30 Steps

The city is drenched in gold tonight
the sea is wrapped in silver, like my temples
my hands feel older now than ever
but my mind is so much surer
than back when I was younger

I’ve run from love when it got tough
my hair was bleached in boiling light
I helped as many people as I could
my thoughts were darkened in the wilderness
felt alone in crowds of smiling happiness
I learned to speak, to see, to feel this reality

I’ve understood, been understood
I’ve compromised, been compromised
I’ve judged, been judged
Fairly, unfairly

There has been a heaviness in my limbs at times
and there was a divine light that shone
from somewhere I never knew could be in me
I wronged and cheated with a pathological absence of care
which boomeranged around and sunk me in the end
it’s rough to open your consciousness to reality

Siblings, parents; undulating friendships
the push, the pull of love and life
in trying to align the poles in me
I was blind, but thought I was seeing
I was blank, but thought I was saying something
the painted stones I carved, I threw them out to sea

I’ve deceived, been deceived
I’ve contradicted, been contradicted
I’ve believed, been believed
Justly, unjustly

So, I take off my shoes
take out my headphones
I want this wave to wash all over me
The short hand, the long multiplications
I laid out all my working for you to see
trying to crack the code of something real
the combination of what is me

I’ve been taking thirty steps away
from where they forged my heart
I’ve been taking thirty steps toward the tide line
where I etched my childhood
drew a line beneath it and paused to watch…

The waves of youth lap out
the waves of youth
the waves
the…

[2011]

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[Written on the eve of my 30th birthday]

Best In The Morning

It’s best in the morning
with no decoration
only flesh
and fingers reaching out
It’s best in the morning
sun licking through the window
we’ve honestly
nowhere we need to be

It’s best in the morning
kitchen door
open on the garden
you sip your tea, strum the guitar
sitting on the back step
Your dark hair ruffled
eyes so brown and full of wonder
nowhere we need to be

“It’s best in the morning”
you smile and tunefully whisper
“we’re both naked in some way
stripped of all distraction
the love alight upon our tongues”
Leaning on the counter
I’m inking my clumsy lines
‘nowhere we need to be’

It’s best in the morning
writing us down to preserve it
I will treasure
these moments forever
We’re so good together
with the animals at our feet
all eating breakfast
and nowhere we need to be…

[2021]

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All my poems.

Tokyo Honeymoon

Our hotel window thrown open on the night
sirens rise and weave between our sighs
below, a city squeals in pleasure

Neon light spills across our pillows
We feel the force that has been forged
and binds our stories for all time

Pasts bundled into a suitcase
the lock spun, kicked beneath the bed
while we writhe and rise above

You touch yourself, then I touch you
We let the sheets slip to the floor
leaving nowhere for our desire to hide

A silver spark brightly arcs
connects my fingers and your thighs
welds your tongue tip to my throat

Like rain on glass we quickly merge
the beating rhythm, that low slow moan
so far beyond those ancient intimacies

The rest of our lives begin right here
The branches of our love in bloom
like cherry blossoms painting up the trees…

[2021]

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Beguiling Sirens

O child, do not hasten to drop anchor
I hope you live so many nights
lost at sea or diving free
loving by the light of the moon
forever was never the point

You must not miss those smiles
as wide as silver sands
And kisses hotly dripping
like the candle you might write by
in some foreign hotel room

If you should meet them
out there on your journey
(and you should, you should…)
I hope the sirens sing you
songs of salacious shipwreck
and fleshy feasts upon the rocks

If you should meet them
(and you must, you must)
Take those chances
don’t deny this life
let it be painted
in such vibrant colours

Let them ruin you a while
let them wreck you for a spell
then piece yourself together
and wind up more complete
O, and tell them I say ‘hi’

Go chasing honesty, equality
give and take, live wild, love free
take care and move respectfully
remain open to all that comes your way
forever was never the point

