Friday 27 January 2023


I  wonder why the present government does not just call it a day. Twelve years of tory misrule and every aspect of our lives is worse. Honestly they are, as my mother would have said, an absolute shower. Here's a new poem inspired by my mother's superstitions. She always maintained that death come in threes.


I hear of two so search for the third

as death always comes in threes

this is a hard and fast law

my mother steered our family by such stars

bad things can happen any time

tea leaves held clues

and she interrogated every cup for omens

but none were as accurate as

Coop Indian Prince Assam

she never held with teabags

until she was old

and the cataracts had clouded her eyes

until the Coop shut

all three shops in the town

one after another just like that

some things never change

I've been working away on this poem for the last two weeks and I think it's roughly about there. They've jazzed up the packet but you can still buy Indian Prince. These days though I only drink green tea and am partial to Mao Feng. Like my mother I do not hold with teabags. What do you favour? 

I feel I have to leave you with Stevie Wonder. Superb.

Until next time.

Friday 20 January 2023


This weekend is Chinese New Year. I was in Liverpool last week and the photographs in this post are from there. The poem is revised thanks to the Secret Poets and their skill. You can read the original here.

How to Weave a Rope of Water

after being slung into the air

there is a second

when the mop bucket's contents

seem to just hang in the air

if only you were quick enough

you could weave the water

into a circle or an infinite figure of eight

but then there is the belly flop


on to the crazy paving

every time this happens

the molecules sigh

dreaming of their lives as clouds

when defying gravity is effortless

As you can see, much has changed. New title, revised lines and I hope a more succinct poem. It always helps to discuss your work with sympathetic friends.

The Mountain goats have a new album out, you can buy it here. This is We Walked In The Cold Air.

Until next time.

Friday 13 January 2023


Sometimes I am moved to go back, for some reason or other, and revise an old poem. I came upon this one recently and played about with it.


She laughs at the little boy

who rolls a pink toy pushchair

away, and back again

who delights in the motion of the wheels.

Then she makes her judgement

he will need gender realignment.

She knows how real boys behave

she has a son and he sits very close

and I have made the sin of contradiction,

this is why she laughs at the pram pusher.

Gender cannot be a social construction

that changes over time and culture.

She knows better, she is a mother.

I debate telling her that once

I was like that child,

but this would just prove her point

that she is correct in her judgement.

Her best friend has married me,

obviously I have turned her head

she sighs, women

are susceptible to that sort of thing.

You can read the original here. The layout is different and I've altered some of the lines. It can be an interesting exercise, although there is always the danger of overworking the poem.

This next poem is reportage. I recently watched a white van back into a Keep Left sign and scarper.

surprisingly the Keep Left bollard

popped off its plinth intact

he not pause to assess the damage

not even when the man

[whose hand signals had guided

his big white van out of the drive way]

shouted and gesticulated

he did not stop

he did not look back

he made a clean getaway

some people are just like that

It is more of a writing exercise than a poem, but I thought it worthy of inclusion.

Footshooter has a new video out. His new album came out the end of last year. It's well worth hearing.

Until next time.

Friday 6 January 2023


The sunset on the 2nd January 2023 was stunning. I have been discussing it with the Secret Poets. We have been exchanging photographs and thinking how we must write something. I have not written anything over the festive period and this morning the words did not want to come.



today the Broca’s Area of my brain

has become the Amazon rain forest

all trees chopped down

all treasures plundered

words have fled

scattered in the letters

that flee from the chainsaws

to peek from what foliage is left

I look at the sky

think how to begin...a river of lava

the stratosphere aflame

too close for comfort

this archetype

of all watercolour sunsets

is over used

worn paper thin

so I take a deep breath

continue to look upwards

and rejoice

at just what it is to be human

Yes, it is another poem about writing. I could not approach the beauty of the sunset any other way. My words were trite. Here is a revision of a much earlier poem. You can read the earlier draft here.


You meet her under an umbrella.

It’s innocuous enough, a jazz concert,

you exploit my passion for camouflage.

She brings along her husband

who claims he once roomed

with a bloke who made a CD.

You face him across a round table

conversation is still born

no one looks at anyone else’s eyes.

Confirmation plays and the husband knows it.

I can remember not one note

but you two lean as close as you dare.

Outside in rain, after stilted farewells

and long last looks

I ask you what the hell you are about.

You quote someone else’s poetry

I shake my head and unlock the car.

I think this version is neater, whether it is better I leave to up you.

Black Stalin, the esteemed Calypsonian died last week. He will be missed. I leave you with Burn Dem.

Until next time.