Black Dog.

February 26, 2007

It’s sitting at the bottom of my bed,
glossy, black coat absorbing light,
canine teeth like spears
grinning through its muzzle
in the moonlight.
Night after night,
it’s been lying there:
like a one stand
that never went home.

First of all I fed it.
Couldn’t bear its
huge, dark, inky eyes
shining in the gloom like saucers
but it wouldn’t eat –
left the treats and
gnawed at the duvet-
hopeful feathers
staining fur.

My friend said:
whatever you do
don’t feed it
I stopped. We sat
watching each other
for months. The growling
filled my flat like a fog horn.
Like something foreign
that shouldn’t be in this world.

My friend said:
ignore it
treat it like you would a child
as we sat drinking coffee
one Thursday.
The monstrous child
sat between us,
with oil slick fur and
teeth like knives.

When it started
smashing up the cups
and pouring
boiling hot coffee
into our laps
we talked about the weather
and politely ignored it.
It skulked in the corner
and whined for hours.

I wonder whether maybe
all it wants is love.
Being a monster must be hard.
Sometimes I play it music-
and that seems to help;
it lays on its back and
purrs like a cat-
sings like a thrush.

My mother always said
That if I wasn’t good
the monster underneath the bed
would come and eat me up.
I think she must have been
quite right – but if my dog
can sometimes bark
it doesn’t always

Rice Pudding

February 22, 2007

After you left
I made a cup of tea
and sat back down with my
rice pudding: Apple flavour.

On reflection,
not as nice as
but still quite good.

I blew on the tea
and finished the rice
too quickly. Taste lingering,
smell of a bakery.

None of this you knew about
but by now, you’d be five minutes
walk away and at your flat.
I wondered-

Whether you’d have tea.
Something to eat,
or would you climb
straight into bed?

I waited for your
safe home text
and thought about the dancers –
flat curved chests

and slender legs.
I started on
the next rice pudding.
The raspberry.

Ate it slowly.

Long Black Coat

February 20, 2007

The time I took a taxi back from Nottingham
night flying by in dizzying squares of blackness
foreign landscape, usually only glimpsed from trains
I rang you on my mobile. Drunk. Voice slurring consonents
You were pissed off, but you needn’t have done a thing.
Except, when the car slid into Leicester Station
you were there, striding with a purpose towards us-
your long black coat, looking like a boxer, or a bear;
hair wild from sleep, face pale as moonlit water. You
paid the man and caught me, falling through the door to
half carry me, through the early hours of morning
back to yours – and there you laid me down on fabric
your soft brown curls, pale face, cold hands, all mixed up and
saying nothing. Your long black coat inside my head.

Not a mathematician

February 13, 2007

I am not a mathematician.
I have never been able to see
the equations, laid inside your skull
like symbols drawn on water.

But sometimes,
I have seen the oceans
move inside your pupil,
your orbits widen, round like lakes.

I have tried
but struggled
to spilt infinity, into more
manageable chunks of living-

I haven’t used loving, or kissing
or giving birth to another life,
or journeying the world – rucksack
stuffed with books and checks to go.

Though I have sometimes thought
of doing all these things.

I have not yet grasped
the theory of relativity. Though I know
that we are not the same person, yet somehow still
effect each others mass.

I can see, if not quite understand
how my body takes its flight,
with you not here
to anchor it on ground.

I am not a mathematician
but can still count
the space between our now
and then.

Wish you were here.

February 12, 2007

They wouldn’t tell us how
though we asked,
and asked, and asked.

They kept the knowledge in them
and words too barbed to breathe,
could only settle into silence-

nearly glimpsed beneath an eyelash
a look away, but only then a guess
at how a set of waves could stop.

In the end,
that you were dead,
was all we had to know. A train,

a knife, those pills. Just hollow wraiths
inside the hole
you perforated in your landscape.

The landscape we were part of.
The hole
we’d always have to walk around.

Carrying the minutes

February 12, 2007

Because I am up early,
working in the morning
with the cockerel,
that in the city
will never crow – i know
I should not be talking to you now.

I should not have stopped
my forward crawl cleaving
with the sheets, I should not
have risen in the night,
swum into the kitchen,
limbs heavy with waiting,
not knowing what for.

Because of the bright light of full stop
that is also start,
hanging in the morning
like a light bulb, I should not
be sitting up here
speaking with you now,
drinking tea, swallowing the

fine skins of hot cross buns;
separating raisins and dough
like chalk and peas. I know
I should be asleep. Not here.
Not now. Not just waiting –
and watching with your
grey skinned ghost,

now haunting this flat like perfume-
but you must know why:
I have to be here,
just to make sure
that when you’re not,
things carry on.

Down the Phoneline

February 12, 2007

My mother read me poetry
as a last resort.

She spoke of snowdrops,
a great white land
of nodding heads on tiny stilts.
she fed them through the mouthpiece
one by one like lines of-

silk white air. My mother told me
about my fathers two left feet,
arms around her waist,
great white flakes,
that melted on their skin.

She eased her way into her beat
and breathed the days in all her weeks
My mother ad-libbed,

across the wires;
my mother soothed me.
she read me poetry.
I shut my eyes.

