Drunk On The Sea

You were drunk on the sea
we’d been talking all night
I was drunk on the scene
and feeling so alive
You turned to me
your face too close to mine
and that kiss…
that kiss made so much sense
that kiss made so much sense
to me then

You were drunk on the sea
another shot
you’re pouring out for me
I’m already drunk on you
we’d been on that beach for hours
You turned and said ‘I want to fall in love
just don’t tell my boyfriend’
and that kiss
that kiss made so much sense
at the time

“She will never know this happened
he can never know this happened”
you whispered
before it happened a second time
And I’m wondering
do you mean both times it happened
or just the second
I almost ask out loud
but don’t want to jeopardise the chance
of a third time

I am drunk on the sea alright
drunk on all you’re telling me
and each kiss
makes so much sense tonight
each kiss makes so much sense
as it happens

The next morning
I wake and you’re telling me
you were sober all night
dry all along
not even drunk on the sea
the waves still crashing in my head
O, what have we done…

[2009]

Thanks for reading.

Always drink responsibly.

The Lockpicker’s Smile (collab with audio)

Click ‘play’ to listen to us read the poem

By Bree Leto & Tom Alexander

With no source of a spark, your hand is alight
exposing daring new doorways in the dark
The succulent seductress, that keyhole smile
relishing each tactile turn of your hot lock

The deftness of your fingers, has me burning alive
igniting something I can’t seem to douse
Your hands on me, kindling that feeds my fire
illuminating feelings I thought were lost

Now, I’m star-struck, I’m speechless
by your unearthly capacity to enthral me
your forcefield, your gravity
invisibly, they preoccupy my whole body

You are my summer solstice
the longest day, smouldering with adventure
Despite my initial hesitation, I’m completely
hypnotised by your lockpicker’s smile

Blazing smile
burning fingers
unlocking doors
molten heat
night made day
as we retreat
into the untamed flames
of our incessant need

Pinned to one another’s heart
that lock forever picked
All passion released
each searing kiss

scorching the sheets
We writhe beneath
and kiss and kiss and kiss (and kiss)
deep into the night…

[2021]

Thanks for reading.

Check out Bree’s writing.

The Causeway Between Our Hearts

Tonight, I eye the wind
as it dances on the water
singing of the distance
that no longer can be closed

Well, I told you I was selfish
there were no children in me
Unwilling to stir for a moment
from this endless daydream
where I father my creativity

You told me that you knew me
our hearts beating to that same drum set
and no one must wake you either
That carving pretty worlds
behind closed eyes
is your calling and profession

With one eye knowingly
looking into mine
and the other doggedly at the door
you welcomed my request for kisses deep
while telling me you could feel
that farewell letter in my back pocket
itching to be delivered

You rip away on the mildest breeze
a kite cut free
Could not believe
the words a writer brought you
the words you said you loved to read
You wished it dead, before the birth
and all I did was acquiesce

I tell you now
that letter was no dis-missive
but a list of tide times
The wind thieves it from my fingers
and I watch it whipping out
across the water

Two selfish hearts can coexist
only for a passing moment
then the ocean rises
the road is lost
the causeway closes

All we were is washed away
or wind upon the surface
ripples or waves, decaying…

[2020]

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All my audio readings.

If My ‘Always’ Could Be True

Some dusks, they take too much
and of men, I am duty-bound
to be loyal, to provide…
There should be a shelter
I can create with my hands
so when the clouds revert to water
then she will have some warmth

But I am a coward, sometimes
I am a snake, sometimes
a jackal and a vulture
I dream to take it back
undo my failed moments
so my ‘always’ could be true

Men look at me and smile
some simply see I am like them
drawn to flames and to destruction
other men see me as a joke
not as a man should be
armed to art and to creation
she seems to like my contradictions

But I am uninspired, sometimes
I am a beast, sometimes
an animal and a killer
I long to take it back
undo those bleak mistakes
so my ‘always’ could be true

I have been a knife
and I have slit before
so my ‘always’ will never be true…

[2006]

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Contusion Blues

Have I caught a cold?
I can feel it in my bones
this hollow sense that I can’t shake
when I gauge the current state

Newspaper, newspaper
you’re not paper anymore
and it’s not news
just the inevitable unfolding
an unstoppable rolling
towards flag waving
a dismantling, dividing
dis-united kingdom

This news, this news
gives me contusion blues…

Politics is broken, democracy’s a joke
opinions spin in the echo chambers
they’ve weaponised conjecture
demonised the expert

This malaise creeps upon us like a sickness
our unshakable, solemn sadness
with fingers tight around our wrists
I feel the dead blood pool
just beneath the surface
I can barely grip a pen (to vote)

This news, this news
gives me contusion blues…

It’s been like this for years
but I just feel 
everything
seems to be getting worse…

[2019]

Thanks for reading.

