Thursday, 31 December 2020






You say she wasn’t finished with us yet?

Well, some things I’m careless about now,

kneel at your peril, for I’m quite likely

to take bass guitar, plant it firmly

neck first in funereal ground, stand back,

light the touchpaper and plangent strum,

cross my heart before the big boss drum,

march in a slow life of disposable outcome.


Be thankful for what? Oh, I touch pictures

sure, can hear that iron door creaking,

sky shot through with distant streaking sunrise,

see Michael by instruments of bloody torture

framed, as plague ship comes leeward into shore.


Ten-year dire storm warnings unheeded?

Look - here’s incoming from the chancellery:

bombshells of the empty-headed blonde kind,

killed by friendly fire to make a killing,

some of us less than willing to take sticks

and bang the hollow saucepans of war for pricks.


Hobble up and down my back garden?

A hundred foolish times yes, aching backed,

zimmer frame snagged in crazy paving cracks,

tangled up in heavy matted thatched quackgrass,

stumbling over spoils of tinned foodbank;

shoot the fucking mockingbird, pass me a medal,

I’ll take that over drowned pineapple chunks

twisting in sugar coated tooth-rot heavy syrup,

or rotting alphabet pasta albatross shaped soup.

Still best shut it, be grateful for boxed puke,

because a hundred miles of queued lorry pray

daily in Dover for a speedy getaway.


Set up voting booths in crematoria, why not?

A fine parlour for our just desserts, I’d say,

where X marks the spot and there’s your lot,

helped over finish line with a shove in the back.

Anybody left can sort through scant ashes

for any sage wisdom that’s fit to print,

like the benefits of being fucking skint,

denounce mass gatherings of young release,

pay due taxes to your robber and thief

while setting up plague beacons off The Needles.

Choke on crushed emeralds while we burn thatch,

we’ve breakfasted on hot breath long enough,

empty stomachs full of empty words is the stuff,

prattling gameshow remedies of call my bluff.


You laugh; say it’s all too late, now?

Yes, but they canst not say we did it,

can they? Well, now.

With what meagre pleasures in hell remain,

most are too old or too young, they care less,

while the rest of us have long since fled.

But we can at altar mourn, in death of sense

repent, never strong enough to prevent,

that in hope of love became complacent.

She comes, I feel her mind growing in mine,

maybe it is me, double fantasy in basslines

rising, but all in good time,

couplets that rhyme,

forgiveness perhaps, played plangent in crime,

so in kneeling receive blessed communion wine.

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Half of What I say is Meaningless, But I Say it Just to Reach You

Half of What I say is Meaningless,

but I Say it Just to Reach You


When you’re ready to fly, my love,

then let me know, I can wait.


I heard in England they gave

out some chance of snow, still,

I reckon the nearest it came,

to being deep, crisp or even

was grit grey slush underfoot:

you’d have to raise your eyes

up from weather beaten pavements and look.


There. See that?

Some clouds brood in purple heads above,

magnificent in ermine trim, they reach

amidst meditative, reflective sky,

can fill grounded travellers trudging below

with foreboding. Quick. Use an umbrella,

shield yourself, it’s coming, rushing headlong,

so protect yourself – better safe than sorry.

Then again, it could foretell Christmas joy,

approaches in glorious new world rising:

depending on forecast or outlook.


Clouds like aching, full pregnant breasts

cascade swelling snow, shower naturally,

heaven dripping with expression

will gloss silk-white black slate tarmac,

and those often viewed, familiar cracks

seen everyday with head down, chin-drop

twisted mouthful of dull disdain,

for all you might see is sooty rain,

grin back at you in bright toothed scream:

‘Where are you going and where have you been?’


All these words are meaningless,

cannot reach you if you are deaf,

so, I guess a full-frontal hard Winter blast

is what’s crucial now, unmuffle ears,

a detonation might clear out blocking wax.

Or nude Arctic rolls, in rude exposure,

tumbling downhill, riding the avalanche,

until every bit of skin stiffens, pricks

all your hairs up skywards in delight.


Lie back breathless laughing on teasing snow.

