Poetry

Photograph Negative – 1st March 2021

I found a picture of her.

Smiling.

Oh to dance with her again!

With all those teeth,

flashing and full mouthed,

hot whispers under vibrating blankets of noise and life.

The stars, although that shade of cold,

which scared her sometimes,

would guide her into mischief,

clashing her eyes in sapphires and silvers

beside him,

whose heart she keeps tied around her neck,

trailing it over her broad shoulders

in the certainty he would stay there,

forever keeping her warm.

There were no sepia shone snaps of her leaving

toilet cubicles,

eyes misty with threads of rosey haze,

the back of her hand damp,

from mopping away insecurities and cellulite.

Alas I smother her with fondness,

Regaling speels of happiness,

dipping any moments of heartache into a glooped fondue

of nostalgic syrup,

which drips and sets,

brittle and sharp around her heart.

I forget the tremor in her legs

and the relief to shake off the heights and pad barefoot

through streets, markets and underground stations,

Journeying into the dawn,

which was cut by an applause of cackling bird song

rattling her chest with stinging panic.

She’d find her bed at last,

encase and cocoon herself from expectance,

preserved – picture perfect.

The sole of her feet, cracked and bloodied,

scalded and branded

with sooty smears of darkness.

Published in Visual Verse October 2020
Published with Visual Verse Jan 2021

For Sale – Second Hand Fishing Boat

Swollen and bloated with salty brine

the tatty fishing boat lay at my feet,

pleading for a hand up from the earth’s gutter.

I threw an arched brow at my father

who caught it with arms and smile broad,

batting away the trailing pink plumes of the luxury liners,

which left without us.

Through dragging heat and cutting cold we worked.

Pasting our faith and dreams into the veiny grain,

my mother weaving sails from car seat covers my father retrieved

from the 80s,

padding the cabin with off cuts.

The coughing Cortina engine, stuttered to life under my father’s hand,

bandaged together with reems of duct tape and an elastic band.

“Turn up the radio,” said Dad, muting the hiss and whine.

We broke the air,

spluttering upwards,

chugging and bobbing through rippling cloud,

overcoming battering breeze and tossing turbulence.

We held tight.

And then

mere fingertips and a breath away from the ivory clad ship,

I felt for the rope ladder to climb aboard.

“Go on,” my father’s hand was on my back.

The passengers peered down,

eyes glassy and black.

I turned and said,

“Let’s go home and have a cuppa tea shall we?”

Published in Visual Verse November 2020

Rag Helmet

It arrives early each morning 

freshly pressed on your doorstep,

which needs repainting.

  • Unfold it
  • Hook your hair behind your ears 
  • Slide it past your eyes 
  • Slot your smile below stretched tight from left to right. 

Teeth straight and uniform 

You are happy.

That’s what it says.

Your newspaper helmet becomes light,

as you divulge the words – ingesting them

on your journey to work/ the school run/ etc.

They slide down your gullet,

graffitiing themselves on the walls of your stomach,

stamping the tracks of your intestine.

Absorbed.

Coursing bold and loud through the rivers of your being.

Inky deposits crowding the fibres of your mind,

slipping between skull and brain matter.

No longer do you see the shadows of sunlight,

which lick the fields in hues of gold and green.

Muted are the bumble bees that dance between the gemmed heads of buttercup and wild daisy.

Ignored are those whose newspaper crowns sag and crumple,

the ink trickling and pooling into forced facial dimples,

dribbling into the starved divots of exposed clavicles.

You don’t see them sink to their knees

scrabbling for sight and direction 

cradling their newspaper shields for comfort.

You won’t mourn them

laid out in their caskets of headlines

lowered into the graves 

the editorial team dug.

Published December 2020

Published Feb 2021 Visual Verse