Lying Still

We are lying still

Arm in arm, leg curling leg

Your strained I love you

And I mean it neither

We are lying, still


We are content

Closer than a river to the river bed

But my thoughts hurl like a hurricane

And yours are silent

We are content


Will this: never end.

A pledge and a promise

Reused, wrenched and twisted

Hollowed out again

Will this never end?


Howl, howl, howl at the lightbulb!

Stir the cobwebs so they waft and settle

Wrench apart the four-walled silence

Just a crack

And slip in a toothpick


Rage, rage at the cutlery!

Voice squeezed through your teeth

In a raggedy whisper

Like steam

Like stolen music


Cry at all of nothing

Huddled between your knees

Keep below the window

Like a slug

Of lunatic sleep

I Keep Small

I am very careful. I keep small. Unobtrusive, with only pin pricks of behaviour and momentary stutters.

I don’t mention you.

Or me.

Or the waxing waning of my shadow beneath your light.

I keep my pens in a row. I drink coffee with soya milk. I try not to sleep through meetings. I smile politely, I flick crumbs from my shirt.

Then I remember your smile and a frenzy of memories rattle my stupor to a waking roar, with an ocean incomplete and a sky full of holes.

I write an email and forget the heading. I make another coffee.

I watch time tip so slowly that my eyes cross.

I’ll meet you on the overmorrow,

Until then I barely exist.


This is Not a Love Poem

A torn photograph of a turbulent sea

A crawling ladybird, its wings plucked free

A stained jacket sleeve, a discarded shoe

These foolish things remind me of you


A bruise and a stitch I can’t fathom at all

A mysterious stain on the bathroom wall

A doll dismembered and reformed with glue

These foolish things remind me of you


Drops of blood leading out of the door

A chalk outline, half-drawn on the floor

Your name crossed out in a botched tattoo

These foolish things remind me of you