Because of You.

I’ve cried in Costa, Starbucks, Neros, Esquires,
The Orange Tree, Criterion, Highcross, O’Brians.

I’ve cried on blue serviettes, stacks of N’s
my friends time, our old bed.

I’ve cried in Top Shop and M & S
where I talked to my doctor, hiding in Mens.

I’ve cried in changing rooms and public loos,
I’ve hidden in cubicles and thought of you.

I’ve cried in parks, on buses, in banks, on trains,
outside of your flat, on the floor, in a state –

like a Queens speech, to a dead door,
you were out, your flat-mates thought.

I’ve cried all the water in Luxor,
all the faucets in Rome,

all the rain in Jamaica –
crying so long I couldn’t go.

I’ve cried like a wolf girl cried too much.
cried like a rain girl, made of mud.

I’ve cried salt and pepper, acid flame,
linen, tissue, tea cups, names.

I’ve cried like Rome
was my heart on a string,

I’ve cried with Johnny, Cohen, Smiths.
I’ve cried for our grief, big as a death,

I’ve cried like our end should be a word
like: Funeral. Obituary. Grave.

But still – there’s no answer.

Edinburgh: Arriving

August 19, 2009

So here I am in Edinburgh. Ed – in – burgh: a place I’ve never been to before and have sometimes in the past, struggled to spell correctly.

I and Fish, The Book Doctor Poet, arrived yesterday evening to be defeated by architecture. Fish of course had seen it all before, this being her 3rd or 4th visit at least, but for me it was all new.

The buildings are taller in Edinburgh. They’re older, darker. The horizon is wider. As the shuttle bus dropped us by the station and we walked up the steep hill to the station, it felt like we were children walking into a mountain. A bridge hung over head and a double decker bus passed across it: white with coloured triangles, like a seagull flying.

The seagulls don’t sleep here.

Later, after the train station and the cab and the sprawling, bonkers town house (which I’ll tell you about later) after we’d met the land lady and the Americans and put brandy in our tea and eaten dinner and been to our first gig and walked up and down our first Scottish streets, after all that, I saw a seagull circling lazily – back and forth across a lamp lit shopping precinct.

It was somewhere past 2am. It was huge and it was like a piece of moon or somehow flying bone, wings outstretched, like they were drinking up the cool summer night.

It took a left at Grass Market Street.

We got into a cab and climbed up the hill back home.

Two Worlds

August 19, 2009

Imagine, two tiny
turning worlds, floating
just across the way from each other.

There’s you
climbing down
from your tree of a flat,
scaling the walls, landing on our
shared pavement.

There’s me
going for a walk.
You by the prison.
You by the park.

You with your bright red train.
Me with my yellow car,
You with your plastic trees,
Me with my cardboard barn.

Imagine me
holding a small telescope.
I’m holding it up and my whole world
is through one hole.

At the other you’re making
cheese on toast.
We’re turning
round the same news reports

of Israeli bombs
and Iraqi coups,
inner-city shootings
economic boosts.

We’ve the same ceiling
the same clouds,
same mirrors,
same moon.

But you live at the end of a telescope.
I think we can touch.
There’s only air.

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August 15, 2009

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Fallen Angel

August 4, 2009

For you have said in your heart
I will ascend into heaven

My love, my love,
My god, my god,
I can’t believe you’d take my wings
and leave me here a broken thing
and you up there inside your house
with glowing glass and fire lit.
I can’t believe
you’d see me curled
and see me cry
and not come down
do nothing?
Where is your heart?
was it a tiny clock
I used to stroke?
Where are your hands?
I think somehow
they must have flown
with all the flights
my wings once made.
Where have they gone?
Where have they gone?
Somewhere up inside your rooms
inside a drawer, inside the gloom,
a tiny set of clothes
are they there and made from lace?
folded neatly, put away?
do other angels come to look
do you gently hold them up
then stroke their spines
their spines like cats
then stroke the feathers down their backs
while they glow bright?
I can’t believe
that you could leave.
leave me here
down here like this.
Once my love, we lived with flight
We hung my colours up like blinds.
I slept against you like a bird
I sung to you and once you heard.
Up there I think I see my wings.
I see them bright like shiny tin.
I think I see them dance like fire
Did you put them on a pire?
my god, my god,
my love, my love,
Where have they gone?
Where have they gone?
I need them back.
I need to fly
I need to fly again.


August 4, 2009

There are footprints on my wings
from where you cast me out
shadow black like coffee rings
shadow black, an admiral print.

There on my back
from where your foot
there on my back
pushed like a boot.

I wear your mud and dust like stripes,
I wrap them round my front at night,
your writing’s on my spine,
your writing’s down my sides,
your cowboy soles are on my mind.
There are footprints on my wings.

You said I was your favourite thing
that night we danced around the clouds,
you took my arms and spun me round.
But there are footprints on my wings.

You said you thought the earth had moved
when I walked in and round a room,
you said I made the heavens sing.
But there are footprints on my wings.

Last week I saw a woman stare
her look like pity opened bare.
I can’t wear glasses on my back
I can’t disguise your blue and black
your footprints on my wings.

There in Sainsburys by the veg
I saw her look and look again
like underneath her clothes
there might be footprints on her bones

I saw her shift away from him
her arms around her fragile wings
and him like you.

But everyday they fade some more
their purple kisses, dimming thoughts
and every night I sponge them down
and water runs like feelings drowned,
your footprints from my wings

I can’t keep coming back for more
now the marks are not so raw.

If she and I could leave today
like all the marks, just fade away
we’d walk with wishbones, never say
that there were footprints on our wings,
they’d be no footprints on our wings,
no more footprints on our wings.

Lyric Lounge Challenge…

August 2, 2009

This Tuesday sees the first WORD! since The Lounge – but in light of the festival I’m wondering how different people may find it. Along with possible and very exciting changes, like film visuals and live feed, I’m anticipating a new and inspired energy on the open mike, and not least of all from me.

Throughout the week, Lounge poets have been collaborating like there’s no tomorrow. Workshops (like Lucy English’s) led to groups coming together to produce new work for performance that you’d be forgiven for thinking had taken months to develop. In the bar throughout the day people have been looking over each others work, and riffing off lines – dreaming up new ways to push work forward.

For me, the Tuesday in particular was pivitol for this. That afternoon saw a panel discussion, chaired by me and made up of Jean Binta Breeze (poet and fest patron), Sureshot (poet), Graham Norman (poet and chair of Leicester Poetry Soc) and Alison Dunne (poet and Book Doctor). The subject of the panel was the divide between page and stage and how the exponents of each side could be brought together.

In the course of the debate people put forward different ideas, but one thought that occurred to me was a process whereby poets would kind of buddy up. Ideally, the poets would be of contrasting natures. They would swap skills and rework each others material to develop in new and unexpected ways.

As a trial, I and Sureshot have decided to give it a go…poetry wise you understand. The preacher man of the midlands has given me a poem on the subject of angels, loaded with biblical references and killer rhymes. And I’m trying to rework it. If I get it done for Tuesday, I’m going to compere with it. Time will tell. Meanwhile, I’m sending him one of mine. I’ve no idea what he’ll make of it, but here are my first early lines on his….

‘Fallen Angel’

You have said in your heart
I will ascend into heaven

yet still I am here
like snow on the ground

and each day is a passing cloud
each day is a heaving crowd
of concrete and people and places
each day

is a wing
that has dropped.
You have said in your heart
but still I have not.

Isaiah, Isaiah
where have you gone?

in prog…