letting words slip

words slip from drowning sailors beneath the waves
bound in their own Bible book cloth

from the lips of dead poets they slip into the dark soil
echoing for a while in coffins and Gothic vaults

lovers exchange whispered words of deep devotion
slipping over the edge on scented night air

a peasant’s prayer that falls to the ground lies silent
hunger slipping down his throat in dry clods

the soldier let’s slip his deadly round of rat-a-tat words
letters of condolence litter the field

I write and write and I write some more
letting words slip from my fingers to save my life



the agapanthus sways upon the wind’s reverie
as if fishing for your thoughts when you lean sideways
hand clasped on the brass bird’s head that adorns
your walking stick, you forget why you came here
this was your garden after all, but somehow
it doesn’t feel like yours anymore
for there are strangers fitting safety handles
and filling up your space with chatter
like so many swifts that congregate like swirling angels
if only you could raise your head high enough
to take them all in
you know they are waiting there for you
but for now you content yourself with studying the grass
and shushing the voices that come to you on the wind
when only the faintest scent is discernible
from the agapanthus that sways upon your reverie

two children

two children run hand in hand
upon a scrap of council land
their podgy parents sit and smoke
post social media video jokes

at the touch of a screen the lives of those
admired, despised and some they know

yes, they love their smartphones
they’ve made the toy strewn rough cut grass zone
their domain, their terraced castle grounds
where the little rascals babble with laughter

an old man watches on from his window
he’s the ‘paedo’ that was always a weirdo

who now never gets to go out
in fear of the shouts and taunts from the louts
whose two children run hand in hand
upon the scrap of council land

that separates them from the busy road
where the quarry lorries unload

a toxic cargo of asthma inducing invisible snow
to blight the already blighted glow
of futures held in the hands of others
parents, weirdos, councils, climate changers

the big wheeler dealers that keep things turning
the sun might be shining today, but tomorrow

the two children will reap the GMO hay fever
of meadows sown but heatwaves razed
yet, by heck, let us not get carried away!
let’s sit back and enjoy the two children play

hand in hand, laughing, running
as all children would no doubt want to do

chalk marks

these chalk hills have settled
in my bones
white as seagull feathers
hard as the past yet
soft as the present moment
I ache to be dissolved
to be worn down like a coward
as the cliffs that face the sea
choose to lose their daily battle

these chalk streams have flowed
in my veins
they have meandered through
forgotten vales forever borne onward
changing course with seasonal whim
the fight being only with oneself
it consuming all of time
crushing the outer shell to powder
blunting the flint of any resolve

these chalk marks have left their scars
on my childhood skin
we collected skulls on the seashore
sucked green slime from the sockets
soft slippery between our toes and teeth
when deeper down and buried
we found chunks of mortar fins
corroded into abstract art
still deadly in our hands

Hove 1985

she stood where the waves turned to leave
a smiling line of debris on the shore
he looked back over his shoulder
a line of grey buildings washed away
when she waved the sea came in
when he waved back the sea went out
somewhere very deep inside
they were both crying

Listening to the MJQ in the Mojave Desert

you might accuse me of not being there
but I might argue why bother
you might say my words are not authentic
but I might question your supposition why

here is my chair, here is my view
see what you will, it won’t cost you

you might want some further proof provided
but I might offer you none in return
you might try to reach out and touch me
but I might already be on the run

here is my chair, here is my view
feel what you want, it won’t cost you

you might not like jazz in the afternoon
but I might just turn the volume up high
you might not like the heat and the dust
but I might just turn you up to the sky

here is my chair, here is my view
hear what you want, it won’t cost you


the track through the canyon
is ever so understanding
the rocks and the boulders
cover my wanderings
no, I’m not really there
and I’m not really here
I am always elsewhere
so far and so near
travelling with the wanderlust
that binds my body to soul
from young to old
from shore to shore
I can hear the birds singing
calling me on