Scratched Vinyl

Left me
a lifetime ago
my broken pieces strewn
across the poetry
he wrote me
nestled in the photos
I snapped as we drank
like scratches in the vinyl
of our songs
Its been 3 decades
sleeved in regret
but then he came back
in a reply
(6 years late!)
a fraction heavier
no wiser
a happily married cliche
with children
still a salesman
touting his boyish grin
and all over again
he has me committed 
to sin

Parting shot

this, is for the false memories
suspended in photographs
hung, drawn and quartered postcards
endless phone logs
and care packages
which found their way into your arms
when I was distant and out of reach

this, is an acerbic soap box preach
my parting shot
a ghost
to haunt
the conscience you lacked
when you had someone else rolled on their back
because mine was turned


I wish I knew
what the fuck you are looking for
‘cos I just this minute saw
that creative
you profess to seek
right there…
semi naked
in your bathroom mirror

She said she served herself up to you
on a silver platter
only for you to say you fancied
something less sweet
more tart
and preferably
with no meat

Fear: Sold

Walking home from a nightshift in Sleaford
moving from A to B
in a rough sequence of Muybridge movements
stop motion
stop the world from churning inside my brain
stop my body aching
like a bone refusing to knit
unnerving photographs from the past
super imposed on my conscience
from a time you pursued me down with a proposal
and I simply said yes
to settle 
for less

* first appeared as a guest blog on Ford Dagenham’s Hatchbacks on fire 

Isolated Devices

Caching pieces of yourself
along the crumb trail of infinite feeds
cowering behind age old avatars
cropping away less favourable body parts
in that place
where regret is erased
when hindsight catches up
You delete the diatribe
and in a set of key strokes
it’s taken from view
but still impressed on servers
hanging there
like dirty laundry
awaiting discovery in another time
but this is the modern age!
Characters are formed in technological think tanks
polluted with narcissists and ill informed miscreants
it’s where we present
those fractured and manipulated versions of ourselves
This is the new world we discovered
through coppery wire
and high speed connections
led here by visionaries 
armed with punch cards and magnetic tape
and the irony in all this?
despite their promises
we are still
nothing more
isolated devices


White sheets
like a scene from Tracey Emin
laid back
My leg curled 
over your thigh
a million 
dust motes
in the shards of sunlight
cutting axes 
through the room
dividing our cosmos
like an unsettling analogy
between the former
of this space
and me


I never did
to being

having to employ new techniques
just to connect
like ducking and weaving
the salacious topics
that flowed freely between us

trapping fully formed sentences
behind pursed lips
and swallowing back
the bitter taste of sharp words
in one go

I don’t recognise
your new version of me
the one unable to win you over
with a curved hip
or this soliloquy

* written as a part of a guest blog ‘triptych’ for Ford Dagenham at Hatchbacks on Fire

Target Audience

I should have just told you how I felt
spelled it out
in plain text
instead of
encrypting desire
subliminal poetic prose
close to the bone
but miles off the mark

Red Eye Effect

A camera used to record us
but it no longer holds your image
or mine
just the negatives remain
black and white points of view
that my inherent sensitivity
refuses to filter
or bathe in new light
the focal point 
was a shallow depth of field
and too many forced changes in the exposure
captured isolated subjects
which diffracted

We are stored now electronically

imperfections registered
red eye effect
left unaddressed

Guest Soap

I left with creased clothes
the scent of guest soap
still on my hands
and the memory of your body
weighing me down
pilling the fabric between us
fastening me resolutely
to the past
I imagine you went home
to recline on your fear of commitment
and unwind
in the outline
we’d left behind

Detach and Withdraw

I’m fed up 
of blank pages
and empty promises
and long pauses
and withdrawal
scratching about 
for morsels
of you

Commanding your attention 
was easy
a little black dress
a tight white top
holding it
proved to be
too much
a grey area

Party Line

I miss the days of beer mat dating 
autographing your number freely
on compressed cardboard
in rancid little pubs
flipping it to one of the weekend lads
anxious to hook up
with a girl in stiletto heels
coasting carpets 
matted with mixers 

You’d wait for him to get in touch 
from a change fed phone box
preferably the next day 
the next week
(or the next time he was wasted)
to ask if you remembered him
as he traced smiley faces
on condensation choked windows
handset trapped 
between jaw and shoulder
with phone cord spring loaded 
round his wedding ring finger

But the only thing that rang
was the echo of rejection
the tin can connection
of Cantor’s theorem
calling collect

Drip Dry

some things hurt more back then
like mysterious phone numbers
scrawled in black eyeliner
on the back of scalped beer mats
and mislaid lingerie of one nighters
half hidden beneath the bed

some things have been smudged into insignificance 

by all the water that’s gone under the bridge
I renounced their status as painful reminders
downgraded them to ‘small stuff’ for palatability
just a string of random numerals
and drip-dry, dirty laundry

Compound Fracture

Staring through tram windows at male figures 
not dissimilar to yours
who move silently along pavements
like anonymous hooks 
on which to hang the ache I have
to slip my fingers around the nape of your neck
pull you in close enough to inhale your scent
and feel the shadow rub of your jawline
rough against my lip
instead of this low lament of absence
which is like some exquisite corpse
stretched across all that remains
of a time before we separated
into simpler compounds

Single Speed

Where are they now?
those pointless flirtations
with features 
younger than mine
& less to lose

The back peddlars

who took the scenic route
through your pumped ego
to the pull-off
where two frames interlocked

You had to know
they were destined to disappoint
and disturb the static air
left between us

so recycle your worn excuses
in single speed
leave me
to absorb the shock