Let the cold winds through dull minds blow,

arouse soggy raspberry jammy-dodger brain,

in strip-jack-naked ice plunge from cliffs

into beckoning glacier mint blue lakes. Thaw,

pull hard, crack freezer’s ice frozen door,

groaning with last year’s leftover ready meals,

Oh, let them go to waste,

those plastic tray, two for one Iceland deals

you thought might come in handy once,

but maybe melt forever those fingers of frost,

gorge on fruit, ooze in chocolate, paint it all over

in front of red-hot-poker chestnut fire.

Warm, towel off soaking, dripping wet through skin

mopping up any damp patches left

on blush toned burned carpet.


Look up, for there it comes, or let’s both slog on;

slow steppers, without skipping beats

like high, low, swing, dolly, pepper;

shake drips from brolly, shake head at all this folly,

it’s always better the devil you know,

because they gave out sooty rain, not snow.


Still, sometimes you just have to dare to bare,

take off your scarf and discard woolly gloves:

So, when you’re ready to fly,

then let me know, my love.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

The Black Angel


The Black Angel



With flaming swords and tyger’s roar

seize my hand, we’ll learn to soar,

leap together through opened door,

for the pain we suffered is no more.

Now time is come to heal each other,

flesh as friend, as muse, as lover,

awake from dreams, hot our rapture

thaws belief, lost hearts recapture.

Spells mesmerise in wishes blessed,

we’ll run forever and never rest,

vows to make, love rooted deep,

passion never dies, it only sleeps.

Bliss overflows in abundant surprise,

coming together to watch Angel rise.



Those once full canvas sheets fall unkempt like drapes.

Pounded into barren, ashen earth, sewn against escape,

woven, zip-locked to each other, lank prisoners in forced

labour ground to ground-dust, refuting inferno’s course.

Fire blankets, you say? A cordon between that and this,

seal feeling in, seal healing out, of hell’s searing kinesis

unbound tempered by boundary round. Within grim circus

smoke smouldering hotfoot desert sands. Less a furnace

but sterile, untroubled by greenery, nothing here grows.

Loom large, our shadow tar, eternal in pitch coat clothes,

hardened against elements, millennia wrecked on rocks

here dashed, chained without hope of righting, dry docked.

The Black Angel, listing holed, heat blistered, three masts

skywards up point a fingered defiance. Still unsurpassed

in voyage, for none other in man’s fleet could touch her,

proud work of his colossus design; scuttle in petty fear

 us mortals who cringe beneath her black hull and peep,

in underling doubt, who once crept along behind her wake.

Where of her crew? Here lie scattered about, sullen twos

in threes, waiting call to hands, the call to arms, bruised,

battered unsmiling, but not submissive to fate, the abyss

long eaten her fill, and sated, left all others with iced kiss.

Horrid rivers four, disgorge a vile slurried filth, intertwine,

birth foul estuary where toss tooth-pick bones enbrined

like salt pork, flaccid ground by tides eternal, send stench

of despairing heart slit off from balls by daggered wench.

Dragging darkly forward, loath lava in murky glacier flows

like condemned to executioner, each step in protest goes

from tumbril to guillotine, bestial in slow sobbed dejection,

shrieking nails shredding blackboards, in a final ejaculation

spews its sticky thick effluence into callous cosmos vast.



Now as so often before, unrocked by circumstances brutal,

inoculated by time, immune against fate’s diseases cruel,

stoic sat, positioned on rocks scattered sharp hereabouts

star gazing: for so far beneath heavens, never any doubts

exist of high risk that draws and draws his eye as Tantalus

was drawn to water in perpetuity, or chained Prometheus

might test his bonds in rage. Here my Captain Gabriel Oak

spreads his charts, draws up lines, fixes sextant, smokes

in calm contemplation of some sparkling blue green jewel

set far adrift, just out of reach, well defended against fools

who even might think to try. ‘There are Angels, they exist,’

his crew shall cry, but those who are dead no longer die,

which he inward knew - for once he had been able to fly.

And these truths he keeps from boy Michael, as his eye,

ever fixed upon that far off mark, observes heavens high.

Resolved, Oak settles his Tricorne from far Cornwall saved

after green remembered days of sailing blue ocean waves

and so makes stand, gathering black cloak, stroking scar,

here speaks to us huddled all under vile hell’s dark stars.



