Sunday, 28 November 2010


I felt it trickle through the air, like a grey sheet caught by the wind and tossed upwards and around, until it tangled all about me. It wrapped and fell downwards, almost by degrees; so gradual i couldn't even tell it was happening. This was ennui, this was dullness. I was trapped in the doldrums.

I was bored.

Plastic Bottle

A gentle silver-sheen
Shimmers upon its concave.
Within it trembles molten metal
(In this light at least).
It's pinacle is a black spire.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Why the American Dream is getting old.

The American Dream is the defining concept of America. It’s what has driven America to the forefront of the world, it’s what has powered their capitalist consumer culture, and it’s also what has created some of the most powerfully emotive literature of the last century.

Some of the greatest novels in the world are, at heart, entirely about the American Dream. The Great Gatsby deals with the opulence and corruption at the heart of this effervescent phantom, whilst Death of a Salesman exposes the elusive impossibility of ever achieving the American Dream. Almost every great novel produced from America in the past hundred years has dealt in some way, been influenced by, in one manner or another, or simply been overtly and blatantly, completely about the American Dream.

And frankly it’s starting to get a bit old.

The Great American Novel seems to be a thing of the past. The biggest piece of literature to come out of America in the past decade seems to be, depressingly, Twilight. Almost every other piece of work by American authors has in some way been cliché, and this is in no way their fault. It’s endemic of American culture at the moment. And the problem is this; American authors can’t seem to write without allowing the American Dream to seep into their book.

The American Dream has influenced every facet of American culture, it’s true, and it certainly created a unique and massively powerful genre. However, it has been explored more than enough, and yet still America is obsessed with it. American culture becomes more and more consumer-driven by the day (just look at the number of adverts in their television programmes as an example), and their obsession with money, with wealth and with the personal freedoms of the individual and the supremacy of the dollar just grows stronger and stronger.

The America of today is one Ayn Rand would be proud of. It is an America that has campaigned with a vitriolic spite against a national health system for all, and has unleashed clarrion cries of abuse on it’s president for not fixing a deficit he inherited fast enough. All this is because they believe they are entitled to the best, and the minute they don’t get it, they have been wronged in some way. This was once one of the most admirable traits of America; it is what has lead to their global supremacy, their high quality of life and their amazing prosperity. However, it has now led to the advancement of the individual and the exclusion of those who can’t help themselves.

The American Dream was once an inspiration; a cry that you could achieve what you wanted and be truly great, and when its hollow façade was exposed by The Great Gatsby, Grapes of Wrath and Death of a Salesman, this was ground-breaking and relevant. But please, America, no more novels about how the American Dream has failed. We don’t need to read a book about it. All we need to do is look over the pond.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


Green. Slates of grey-powder-blue
Against it. I can see the branches like
Arms waving up over the fields of bricks,
And a plane (or is it a bird?) roars or
Soars right behind it. Ambiguity seems to be

Ruling today. Oh no, this time it’s truly a bird;
A bullet of feathers and silver and flight
That can soar over the sea of tiles
Like a cloud of flesh and far-too-early
Tweets and singings.

I’m looking out the window,
And the sunlight’s streaming across and
Through like water over sand, and I
Can feel it around and through me.
Through the glass thats

Like bars blocking the world from me.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

"Weather's here. Wish you were lovely."

The beach stretched out like the grey, broken arm of a giant. The waves lapped at it gently, carrying it out and in again, a soft loop in space, a tableau of grit and icy silver. Above the steel-shimmered sea and the decomposing stones, grey clouds roiled tensely outwards and upwards and down again, like the ghosts of mountains. A lack-lustre wind, that seemed to whisper promises of the winter, rolled gently along the length of the bay, pausing to scale or slip beneath the skeleton of a charred pier. All there was was a pervading whisper of silence that refused to dim, until it seemed to roar against the senses, compelling you to shout, scream, throw rocks at the waves, do anything to break it’s riotous conformity. The only splash of colour that rebelled was a red post box, a ruby incongruity that seemed to shimmer in the heat haze of it’s vibrancy like a mirage on the distance.

Beneath the weight of all this stood a solitary figure. They were nothing more than a black scratch on the horizon to my eyes, but their line was etched in a rigid blur. They stood right by the shoreline, where insubstantial sand met flowing water. The waves lapped to their feet, and stopped, inches before meeting toes, and then retreated, a slow rhythmic susurrus, like a heartbeat or a generator that pounded or sang, depending on how you listened to it. I watched as they began to stroll further along the beach, receding into the distance, as they became less of a scratch, then less of a smudge, then less of a presence, and then nothing at all.