O, they will sing some
of your best lines into you
There are many poems waiting
You can dine upon those memories
once you’ve crossed the seesaw
of all your time

While you’re young
with no one who depends upon
then have your fun, go chase the sun
Forever was never
the point of life…

[2021]

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Come By My Window

Lover, this night ticks endless
and I am a fire
that must spread
across your perfect body

In the dark of the night
come by my window

Lover, this relentless need
leaves me blank
of all but your presence
replaying, looped and endless

In the heat of the night
come by my window

The sparks as our fingertips connect
I’ll be drained as I am stoked
at the interface of our passion
I’ll be drunk but laser focused
How you consume me

Lover, I need your light
there’s fuel in your whispering voice
but I need more tonight

Because I can’t leave the house
because I can’t be seen to go out

Come by my window…

[2018]

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High Tide, Low Life

You paint yourself blue, always blue
this letter brings me down
perched upon a rusty trailer
paint peels over my shoulder

I’ve been drinking 
since the boats were rested
on the muddy estuary bed

It’s high tide, low life
high tide, low life

I won’t stop my reaching out
if there’s any way to help, I’ll find it
you’re so slow to take my hand
scratching at your skin for answers

I don’t have any good advice
I do what I can to just keep living right
I’ll listen if you’ll let me
you know; my love is not the enemy

It can’t be this way forever
it won’t always be like this

It’s high tide, low life
high tide, low life

You say you only paint
when you get blue
and I suppose
that’s just the way
the sea feels

You paint yourself blue
always blue
I guess
that’s just the way
the sea feels…

[2020]

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Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mr-prints/4717465064/

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Ocean’s Roar

A raining heart, derailed
just north of love
things that must be done
to protect oneself

Despite my expectant warmth
I find you strangely cold
the trick became transparent
the magic quickly old

A remnant moon shines above us
even in this weak glow, it’s obvious
this affair
is going nowhere

You don’t care to ask
anything about me
yet still you scheme on my love

You don’t dare to share
anything with me
yet still you pine for my love

Put the shell up to your ear
is that the ocean’s roar, you hear?
this affair
is going nowhere…

[2020]

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My Prescription

Too seriously
I tend in my journey
too easy to focus on the duty
the facts of what’s in hand
the doing of a thing

So precious
to see the nonsense
appreciate the humour
the madness
in everything you’re tasked with

So freeing
to have a sense of silliness
draw a cock and balls
on your mortgage application
scribble a cape and tights
across the undertaker’s pamphlet

Life can feel like tumbling
through grinding grey machinery
without a wry eye on the daftness
smirking
at whatever crazed fool conceived this
and those who choose
to ride it all so earnestly

Your satire, your playfulness
your dark sense
of what’s appropriate to joke about
perfectly timed
skilfully placed
to punctuate the blandness
hacking at the horrors
laughing through
the banality of the day to day

Without humour we are robots
in some automaton tableau
zipping from thing to thing
from job to job
ones and zeros
bobbing up and down

Every plant in our house
has its own voice
its own personality
they have conversations with our animals
all channelled
through your hilarious sense of things
you turn dull mornings into bright theatre
just never call it ‘quirkiness’

You remind me to see the funny side
keep pulling at that silly string
you puncture my pomposity
with a most gentle needling
You’re the best medicine
you’re my prescription
and, among so many other reasons
I love you for this…

[2019]

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Still We Wait

O, I have loved you
for such a long time
I have held you
closer than anyone
and yet
still we wait
for something more…

O, I have been insatiable
for your voice and body
I have fought to keep you
harder than anyone before
and yet
still we wait
for something more…

O, you have touched me
deeper, in so many ways
I have worshiped
you more than any god
and yet
still we wait
for something more…

We know not
if there is the possibility
of some better way
We’re both unsure
if there could be
some truer love
and yet
we choose to wait
for something more…

[2006]

Thanks for reading this old poem.