Under The Old Whale Bones

If you can find your way back here
let’s meet
under the old whale bones
this place that we each love
Where we look out to sea
or back towards the sleeping town

One day, we’ll stand together
and unbeknownst to us
it will be
for the last time in our lives

Whichever of us, must go first
let’s make a promise to meet again
under the old whale bones
Hearts filled with feeling
and the beauty of the harbour lights
reflected on the water

The hem of night is chasing us
with its rude goodbye
as it claims its prize
and lays us down
as we close our sleeping eyes

One day, we’ll smile at one another
and unbeknownst to us
it will be
for the last time in our lives

Mum, dad, when you
slip into that endless blue
or if I am gone before you
Let’s find some way back and meet
under the old whale bones

We’ll pose for someone’s photos
ghosts that chatter
or ghosts that silently
contemplate the sea
under the old whale bones

We’ll stand together
and look out across the sand
stretching as wide
as our smiles…

[2021]

Thanks for reading.

All my poems.

Disorder of My Family

This aimless wander has me homesick
my family haunts me
Around the table; spirits chat and eat
it’s been much too long
since I heard those voices
saw the smile in my father’s warm eyes
somersaulted in my mother’s complete understanding
laughed and gasped at the speed
of my sisters’ lightning wit

There is a peace there
in the disorder of my family
I’m at home there
in the disorder of my family

These years, I have spun far away
but still we each hold so tightly
my return feels as though I’d never left here
That easiness and warmth retained
So, to bathe in my father’s wisdom
or breathe in my mother’s open heart
to relax with my sisters’ friendly tales
as they look to me with such respect

There is an unending bond there
in the disorder of my family
there is always a home for me
in the disorder of my family

This aimless wander finds me wanting
to return, to see my family
to go back, to see my family
so, I go home…

[2010]

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A Taste of Fame

A taste of fame
microscopic
a little glow from my tiny flame
And sure enough
lost and troubled souls began to circle
hungry for warmth

They think they know you
from the lies you sold
the way you mixed the paint
those clumsily broad brush strokes…

A flash of talent
minuscule 
in its dimmish burst
Surely then, they shuffle closer
neglected, in need of light
hoping for a glimmer
of your humanness
or the residual heat
from a fire you once described

Convinced they know you
without asking any questions
assuming everything
from a scene you span
so many years ago

O, vanity, vanity
you’ll be the death of me…

[2020]

Thanks for reading.

All my poems.

Poetry Audio – Listen now…

I’ve put together a playlist of 21 of my poems on Soundcloud. If Monday is already too much to deal with, slip into some words spoken aloud. 45 Minutes of ramblings for your enjoyment.

Link (if the embed above doesn’t work for you).

If hearing the words isn’t enough for you, you’ll find most of those poems in my paperback/Kindle poetry collections:

The Ship-wreckers Lamp – Selected Poems. Released 2020
One of These Years… – Selected Poems. Released 2019.

Thanks for reading/listening/just being you…

Don’t Look And It Won’t Hurt

Five years of cobweb
decorates the hallway box
the urn inside
holds more dust at rest
well, it used to be your father…

Don’t look and it won’t hurt
don’t look and it won’t hurt

Your brother’s drinking
on a fifteen year bender
so quick to lose his temper
if you ask too many questions
that snake prone upon his shoulder

Don’t look and it won’t hurt
don’t look and it won’t hurt

Your man beside you lies untouched
no communion for years now
still the love is strong between you
but something physical has broken
in desperate need of discussion

Don’t look and it won’t hurt
don’t look and it won’t hurt

I’m always here if you
want to talk it through
heaven knows, you need to
I know it’s hard to face it fully
but I’d do my best to help you

That mantra you’ve been living by
it simply isn’t true
the mantra you’ve been swearing by
quietly, it harms you

Don’t look and it won’t hurt
don’t look and it won’t hurt…

[2019]

Thanks for reading.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud
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Is It Cold Where You Are?

All this talk of cut cords, severed alliances
assuming of an adultness of understanding
a rationing of feeling
where one side metes out their emotions
only experiencing the right and sensible sensations

And so I forget to ask
is it cold, where you are?

All this presumption of absolutes, burned bridges
there being no way to return to stir this into a mess
a wall of arbitrary time, slotted days upon weeks
to hide the vision of what once shone so stellar

And so I forget to ask
is it cold, where you are?

All this forward thinking, predictive dreaming
pushing eyes and minds to see something not yet shown
clawing the edges of a still concealed future
an impatient Christmas morning of wild new opportunity

And so I forget to ask
is it cold, where you are?

Selfishly distracted, by the glowing halo of tomorrow
buoyed by a sense of feeling strong and free
my mind gets wiped, all compassion corrupted
when really I still care
and will wonder about you always

Is it cold, where you are?
and if it is, is there anything I can do?

If it’s cold where you are
is there anything I can do?

[2011]

Thanks for reading.