I would never know their name, I realised, as they vanished into the distance. I would never know what time the clock of their mind was kept to, or what country they were born in. I would never find out what song they liked to hum underneath their breath when no-one could hear them, or to what rhythm their footsteps naturally fell. I would never discover all the tiny glass facets of their thoughts, or how much milk they liked in their coffee, and whether or not they took sugar. All these thoughts hit me like a grain of sand blown into the eye, a small irritation that grew greater and greater the more I tugged and pulled and wrestled with it.

I reached into my pocket, and pulled out the postcard that lay within it, nestled deep inside a protective shell of neon-blue plastic. I removed it and let the bag float of into the wind, a glaring jigsaw piece of blue against the granite pillars of the sky. I took out my pen and wrote upon it. Five words that expressed the truth of the day, and everything I hoped for you to be. Scribbled lines in scrawled ink upon a flimsy unguarded piece of card. I don’t think I’d ever seen anything quite as fragile or beautiful or indomitable. I strode over to the post box. The closer I came to it the brighter it seemed to shine, giving off radiance, bleeding vibrancy into the landscape around it. I came to it, and took my postcard, and abandoned it into it’s cavernous, hungry, welcoming mouth.

I turned and strode away and as I did, I whispered my prayer, my plea to the stranger who even now walked further onwards and away from me, down past the watching line where sand and sea collided in a silent storm. “Weather’s here.” I breathed. “Wish you were lovely.”

Thursday, 23 September 2010


The thunder sloped down in elegant crashes of noise, roiling earthwards with an electrifying jolt of sound that poured and boomed around buildings and flowed in waves through the streets, lapping up against walls and floors. The rain and lightning was mere decoration, embellishment on the percussive theme that resonated from within bones and girders.

Through this tempest strode a figure of lines, straight and angular and rigid, composed of a roiling energy that seemed permanently mustered at the level just below explosion. His entire manner was one of poise and balance, everything prepared and controlled so that the perfect amount of effort was expended. His steps were not boisterous or rapid, nor were they slovenly and lacklustre. Each step connected with the ground with the same purpose a river or an avalanche or the fall of an icicle shows; simple, unrestrained and inexpensive movement.

His body was covered in a simple black coat that fell like a sheet of woven coal about him, it’s creases hinting at darker shadows that followed the lines of his tall and indomitable form. His head was hidden beneath a black fedora, the rim slanted so it almost met the upturned collar of his coat. All that could be distinguished of his face were the bright eyes, grey and glinting like wet stones that have been polished smooth by the flow of decades of water, and the sharp nose of a patrician, a right angle jutting out from the planes and shadows of his features.

He moved through the city, and his footsteps rang out, counting time between the explosions of power that rippled and cracked in the heights above him and arced between the spires of the buildings. The lightning spiralled between glass and steel as beneath it he walked. Occasionally a window would shatter, the pressures of the wind ripping it away and send it spiralling overhead, releasing a shattering of glinting silver sharpness to fall down amidst the rain. Despite all this the figure strode onwards over the cracked concrete, past the empty yawning doorways.

But with each step, despite the sense of boundless, perfectly balanced energy he conveyed, he seemed to slow and dwindle. His steps came at different intervals, with growing pauses splitting each motion. When moving he retained the sense of boundless grace, but it was lapsing into immobility the deeper on into the city he drew. His head turned slowly, rotating about, taking in every abandoned shop front, every silent bar, every deserted restaurant and gutted office.

He reached a silent plaza. The extent of it’s emptiness yawned and boomed. In a space that could be filled by thousands, that had been filled by thousands, that had once reverberated with the pound of feet and the whirring of human speech now lay empty. His feet carried him deeper and further over the smooth concrete, ragged, scarred and pockmarked with time, the intricate patterns and designs once carved into it rendered unrecognisable. Eventually he reached the centre of the square and stood, rotating slowly. He removed his hat and tossed it into the waiting jaws of the wind, his eyes already moving away from the black gull he had released and now tracing, caressing, desperately yearning at the clean, crippled lines of the uninhabited buildings.

He collapsed to his knees, his eyes wide and staring. The disbelief that had been hidden by his hat and collar was now etched for all to see.

