Monthly Archives: December 2011


We woke early the day spoons fell from the sky,
rubbed gritty eyes, sleepily unaware of incoming metal,
left home to muddle through the mundane.

Early March, dark by six when we returned,
seconds through the door when the shower started,
startling the air with ring and rasp.

I barely recognised her voice

The first hit me blunt, brought me to my knees,
freeze-framed millisecond before the second hit
bit into my scalp, pinned me to the ground

while silver rained around. You dragged me
from the deluge, covered my head.
I fled, bled, remember running the stairs,

aware of the screams, dead dead dead
beneath the clatter, hammered-mettle matter
that left me bludgeoned and bleeding,

surrounded by steel that scooped me hollow,
left me to wallow in double-dense days,
weighed down by the hebetate chemical daze.

Narcosis that left me scrabbling for sharps,
searching in drawers for whetted knives,
anything to feel the edge of the blade.



Filed under Free Verse, Poetry

unexpected gifts


sitting with the future
gifting invisible trinkets
trickling reminisces
into fire-burnished bowls

flame-licked filigree
soft-silvering the air
shape-shifting mementos
hushed shadow dance

tarnished antique chains
in youthful hands
fingering fine-links
quietly plaiting strands

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She slipped beneath me, lost it seemed, for days,
a torn and ragged wisp I failed to grasp,
that withered in the mottled mirror-gaze.

Caliginous dysfunctional malaise,
shushed-silent but for dusk’s death-rattle rasp,
she slipped beneath me, lost it seemed, for days.

Bewildered child within the laddered maze,
seduced by sorrow’s vile puissant asp
that slithered in the mottled mirror-gaze.

Entombed within the muddy-mettled greys,
enveloped by seclusion’s gutt’ral gasp,
she slipped beneath me, lost it seemed, for days.

‘Neath fractal glitter, hope returned rephrased,
deft-delicately held with hook and hasp,
soft-swithered in the mottled mirror-gaze,

her party dress – resplendent polonaise
and in her hand the proffered, beaded clasp.
Wraith-like beneath her, lost it seemed, for days;
I found myself within her mirrored gaze.

~ a polonaise is a woman’s dress with a tight bodice and an overskirt drawn back to reveal a colorful underskirt or petticoat

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Filed under Poetry, Villanelle


It wasn’t so difficult when it came to it –
the freshly whetted blade sliced nicely;
no need to saw through twitching tissue.

(Years of watching Pop sharpen knives
to gut fish finally came in handy)

I watch as chunks of me plop
into the cheap plastic bucket –
no sense in using the good one.

I’ll be off now then.
Be a love and clean up the blood
before you leave would you?


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For M and for friendship

You broad-shoulder me to the beach,
pillow-creased and yawning,
our winter-beaten faces
upturned to the burn.

Lungs gather up the onshore Sou’westerly;
its briny tang caffling in our hair
as we skim ‘ducker’ stones
and watch the storm petrels scatter.

Noon finds us knee-deep
in the mud-silt sand,
elbow to elbow, giggling,
digging for clams.

Blistering afternoon slips slowly
down the cool throat of the sky
and as we trickle our way home
something resembling peace


Filed under Free Verse



by the zealous-eyed beguile
of emerald charmante and jaded éolienne;

under the gaze of the mantua-maker,
sharp glint of his bladed eye
swish-swathing through tamarind messaline,

just on the bias,
cross-grain tilted
to the wet-spliced warp and weft,

for the softly-draped
deconstruction to begin.

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Filed under Free Verse, Poetry

A Day of Protests

~ 10th December 2011

As December draws
the feast ever closer
and turkey wattles
waddle crimson
beneath the festive blade

Congolese election tension
spills onto London streets,
Whitehall swiftly sweeping up
Kabila’s critics with
the broken Christmas baubles.

Meanwhile in Putin’s Moscow
thousands decked in white
watch quietly
as democracy lies twitching
under ballot boxes
prematurely stuffed.

