Tuesday, 24 May 2011


I want to tell you all about it,
To express my fury, fears and frustration,
But it's like having a dirty secret.
I am not free to express myself, you see.

I would express scorching ash over her green shoots.
Shoot acid at her bare flesh.
Gouge her eyes so I can see,
Throttle my oxygen from her gasps.

So I must be strong, and silent.
And she?
There is no reciprocation in this pact.

But self pity is vile.

I must drink cool pools
Breathe deep draughts
And tell you, who travels alongside me,
I am the same as you.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Poodles visited St Paul's

When the poodles went to St Pauls
They marvelled at Mr. Wren's halls
And on the way home
They posed with the dome
Dressed in their best wooly shawls.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A Point of View

I appear rude and thoughtless
And unappreciative of your care
Because you are far too touchy
And intolerably unfair.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Them and Us

You're different from me
Look, you have freckles, and your hair is longer than mine.
We're different from them
Look, they have external reproductive organs,
But at least we're not like them.
Look, they've got big noses and speak with accents,
However, we are all more important than them.
They don't speak at all.
Look, they have four feet and some even crawl on their bellies.
Even so, we all have brains which is better than them.
They just grow in one place and can't think.
Nevertheless, they are organic which is superior to those.
They're not alive, only mineral.
They were bound together in sea beds and in volcanoes.
Which makes them more complex than those.
They formed in the stars.
But they're not completely un-transmutable.
Look, their nuclei are made from quarks.

When they burnt my Gran at the crematorium, all that was left was ashes,
We keep them in an urn on the mantle piece.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Wild Lychees

From a Chinese childhood

A lychee tree overhung the garden
Its roots above the storm drain.
The hard shells of its fruit stained my thumbs.
The labour of peeling bark-like skins from eyeballs
Rewarded when blisters popped.
Fragrant juice tracked through the dust on my forearms
To drip from my elbows.
Each globe slipped in the mouth
Slid across teeth and tongue,
Till, unable to resist any longer,
Bite released cascade
Of sweet nectar.
Scented flesh
Stripped from glossy black stone
With busy little chews,
And I fell to unwrapping the next one.

Later, my mother, noticing the brown smudges on my thumbs
Accused me of eating lychees
As if it were a sin.
Hands behind me, cuffed,
I bowed and shook my head.
But I didn't really care what she thought.
Some pleasures are too wonderful
to be denied.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

St. Sebastian

A poem inspired by the sculpture of St Sebastian by Claire Curneen (pictured right).

Transcending pain?
The hands open and stupid,
Small features are blankly insolent - mid-shrug.
Where there's no sense there's no feeling.

The martyr,
A thick white lump.
The extremities crystalized.
Hands and feet achieved some potential
He could act or run.

But the rest,
The calves, legs, torso and flabby waist with tiny genitalia
Are but cellulite on a baby.
He is a goat's-cheese of a man.

What would make such a man special?
And Sebastian needed to be important.
So important something greater than can be deceived (to paraphrase the ontological)
noticed him.
Saw his capacity for turning mulish self-aggrandisement into a virtue.
Something admired Sebastian's gullible faith without base.
His conviction.

And taking pity on him
Paradoxically, given his lack of existence,
With ineffable wisdom
He set Roman legions against him
And at the moment
The wounds poured forth,
Wouldn't it have been good
If he'd turned Sebastain's blood to gold?