Friday 28 January 2022


Once in a while I write about the process of writing. You can read previous poems here and here

This one arrived in the middle of the night. When I awoke around 3.30am a rough draft had lodged in my head and so I got up and wrote it down, then went back to sleep. I spent the next couple of days revising it.

At the outset is was enough

to set the words on to paper

exactly as they had arrived in his head.

He viewed each an essence, pure

as lightening captured in a bottle

and that was indeed enough.

Only later did he begin to see

that those initial words were a map

a series of moves to be made

to coax the poem to the page.

Perception changes and it is only

when you have ascended to the highest point

that you can see the path clearly.

It is still a work in progress. I am not sure the ending is quite right. Watch this space. I am happy with the way it describes my process over the years and frequent readers will have heard me harp on about the importance of revising your work. 

Here's a live concert by Beirut. There's a retrospective set out soon.

Until next time.

Friday 21 January 2022


It's been a strange week here in the UK. The pantomime that is our political system appears to be thoroughly broken. The government seems to be totally incapable of doing what they tell us we must  do. Perhaps it is due to that sense of entitlement public schools appear to imbue these second raters with. Some Catalan friends of mine where saying how funny the actions of our crime minister and his troupe of clowns are. I had to reply that they do not have to live with the madness that their actions generate. 

A poem about stealing Jesus' wallet. It arrived nearly fully formed.

lifting Jesus’ wallet you confessed

was easier than you ever imagined

the real mystery was locating it amid those flowing robes

you continued by describing the contents:

four crisp ten shilling notes

a religious medal of St John the Baptist

a return tram ticket to Bairro Alto

various coins of different denominations and epochs

all too perfect to be kosher

I began to wonder if He

had let you steal it so

you would have something to worry about in the night

I have been reading a novel set in Lisbon, hence the Bairro Alto reference. Lisbon has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 

I liked the idea of the thief receiving what he did not know he needed. I am not sure about the layout, the Secrets suggested a prose poem. Watch this space.

Here's a song by Pollyanna. At the moment she working on a sequence of labour songs, songs that were sung by people as they worked. You can keep up to date with the project on Instagram

Until next time.

Friday 14 January 2022


As you can no doubt imagine from the title of this blog I have a love of magpies. I don't usually do list poems as I think they have been done to death, however, just to contradict myself here is a list poem.

Bird Building

he artfully deployed his vocabulary






wing tip







to conjure a magpie

I had to research the list as my knowledge of birds is pretty rudimentary. I may try it out at a reading, when they happen again.

this year I’ll be carving the Christmas tree   so it will fit in the car (safely)   as there’s no kerbside collection for bedraggled symbols that have outstayed their welcome

then as it drizzles   I drive to the municipal car park collection point and the tree mumbles the best years of my life and for what?    I pretend not to hear

by the time I have swept the boot of accusing pine needles    the once ten foot tree is sawdust

Just a piece of reportage, slightly tongue in cheek. The Christmas tree was supposed to be eight feet tall but as I bought it the man said he thought it was nearer ten foot. thankfully the ceilings of our house are taller.

I bought Phoebe Bridgers Copycat Killer ep the other day on spec. Thankfully it turned out to be wondrous.

Until next time.

Friday 7 January 2022


I wanted to have a space poem this post to go with the video but alas I have none to hand. It's rather like the mismatch between image and word that always occurs. Anyway on to the poem.

Here is a redrafted version, thanks go to the Secrets, once again, for their perception and their support.

ball and chained to that one event

road blocked not even a pavement

I imagine him staring out at the world through a letterbox

set in the stout locked door of a big house

and trying to conduct a conversation with the world

such is the event echo in which he lives 

what ever I say nothing budges

I listen to him fill my ears with the clatter

of a canteen of cutlery poured onto quarry tiles

In this earlier version there is a dialogue between the narrator and the person he attempts to help. The Secrets felt that the metaphors confused the narrative. I leave it in for you to decide for yourself.

ball and chained to that one event

road blocked not even a pavement

he explains it thus

imagine staring out at the world through a letterbox

set in the stout locked door of a big house

and trying to conduct a conversation with the world

this is the event echo he lives in

I reach for a metaphor

consider a lock pick

false papers

or the power to walk through walls

my mouth makes a handbrake

just press the button and lower the lever

it is really that simple

nothing budges

and my ears fill with the clatter

of a canteen of cutlery poured onto quarry tiles

The original idea came into being from the word roadblocked which led me to think about pavements and how some people are unable to continue in the aftermath of a traumatic event. This then led to other metaphors and the form the poem has taken.

Metaphors are useful to convey big ideas succinctly. They enable you to get the gist across quickly. I think this poem is not in its final draft, but I am happy enough to share it.

Annabelle Chvostek has just released a video for her song Black Hole [it's on the Be The Media album, you can buy it here]. The video was thought up and made by Ximena Griscti. 

Until next time.