Bloody Puccini


If it wasn’t for Puccini I might’ve been rich.

If it wasn’t for him I might’ve liked Wagner

and believed in the supremacy of the Aryan race or something.

If it wasn’t for Rodolfo’s insouciance

I might’ve also believed in the importance of cars and clothes.


Bloody John Coltrane.

If it wasn’t for John Coltrane I might’ve liked rock.

Instead of studying A Love Supreme,

I could’ve nodded to Motorhead and Metallica,

drunk beer and gone to football matches, achieved personality disorder,

attended punch ups, believed in Brexit and, you know, been normal.


Bloody Socrates.

If it wasn’t for Socrates I might’ve been happy.

I might’ve liked what others like:

magnolia, the death penalty, white bread and Big Brother.

But for Plato’s obsessive scribbling I might’ve believed in fairy tales like

The Queen, technology, Adam Smith and Harry Potter.


Bloody Mother Teresa.

If it wasn’t for Mother Teresa I might’ve been respectable.

I would’ve got a proper job, got married, had children,

committed adultery, been a pillar of society and all that.

If it wasn’t for Jesus’ nonsense about camels and heaven

I could’ve been an optimist.






beer bottle spyglass


grass stalks feathery seedpods sway elegantly

fresh sensation

daisies tremble silently

in realisation

lush green ground creepers





over sand dunes and dust  bowls

ivy clad rooves ripple

soft green moss

carpets car parks

and grows like candyfloss

around communication masts

trees sigh billowing upward

a small purple plastic ribena bottle

it’s lid caught in the v of a branch

hangs like a strange fruit

nearby convolvulus snakes are coiled in rest

stars speak

with supernatural clarity

windsong sings

ants exit excited

from poison caves

beetles tumble out of toxic tunnels

a snail trails its slime

like a man wiping dog shit from his shoe

caterpillars peer around amazed at the size of their world

a rat no longer cowering timorously trots around carelessly

a canal covered with detritus and duckweed

an empty plastic water bottle imprisoned by long reeds

and three cans on their sides jostle gently

one floats upside down like a fishing float

and a beer bottle bobbing upside down –

a spyglass spying dim shapes in the silt

jetsam from a bygone era

the sixth great mass extinction is over



How Long?



How long will it take this river

To reach the sea?

A stately sure progression,

The inevitability of gravity.


For how much longer

Will the fruit from this tree fall?

For now one-a-minute,

Sweet but already fermenting.


For how long can a swallow fly?

Riding, sweeping, gliding,

No stops for fuelling.

Yet he too must rest

In tree or barn.


For how long will this faithful old building

Be sound?

It’s ivy occludes

Brick, beam and roof.

One day to no longer stand;

It must make way

For a new road or shop.

Or for just time.

people present


I’ve seen his type before

barrel chested tattoos mohican and all that

a tough guy

but as often as not

they’re not

the bulgarian waitress seems nice

she has braces on her teeth

and wears men’s trainers

the shingle shifts as she walks

my feet are sunburnt

i’m proud of the contrast

between my instep and sole

but ashamed of my verruca

the pebbles must be very old

rolled smooth

the indian waiter is aquiline

slight and smiling

a pretty girl has bubbly hair

eyelashes like a whip

and a nose like a sheep

the wind ripples her tresses

and pushes a sparrow

upward as it thrashes its wings

i wonder where english sparrows have got to

the wind also picks up

thousands of tons of water

in neat ridges

that pound the beach

or maybe it’s the moon

but i don’t believe them

the barman looks like a boxer

he takes a cigarette

from a man with large breasts and

gives it to the pretty girl’s consort

he goes back for the lighter

they all laugh

the man with breasts is talking to a little girl

she must be twelve

but looks forty

behind her a reddish- grey ferry floats past

that’s funny

i can see right through it

maybe it’s a ghost ship

i wonder if Agamemnon ever scoured these shores

hoping for hoplites and

how much rotten bronze lies

on the sea bed

the sun sets gold

trees silhouette black

and black are floodlights

perhaps to a football pitch

standing up like dandelion stalks

about to blow away in the breeze

the smell of market herbs fills my nostrils

the pretty girl’s hair still ripples

I’ve been looking at her and

her nose is not really like a sheep’s

its too bumpy and bulbous

i still think she’s pretty though

i’m nearly on my own now

the waiters have cleared away all the deck chairs

except mine.




