Monthly Archives: May 2013

Stopping Breathing

You don’t hear a song for 20 odd years and then twice in a week. It’s a good job because this one really stings and makes me hold my breath for too long. It’s a great song, too: Talk Talk’s ‘I Believe in You’ from ‘Spirit of Eden’ 1988. One of my favourites, once.

Death happens. People come and go.

This one’s about Daniel. Clever, tormented, angry, witty, bewitching Daniel.

It’s nameless, as yet (but I bet Juliet can think of something?)


Packed up.

Wrapped up neatly, safely in a box

in nice paper.

Small and hidden away

and not for thinking.


But some things rip off the sellotape

and I can’t contain the heat of it.

It enters my chest, compresses lung against lung

and brings a silent scream

that feels like my scalp is gone.


A song.

Standing at the sink gutting fish for supper

hands bloodied and foiled with sequin scales.


Then speeding pictures

like eye-reflections flickering in the window of a fast train.

Yellow haired, smooth skinned boy.

The boy who took my hand in the cool zinc light of an August dawn

in a garden.

The boy who hangs in my head

in a breeze block student cell

feet scrabbling for safety,

fingers grabbing nothing,

eyes wide,

neck broken.

Somewhere in North London.


I can’t see.

Wrap up the bones, the guts,

the box.


(Tom Waits’s ‘Grapefruit Moon’ is a good salve….)



Filed under poems, poetry, writing


I’ve never written a poem about sex before. It’s a first. ┬áIt might be a last.


If that orgasm were human

it would be the fat woman

in the sitting room,

flesh molded to the sofa:

springs shot, feathers flattened,

a spittle of foam poking through the cloth

under her pale thigh

blue-veined like knotted string

thick and


A stuffed cake-cushion.

Some orgasms are just thin

and only eat lettuce.


Filed under poems, poetry, writing