December 28, 2014

Back in 2009, filmmaker Keith Allot made a film of me performing the below poem. Since then the piece has changed quite a lot – mainly in it’s performance but also in an alteration to its ending. The talented writer, activist and filmmaker, Ambrose Musiyiwa recently reposted the film on Facebook and fellow writer, Andrew Walton suggested it might be useful to see it on the page. The poem will actually feature in my forthcoming collection, ‘The Venus Papers’ due for publication by Burning Eye Books in 2015 – but until then, here it is – with thanks to people for the interest.


Early filmed version here

Happy Great White Christmas…

December 17, 2014

For the last year or so I’ve been following the progress of Lydia – the great white shark, that is. Tagged by researchers she’s reportedly travelled farther than any other monitored one, 25000 miles in two years. At a certain point is she looked like she was about to hit Cornwall; those tracking her believe she is either pregnant or looking to breed. Given this and the coincidence of our names I wrote the below sestina a few months back. For the latest on her travels see here:


A Shark Called Lydia

The other night I dreamt I was a shark.
As I lay in bed dead to the dark
spread between sheets
like a crime-scene
painted at the bottom of the sea
my head filled with water.

I have never liked the water
always had a terror of sharks
a particular horror so that every sea
is a bath full of fins filling the dark
every swimming pool a scene
from Jaws. The rain screams sheets

hammer head lashes and soaks the sheets
behind my eyes a forest of kelp thickens the water.
In a black mirror I am grey and white; picture the scene
a pearly ridge protrudes from my back; I am a shark
clear as my nose that has grown enormous in the dark
and round; pregnant as a pregnant-sea.

A new born pup flees from it’s mother into the sea
to escape being eaten immediately, no wrapped in sheets
and presented black eyes blinking against the dark
Get out of the water!
It’s a shark!
Here is the scene

with the murderous shark, the scene
with Medea drowning her children, smash of the sea.
Everyone always blames the mother.
But here in the night, a child is hanging from a twisted sheet.
A boy is still and staring from beneath the water.
A girl is pointing accusingly from the dark.

I have never liked the dark
always feared the scene
with the basket on the sea
the cries from the wicker carried on the water.
Nobody knows the heart of a shark
it’s impossible numbers, pages, sheets.

In the quiet dark of the bright night a silver scene opens on a sea;
a white shark walks upon the water waiving a flag blank as a sheet
at a child who stands, waiting, watching from a moon washed beach.