Note: I’m going to post some older poems which I’ve never shared before over the next week or so. They’re all quite early in my writing and are flawed in all sorts of ways (aren’t we all) but I thought they might be of interest to people to see where I started. T.A. 18th June 2021.

All my poems.

Holding My Breath For A Patient Love

Tonight, I dream
of a patient love
Some statue of understanding
who can be quiet, reserved
unveiling themselves slowly
releasing what they have to offer
over time
building such incredibly tough bonds
A love so strong
it lasts forever

Tonight, I lie awake and wish
for some patient love
who comes to me with creativity
empathy and a deeper understanding
than I have felt before
something more in tune
with it is I long for

I only think of what is coming
holding my breath
for that patient love
I crave an intelligence
and a maturity
I have not known before…

[2006]

Thanks for reading this old poem.

Note: I’m going to post some older poems which I’ve never shared before over the next week or so. They’re all quite early in my writing and are flawed in all sorts of ways (aren’t we all) but I thought they might be of interest to people to see where I started. T.A. 18th June 2021.

All my poems.

All Doomed Lovers

I lie, I tell myself, but it’s true
some things are best left unsaid
The future opened up and took you
so, now I’m ironing my best fabrications
hoping to convince someone else I’m free
but your flawless face is still here
printed a thousand times behind my eyes
Now, who am I to kiss these foreign lips
what right have I to dance on your grave

We’re all predisposed to failure
us, the kids with hearts on sleeves
We open our doors to destruction
the moment we utter those three words
but I’ve become so obsessed with doom
that I don’t always see the stars
when I stare into this night sky
My eyes are tainted by the knowledge
that everything will surely end

I smile, I tell myself, but I don’t
some realities will never be acknowledged
The sky opened up and drowned me
so now, I’m digging out my umbrella
to shade me from the sun that’s coming
My mantra used to be ‘alone, but not lonely’
now, it’s more like ‘save me from myself’
but that’s just the way I am these days
so eager, to just fold and indulge the tears

So, there’s no guessing where tonight will end
when midnight comes to shake my hand
will I be lying on a couch in the kitchen
or lost somewhere in these foggy streets
strangled by a scarf and her sweet perfume
choking on the beauty of such porcelain skin
reciting my favourite phrases between kisses
knowing that the ending is just hours away
and that everything I want is on a timer…

[2005]

Thanks for reading this very old poem.

Note: I’m going to post some older poems which I’ve never shared before over the next week or so. They’re all quite early in my writing and are flawed in all sorts of ways (aren’t we all) but I thought they might be of interest to people to see where I started. T.A. 18th June 2021.

All my poems.

Only Moments

Remembering dim rooms
hushed conversation
whispering those compliments
almost embarrassed
trying to communicate the reverence
the pure weight of all this feeling
wading so deep in love

Ah, they’re only moments…

Remembering falling rain
buried in each other’s coats
kissing through smiles
desire whilst laughing
being perfectly overwhelmed by someone
the greatness that is all-consuming
swallowed so deeply by love

They’re only moments
so missing
so missed

Today is bright, today is dry
ah, but to feel again that feeling
to feel again
the deepest drowning of love
the greatest feeling

Those moments
only moments
so missed
so missing from my life…

[2011]

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All my poems.

Been Nowhere, Seen Nothing

Do you remember when we kissed
in the dim bar, beneath the railway arches
that hypnotic smile you wore
the way you demanded to be held
as all hell broke loose between us

Do you remember how you took my hands
as we walked beside the rails
you thrust yourself into my grasp
pushed your body hard against mine
and stopped time

And I felt so alive
that I’d
been nowhere
seen nothing
before that night

I still think about the drunken orange skies
the red tail lights stretching on for miles
as we drifted through the sprawling city
the only heat; that which burned between us
pressing your entire being up against me

And I felt so alive
truly, I’d
been nowhere
seen nothing
before that time

I remember you so clearly
with such precise clarity
I wonder do you remember me
do you still think of me at all

Since then
I’ve been nowhere
seen nothing else…

[2014]

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All my poems.

