Magpie Magazine

One of my poems is up on Magpie Magazine’s website, which you can check out here!

So, yesterday I stopped dithering around, and I made a facebook page for my music, and am currently trying to break into my MySpace page so I can update it, but I’ve forgotten all my passwords and email addresses. This whole “internet presence” thing is so long overdue it’s ridiculous. I have to just stop being such a wimp.

I played at the Red Roaster the last two nights. Nice to have a lie in this morning, even if the woman on Desert Island Discs right now has the most terrible music taste.

My love for you is a stampede of oranges

My love for you is a stampede of oranges.

Cracked walnuts, sugared cranberries

sounds from my guts and bones

a pile of pared comestibles

soft tissues, scoops and hollows

a rigged nest vestibule. Harpers and TV.

A young man ventures deep into the forest with a

mysterious companion

in 17th-century New England.

Paired combustibles.

their audacity marks a short story,

the high wire act the orchestra

reaching a comic diminuendo but

ending – oh!

-with a bang!!!

Two Parisian friends on a fishing expedition

are captured by the enemy

during the Franco-Prussian War.

A genial murderer

is shaken out of his boredom when,

on holiday in Yalta,

he meets a young woman.

A married Moscow banker steps

outside his asylum for a day and finds

rudimentary drawings scratched on the walls of caves.

A young schoolteacher finds

that she enjoys a ruthless killing

in the oral tradition.

Oh beloved america

your paperbacks, your song of the south!

the simpsons on repeat// on repeat!!

Your mock survival lore

compels us – red in tooth and claw – to

acts of tremendous skulduggery

Pontiac, Buick and Chevrolet

– oh frabjous day! calloo! callay!)

A bullying father suddenly starts to doubt himself

as he drives his son to 19th century Wyoming.

Or a wizard. Or a whirlwind.

Love propels us into the house of dangerous enemies

all under drift and over the pack

foxfeet and birdfeet drift

folly slots and outlawed himmel

on repeat//no repeat

snow battles hardest

moon cancelled and stars postponed

the coming up and goingdown of the sun.

in a lotch or a bollow

how many times in your life

will you get married?

knit bootees?

ply a cradle?

pigs and fishes dream of it,

and close bonds among thieves

come to nothing.

a child in a bedroom in holland, in spain

drawing long pictures. a bird’s foot

over a fledgling. And the child is scolded for brooding.

As though all eggs are hollow.

We haven’t given out advice

since the 1950s, but like a new bicycle,

it’s not too late to learn.

Be content to be thought foolish and stupid

& your six little helping elves will trail after.

& dedicate your books to the people that read them,

& name your daughters for the ones we lost in the storms

& name your sons for the heros of afghan epics

& if you adopt orphans, do it noiselessly,

only carve two names on the bole of a tree

if you’re to stand any chance of return.

on repeat//on repeat.

the petits ouiseaux in their lime green caps

and chalk yellow trousers

and the lapins suisses, and the tart chocolatiers

unroll their tights around the festivities

and tiny automata mimic a funfare

where two first meet eyes and he helps her


perhaps she dropped something

so that their hands could touch,

perhaps she drank rum enough to be

tough enough for love,

perhaps she lay down earlier than bedtimes.

And meanwhile the ones with red cheeks

and plaited hair

played kiss-chase and bulldog

and were lost in the storm.

true stories are longer, we had better hope.

if they are to drag out we must burst

into the house of dangerous enemies

in a stampede of oranges. carve our names

on repeat// on repeat

raise up the hands of the waiting women

let loose balloons in fallen cities

first poem in brighton

love is a dog and it’s my turn to walk it

i dream wreaths

of thundering english flowers

your beard on my cheek

and it rains every day

when i would sleep scattered on your chest

falling from the cloudspinata

the ocean’s every lying mist

chaining the dogsea

to the brutalist flats to the south

(and they’re driving as fast as they can

however many ponies they can hitch

whatever number steps on a black road)

why do i not remember

one thousand men but you, only you

only have me by the throat of my

love like murder without you right where

it hurts without you

your lightning hidden from me

in bolt-holes and oubliettes

where I sniff

from your pockets

a treat when

i sit, rollover, fetchaball.

so new a city

is a tame animal

for your plenty of kindnesses

i thunder on beaches like a kite

i roll in everyberry this autumn

all through my coat,

the end of the fruit

the pulp and the stain

the dog came running from the distant sea

you hold my leash and keep me

you hold my hand and keep me from flying away

with you on runways of laughter

This morning’s doings:

Woke up early, unexpectedly rested, to bright blue sky. Chilly in England. Scarves and mittens, ladies and gentlemen.