But there was no ‘all’ to see it any more. He knelt, broken in the square. Around him, throughout the entire city, from the river to the fields, for 30 miles, there was a terrible stillness that resounded with a horror that was too much to bear.

Nothing moved but the thunder.

Friday, 23 July 2010


Giving this haiku
Lark a go. It is harder
Than it first appears.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Yoof Culture

Late-night analogies stumble from my fingers, and push themselves into the keyboard, twisting and bending pixels to their will. Their heat staggers out into the endless stretches of the internet, where they will tangle and whip in complete anonymity, surrounded by a hundred-million endless-other desperate poets. This sense of silence in a storm of communication gives an urgency to the urge within, and the typing speeds, a stattacco drum beat, the percussive rythmns beating along in time with the tinny music from the laptop's speaker. This is the reality of late night existence for teenagers; illuminated screens, and dimly lit rooms, whilst eyes squint at swarming social-networks, and at sordid porn sights, and at every different nuance of the internet in between, (though there are few other nuances to be found).

Whilst parents slumber, the young and unencumbered blaze trails visible only in statistics and electric impulses, and dance their way across the world in a blink of an eye, surfing a wave of information, knowledge, hyperlinks and hyperbole. Slang tumbles from their finger-nails and callussed finger-tips 'OMG' and 'LOL', 'Bled' and 'Innits' and 'ROFL's merge into one endless mutable changing language, that cannot be heard, only be seen.

Welcome to the yoof culture.

Monday, 3 May 2010

It doesn't matter.

Soft bricks mesh silently with shadows and angular metal lampposts along a quiet street. The tarmac road curves gently down the slope of the hill, like toffee or butter or ice-cream that slipped from some giant child’s hand, and coursed away before it could be stopped. Simple grass verges line the edges of this thoroughfare, the occasional tree, like a pillar of wood springing up amidst its smaller greener cousins, supporting the soft velvet of the sky with its sturdy, spider web strung branches.

On the edges of this simple suburban lane, houses lie, each one a different experiment, another way of making the word ‘home’ real out of rock and wires and whitewash. On the top of one, simple red slates have been turned the colour of blood mixed with silt in the cover of night, and their routine shapes, their regular simple squares, have become the feathers of a wing belonging to a silent roosting bird. The windows of another house have shifted into shields with the drawing of the curtains; the entrance way of the eyes into the house barred by sheer white fabric, warped grey in the lingering twilight that drifts like the last smoke of a cigar in a country club; genteel, refined and unpredictable, wandering through the streets.

Walk on now a little further, let your legs carry you along the pitted speckled pavements that lie beneath your feet. Can you feel it through the soles of your soft thin shoes? Can you feel the simple bumps and rises and ridges that jumped and leapt from cement mixers through the air, then fell and settled motionless? The veins of newer darker smoother flooring have spread over the cracks, covering the scars where pipes have been slipped into the body of the earth. Can you feel it beneath your striding shoes? The gentle thrum of generators, the simple beat and buzz of power, so sibilant and gentle, you might almost think it was the floor beneath you breathing.

But we’ve paused long enough. Now walk on further.

Pass the edge of the road, and cross over, careful now though, careful of the eddies and flurries of human current, the roaring traffic and the splinters of silence it hurls outward, then careers off, the drone lingering behind and to the side of it’s wake, inside the fumes it spread. You’ve crossed the road now and you’re on the other side. A simple brick wall rises up in front, ahead. Dull old stones, not even bricks really, just the tears of some ancient, weary dinosaur, twisted by pressure and heat and coiling time, until they’re contradictory rectangular globes, heaped and piled upon each other and held together with glue. You grasp the top of the wall, hands splayed, fingers spread out like nets catching a grip inside them; you tense and strain the cords inside you, as muscles creak and you vault in one awkward moment over.

And land in sand so unexpected beneath shoes; shoes were not meant to walk on sand, you realise, understanding this in the same instant the sound of the first gentle wave laps up over the grains and into your head. You slip off your shoes in a shrug of motion, kick them off and smile, and dig your toes down beneath the tiny worlds of fine golden dust and take root like a tree for an moment. Your eyes are stretching out across the vista of roiling darkness, and for an instant all you can see is ink; black inks and grey inks, and purple-navy-silver inks and tiny bubbles of white ink riding atop it all, and you feel like you would paint the entire world in these colours, these shades of brilliant oceans that have draped themselves across it.  Civilisation, suburbs, all the tiny spots of light from the lampposts are no longer real here. They don’t matter.