We Kissed As The House Blew Away

Remember when we kissed all night
in taxis
bar booths
theatres
in takeaways
phone-boxes
queues
in fields
on cliff-tops
white sands
in crowds
in ostentatious style
with absolute certainty
standing in rivers
rolling on haystacks
in tents
in love…

To lose ourselves in kisses
was all we ever wanted
‘lose yourself in kisses’
that’s all we ever whispered

Do you remember the last time we kissed
anywhere
anywhere at all…

[2017]

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A New Constellation

Minding my own business
tending the sail
I was headed home
or thought I was

A clear sky, fine nighttime
and here we are
your smile floors me
so utterly infectious
your soul is rare…

I can’t help but start beaming too
knowing how easy it would be
to fall
to fall in love with you

I was minding my own business
following the stars
headed home
or so I thought

The sky torn open
silver pin pricks pepper the black
a great flash of stars
form this novel map

A new constellation
presiding over me
summer come suddenly
its glow rushes to my bones
I’m so quickly lost in
your mischievous grin

Splashing through the mud
painting these bright colours
lit by the effervescent glow
of your thousand watt smile

I can’t help
but catch myself beaming too
knowing how silky it would feel
to fall
And to be caught
In a net of love with you…

[2021]

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All my poems.

The Distant Lifeboat

Once all our honey has been spread
once the little moments are learned by heart
routine a debt that stalks our steps
and suggestions nag more than they ought
then the waiting boat will take me
to a wooden shack by the ocean
and there, I’ll start again, alone

Once your touch no longer prickles
once our conversations are to walls not through them
no sound but a ticking house that counts us down
and my advice is not heard or welcome
then the waiting car will take me
a handsome driver spurned from some vintage memory
and there, I’ll start again, without you

But darling, until that time, I’ll stay right here
Darling, until that time, I’m yours yet to discover
unwrap me, keep unwrapping me

Once the laughter seems decades dead
once each tick feels designed to grate
the breath of each day too thick to breathe
and nowhere left to sit in peace
then the waiting boat will take me
to a beach shack by the pale ocean
and there, I’ll find my youth again, alone

Once your rough hands feel me no more
once all the years of the love add up to nought
in a clockwork life that subtracts our bodies
If every word becomes functional but formless
then the waiting car will steal me
caught in the still bright eyes of its reckless driver
and there, I’ll find all that’s lacking, without you

But darling, until that time, please stay right here
Darling, until that time, I’m yours, taste every mouthful
unwrap me, keep unwrapping me

The waiting boat can wait a while longer
That idling engine 
will have to wait a good while longer…

[2021]

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Based on a conversation about the little things people tell themselves to navigate difficult or uncertain relationships.

All my poems.

Beds, Hearts and Books

In these surprising years beyond expiry
forty and not failing
the journey remains largely painless
and brightly lit
wrapped up in love
in beds
hearts and books

Pull this feeling tight around me
another year of moving on
from all that didn’t seem to fit
closer to who I want to be
tangled up in love
in beds
hearts and books

All these lines, I can’t help but keep weaving
on the loom of all my longing
happily in awe of the ever-expanding story
forty and still dreaming
swaddled by love
in beds
hearts and books

There’s a deep and lingering kiss
waiting in the other room
the co-author of all my future stories
if I put down this pen, move to that place
we’re smothered in love
Hunkering down
in beds
hearts and books…

[2021]

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All my poems.

