Try a Little Tenderising

a childhood of soft kicks

boots with pillows on

silent treatment and tongue-lashings

a bludgeoning of too much

and not enough

competitive tenderising

black and blue moods

the cathode-ray complicit

truth lies in comedy

friends are funny

he hit you on the head with a brick

back to playing with him tomorrow


Haw maw,

Remember the day in ‘66

when ye caught me

wi Labour bumf

an’ ye went mental.

At me, eight years auld.

Ye’d aye been Conservative

and Unionist, cos

“Toffs know how tae haundle money”

Although giein ye were brought up

By the McGairs, fae Laughgall

Ah suspect the Unionism

wis a bigger hook.

Already at that age Ah’d figured oot

Ah’d rether pit ma faith

in a government ah could get rid ae,

than in toffs ah couldnae

And ma inconsequential Da

quietly ticked the SNP box

saying, if ye supported Clyde in Glesca

ye should try an be consistent.

Salt: Memorial, Preservative

Oh for skin

taught, loose


nuzzled and smelled

imagined, remembered

unfeeling layers of it

the thin boundaries

encasing the slippery innards

of desire

and no bones about it…

afterwards, you,


Weeping from your jelly eye

all the details you could muster

Seep into your filmy cluster

GooGoo eye.

I could have licked those tears

as I do now.


Movements laced with my breath.

You claim to be naked.

I watch the veils I made shimmer and kiss:
hot, breezily pulsing.

There is more than one dance happening here-

It’s all skins.

The bright light inhaled. With eyes shut,
the voluptuousness deepens.

On another day I will write
about the ineffable numinous.

It All

Perhaps the truth doesn’t rhyme,

It doesn’t speak the one language.

It doesn’t speak.
You can’t even talk about it
but you can be it.

It has no moving parts
But it is everywhere, in everything

And because and despite it all

It’s a beautiful now.

Preparing To Wash

There is a bain and ewer
in this poem.

Normally they would nestle
in the third line
after the waking, the bringing,
then the pouring
and if this here was in real time
that’s just where they would be,


as this is a reimagining,
have been displaced
and came to mind immediately,
all pretensions of normalcy
are gone.

They sit at the head of the page
edging out everything else from the room,
where only the water makes a belated appearance
almost too late
for the image to function.

Railway Folk

Old rolling stock creaks, rumbles

through a century of rust,

the industrial belt buckled

under the weight of disuse.

Sidings trundle by, clanking


Hobbling clunks, wheels churn,

brushes on sleepy snares.

My family were the railways.

A marvel crumbling from neglect.

They were retired unneeded after the war.

Welcome home.

The work’s gone.