sacrifices
Thrown into the mix
Rocks in a stale cake.
Watching our boys get battered
So you bring them flowers.
Blood shed
All too messy to participate
As one side of a family lines the streets in khaki
Passing judgment
Issuing control
Over the unruly sectarianism
Of another half of the family.
Not willing to participate.
Don’t bring them flowers
The garden is best left untouched.
For you’ve sullied the soils of so many nations
With the notion
That those were soldiers
Not just jesters
Charging at windmills.
All is absurd
In love and war.

At Hepstonall

Written on Sunday 25th October on a personal pilgrimage to see Sylvia Plath’s grave near Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire.

Attempt to strip back to grey

The fiery hues of the day

Trees that try to blow a kiss of life

Into a stone that bears her name.

Each view point rips a shred of muscle

Pains the eyes

To a dripping edge

So much brisker than the city

The silence freezes

In Autumn’s stare.

Passing a marker, which buried beneath

Contains so many words

Never misused.

As the damp air invades

The core temperature is flux

Falling colours mark their fade

And the landscape colours in its own demise

For after the harvest

All is barren

Amidst the graves

As all Hallow’s looms

At Hepstonall

Sky too choked to even cry.