Remembered odd dream – I was making pomegranates out of clay.

Postponed: packing everything into boxes, shorthand practice, getting out of bed.

Looked at wedding rings on etsy. Got all excited.

Watched half of nature documentary with headphones on, secretly, cocooned in duvet. Sardines fucked by global warming. <not happy about this>

M brought me coffee. He got up early to finish this big job he’s working on. He looks exhausted, but darlings, someone’s got to pay for the wedding rings.

Found an old poem to share with you. It’s a bit long, but I wouldn’t dream of patronising you, dear reader, with assumptions as to your concentration span.

Palimpsest (11).

when i want parties i seem to get

corpulent lenten russian novels

instead of sluts in latex.

everyone dances on my

shattered sleep architecture.

you have to come back, and symphony me.

and let the meadows come back.

Find me a slatted pattern

take a hoopla, corral the patience of horses

a small molten north laptop choir and i

go south go south. go south.

(i said, i said took only one tiny unhappy bee

the meadows are full of metal)


when i wanted dreamings

i went whenever i had to

fell off cliffs and drank berliner

i went out to warehouses

and bite and bite and bite.

i slithered in deserts and didn’t know, i’m dreaming.

(and there are girls without voices in mali and thailand

there are girls without minds in shoreditch and gazi)

and i am doing this killing degree because

what else do girls like me know?


when i want parties

i get out of here

with you on runways of laughter.

fill up my oldest house with jamjars of candy

put so many lights on the appletrees

she’ll blow. follow me in soldier

bare all my buttons

explode all my beehives.


cy twombly, in my dream,

told me to look harder,

at your face!

and showed me a mirror. and

between the atoms very close he

licked the foam from his spoon he said

harder than that!, between the follicles

is carbon. coal. diamonds. your matter.

he said take off your clothes if you have to.

do not forget to get paint on your body,

he said, one love, bigger than thine.


so we were eating pancakes

and there was ocean all over the windows

and we battered down in ruby bear bed jackets

and he took the maple syrup,

brown sugar, cream to the white linen tablecloth

and started to bellow

“i am Thyrsis of Etna, blessed with a tuneful voice.”

while the waitress was nowhere to be seen

he thundered like god among the teacups.


when we want porno,

we listen to the bodies, saying “aw yeah”

like there’s something they just remembered.

there isn’t any dust in their cages. they

sharpen their nails on iron files, they practice sweating

on innocent cupcakes. They wear

fuck-me shoes. While the saami

castrate their reindeer with a nip of the teeth.

Sex has never been fair.


cy twombly told me, let it go.

let out the birdcaged. though i wanted

rivers of blood to sink the whole scene under.

even the dead will dance, when an egyptian

taxi stops in the road. a mandolin beating

impossibly high will bring us from out of our eggshells

from bloom to bloom. better

the borrowed days of february than the unseen icebergs.

better great cry then little wool. a choir

pitched impossibly high moves iron hearts

like slow machinery. these are facts,

and not to be disputed. whatever i can promise.


You are cordially invited to track something
out through the bush
(meat) : troublesome and tumoural
grinds in the mucal segment of tract
gristle/ tissue
if by needle,
altered the lightcrawl
ocean or evil.

To visualise distant vessels more clearly,
from this moment onwards, I promise that.
Leaving for Paris, headaches & finches
in the mosque in the 5th.
Holding my hand. Or put to sleep,
in carefully labelled comfortless blankets.

Planesong. A throwing weapon. Dollar$ gone.
What’s more, and clinging to my knees in tears,

embryonic vectors fruited unseen.
A large
single dose. But anyway, always
it’s you the most.

Take you a because, to know
Why, when, now. Pituitary gland
clothes the issue: matelasse, brocade, damask
and pulling the warp heads clear of the weft
In storms of volcanic ash
Unrobing the tremulous head
They’re cancelling the

I have told you some things.
On the day you leave, I want to/
this way, I will be safe.
will convince you to give
me/for your sake. But
when I am with you
if we decide
as the years go by, I don’t.
mean? You will really know
kind of a lost puppy
bear, such an awful —
and more, from losing you!
Please give me this.
Your face is bruised
and junkful. Hoodstart, smack, stairwells.
And the usual sad line-up of crack-heads slept
all through the burning sun.

Barbary horses, bourbon biscuits.

I have four days of teaching left. Four days until I can be a real human again! I shall smoke and drink and hoot and holler and run out without a hat! I shall be shoeless and louche! I shall eat cake for breakfast and decline all telephone calls!