As you stand here looking out you feel like you’re at the end of the world, as if, as if should your foot stretch out then it will end, it will cease to stay real and drift apart into the deep black infinity that is so silkily lapping upon the sand. The water is nearly at your feet. You sit down upon the sand and smile as the sea touches your toes. It doesn’t matter at the moment, because at the moment, you are in the place you would like to be.

It doesn’t matter.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


I stood, suspended on gossamer words,
Trapped in all the simple light they span out
With gently placed phrasings that could not call me.
And in those words, and motions, a truth span.
A gentler rhythm, a kinder rhyme breathed
Out. In the audience, all  the air
Stilled, and charged, and froze into it’s glory,
As upon a platform below our feet
And above your mind, in incandescence
Framed in motions, truly daring in heart
and soulful intent. we are all acting
They seem to say, declaring it to us all,
Ah, but oh, I hear us all exhaling
What beauty in this act, there is, trailing.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


I'm sorry
Doesn't take the hurt away,
Rub out the scars
And pick the grains of salt
From your wound.

It doesn't erase
What I did, and
It can't take the
Letters away
From the text I sent.

It doesn't mean I regret
What I did,
Or that I didn't mean to do it
It was the right thing to do.

I'm sorry means;
I never meant to hurt you
The way you
Hurt me.

And I am,

Monday, 15 February 2010

Mend Them

The world is
Hard and icy, cold-concrete-covered,
Glaring, glass-panelled spires
And streets,
Filled with rushing people,
Like rivers over the stones
Of folk too weak to care about,
So frail, breathe any warmth on them
And they might
Like a rush of wind out a door
Onto a warm, dark, soft night,
That hangs heavy over the world.

These are the invisible people,
The thieves, the muggers,
The conmen and junkies,
The wretched and the aching and the hurt and saddened.
And all they can do
Is hope one day,
A heart-born fluttering wind won't break
But mend them.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Ice Skating

Glide, slide, slip
Toward and tumble over
Speed and dreams on
Blades of metal-thin strengthened thought.
Let the patterns reel out
As you slide through the ice;
(you can't create without cutting)
Watch the images paint out
From your palette of creation,
On the soles of your skates.

The session's over, the siren says.
The business is back and the boots are off,
But do the dreams remain?

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Meant to be

I want to feel the beautiful, deep melancholy of everything that's happened.
I want the rainforests to grow again and I want the concrete to
Sink into the ground and never be seen again, be swallowed up by the land it
I want the seas to wash us clean, so we can be
The Beautiful Freaks we were meant
To be.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Insect Song

The buzz and beat
Of wings, and feet
Intertwined with air lift
Fear and madness, when we
Sting and drape
Our weaves

On clumsy heads and minds,
That see no shine
In carapace or patterned
elegance-stranded between two walls.
Where are your
Higher-vaunted virtues

now? When you crush
And stamp and crack -
This is genocide, with gas and spray
The panic-squealing stricken
Flee to crannies.
-There's no escape from your poison.

We are fleeing now,
But remember this;
We were here before, singing
Our buzzing-beating,
Winged-fleeting song
And we'll remain.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Like Honey

Two people stood in the busy street, the hustling thunder of the traffic an ostinato to their symphony of conversation. "you look well" he said with the awkwardness of memories lying on his tongue, as thick and sweet and decadently shaming as honey, and everything seemed to click back into place, just like two summers and 900 kisses ago.
"thank you" she said, and the love they felt for each other trailed behind them like scarves in the wind, twisting up into the sky above them and trailing around the tenements and apartment buildings, buzzing with life and electricity, intertwined and indivisible.  All around them the traffic danced and the peopled buzzed forward and they just talked. And it was like all there was about them was a field, and a beacon and the grey sky above, telling them to long for the ground, and each other and their lips and kisses and-
His phone rings, she jumps and the spell is broken, the strings of violins snap, the conductor gasps.
The symphony is silent and as they realise what they have been dreaming, and how dangerously close they came to connecting, he answers the phone and the signals of reality and boredom seep back in. A hand goes up, an absent-minded "bye" and he hurries away.
She stands in the street alone and begins to wrap up the tangles of her scarf, winding back the kite. A tear falls, or is it a raindrop. In the flood of a city, who can notice the difference?

In the Spirals

In the spirals of your gently spreading anger,
I'm lost for a bit, while you spit the seeds of hate from your paperback copy of the Grapes of Wrath, and shout literary pretensions at me while I just stand and stare.

