Reader, I Married Her

I’ve read men

all my canonical life,

the double-male gaze of me and books

unchecked, God-given.


Now suddenly, it seems

I’m reading women,

not from the outside,

and it has changed how I look.


Now that sex is mostly a dead option

and clubable fuckable authors evaporated

I have arrived here.

I have fallen asleep and woke up.


(He lied.)


On Risking Communication



Words hopscotching around

pollute the page.


The reddest of hearts

rend themselves into blackness.





I want to leave it at that

and chance you read the spaces.




Maybe one more word.




Milk for eyes.


Desiccated skin.

Dull bones knitting.


Sere mind

sits roomy airless.


Memories shrivel

to the barest of pasts.


The jumper’s neck hangs.

Feet retreat from shoes’ edges.


The chair you sleep in

sighs when you slow-rise.


But this is no distilled essence.

Something’s lost.

The sap gone.

The juiciness connecting now to then.


An emotion paints itself into a new picture.


You are less than you.

Unshone Eye


I took a stiletto,

rammed it, right in-

slick shiny steel jabbed

to the gut of understanding.


Dug it in, deep,

twisted it

to the bowels of recall.


Manufactured memories

spilled out,


messily red,


unhinging themselves

from my cataracted

version of me.


Splayed freely, slimy persona

awkwardly gasping

strangled by new facts.


Spider House

First, the egg-smoothe babies of May

which the cat stalks and swallows. Then,


shiny black specks on the high White ceilings.

They move like tiny clouds. Imperceptibly.


Spun on the trellis, a concatenation of successive webs.

Crawling through gaps in the skirting

they scoot across the floor.


A dot of a body with impossibly long legs,

or like today’s one, a body the size of a thumbprint

With rugby players knees.


They either freeze unmoved for days,

or scramble the minute you go looking for a tumbler.

They peak in September, half the size of your hand.


Last night, with the light off, I swear I heard them walking.

I sleep, knowing they’re everywhere.


Hauf a wa’

stood alangsides

the forraway back

two streets doon.


Bombed-oot hooses

still hud live wires

stickin oot, waitin

tae go aff.


Wahn wire hingin

fae the first flair,


oot o reach,

beckoned n sparked


an we’d take a runnin


but never goat a

grip o it’s winkin eye.


We made up fur it

by gettin an auld battery,

nthen wahn ae us licked it

while we a’ held hauns.


It’s like when you get

soup, out

the tin and give it four

minutes in the microwave

and it comes out all

boiled and bubbly, and

boiling, you know, impairs

the flavour but you have to give

it two or three

minutes anyway

or it’ll burn the roof

of your mouth off and as

you wait for it cooling you think

if I’d only set it at three

it would have been hot and perfect

and supped then and there

and now here I am waiting

three or four minutes 

wasted time later

rueing the past, anticipating

the product of my actions

knowing I’ll never make soup again.

Still Life with Violence

The sky smashes

blue down

on surface-thin sea.


Horizon evens

the up and under.


A trawler chugs blindly

lugging itself

out of sight.


A seabird bashes

through to a cold underworld


killing fish: thrashing



Still on the shore

slow waves

lap and lap.

Eagle dream

Liam and I are in our old flat, packing up, ready for the move. We put boxes out on the verandah. Our cat, Zappa, who doesn’t get out, sneaks through the open front door. I worry Susie will be annoyed by this. Tired of the packing up I lie on the sofa and pull a blanket over me, as I fall asleep I notice my shiny black leather shoes. Susie wakes me. She’s not angry and suggests I go out to look for Zappa. I go along the road and see Zappa disappearing slowly over a grassy hill which I can’t get to but I know if I detour round the woods I’ll meet up with him. As I circle round I notice the animals are slightly wilder round this way, and as I’m thinking I’ll never find him an eagle rises huge in the sky opening its wings and hovering there. My first instinct is this is a threat to our cat but I am in awe of the animal and realise this thing of beauty brings no danger. After watching it for a while I decide to head back to our flat. As I retrace my steps, Zappa comes happily over the grassy hill from where he’d gone and happily jumps into my arms. We both head home.Such a pleasant dream, from Susie’s reaction to the missing cat, to the happy reunification, but most of all for that magnificent eagle.