‘This dun familiar does take turn to nurse and burn us,

wild fires have bronzed our flesh in martensitic lustre,

we become tempered steel, nothing fear, nothing feel

but rage. She appears again, in azure’s silk, conceals

not her majestic green cloak, her granite battlements,

her rich cooling seas that roll in tides of endless content.

Is it better to reign in hell or serve heaven once more?

Feel again that yoke of sufferance, bloody fires of war

about our throats? Certainty here bides in horrors foul

gladly given, shackled amongst these rocks, you howl

nights, seek refuge beneath Black Angel, fleet’s Queen,

cowering dogs all, her ragged sails for sheets, to screen

eyes and hearts from magnetic abyss. Why here, men,

they set us on affectionate spit to roast! I take pen,

record passing acid rains, falling ashes, days revolve

one and next, as with every call to action our resolve

weakens, and here greed grows into poison saplings,

blossoms us with envious silvered fruit, nothing brings

save pride in endurance, lust fed by wrath’s tolerance,

while she in rotting lists, landlocked and dishonoured.

Thus I call on voices all present now met to speak Aye,

The Black Angel will once more set sail in heaven’s sky.’



Oak here visions not of swords drawn in rousing cheer,

for many did now, skywards gazing, draw back in fear,

ourselves amongst them. Black Angel herself strained,

timbers quaking against those ancient corroded chains,

weeping for those yet to lose; seeing all, saying nought,

her injured hull of gaping eyes spill sorrowful thoughts.

Then from within timbered shadow, First Mate advances

slowly, one good limb, the other lost in game of chances

long eternities since, to roll of bone dice in merry dance

with the abyss. Dreads nothing but himself lost, glances

bold at Captain old, then in wild sweeping wave tackles

 crew thus assembled. ‘Captain, for those here shackled

I must plainly speak, no intent of mutinous deputation,

for loyalty and honour to you is my bond and reputation,

as all here surely attest. This argument advanced is old,

often you have spoken thus, in words of hot battle bold;

brothers banded, we together can reclaim paradise lost.

So it goes, but what the cost? Who gathered will cross

hollow space, in void voyage eternal, steer aquaducts

that span only hope that, by some oar stroke of luck,

further cliffs exist; do not crumble into dust like chalk

and cosmos tossed Black Angel will put safe into port?

Even now she baulks, twists bulwarks, fortress protests

at pride in words expressed, she does weep her distress

from war wounded sides. I, too can feel far battle cries,

as granite drowning in foul corruption a slow death dies,

lust to unscabbard, smite sword in Angel blood hilt deep

and die, catch far-flung sonnets of Angel rising. I sleep

not in peace, dream not in love, know hard father’s fists

that nightly do mete out his common sense with beating.

Reason I now must brave part to all present, unflinching

before you, conscript to officer, to serve as right hand:

far better we fallen stay, than regain lost scared lands,

a Fool’s voyage, beset by perils unfathomed or foreseen

by those without will, who forsook the power to dream

or hope of change. This desert vast our mattress make,

we’ll build up our temples here, to sit out time and wait.

Monsters of vicious realms predict proud course in glee,

set traps, tear us limb from limb; into boiling cosmic sea

the innocent toss, all hands on deck in anguished bane:

Captain, hear me - The Black Angel must in hell remain.’



Poisoned silence now descending on those marshalled;

in mute approval some, others keen listening impartial,

still more are heaven bent, whilst our Captain considers

words soft meant; in ancient tone now verdict delivers,

both hands on each our Mate’s shoulders quiet rests:

‘Now, old Iago, of all others else, you adore me best,

know me better than myself, in hate’s vows bound.

But heed me, I still do love her, my breast pounds,

thuds a war tattoo. Rude am I in speech and word,

lack eloquence to express that which must be heard

by fallen crew, brave men who follow only my order

through you. Flattery give I not, friend, your ardour

becomes you, your rational truths all here respect,

your loyalty must I earn through trust; not expect.

Stand with me now in this our final fateful voyage,

display to all here naught but unflinching courage.’

With these poor phrases, our Captain gallantry lent,

roars wild Tyger triumph as First Mate nods assent.

‘Black Angel Stands! Set compass, wield steel rule,

chart course. Now winds set fair to kind from cruel.’

Then our Captain fingers his cheek, scimitar scarred,

as hell shrieks out mutinous furies, a jealous guard

of inmates; scarlet sky in conflagration cracked dire

bolts of weight and might, till the sand itself did fire.

