Books of Blake

You saw me, even then
you knew me
back when no one saw me
I kept no one around
who might know me
I, too, was in my infancy
twenty-something
and far from knowing much
in any real way at all

Still, somehow, you found me
brought books of Blake
to the shop we worked
we’d sit and read together
on the varnished wooden counter
your summer dress
hanging from you like a sail
we’d admire the crazed paintings
taste those verses on our tongues

Books of Blake we stood before
and poured our minds all over
you said I ‘didn’t know how to do what I was doing’
I ‘didn’t know how to love who I was loving’
the cheek of it!
the incisiveness…

And you’d tell me
of the bottle of wine you drank
in the bath, the night before
as the water grew cold around you
cleverly planting images
that I’ve not shaken to this day
(all these years on)

You were a lush and tranquil island
in the sea of my stupidity
you were the first mind
I truly connected with

And I still rue the day
you slipped through my fingers
growing cold around me
then gone forever…

[2020]

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No Secret Place

There’s no such thing as a secret spot
in this college town
where strangers
are just friends of friends
news travels faster than light
Even in the dark
they’re bound to see as we embrace
before we could kiss
word would have blossomed
across town

These people live for gossip
these people live for scandal
I don’t want to service them
and their rotten needs
(by giving in to my own…)

There’s no such thing as privacy
in the glare of these glass eyes
tacked onto busses, buildings, banks
Casually observing every action
if you and I would dare to speak
we’d be captured, saved and dated
before we’d even finished
in this mistrusting town

These people live for drama
these people bay for criminals
I don’t want to fold to them
and their rotten needs
(by succumbing to my own…)

We cannot touch in this post-code
we cannot push the slightest limit
there is no shade
there is no dark corner
we can dwell in
there is no blind spot
there are no closed eyes
in this paranoid town

Perhaps you could meet me
on a sea-front somewhere wet
and in the torrential rain
this country’s eyes will be blinking
so furiously, that they don’t see
the true, free love
that flows in us
and we may finally give in
and we may finally succumb
to our rotten needs

O, and I can’t wait…

[2008]

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Adrienne

There exists a God in your body
a deity in you, somewhere
All who look upon you, they become
detached from what they thought they knew
from what they understood before
And so begins the free fall…
into a deep and glowing love for you

You are a carrier, spreading the seed
of this great ailment throughout
With each bat of each lash you do
and with that smile and slow sure dance
your words are bursting in my ears
And so begins the free fall…
into a deep and shining love for you

[2008]

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Note: written into my phone in a club in Oxford early 2008.

Image Credit: Image is a still from the excellent film ‘Victoria‘ 2015.

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This Leaving Feeling

Below the boards I hear the water rushing
a stray dog strolls by and says hello
he doesn’t stop for long, keeps moving on
across Port Meadow the horses roam

I’ve got this leaving feeling
breeding in me…

The sun above sheds its strength with the season
trees undressing, will soon stand naked
arms held up but not in questioning
the bridge at Magdalen wheezing smoke

I’ve got this leaving feeling
coiled up in me…

Abandoned nests descending in the gales
I’m shedding possessions, lightening the load
too many treasures to take with me
decorating Cowley with my life’s bright litter

I’ve got this leaving feeling
biting down upon me…

After everything that has to be done, is done
can I return?
Once everything that has to be done, is done
will I return here?

Will this feeling ever leave me?
Once I leave
will this feeling be gone?

[2011]

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Listen to my poems on Soundcloud
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