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Holy Terror

Folding out your wings
and fastening them to the breeze
you stand firm upon the window sill
Instinctively, you turn from me
I feel the coolness of the air
and know that soon you’ll be
nothing but a poem
on some damp page I’ll tuck away
my eyes finally wiped dry

What is that holy terror
beating at the heart of you?
You said you long to bind your essence
to the history of the world
but I wonder, will you find your truth
or some brittle hedonism
And what scares you most
is thinking that your story
may go unheard

In your pursuit of freedom
you’ve chained yourself
to so many things
to pretty bottles, departing trains
torn pages, leaky pens
smiling faces with haunted eyes
or words of seduction
so wantonly exchanging flesh
for a clever rhyme or two

You sing as if you are a bird
but I know you as a kite
All these things, they are your string
and in your endless daydream
you can bare to wield no knife
I know I cannot own you
your art, it consumes you
furiously chasing some distant dream
even you can’t see

But jumping from the sill
the wind plots you a new course
Maybe soon, you’ll find those answers
be they peace or understanding
perhaps some deeper seam
the bond between all things
or just to give a label
to that holy terror
beating forever at the heart of you

Be sure to call me
one day in the lonesome future
if you feel the hunger has abated
and you can bare to finally belong…

[2021]

Thanks for reading.

All my poems.

Turn These Lives Around

You’re filling all my notebooks
even though we rarely speak
A constant stream of inspiration
and wishes for what has been
Why must my mind remain connected
always wishing for another chance
a change of life
a new life with you
Could we stop this juggernaut
pull the handbrake
and turn these lives around…

Inertia, it seems, has got it in for me
too weak to fight it
but for you…could I fight for you
and turn these lives around

One day, will you walk out
One day, leave him standing there
One day, will I walk out
leave her standing there
And could we live with each other
could we live with ourselves
if we did that to them

This seeming connectivity
would it continue in those new times
cut adrift on a sea so fresh
filled with hope for change
and what newness may come
From our off-chance meeting
unexpected acceptance
You’re filling all my notebooks
since the hours talking today
of turning these lives around…

[2009]

Thanks for reading this old poem.

All my poems.

The Winning Hand

In the dimming garden
beneath the belt of Venus
fingers grip a bottle
a nightcap alone

Finally, I belong
finally, I belong to someone
how I’ve run from this
for so long

Now, nothing makes me happier
nothing makes me feel more sure
of anything
than knowing that you’re waiting

There were so many jokers
in the deck
the two of hearts, too many cards
and still dealing, still dealing

The night air’s tinged by a new chill
September’s signature
autographing my bare arms
but I barely feel it

Let me stay by your side
through winter months
and country walks
through rain and sleet
and fog

I used to hold nothing in my hand
look at the empty shape it made
wondering if there was something missing
something
that should have belonged
only me
I should have belonged
to something
to you

I sit down into the wicker chair
look across the valley below
the sky is closing in the distance
darkness gloves the globe again

How could I
even for a moment
have doubted
I held the winning hand
all this time

How could I
even for a second
doubt that
I held the winning hand
all along…

[2019]

Thanks for reading. Repost from 2019.

All my poems.

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]

Thanks for reading.

[Written on the eve of my 30th birthday]

Holly Hagg

Pen devoid of poems
adventure long overdue
living room carpet
growing long in the tooth
I’m pining for movement
so keen to get out
I’ll go walking down
to Holly Hagg

Little glimpses at normality
haloed by golden rays
There’s no poison
in the idle river
no politics
in the quiet horse
cantering to
another chew

The clouds of working day
part while I’m out walking
bathed in nature’s endless beauty
which never disappears
only ever obscured by thought
or perspective
Eased back into focus
on the road
to Holly Hagg

With every step I take
the tension unspools
And there are words, waiting
ideas that come to me
pinned to ancient fenceposts
nestled in the cracks between the stones
making up the wall
that keeps me on the road
to Holly Hagg

The walk becomes a gallop
blood pumping in my chest
body now loose enough
for every step to be a dance
I am light and free
as I close the distance
on my prized poetry
and the generous view expands
beyond Holly Hagg…

[2020]

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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]

Thanks for reading.

All my poems.

Mayor of Kabul

My heart beats
like jack boots
marching on dusty streets

The only place to hide
is beneath a veil
I fought to decline

They come
to poison up the well
We’re waiting
it’s all there is

Each of my children
take a finger on my right hand
a little fist around each one

And my husband
grips the other hand
as we dearly clutch our tears

They come
to bleed this well dry
We’re waiting
it’s all there is

Future orphans
future widower
Will my hands
ever be mine again
Is this inevitable
or can my hands
remain free…

[2021]

Note: Liberal poetic licence with the truth employed but inspired by this story: https://inews.co.uk/news/world/afghanistans-first-female-mayor-waiting-taliban-come-kill-her-1152127

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]

Thanks for reading.

If We Love It…

What if those cells collide
what if the world beats to a different rhythm
What if our path is forked
What direction will we take
What if we have no choice
for the first time in our lives

What if things go smoothly
What if then we’re three
What if it gets hard at times
What if we do our best
What if something 
we never thought was in us
well, what if it suits us

What if there’s a name
What if it’s etched across our hearts
becomes the story of our lives
What if it was for this 
that we’ve unknowingly been waiting
What if putting our selfish 
selves upon the shelf
well, what if we love it

What if in the fading light
we sit and smile at all we made
What if they sit 
and smile with us too…

[2021]

Thanks for reading.