Undismayed, Gabriel raises fist under sulphur clouds,

flashes white toothed grin, scowls the haughty brows

of command and his eyes write words of such power

Black Angel did reform herself upright into tall towers.

Transfixed with awe, witness Oak hold power of gales

back with gnarled palm, until ready to fill Angel’s sails,

ink brimmed ancient pen set his daily orders to papers

raped by hurricanes enraged, and shredded to vapour

by screaming voices, mutiny howling, settling scores,

that The Black Angel never will reach Cornish shores.

But look how decks reshaped themselves under feet,

as passions rain fire. She does become pride of fleet

again, hearing Angel call, we her willing servants be,

crew quarterdeck, man stanchion, haul rope to flee.

Pull halyards up as sails full fill, strain lusty anchors,

and hawsers in impatience groan with travel’s hunger.

Now Bosun, his cutlass raised to part moorings, waits

as hellfire provisional gives all up for lost, sets baits:

sometimes it is better to lose a battle but win the war

of voyages eternal. On deck our Captain’s word is law,

speaks he, ‘why delay departure’s cut, Bosun, let fly,

all starboard on for blue green jewel in heaven’s sky,’

but Bosun stayed his hand, looked Oak square in eye.

‘It is said, Boy Michael, foundling, is indeed hell’s spy,

infernal born and not of our crew, none of our making,

breathes Angel’s death about our necks, God forsaken

inhabits portent grim. We will not sail with him aboard,

either here abandon the boy else put him to the sword.’

On this, black thunders did scud across Gabriel’s brows

and his raw fists clenched; foot by foot advanced slow

upon trembling minion. ‘Leave this boy? Say you so?

Who washed up solitary upon these damnable sands

neglected? Heed well. Boy Michael holds in his hands,

his mind, his second sight, untamed paths to navigate

our onward passage, his visioned charts to approbate.’

Chastened Bosun steps down; sets too cutlass riven

and speaks voice for one and all: ‘Is the word given?’

Calmly, yet loud enough, gaze fixed on grim horizon,

Gabriel orders: ‘Aye. The word is given. Angel Rising.’


Now sure it is, most won't survive,

in courage's name will lose their lives,

with flaming swords and Tyger’s roar,

Black Angel soon will knock at door,

all parliament about throats will feel

the stinging kiss of smoking steel.

Infernal lessons long learnt in hell,

redouble on heads to serve them well.

Albion recoils from murderous plague,

but from ancient justice none escape,

yet beware in setting Vengeance’s course,

for tears will fall in bitter remorse,

they’ll fall for love, and loss disguises,

on punishing day that Angel Rises.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Oh, You’ll Wait a Long Time for Me


Oh, You’ll Wait a Long Time for Me



Lover, I can feel your desire in dreams,

your tone murmurs words of seduction,

silky needs, just this side of creamed lust,

in black stocking top peephole phrases,

lips shushed with your finger raised.


It’s been so, so long, four or maybe five

years since you last held us dying

in shooken arms, spent joy, wept tears,

spun us amongst naked wheat sheaves

with grass in teeth and hair in leaves

over, over again, those harbouring rushes

love’s root did kindly conceal in bushes.


But big boys don’t cry, they roll eyes

too often, strike out with feelings disguised.

No more. Rage so terrible all nature churns,

jealousies shudder strong, passions spurned,

now all must be set right what is wrong,

for always the Queen and land is one.


Blushed modest messages each week,

flushed in a small feat of baby steps,

honey, grapple with time’s stern rocks

in sometime smiles, sometime shocks

tearing tears down, strip by stripping

until bare minds and bodies gripping

tight together complete us once again.

Then for two hard days, never speak,

one step forward, two back, press reset,

for, true, you’ll wait a long time for me.

How strong must bridges be and how long?

To span our abyss takes certain risks,

farsides keep moving or may not exist

at all. But in dreams, I hear your call,

prayers groan, my heart’s in thrall

and although wasting years may crawl,

once more see our loving all, 

for you, I am prepared to fail and fall.


