October 13 1999 Bootle

  (First published in See me, Hear me 2002)

   sinking into depression mean
  sin king into depression mean s
  sin king into depression mean s
  sin king into depression mean s
  sin king into depression mean  s
  sin king into depression mean s
  sin king into depression mean s
  sin king into depression
  mean s
  sinking into
  black treacle ~ ~ ~ ~ air which
  no longer slips easily into lungs turned
  rottting glue
  means sinking
  means sink
  meeans   sin


Damp Friday

(First published in The
People’s Poet Anthology 2002)

Bootle Strand
on a damp Friday evening
not even knowing
why he was there
not at all conscious
of self
until that voice
disturbed then
it flooded through him
and he elbowed through
staring crowds
each step quicker
than the last
and brakes screeched
in the rain
horns blared
in his brain
as he crossed
Stanley Road
seeking shelter
and seclusion
with a child’s
concerned phrase
whipping at him
lashing at him
tearing through
his muddied mind;

   ‘Mummy that
  man's crying...'

Gerard Manley Hopkins

 30th July 2004
(First published in The Ticking Crocodile
 Blinking Eye Publications: 2004)

he was the first white rapper
pounding his dizzy jazz rhythm poetry
from a flower-decked pulpit in his heart
i met him once on the Everton Brow
looking a bit like Del boy’s little brother
tall and insipidly pale he moved politely aside
as i was staggering about waving at
unresponsive taxis and then suddenly he
turned black as night, started snapping
his long slim Jesuit fingers and rapping about
some bloody bird he’d seen just that day
i sat on the pavement and watched his eyes
alive with passion as the rhythms sprung
pounding into the neon-tainted crisp air
and then afterwards he came to visit me in the
bridewell where he blessed me with a cup of tea
dabbed four times across my sweating forehead
and fed me a bacon-flavoured slice of Jesus
which i ate with fervent relish
(because there was no brown sauce)
and i remember thinking that even if there
had been some available; it could never match his

Loss Lingers

  (For Chas)
(First published in
Corrupted Memories 2004)

touched by frost
the last rose wilts
folds in upon itself
seeks solace
in winter slumber

touched by loss
the soul wilts
folds in upon itself
seeks solace
in solitude

frost and loss
both wilt
but for most
of a given year
there is no frost;
loss lingers
  a grief
  for all seasons

my Messiah

(First published in TPP Nigerian
Summer Community Magazine 2005)

my Messiah
sleeps close to a park bench
makes sounds like a contented bee
smells like fresh turned earth
looks like a rag bundle
feels like sandpaper
tastes like rough tar
smiles at everyone
i see him often at the extremes of day
as he strides out in search of deeds to do
or catch him scurrying home to his cardboard
kennel by the leafless chestnut tree
in Derby Park… but when the sun is above us
or when darkness enshrouds us in the iced night
he is seen only by those in need or by his father
who tucks him up each night with a can of
Tennent’s Super and a half eaten pasty
or, now and again, [as a special treat - which
usually happens round Christmas or Easter]
with a glass of hot brandy and a mince pie


October 1963
(First published in The People’s
Poet Anthology 2003)

Shut off from reality
and heavy with dark rum i guided her
to the house on
the hill where the
grotesquely humorous Dr Hook
waited with his
torn sheets and cotton
wool - hot-water and that
fisherman’s knife with the
brass clasp that made her recoil
into my arms

Gagging with the fumes
from the pad i stood above her
and held one hand stifling
her screams with that
vomit-inducing ether
for close to two hours until
his eyes dark and fear-filled
told me it was over.

Afterwards i filled the carrier bags
with blooded scraps as she
laced a cotton pad between her
legs rocking... retching...
and then i picked up
a tiny globule and wiped it clean
perfectly curled in that
foetal position
three inches long
with sightless balls for eyes
and perfect toes and fingers...

Now; forty years on
i see it still; its eyes now
are blue and can see
the real me, the one who
planned and... executed...

There is no point in refusing
to accept
in arguing that i am
not he, reasoning that he
has gone totally,
every atom and molecule...
for i know that something
intangible is still the same and
so i accept the accusing stare
a reminder of the continuity
of my life
  and the finality of its.



  August 2000
 (First published in Peggy’s Blue Skylight Issue 4 2001)

  21st Century dating agency
  makes appalling error
  sent to meet
  [dot says
  she will wear
  a red-rose
  pulp will carry
  The Guardian
  and wear a pin
  stripe suit]

 Billy the Bastard

(First published in
Corrupted Memories 2004)

Billy the bastard died
of testicular cancer an’
at the funeral
i got the giggles
when blear-eyed Simmy
kneeling at his pew
“…if God has to give yer
cancer in yer bollocks
yer’d think he’d have
the decency ter stick ‘em
on with Velcro.”

i could hear Billy
laughing too

    but not God...

Do Not Admit

30th January 2004
(First published in Muse Whispers 2004)

do not admit
the fickleness of love

love is
the double helix
of a shared strand
of life
circle and spiral
in an intricate dance
until the days
grow shorter
and they slowly
break away
in futile pursuit
of yet another strand
to dance with


(March 1st 2001)
(First published in
Corrupted Memories 2004)

...animals are being
killed and burned
by the thousand...

says the newsman

So what’s news?