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We curse the wretched hour glass that nails life to the floor,
sifting time with ticktock rhyme as grain by grain we ripen.
Fast-beat with wrists and fettered fists on pedagogy’s door,
beg the grown-ups ‘let us in’ till gap begins to widen.

The race to reach maturity – a noisy quick-sand bore,
hollering from child to bride as growth becomes compulsion.
Half-hitch a ride on crimson tide, a monthly underscore,

pre-pubescent budding breasts; first training bra propulsion.
Hot hormone highs that dampen thighs and leave us wanting more,
chronologic ticktimebomb an exponential function.

The tipping point comes all too soon, impatient youth impugns
years gone by, blink of an eye; no chance now of reversal.
As sand runs fast through aging glass and shape-shifts into dunes,
echoes loud amid the shrouds – child that was no rehearsal.

The form:

This is the Sonnet version of Stress Matrix Dectet/Stress Checkerboard Stanza – developed by Luke Prater

14 lines, 14 syllables per line – aBaB cDc DcD eF eF

(I’ve taken a bit of a liberty with the rhyme scheme and carried the ‘a’ rhyme through so this one is actually
aBaB aCa CaC dEdE)

where lowercase are iambic heptameter (7 beats/stresses per line), and uppercase trochaic heptameter. This yields a perfect ‘checkerboard’ of stressed and unstressed syllables (14 x 14, equaling 196 syllables).

Depending on where the Volta arrives (the ‘turn’ – resolution, or at least, change in tone, crucial aspect to a sonnet), there are 3 different stanza layouts (the rhyme-scheme stays the same).

If the turn comes after the first eight lines, as it does in Italian Sonnets, the layout is aBa BcDcD cDe FeF. If it comes after line ten, then it’s aBaB cDc DcD eFeF (same as English but ending on a quatrain rather than the two couplets).

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We pick the grit from knees life gravel-grazed,
blunt-tweeze with poorly practised pincer grip
and swab the wounds of those that we have raised.

As bullies leave our babies dumped and dazed
and scoop cold marrow from the playground skip
we pick the grit from knees life gravel-grazed.

Sanguineous crust is used, replaced, erased,
with trembling hands we pull the plaster, rip,
and swab the wounds of those that we have raised.

As suitors come and go and hopes are razed
and kisses barb the mouth, fish-hook, cleft lip,
we pick the grit from knees life gravel-grazed.

The total sum of care is not appraised,
all debts are crushed as we defer the scrip
and swab the wounds of those that we have raised.

When finally our harrowed core has blazed
and youth has sailed on creaking sallow ship
we’ll pick the grit from knees life gravel-grazed
and swab our wounds with those that we have raised.


Filed under Villanelle

A(u)nti(e) Kyoto


We grew up believing
that Auntie knew best.

The indubitable drama queen,
licensed to bill from her pebble mill,
now resides in the city.

Pity really,
that Auntie’s gone global
nothing noble about packing up
a home-grown scientist
in a neat little bundle –

gift wrap the six,
but there’s a seventh

Sad to see Auntie’s
lost all her gumption;
foregone assumption
international consumption
would ditch the last reel
on the cutting room floor –

environmental truth
sticks in Man(n)’s craw

~ The BBC, affectionately known as ‘Auntie’ in the UK, has been screening David Attenborough’s excellent series ‘The Frozen Planet’. In order to sell the programme abroad it has packaged the series as six episodes with an ‘optional’ seventh episode. The seventh episode entitled ‘On Thin Ice’ is dedicated totally to climate change, something which Attenborough feels very passionate about. Of the 30 networks across the world who have bought the series, a third of them have rejected the option of screening the seventh episode. In the US the series is being screened on The Discovery Channel, which was actually involved in making the programme along with the BBC and The Open University. Viewers in the US will not see the seventh episode.


Filed under Free Verse, Poetry