After a night

of ocean trenches,

even the image

of mountain ranges

drawn and labelled

along, let’s say,

the edge of Norway

act as a barrier

to the tide of my

more violent waves;

the world’s little

creases and crumples,

like a bed sheet ruffled,

a ridge risen here

by a restless leg,

a trough in between

two folds in which

an entire civilisation

might live, love and die

before it’s time to get up

for breakfast.

The curtain filters

light fantastic.

The globe is spinning,

faster, faster.

The dust is falling,

forming swaying

constellations invisible.

The entirety of everything –

my chest of drawers,

my bike, this bed –

is made of mostly nothing,


expanding in almost

every direction at once.

Sail ships in space

really do exist, catching

tides of silver, solar wind,

and here I am,

warm in the midst

of mountain blankets

on a Thursday, skimming

through a book of pictures

of what we think we know;

Currents, countries, names,

patterns of past migration.

Chaos given beauty by explanation.



Back lane.

Fog thick, close enough to be damp with fine dew.

Immediately beneath a streetlight,

In the crook between its leg and its head,

A spider web is caught in a rainstorm,







And then I read a poem by J having talked to C and been honest with him about how much it scared me at R’s and replied to H and actually read the thing K sent me and thought it sounded good so actually emailed the people about it and then read a poem by J even though I was scared to because it might make me so excited or get me so that I had to write and loved it and it did and then told myself to be careful and to just take that love and the knowledge of that love and go to bed with it, go make your bed with it, take the bags of dirty clothes off the mattress and struggle inside a big red double duvet cover in your head smiling softly and no you don’t need to write, you don’t need to create something now, you can just go to bed with that love and then realising that  I was still flicking back towards online card games and realising that probably yes I did have to write and then I’m here doing it now and it’s all little, little steps like that, one thing after the next that is scary and is then done, moving ever forward, through and into love and letting it fill your back with each breath in, knowing that it makes your spine feel stronger and starting, starting to think about structure and it comes across in the tone of the writing now, seeking out half rhymes but still going and trying to stay immediate and that’s good, but do we do that? Go now and make the bed and sleep, or must this be processed now? Something created, stored, to be published I think I know. I know that to leave it now is likely to leave it forever, or to wake tomorrow with an immediate feeling of obligation which I will get anyway, because it comes like that and when will I sleep ever and will I ever stop doing these ridiculous midnight splurges? Make something. Make something of it and it’s a splurge expended. Make it. Look at it again tomorrow. Be happy with it. Publish it.



Take the knowledge of this love

and make your bed with it.


Take the dirty clothes off the mattress.

Fold them away.


Struggle inside a big red double duvet,

tuck in the sheet corners,


Set the pillows how you like them.

Do that and then nothing more.


Nothing at all.



Remembering Scotland


The way the entire house

was a sleeping bag.


The way the wind harried down

the strait between here and Skye


and played twister in our garden.

Tried to tip the canoe


for the rain to fill

in the early morning


before the first of us had risen

to crowd around fried eggs in a cramped kitchen.





Standing on top of the footbridge,

that spans the roundabout and the McDonalds,

I can almost see the terraces that once

proudly sauntered down to the river to drink,

now cut to stumps.

The butcher’s, the baker’s swiftly swallowed,

hardly a street corner with a pub.

Big Morrisons is a hardy temple,

remember the days when . . .


. . . there were cokeworks and the honesty of

sweaty hands heading home, sky full of smoke. . .


I don’t.

I’ve read about them in small books.

There are remnants. Karaoke lasers.

Timber yard. Danish in the dialect.

And from the top of the footbridge, there are

trees in the morning mist. The stub

of a boating ladder on the river bank.

The station still serves trains twice a day.


Were the passing days of chicken-filled streets

mourned once? The death of a good old haggle?


Standing on the footbridge

over the McDonald’s roundabout –

it could be said that’s all this town is now.


One day will somebody pine

for the rustic appeal

of hi-vis jacketed workers waiting

in the frost bitten carpark?


The driver brusquely

begins to peel

the apron of his lorry back

to serve up his delivery;

plastic trays of eggs,

seeded buns,

mixture for McFlurry.