Valentine Blues

February 6, 2007


I and my boyfriend appear to have reached a ultra cool and apparently bohemian understanding of Valentines Day: Valentines Day is an ultimately capitalist festival, invented by card companies to exploit the masses and we will not debase ourselves by celebrating it. No, not for us the metallic pink, heart shaped balloons of adoration, the 12 red roses of ardent worship, the lacy lingerie of longing. Aren’t we sophisticated? Aren’t we sensible? Aren’t we just so above it all?

You know, I’ve been thinking and I think festivals are important. They give us the opportunity to reconnect with our core values. To come together as a society. To demonstrate to our loved ones how much we love them. Now, I’m not saying that to mark an occasion you have to spend loads of money. Look at the first anniversary year of a marriage-paper-hardly an expensive item. Look at the first day of spring-stripping your house from top to bottom, cleaning, dusting, fluffing-a useful ritual that grounds us and helps us start afresh. And Christmas-ok, nowadays very commercial, but essentially a festival of light. A bright light at the deepest, darkest point of the year.

Of course, you can celebrate such core values at any time-all on your own; personal rituals are important. But you’ve got to question the logic. I’ve got a friend who use to be a Jehovah Witness. According to her then religion, she couldn’t mark any occasions-to celebrate a birthday or a festival was seen to be glorifying wantonly-using up all that special godly adulation on egotistical trifles. She use to say to friends and family ‘Don’t get me anything for Christmas. Get me something sometime else in the year.’ Looking back though, I guess I never got this. I get that it’s better to express your love for someone because you want to, (spontaneously y’know?) not just because you feel socially pressured. However, if the argument is based on not wanting to support capitalist structures then surely you shouldn’t buy anything for anyone at any point of the year. If you’re going to buy your girlfriend a bra on March 8th-or 12th or 13th or 14th- why not buy her a bra on February 14th??

If you’re not going to buy your girlfriend a bra (on any day of the year) because you’re sticking to that completely admirable anti-capitalist argument then fair enough (maybe) but even then, the world does not rotate in a black and white universe. Sometimes, buying things can be a consciously positive and ethicial thing to do: fair trade, or supporting small independent, creative businesses. You might not feel comfortable buying your girlfriend a bra from Primark – but can you really put (say) greenknickers in the same boudoir? I think not.

If your issue is simply that you don’t do gestures of intimacy (and I’m not talking about replacements here, I’m talking about expressions) well then, you just should, ok?Because people like that kind of thing sometimes, alright? And I’m not spinning any chauvinistic bull about men only participation. I reckon woman should give Valentines gifts too. Just maybe not lacy lingerie. Unless you’re a woman going out with a woman. Probably.

Anyway, to conclude and in case I haven’t quite been clear enough:

Damo. I’m changing the plan, get me something nice for F**ing Valentines Day, Yeah?




February 3, 2007

I owe this piece to last nights dinner and Dragon Poet’s spicy collection.

I ate it last night
but the pieces are
swimming with me, trailing my
molecules like heavy smoke.

There are garlic cloves,
laid inside my skin cells. Into the pores
on the backs of my hands,
my spidery ink lines-

like rivers. Garlic and chocolate
and tea and soil. The liquids slosh
like watered oil. The garlic

saturating follicles like butter.
I know a woman
who can plot my flow,
like a scientist testing for drugs-

or noxious chemicals. ‘You smell
horrible’ she says
‘what have you been eating?’
backing away with her

hand on her nose. The scent
is pressed inside my nails,
combed beneath my porous hair.
It takes a while to go.


I ate it last night
but the pieces are
swimming with me, trailing my
molecules like heavy smoke.

There are garlic cloves,
laid inside my skin cells.
Into the pores on the backs of my hands,
my spidery ink lines, like rivers.

Garlic and chocolate
and tea and soil. The liquids slosh
like watered oil. The garlic

saturating follicles like butter.
I know a woman
who can plot my flow,
like a scientist testing for drugs-

‘You smell horrible…what
have you been eating?’
backing away with her
hand on her nose.

The scent
is pressed inside my nails,
combed beneath my porous hair.
It takes a while to go.

How about this version? I’ve given up calling it the final one. sigh…

I want an apology.
For the gloss wrapped varnish
of womans magazines.

For the fish slick pages
of fake dreams;
models like cars,

with their slashed, red
gloss of beguiling charms,
come hither dressed in

children’s jeans.
I want an apology
for the girl,

splaying the weight of her thighs
on a gym seat, frowning in a mirror
and connecting up the

place at which they meet with
the skimming of calories in breakfast.
I want an apology – for the long-fast

of the woman shivering in spring,
examining her wrists
like a witch through railings.

For the witch,
who’s really just a
woman over 30,

trying to hide
the lines that she’s laid
whilst falling in love and

breaking her heart and
having a future.
I want an apology-

for The Snow Queen –
happy to be childless
and The White Witch –

carving a world
from the ribs of the man
who’d been thinking he’d made her.

For the blood on her gown
and the hooves in her face
and the maw of a lion.

For Medusa
and Delilah,
and the old crone,

and the weird sister-
and for the 4 siblings
that couldn’t all

be Cinderella:
for the women who fall
so she can stand-

I want
an apology:
her slipper,

the ceiling-
I wish the words
could break the glass.