We Ruin All We Love

I have ruined what I’ve loved
I’ve been ruined by my loves
and now all that remains
is tainted and unlovable
I am tainted and unlovable
It’s time for a change…

Cold eyes look out upon a frozen town
icy streets tripping over themselves to keep us indoors
but the boundaries of this house are closing in
and the sound of other voices is so appealing
If only I could hear them now
if only I could fill this space with people

I have ruined all I’ve loved
I’ve been ruined too, in my loving
and now all that I want differs so greatly
from what it is I really need
What I really need is saving
from myself and these ruinous ways
it’s time for change…

Old eyes could look out in years to come
across a town so unexplored and inexperienced
they might peer through that same pretty glass
wishing they’d seen more things first-hand
If only I could see it now
if only I could fill passed time with places

I have ruined all I’ve loved
I’ve been ruined through my love
broken hearts at least force new growth
staid hearts grow their roots too deep
moss clawing all over them, all over me
it’s time for a change…

This town still calls to me
through our dusty windows
and I look, so longingly
it still offers out its hand
from time to time and smiles
‘Don’t let this opportunity pass you by
it comes just once in a lifetime…
you have… but one lifetime…’

But I have ruined what I love
been ruined by my lover
now, there’s just ash
where the fires used to burn
Now, there’s just dust
where our skin used to prickle
now, there are just silences
where our words once dripped in love

And every day the outside world
swells in its appeal
and every day the outside world
multiplies its pull on me
Each morning, I wake one step closer
to making that leap
If only I could fill passed time with faces
if only I could find the door…

[2009]

Thanks for reading this old poem.

All my poems (not all of which are so down on love)

Free Line

Aren’t we both hedonists
just looking for a good time
shouldn’t we just enjoy this
a drug to take
for which we don’t have to pay
in these times of austerity
we can do our bit for the economy

Aren’t we both hedonists
looking for a good time
and if it’s free then why wouldn’t we
indulge whatever thrill we can
with just the touch of our shoes
or our elbows, waiting in the street
wouldn’t we be getting high so harmlessly

I play my free line, hanging on for your reply…

Aren’t we both lost a little
and willing to gamble all that we have left
The sun of this excitement
coats every moment’s surface
mundane places now hold mystery
the daily grind; a roulette wheel of flirting words

I play my free line, chained to your reply…

This is fun, this is free
so why should we reject it
why turn away
from the magic of this opportunity
let’s get out of here
come on, let’s disappear…

I play my free line, a slave to your reply…

[2015]

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Once Around The Sun (Collaboration, with audio)

Click play or right-click and ‘save as’ to download the mp3.

Once around the sun
with no touch from anyone
with no fun

Such a strange and lonely time
in the history of this planet
I dream of little moments
like brushing past you on the stairs
your aroma so sweet upon my senses
your hair so finely spun between my fingers

Round and round but never close enough
In my past life
it might be weeks, sometimes
could be months between
those shivering connections
molten to the core
on fire, inside another
But now
I count in “years”…

Heaven knows, we cracked the code
perpetual motion–
Won’t do what we’re told
can’t douse our passion
Forget trying to explain it
I need hands-on demonstrations
You and me
weren’t meant to be alone

It’s been too long
since I worked the buttons loose
on your jeans
It’s so long since
I pulled your head to my bare chest
let you listen to my heart
Round and round yet never together
Endless motion yet no connection

Now it’s
once around the sun
all these months without touch
without caress
without our fun

How I dream, how I burst
for the memory
of that breathless surrender
eyes connecting
and the quietly blinking pleasure
as we shiver beside
You bite my shoulder
prolong the moment
So many barren seasons, now
O, I’ve been aching for you

My fingers/nails
my fists/wrists
so dissatisfied…
My arms/sighs
my thighs/hips
so prone…
Once around the sun
so many months between
without touch
without caress
without undress
without breath
O, an end must come…

[2021]

Thanks for reading.

A second collaboration with Bree from Secret Thoughts Within. We wanted to write a poem about two people who’d been kept apart for a year because of lockdown and this is what we came up with. I’ve been struggling to find the time or inspiration to write this winter but collaborating with someone else is a really good way to tease out ideas and keep going. Check out Bree’s fantastic writing and audio at https://secretthoughtswithin.com/