And so I’m making plans. Some of which are secret. But I can say that I am very excited to be getting involved with the Cambridge Independent Filmmakers Association (CIFA), who seem to be pretty full speed ahead at the moment. The annual Cambridge film festival coming up in September and CIFA are busy trying to make some horror/comedy microshorts.

Anyway, whilst in the pub with the CIFA bunch, I mentioned a creepy dream I’d had. A quick brainstorm ensued, which has resulted in a shoot planned for August. So I am putting ideas together in a sort of plan, feeling, as ever, grossly incompetent. If only there were a market for grammarless senseless meanderings, I should be very grateful.

M & I went down to London, not to look at the Queen but instead to celebrate the beautiful Helen’s birthday, in a Mexican bar in Streatham where a man attempted to drown her with a bottle of tequila. She gets lovelier and lovelier every time I see her, with her saucer eyes – my dear and oldest friend. M & I slept on a comedy air-mattress that slowly deflated during the night.

Here’s a poem about being stuck in a job you hate:

a polar animal with a br//ken leg

in a field of flowers

rubs her nose on the ghosts

a pasture of sweet suchness that she gets

one orange ribbon ball, one pink lollipop, loneliness, tangents, and the little red mouths, [corvid

ratchets your legs at breakneck speak

bottle and bitumen, biltong and bubblegum, barbie barbiturates

barbary horses, bourbon biscuits

he said he favours

love i said

i get it out the clouds, i get lightning for the washrooms of the emperor

i was blinded by his bees.

they said pronunciation & so we said /ŋ/ /ə/ /æ/

you have to say them so

down pat.

you have to count the shed feathers: it is very important to know

these are the 50 colloquial expressions of loss, a polar animal

with a broken leg. 50 broken legs. no stars.

Translate Single Words. Move slowly make no suddennmovements.

my man went away

voice and vector. stay very still. move gently make no SuDDEN movements!

the ghost are at the lips. quiet hummingbirds. sip.

kokkala bonedrums. Helvetica light.

Grasshoppers warring. Gladioli.

Fig Rhizome

This was a poem I wrote for M as part of Palimpsest 28, a 28 day poem-a-day marathon in the run up to Christmas 2009, that ended up in a black folder with a goat on the cover being delivered by hand to Sant Pere de Ribes, Spain, and a happy M. It was originally a much better poem, all about Lawrence’s poem on figs, and binaries vs. pluralities, but my computer froze and ate it, along with Lanternfish. So I panicked and rewrote it in order to get my project finished. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to rewrite things, but when you’re busy trying to get things done it kind of ceases to matter. Which is always a good thing.

Anyway, Alan Yentob says art can’t be wrong. 🙂


While I sat on a balcony

i looked out at their fractals crowning the hills

reading lawrence. he couldn’t decide if they were

male or female, like anything ancient or greek,

they swung like uncertain genitals. pan.


because he loved a woman. because he loved a man.

because he couldn’t trust either.

i had a terrible headache. they’re sweet. but their sap

burns. downstairs they’re discussing

anais nin’s botanica erotica.

like a pornographer fucking a feminist,

both painfully bored and neurotic.


Saying, in among the grunts,

we do the universe a disservice,


not everything starts fucking,

the minute our backs are turned.


forty four whales, humpbacked grass

snakes in urns. snakes, in earnest

fading voices.


buttered over the greek hills

goes the sad last light and my lost poem.




Gilles Deleuze took Felix Guattari by the hand,

about a thousand years ago,

and they ran into the pantry,

in the middle of a thunderstorm.

They were looking for something to do.


There was my Fig Rhizome,

in a jar, and Gilles stood on tiptoe

to take it down. and they started

pushing their fingers in the dark jam.


but the jar slipped. and a fig has no heaven

because the prayers of mice are stronger.


(partly for Al Hammond’s garden circa 2002, partly for David Attenborough’s narrations, red in tooth and claw.)

Weep. whoop a tough throb

stumble stone-limbed to the barn.

call for churches in vain

white walls, green leaves

and like angels the bursting in

of mechanical notes.

old fingers into young balm.

crush which sits in the palm.

of self. i heard echoes that were not my own!

in an aeroplane over the sea

breathing like an engine. of self.

star-particles of certainty.

the drifting grasses take off their shoes.

in the darkness

one black eyelash sticks to your damp cheek

somewhere over europe, and heading terribly away

and further.

sleep, and i will weep like a bird for the scope of the sky

weighed down by two super-long tail feathers, tipped with cumbersome discs.