between the pages

the plot invariably led him into scenarios
he would not normally have chosen to encounter
for which he blamed the author for his misfortunes
and called him capricious and irresponsible
why the fuck make him do things for the sake of a story
when it's not even his story and shouldn't it have been obvious
that his character would have acted differently?

writers are all the fucking same he accused
they think they know what the hell goes on inside
a character's head but no, not often, instead they create
and formulate and manipulate something manifestly fictional
that in reality becomes their inner demons projected
as someone else's ill judged mishaps and misdemeanours
don't hang that on me said the man trapped between the pages

give me an atlas and open it wide
I'll pick my own route from here on in
your stormy weather is not on my agenda
no twists and turns will torment me
it's time this man learnt to be free
I'll stick to my guns like Matisse's brush
close the book now, if you please . . .

free to go

no more sticks and walking frames
no hands to pull you from your seat
you’re free to go now

free to go
wherever you roam
wherever that is
let’s call it home

no pills and creams and joints aflame
no dark depressions to defeat
you’re free to go now

I never made it
to your side
you’ll never know
how much I cried

no need to ever feel ashamed
no gadgets to help your heart go beat
you’re free to go now

free to go
yes, free to go
you’re free to go now
free to go


(Mum passed away this morning
her condition deteriorated very quickly
she slipped into unconsciousness
died peacefully with a nurse by her side
in the end I couldn’t be there in person
but in every other way I hope I was there
please give her a wave now she’s free to go)

love you Mum xx


know that I am with you

if I could hold your hand
stroke your forehead
tell you I love you
know that I am with you

as these things should be
my last duty to you Mum
to be at your bedside
to thank you . . .

yet sitting here all alone
eyes closed in the silent evening
I can almost hear you breathing
dozing in your armchair

in quiet meditation
know that I am with you
gently willing you on to
your next journey . . .

I’d tell you everything will be fine
don’t be afraid Mum
embrace the forever
open your heart and soul

take your memories with you
fly with the stars and angels
all the faces from your past
live for eternity . . .

there seems so much to say now
just when time has nearly run its course
I want to believe you can hear me
all the things I left unsaid

know that I am with you
holding your hand
stroking your forehead
telling you I love you . . .


I sense a giving up
a moving off down a softly lit corridor
to somewhere quieter
where strangers don’t ask how you are
every thirty minutes of the day

at least there
familiar faces from the past will greet you
you’ll recall their smiles
of mother and father beaming at their newborn girl
of your fiancé rowing you across Swanbourne Lake

the waters still and calm
sunlight burning through your closed lids
drowsy now your head tilted back upon the pillow of death
acceptance and contentment quietening the fears
oh how I will miss you when you are gone

Bob and Diane in Quarantine

put the face mask on, he said
through his own face mask, now
turn around and fold your arms
she did what she was told

he slipped a single duvet cover over her head
pulled it down over her shoulders, just how
we got into this mess,
she felt alarmed
panicked a little and muttered, I feel so old

hang on a mo while I do the same
he struggled with his double duvet cover until
they stood like two big spuds in flowery sacks
and only then did he move much closer

wrapping his duvet clad arms around her tired frame
remember when we used to stand up on the hill?
we were a right pair of Swansea Jacks!
me in my loafers and secondhand motor

we watched the sunset every night, she said
and everything seemed alright back then somehow
she wiggled her bum reminding him of her charms
he giggled, now you’re making me feel bold

they held each other like newlyweds
till death do us part was what they’d vowed
we must look like we’ve escaped from the funny farm!
or two giant spliffs, stuffed and rolled!

I love you Diane . . . our love is an eternal flame
I love you too Bob . . . and I promise I always will
he lifted the duvet from Diane and stepped back
at 2 metres he did the same, regaining his composure

I’ll put them in the wash, he proclaimed
she replied, this quarantine business gives me the chills
yeah I’m desperate for a drive with you in the Zodiac
same time tomorrow you old duvet lover . . . ?




thank you for thinking of me

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another momentous day

the monk drew his habit around his shoulders
it felt comforting as a prayer uttered in private contemplation
warming as a shroud laid on a corpse
he’d seen many of those over the years
brothers mainly
but on occasion others like the gardener

tonight the moon rolled itself along the ridge of mountains
and for a moment he imagined himself up there
communing with his maker
wandering the rocky paths in solitude
at one with his worldly thoughts
blessed to be alive on this frosty night

when angels raced across the heavens
and stillness gripped him like a vice
the temperature dropping made him turn for home
thankful for the warm fire and bowl of soup
that waited patiently for him
tomorrow would be another momentous day

endlessly roaming

if i could walk away and endlessly roam 
where if i wanted to would i stop
it seems there are no safe havens left
in a world so troubled in all its corners
i am changed from the man i once was
the past receding at nightmare speed
diminishing my returns at every turn
and every face that i ever looked upon
has turned away and shed more than one tear
an ocean's worth of bought occurrences
i am cheap as a market stall gift
as throwaway as the rest of humanity
writing words to pin on clouds
conjuring dreams to hang my hopes
laughing in the face of a mottling mirror
i am indeed imperfect and lost, perhaps
already journeying out there on the road
walking away and endlessly roaming
with no need to stop even if i wanted to

[at the sound of the bell 
press the carriage release lever]


the thing i'm struggling with most is 
simply finding a comfortable position in 
which to sleep at night when my bones scrape
through the parchment stretched like a canvas
on which an artist daubed all the colours of
his palette with a knife once reserved for
cutting their bread into slices of time that
gathered blue spots of mould reminiscent of
summer skies shot blasted with sea spray
seen from under a curling wave in which
we tumble down green seaweed grass hills to
end our days in a graveyard overlooking the
town in which our mothers have spread their 
legs and forced our heads screaming for air 
through bloodied soil and our ancestors bones
bleached on the beaches where they walked