The Nascent Romance of Dulux Paint Charts

Waltzing with a trolley

down the aisles of Homebase, I find

your eyes, your eyes- page 49,

Jade Cluster and Mossy Moor.

Your lipsticked lips are reproduced

as Sumptuous Plum or Summer Coulis.

Your skin, apparently Sorbet splashed

with Toasted Terracotta freckles.

I struggle to find your hair, though,

there being no classification of blacks

to compare with the infinite range of whites

there seems to be. Jesus, Cornflower

Blueberry, Violet, Jade, Nutmeg,

Apple, Almond, Barley,

because white is obviously a shade of nature.

These guys get paid for this.

Selling the nature of paint.

If only they could see

your firelit body flicker,

give colour to the burn inside,

the freeing of sweatbeads popping,

the Coral Flair would read

Bloodlust Flush or Pinked Desire.

What are the colours

for Wanton Abandon?


Beat(en) Poet


hear it fall

like a body in a sack






The ang and the buzz of the x

like a cattle prod zinging.

Have you ever played Operation?

That zzzz of failure.



The only beat possible.

The hangman’s gift.

This beat is forever.

The Old Flame

When we burn,

Yesterday’s fire returns:

Of necessity, mirrored

heatlessly in our diarised words.

Fucks do not leap off pages.

A hand’s limpid

touch barely lands on the screen

Yet out here, a pulse

frantically pumps, skips

and waits

for a phrase to dance with,

because the heart knows

that new sentences

excite themselves into your past and sometimes land there.

The Soft Touch

A butterfly’s slow wings blur and burr soft air on my skin.

Grazing the invisible feed of desire, never quite landing.

You hover in the updraft of bodyheat.

The parallel lines of my want and your touch Recede into poetry.

Your voice kisses the page.


It’s been a lazy day.

I’ve been making a meaning.


Not actively, not hewing or constructing one.

But in the reverie of moments, sifting,

seeking discoveries in the relative simplicities

of commonplace words and things.


I float in and through liminal space.

A deep sea diver familiarising himself

with watery discoveries.

I float.

I circle and return, and peer again.


I watch how sentences sit on the seabed

of the everyday. Then how they shimmer

and shift in the liquid glow of attempts at understanding.

I sense how things are and despair of communicating this.

The lazy days, the days of apparent time are hard work.


It’s a struggle finding a new language.

What is a poet without words?


Our Sea

A sea. 

There is always a sea to look at

With your back to it, facing away.


It’s there-


Rhythmic, rumbling,

In the dark, behind you


Asking you

“Turn to me. Consider me.


Be fearful and fearless.”


Understanding is not a surrender.

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.)


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.