You’re not individual, was all I said, muttered in the marble veins of the ground,

That’s how deep and hard it was too hear - but you latch and you tear and you screech and you scream about how it’s all boring, and the same and plastic out there! While in your head it’s new and it’s grand and it’s true and it’s better than before, when you read the books fifty years old and hear them speak to you, and only you! Like they haven’t to hundreds of thousands of teens across the world before.

For God’s sake - don’t be so clichéd.


Formaldehyde faces
In the streets of New York,
I can see on the news
In quite provincial England.
And I’m struck by the aliens
That live beyond the pond
(not my pond, a fern-filled, frog home,
 a charity centre for amphibians)
But the pond that isn’t a pond,
A moving, restless steel grey
Monster, with white-topped fins
That crest and claw at ships
In the emptiness of storms,
And that seems so much bigger
With a small sounding name,
Like it’s swelled and stretched it out,
Like ice in a crack.
But the aliens live there
And their lives are so odd, filled with difference
And vastness and vistas
That seem,
In quite provincial England,
Like spaces between conversations.


How do you measure
Your life?
Could you measure it in minutes,
That trickle through your fingers and brain
Like grains of sound.
No, not in minutes, so many passed in boredom,
Waiting for better things,
In queues.

How about in expectations?
The joys we’ve hoped for,
The moments of gossamer,
Suspended dis-suspension,
The minor surprises,
The unwrapped presents,
The still locked doors.
Hmm, perhaps not;
Think of every bad surprise and
Poor tasting meal served
In place of
A banquet.

Maybe we should measure
In experiences?
In bell chimes that echo in
The frosted silence of a new morning?
Or the kisses of an old love,
That still feel new?
No, not in experiences, as
Many sour as frost-snow sweet,
As like to cut like glass as reflect
Happy times.

Maybe the trick isn’t
In measures, or seconds,
Or experiences born.
Maybe we should just
Dangle and let
History stream back
And the future float forward,
Like the ribbons of youth.


There’s a ghost in the corner of my room.
He stands by the wall,
Quiet and sedate.
Just a whisper of colour,
A flicker of light
In the dark.

He never quite speaks -
Just whispers half faintly,
And the rustle of time
Lulls me softly to sleep.

There’s a shade in the shadows,
At the edge of my sight.
He’s a blur in the day
And a twist in the night.
And I never know whether
To say hello or goodbye
Each time I see him

Or whether to cry?


Would a rose smell as sweet,
If it looked more like the nettles?
Would the idea of the rose still make us
Smell it, touch it, send it on,
If instead of thorns and blood red petals, just
The stings and leaves
Of nettles were the norm.
Would romance change, or cheat, as it does now?
Would love?
Would valentines be green ?
And would they smell as sweet?

Hello, Heart of my Sorrow

The stars are out in hordes tonight,
And they light up the world,
Like fireflies that hang, delighting.

They have their motions
Unknown, whilst
Beneath, we wheel and turn.
(Hard hearts know that stars don’t move,
But stand as fixed spectators
For the games we people live.)

Yet for you, in my techni-hued mind-frame
That only your presence evokes,
I would pick them up and
Spell your name, with
The rhythm’s of the sky.

You would have wished on each star,
And coloured the air in,
With all your fancies.
If you were here.
But you have gone, to a world
With a veil that
Shields your eyes
And hides your ears in swathes
Of a cotton silk, that’s as
Red as my anger,
At the heart of my sorrow.

And because of this veil,
You cannot hear my words
Paint light onto the wind
Or see my voice
Dance smoke,
So that the birds wheel,
As though through dreams.

So goodbye,
To your smiles
And hello to the sun
That will hide the hordes of stars
And put away my melancholy,
Till the night comes
(And I greet again, the heart
Of my sorrow).

Grasping After

Scribbles in the night
That have profoundness in the evening,
When the stars are your compass,
Rather than the blaring of traffic
Seem to have meaning so
Ethereal (like a whisper from a friend
In an exam hall,
Not quite heard).
You want so hard to grasp
For the intention in the words,
But reach too far,
Let voice ring out in silence,
And meaning will escape you.

In the night, we do not grab at words.
We let them float,
And even on our own,
We treat them with respect.
A silent solitude, a rest for them.
Gratitude for the services of the day.

So in the night, we write
And what is bible-truth and gospel-word
Is in the day
Just scribbles in the night.