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]

Thanks for reading.

All my audio readings.

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.

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…

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.

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.

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]

Thanks for reading.

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]

Thanks for reading.

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

Fancy a book?

Cooling Towers

Parking the car
out by the cooling towers
I breathe the quiet in
lit by the moon
not going anywhere

Thinking on
all those sad miles behind me…

Remember when we were nineteen
kissing in the back seat
tucked into the kerb
lit by our lust
not going anywhere

Thinking on
all those mad miles behind me…

When we were nineteen
everything was a fire
everything was flame
but everything evaporates
like steam rising

I’ve driven up this road
and come back down again
not going anywhere
not the silver in my hair
nor the lines around my eyes
not going anywhere

Thinking on
all those bad miles behind me…

Sitting in the car
flicking the headlights on
and off again
when did everything evaporate
like steam rising

Not going anywhere
forehead against the steering wheel
tears bursting on my knees
whispering
‘just kiss me
just kiss me
in the backseat of my car…’

[2017]

Thanks for reading.

Fancy a book?

Looking Out

The pen I found on Oxford High Street in 2002

I was young, I was clay
I was given to looking out
and there upon the train seat
a gift from the universe
A barely filled notebook
no name, no number
no way to find the owner
it piqued my curiosity…

With pencil then, I tried to fill it
with all my words, my wonderings
my secret truths
but it went nowhere
just collected dust upon my shelf

A few months gone by
still young, my paint still wet
still at my most malleable
Lying on the pavement there
another present from the universe
a gleaming fountain pen
lid on, no engraving, no passer by
no way to return it
instinctively, I picked it up
put it to the waiting paper

The flick of that scalpel nib
the infinite potential, the promise…
For the first time in my life
I could speak without interruption
get my thoughts straight, talk it over
A friendship formed there
that has never faded

Since that strange coincidence
or you may call it providence
I’ve always had a keen eye on the world
for its quiet subtle gifts and moments
Look up, look down, look out
It’s all around, every day
I am humbled by the wonder
of nature
and the ever generous beauty
of existence…

[2021]

Thanks for reading.

Fancy a book?

Lend Me Your Light

Friend, we drink together
talking at a wedding
lit blue and gold
familiar faces dance around us

Friend, secretly, I wonder
if you were to open up your essence
lift a pen to kiss the paper
to vent your heart aloud

Friend, I long to know
what your poetry would be
if you chose to write

Which desires peskily linger
at the edges of your furrowed mind
which old flames still burn a fire
which hidden wounds you’d dare parade
what is the meter
and the rhythm of those unspoken secrets

What ribbon would you choose
to decorate the mundane
Which words would you feverishly grasp towards
what profound truths
do your fingertips quietly trace
which wisdoms guide you along your way
what strength of light shines inside of you
and what damage might you do
to leave us reeling

And I don’t say it
but every time we meet, I think it
Write!
right out loud
for me
for you
splash your heart across the page
in every shade
lend me your light
if but for a moment

Spill your soul for all to see
Friend, I love you, and will always wonder
what your poetry would be
if you’d set it free…

[2020]

Thanks for reading.

Fancy a book?

Stark

Tom is dead. His party’s over.
Stark and sarcastic
he’s just a memory, now…

So numb, I watch me crack again
in horrific black and white projection
about to jump, in someone else’s bed
so restlessly, I turn away
can’t face up to my adultery
the tempted, cheating, loveless; me

So dutifully, I cover my eyes again
headphones on, I watch me walking
blinded, soulless, vacuum filled
so magnified, I still look small
swallowing my pride, all passion dies
the pointless, aching, hollow; me

Devoid of colour, of life or joy
the putrid skin just falls away
a mess that stains the carpet
One last thing to write about
a death so rough and meaningless
the broken, elemental, rotting; me

(And at the sight of all of this
the spectator me can only laugh
and from my passive lips, a joke
a joke…)

They burn on in the night
dripping candles of my fat
for what I couldn’t give in life
comes from functionality in death
So openly, I tear out my beating heart
the sinning, lost and wasted; me

So obviously, I watch me try to stand
pushing the lens in deep between my eyes
the blue flushed out and burnt away
So covertly, I’m zooming in
I can’t get enough of seeing this
the forsaken, faithless, empty; me

So naturally, it came to me at first
time took my hands so tightly
pushed me into the holes again
stripped my words down to the bone
so pathetically, I put up a meek fight
the tortured, pained, artistic; me

A joke
stark and sarcastic
me
A joke
stark and sarcastic
me

[2003]

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.

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.

The Lighthouse

There are some nights
like clockwork I find myself
ticking up the stone steps
of the lighthouse

There are some nights
cloaked in melancholy
staring out, wide-eyed
across the freezing seas of time

There are these nights
I sit, quietly, by the lens
wondering of all the other nights
I have sat quietly wondering…

A thread of light stretches backwards
through all my life
sewing together
these contemplative moments
connecting me with my younger selves

We all sit there on different steps
looking out to sea
with our lifetime of bad haircuts
and our silver fountain pens
each more expensive than the one before

We all wonder in an echo
we all wonder
‘Am I right? Is my aim true?
do I have any aim at all?

Where am I going?’

I long to reach out a hand somehow
send out a boat to them
I worry for those lost souls
adrift on wild seas
rocking in churning waters
without a lot of hope

Through the thick blanket of night
I sense
the face of a future me
he looks healthier, happier
richer somehow
looking back
across the freezing seas of time
fondly and encouragingly
he’s smiling back at me…

[2015]

Thanks for reading.

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