I become your Angel now transformed,

flit on edge of reasons in hope new born,

better things will come, 

spring will one day bloom,

shower love’s pure apple petals, 

swoon us with shy smiles, 

lay foundations of trust 

and, yes, quaint butterflies of lust 

play slowly, tease us within: 

as gentle winds deep love’s current,

pushing at dam, building forever for you, 

to explode in gushing torrent.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Two Week Stretch


 Two Week Stretch



Go on then, fool yourself, it’s unconditional,

and to be over there, would you not kill

the hope that kills you? You’re only as good

as your last words; message understood.

Roll over and beg for a shitty stick to fetch?

It must be expected on a two week stretch


inside, well, these walls aren’t shabby chic,

real plenty shook up riyals paid for streaked

bleak marble tile, air conditioners shove out

vacuum within, filling empty mind with doubt.

Hang on every word with knife edge to neck?

Only to be expected on a two week stretch


finger cross fret, genuflex hard steel G string,

smart bitten bones, tighten bass flesh stings

into minor pentatonic water marked as toxic.

Misplayed those discorded scales, a chronic.

bum note strummer, composed a fucked wreck?

Welcome, my friend, to your two week stretch


out to touch somebody’s lost hand, we’ll coast

palms on sticky keyboards in search of ghosts:

Many million mouse clicks all it will ever take

buffering in thoughtless hollow heartbreak.

Empty in-tray boxes you against rope’s edge?

Only the beginning of your two week stretch


a point, sharpening that stick at both ends, hunt

Roger that, let’s up front it, confront it, be blunt:

only when my congealed head crawls with flies

will she even phone, feign surprise and ask why.

Skin in a pulled pork, beef jerked, fuckered sweat?

a plague on both our houses' two weeks stretch.

Thursday, 17 December 2020





I may not know too many things,

but these things I know:

Only to find that one, the one,

that one and only - before it drifts by,

then please, put everything on her

or him from her, because my friend

if you ask me, it goes both ways,

both will be lonely in some coming days.


Now we are just two guys talking,

two of us both absolutely passionate,

absolutely easy for us to understand

the older we get, well it gets late

on this stage of our lives.

We are nothing else but a sum,

add feelings, emotions, experiences,

to fifty five or fifty eight.


Now you are right, your love is pure.

I am speaking for myself,

but this is true, and I am pretty sure

you are not far from me on this one.

We are this sum - rich things and poor,

positive, negative, hard feelings, bad, good

sometimes what life drifts is not driftwood.

Only we can know, when you find that one,

seize that life-raft before it is gone.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Angel Dies


Angel Dies



Now my time is come to break steel rules,

unbox compass, steady her in gold housing,

unfurl those mildew yellowed ancient charts,

tap brass barometer, set her fair to sail by,

fix sextant by your constant northern star,

grasp all power of storms in my right palm,

and let them strike free, break glowering staff,

all hands on deck, man the battle stations,

rouse surly chronometer, bring her hard about,

plot course for summer-lands, sacred nation,

kiss Cornish winds, fill out pregnant sails,

now, warm spinnaker, blossom and strain;

that loving spell Angel spoke, she casts again.


Give fuck-it one final triumphant last hurrah,

see once all we were, we will soon further far

for this return. It quite took me by surprise,

opened amazed heart and, see where it flies,

thaws winter ice like it was yesterday, none

ever happened, orchard sings summer song

clear bewildered head of madness and grief,

stealing jewelled anguish like exultant thief.


Now you hold this battered heart in your hand,

to crush perhaps for a second time, I’ll stand

too, so blow hot sand into glass, see it shatter

into venom serpent stabbing shards of spite,

then again, my sweet, trust in friendship breeds

behind me murder, away with selfish greed,

love could sing in butterflies of loving need.


For all loved ones in our care never will again

despair, see my hand placed in yours will dare

to bridge all we thought was lost, span in trust,

promises never broken, now those pledges must

draw our eyes, draw lace strings, draw tassels red

that, Angel, take time, oh, to rest us sweet in bed.


And once all vast spaces because you even were

now only exists where you breath not. See there,

time will pick up guitar, Ziggy, adjust your scar,

rampage in bass across stages, speak pages, far

travellers together, both only love’s beginning

my heart, straight back down to earth grinning

Angel no more, with John’s work to do burning

in our souls together; each forever in learning

how to touch our fingers, one then five, alive,

alive, oh, we come together, as our Angel dies.