Tag Archives: poetry


24 Jul


There is something to suit everyone’s taste,

nothing goes to waste, prices exclude VAT,

dim sum chicken feet, rat-a-tat-tat,

ding-a-ling-a-ling, hoi sin, Szechuan –

prawns, duck, pork, squid, twenty quid.


Battering the Fiat’s soft grey shell

under the streetlight’s mango glare,

he soaks up the city’s spicy heat.

That’s what he’s here to do – for you.

He gets £6.50 an hour & tips, and sweet chilli chips.


The hallways have their own distinct aromas,

a hum of shoes, the lemon breeze of cleaning.

In one he visits twice each week the ancient

smog of cat hangs dense as glue

and stinking gusts of sloth are deep and sudden.


The place is a nightmare to get to,

slipped round a bend on a wooded road,

turned in on itself,

the windows black,

the lights in the vestibule motorway orange.


The man is a crone, his face a troubled oyster.

He can hardly walk,

his delivery  is essential.

He asks each night for his fortune biscuit,

a colossal freight compressed in his ogle.

The Dissertation

6 Apr

You’ll know him for his stories

Some are eerie, some just gory

And that poem of his ‘The Raven’, well I’m sure that’s one you’ll know,

He’s the source of my frustration,

And my fucking dissertation:

‘On the textual orientation of the works of Edgar Poe.’



I know just what you’re thinking,

You’re thinking: ‘what’s he drinking?

Who on earth would write a paper on the works of that old loon?’

Good point, but I’m in shit,

I need to fucking finish it

Before the English Lit department shuts this afternoon.



Well the word count isn’t great,

And I feel compelled to masturbate,

And organise my socks in rows of black and rows of white.

Perhaps I’ll write to Granny…

Clean my room from nook to cranny…

It is really quite uncanny that the hoover looks so …right.



Jesus Christ this essay’s bad,

Two thirds wanky, one third mad;

I didn’t think it possible to reach this kind of low.

Quoth the Raven: Nevermore.

Quoth the student: I am bored

And I don’t think I can stand much more of old Lenore and Poe.



My degree mark will diminish,

If I do not get this finished;

Just a few more hundred words and that is that, what’s done is done;

I’ll get my cherished third

Never write another word

And forget I ever heard of Poe, get drunk and have some fun.



And the student still is sitting,

Never flitting, still is sitting,

In a bedroom full of open books and folders on the floor,

And his eyes have all the seeming

Of an idler who is dreaming

Of a doctor deeming him unfit to write it anymore.



Read the dissertation here.

(image: Forsakenfotos/FlickrCC)

Ceci n’est pas une blank

29 Jun

It isn’t good blank to mention the word blank in a poem about blank.

Neither is it sensible to blank when what you really want is simply to blank.

What a blank. Vote blank.

And for those of you who blank, just keep in mind that old blank: blank.


There are many blank in a man’s blank when he just has to say blank.

And it’s not just a question of blank. Indeed

you may think this is something of a blank to blank blank all the time –

and you’re blank, completely blank – it’s a load of


Yes, I confess, it’s horribly blank. To blank or not to blank, that is

blank. And will we ever blank? I ask you that. Will we stand up

and blank? Tear down the blank and raise up the blank and blank?

Blank all the blank and look them in the fucking blank and blank?


Blank. Of course we can’t: there has to be a blank.

For us to come together and blank must we blank? We must.

Blank. In the hour of blank, when the blank is in the blank,

I beg of you, blank. (Blankyou, blankyou all so much). 


Olive Trees 1889 – National Gallery of Scotland

7 Jun
You stand on a slope, enclosed 
by curlicues of verdigris. 

The sun is concealed. Writhing trees hold 
hands in the foreground.

A tree further up sits like a carved cup,
or the round body of a Provençal sweetheart. 

Flickering marks assert life -
yet the sky is pallid, 

asylum grey. Tomorrow, perhaps, 
the sun will ignite in the distance.


23 May
On Saturday mornings I learn the lanes of Edinburgh -
             track their trickles of life.  
I came across Second Hands last week
             and I will certainly go back.
                                    Stacked full it was,
                                    jam packed -
            with nerve tingling
            bits of old bric-a-brac.
                        Walking in - as you do -
             the inner earphone music looped - cocooned,
as it were, in a personal soundtrack - you stalk softly
through this neatly jumbled past
on permanent display.
As the feet shuffle the eyes dart - and extract
rich colour codes - of pearl and puce,
                        faded claret, sumptuous green,
                               burnished gold, dust -
You pick up and play - with silver shades
                                          of tiredness.
                        A pile of cheap picture frames
                                    lazily reclaimed -
                        queue for release.
Some photographs of you - a lady, a beau, a brigadier -
 decompose gracefully, shelved -
                        until such time as
            someone sets them sleeping once again -
                        in their own Petri-dish attic
            of lost minutiae.
            Looking up - from invoices, charts,
                        crinkled maps -
                        the minutes of administrative
                        meetings from ordered pasts -
             I spot - in an awkward, ramshackle line -
                        pictures of the picturesque,
  profligately framed - one eye towards the sublime.
 And, in a lonely nook, 
 alongside a pile of austere railway books, 
           bandy, barely standing but for a cord
                        weaved through his varnished bones
            and a surrogate steel spine -
  an old medical skeleton, head empty and drooped,
            leers maniacally at the carpet.
Idiosyncratic relic. No happy home can accommodate him.
     Think medical professors - long dead - obliging you
          to see through the poor soul’s disappeared flesh -
            and behold her grinning skull.


11 Apr
       Driving occupies
                     most of my attention. 

                     light beams
                  in ghostly tubes,
                           strips of pale city. 

                         This morning
                     I have driven along the coast
                          East Lothian.
                  Now the sewage hills at Seafield
                      pass through the slits
             in the air-conditioning,
                  turn the air.


            Amidst the daydream,
                   in swoops a gull,
                        jagging over a cliff
                                 of car showrooms,
                                          bending upward,
                                               over, in air,
                                  as if it were a bed;
               drifting from sight.


6 Apr

Edinburgh, Scotland, poetry, journalism, public speaking


They arrive each night, these images of enormousness,
of sliminess, of sloth – I edge ineffectually, slither
up The Royal Mile – stuck fast between St Giles
and The City Chambers.

Beneath me steams a moist trail of screams,
as casually I squash tourists, flatten policemen.
Bereft of his wig, a lawyer gasps for life –
tacked to one of my syrupy suckers.

I’m blind,

I have no eyes. Just fat feelers and a viscous pelt
of clotted melt, of reeking goo all over me.
I’m just a big, gorged, blob – crinkled pieces
peeled from Edinburgh snagging behind.

I have been known to reach the Castle by morning,
to come up slowly to a jellied standstill;
before the staff tip me over into Princes St
Gardens, with the help of a crane.

Softly squelching,

gently munching my way into the New Town,
I topple statues, crush coffee shops –
level George St before sliding down
Stockbridge way, towards Fife.

One day they find me belly up in the North Sea –
quite dead. Parliament gathers. They’ll pay, they say,
to air-lift it out to a funereal beach. After that,
I am pickled, and put on display.

Help me,

pour salt on me, put me in a jar –
deliver me to the Royal Society – please, oh
I’m tired of all this. I want to be airy and crisp,
like a rose petal, wisps of grass.

I dream of being an apple in a French still life,
ache to be a window on New York.
I long to be light, to drift like a cloud:
oh, anything but this.