Oedipal me

I smiled thinly

grinning him down

from the peak of his wife’s affection.
for so I was,

I climbed a vacant chair, a throne,

merrily thumping straight-legged.

The joy, mine alone.
The abdicant,
pub-rushed and boozy,

on coming home sat in a seat

heated by someone else’s arse.

We all bounced our secrets around the room in silence.

Until I can Paint with Words

Razored through the rub,each considered mark

an artist’s insinuation,

stretched sinuous, black, 
sure as coal.
Asserting primacy of 

image over word,

and in stark revenge,

I approach a 
Rothko in a room.

the brush of a pen,

held indexed 

and thumbed into 
applying that 

red to print,

I stroke 

a sentence as horizon
to barely visible hate;

a swept wash 

of pale skin, nibbed 

to puncture and relate, 
delivered to paper

a paragraph,

than any artist could wring from their mix.

In a Break with Tradition

Her majesty’s wreath

gets carefully placed

at the Cenotaph’s foot.


Followed by those of her family,

who, dressed in full regalia,

are representing the armed services.


Then one from Her Government,

followed by more from political parties

and a regiment of commonwealth nations.


The Last Post sounds.


The march past comes.


But then, in a break with tradition

she is assisted by her ladies-in-waiting,

and dons her cloak of Invisibility

and with her newly acquired powers

she goes up to war widows and orphans,

and with gloved hands does the hitherto unthinkable-

awkwardly hugging folk.

Two Nightmares

Last week the Nazis were busy, stripping flesh and muscle from bone,

flamethrowers burned travellers in crammed train compartments.

I watched the skins go in the heat, then the veins bubble and flare,

muscle and sinew blacken then vaporise like film on fire.
This week, they were back. They crammed in through the front door

shuffling shoulder to shoulder filling my grubby house.

A woman who presents home improvement shows on telly

supervised. Furniture got smashed and thrown out of windows.
Garbled German shouts as the rooms are trashed. The Nazis squeeze 

back out through the door, their collective boots echo down the stairs. 

The woman is appalled she has let this happen, but as I look around 

the house it is white and gleaming and through my terror think
“This is actually fine.”

In My Most Scurrilous Dreams

In my most scurrilous dreams

I go to the shops, make tea,

maybe read, or walk around the house I live in

during the regular day.
I waste the chance to fly,

transgress boundaries,

to rub the lamps of sleep.


On waking, I smile at this,

knowing these ordinances of self-denial

are commenting on the surrealism

of my everyday existence.