The woman across from me looks bored

her head and stomach sag

she has two belly buttons

she looks thoughtfully across

at the children playing in the sea

then down at the pebbles

then up at the children

the young man picks up a child with one hand

and tries to launch her like a toy aeroplane

she splashes into the water laughing

sun reflecting

hurts the eyes

palm leaves on steel parasols

flicker on the soft torso of a young girl

waves splash books

traders hawk trinkets

trudging patiently up the beach

toward the port

ships cross the blinding water

to the faint mountains

there is just one small cloud in the whole sky

it disappears and another takes its place

this too disappears and another takes its place

the light blue of the sky joins

the grey-blue of the mountains which blends

the green-blue of the sea

the children are still chasing

their brown bodies smooth and compact

their screams washing up

with the waves

which like a sideways perspex conveyor belt

roll pebbles up the beach

towards the port

the woman is lying down now

and with one suspicious glance at me

she covers her face with a straw hat.

white waltham sunset



when brilliant gold bends backwards

back down to lamp-black fresh

wooded pine woods stark saw teeth silhouette

salmon pink to ochre lends to day then sudden silver halo

specked wings blow dust-like fleet flutter forth and back

brick brown-burnt blends cerulean

immense billows suspended cantilevered piled towering

intense flowering clarion fanfare of imperial lapis set in excelsis bursting blue

The Immutable mutates to lushest gold gashed azure

reclines and sky orange sinks sounds subside sinks sage-green screen

dove-grey balm steals dusk-drawn sloping stealthy slow

softly low softly suffusing quiet cool calm

holy calm

the river


fierce sun beat down on the tin roof

sweat trickled

flies buzzed

we sat in silence




then he asked “what do you really want?”

“to see God” I replied

stretching his hand upwards he said laughing

“you cannot see God!

that is like wanting to catch hold of the stars”


light glistens on dark ripples

flowing quietly

while romans conquer

flowing kindly

while tudors betray

flowing peacefully

while wars play

flowing softly

while grandeur



to fight under cold bright neon

just for glory

we assemble

swirling prowling weighing opponents

a collosseum of crystal


smooth arms of slow water

wrap around the land

to lightly nuzzle

the upstream bank

smoothing the furrowed sand

in time to the rhythm

of zeus’ daughter


outside lights spray the sky

like the tail of a peacock

we outwalk the people

outflank the traffic

you take my hand

and lead me across the bridge


walking out onto the square in faith

willing annihilation

staring through haze

wanting not to see

the person I will harm

steeling his gaze

feeling pure hatred


down deep into the river


I sense the infinite yet see the bottom

what secret

when I can look right through it?

I have looked all my life

into its beauty

it has flowed

always toward this moment

always constant

always changing


but my presence

also alters its course

one tiny eddy

one degrees more

downstream will now be different


every nerve in me is alive

I spring forward and connect

dull pain shoots through my foot

surprised shaken he is hurt

I am winning


higher than a jet

its source

brighter than the planets

billions of ice crystals

refracting the glue of the cosmos

all is light

each ray has awesome potential

hotter that a thousand suns

creation or destruction

Brahma or Shiva?


glancing back you flash me a smile

bystanders’ faces light up

like the moon reflecting the sun’s rays


a traffic island is our sanctuary


you pull me through the flood of cars


maybe I am gifted

surely I am cherished

deeply I am loved

hopelessly I am lost


a single clap of thunder

the heavens open

the mountain torrent sweeps my legs

with irresistible power

my feet stumble on sharp slippery stones

I am moved


too much is conceded

I am loosing the fight

inadequate training too strong-a-foe

I attack but he is quicker

a golden thread connecting us both

his kick knocks me down

pain sears my chest

for sure something is broken


the tinkling stream flows uphill

contravening the laws of reason

contradicting the bonds of convention

outpouring into me



sparkling stars

unutterable loveliness

divine power

infinity bewilders me

unconditional love

I see eternity

look away

afraid of falling upwards into them

I grip the bronze handrail

of the victoria embankment

my fingers trace figures

like braille

and I recognise

Rodin’s gates of hell


sphinxes fix the needle

that points to the clear clean limitless sky


in the garden time flows


unfathomable Nature

dog-roses in december

daffodils in november


soft undulations of little waves

rocking gently

rocking gently

to the mystical currents

that pull secretly

beneath the magic of the shimmering light

that catches the stars dancing on water

in a pure reflection

of the force that re-unites

twin photons

in a sine-wave of

holy communion