Friday, 15 November 2019


A poem inspired by the workshop I ran at Tropical Pressure. The workshop focused on finding treasure in the house of a person who hoarded everything and this poem is another riff on the whole hoarding urge.

She was dozing, half hearing
the man on the television
explain solar system formation.
How eddies in the gravity
started the slow accumulation,
made molecules bind
and in that second she knew
this was the fate of her house,
all the unemptied shopping bags,
the clothes strewn floors,
every piece of everything that
she could never part with,
was due to a wrinkle in space/time
and not with her own actions.
The mound of plastic bags
would become a mountain
then a planet ripping the earth asunder.

She woke on her friends sofa,
soap and replaced science,
she flicked it over to the shopping channel,
there was work to be done.

I like the idea of planet building and to the best of my knowledge the solar system formed around a small wrinkle in gravity. 
I am not sure that this is the finished draft but I think it is nearly there.

Here's Chip Taylor. 

Until next time.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019


The Uninvited is Chrissy Banks’ second collection and was recently published by Indigo Dreams. I have to say it is excellent and I have been returning to it again and again.

The theme of The Uninvited is “what lives in shadow is always seeking a gap.” Chrissy is a cartographer of those liminal spaces that flicker on the edge of vision, a chronicler of the abandoned and ignored:

A house that’s forgotten
bellowing air, the pulse
of music and dance -
too long without children.

There is joy and a quiet humanity in its pages:

Sometimes all you need do
is ask, walk through the door
to the next room. Even now,
they are setting a place for you.

A thread of autobiography runs through The Uninvited, there are tales of Chrissy’s childhood and the strong women of her family.

the leggy girls from Liverpool, long-lashed, lush-lipped
hairtossers, hipswingers, quickwitted teasers and twisters,
minis under maxis, some slant eye boy on their mezzled minds

Even these autobiographical poems echo the temporary, seasonal workers on the Isle of Man were known as comeovers, the mystery of who exactly Uncle Lawrence was, and a New Year’s Eve’s ferry caught in all it’s diverse beauty. Her humanity and compassion are present on every page, this is a wondrous collection.

Let us hope we do not have to wait a further fourteen years for the next one.

Friday, 8 November 2019


A poem that just appeared in my head one morning. It was about a week after the clocks had gone back and the idea for the poem arrived fully formed. 

Eventually he found the timepiece,
after ransacking his living space.
A small quartz unit, battery powered,
and as accurate as scientific method,
just the sort of item he’d never choose to own.

It was in the left hand pocket of his woollen overcoat,
the one he had not worn since the cold snap in late spring,
their planning had been long in the making,
so the stakes must be appropriately steep.

He held the cheap thing,
as light in his palm as thoughtless sin,
changed the position of the hands,
felt the rightness that had eluded him
for the seven disturbed days return.

Ever since the clocks went back
that secret wrist watch had rippled his time,
ensured he was out of step.
Other questions now clamoured to be answered.

I think there should be a follow up, who exactly placed the watch that disturbed the narrator? Honestly I have not idea. Though as a story it has legs. Let us wait and see if anything develops.

Here's a treat, Anna Ternheim live with the Kaiser Quartet. Only another twelve days and I shall be seeing her live myself.

Until next time.

Friday, 1 November 2019



This post a poem about urban renewal. It is based on an old, large house being demolished to make way for flats near where I live.

 It took five working days to do for the house,
one implacable machine of cold force did it in,
supplied as it was with an endless chain
of hard lorries to disappear the evidence.
The wallpaper sloughed off
all those exposed inner spaces,
at least the rain kept the dust down
if not the sounds of the building’s death.
After that they scraped the naked earth,
removed half the garden, most of the lawn,
demarcating the dimensions of the car park.
The flats rose quickly after that.

For me it was sad to pass by a grand old house being demolished. Perhaps this is the fate that awaits all our endeavours? 
In Torquay there is a move to build on the brownfield sites which must be welcomed. It is just a pity that the big old houses cannot be refurbished.

Here's Jay Farrar with Barstow. 

Until next time.