Thursday, December 18, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is...3 for 2

(This is a poem about the real meaning of Christmas.
The Boots 3 for 2 offer.)

I don't want too much for Christmas
There are just some things I need
I don't care about the turkey
The poor sods should be just set free
I just want the 3 for 2
Boots, without you what would I do?
Make up and shampoo...
All I want for Christmas is...

I don't want too much for Christmas
I won't even wish for snow,
I don't care about baby Jesus
Ho ho ho to hell I go,
I don't need to hang my stocking
It's really just not big enough
I want a mango shower smoothie
And some almond body buff
I just want the whole of Boots,
More than figs and candied fruits,
Make up and shampoo...
All I want for Christmas is you.

The shop in the high street is shining
So brightly everywhere
And the sound of Kate Moss's perfume
Spraying fills the air
And everyone is singing
I hear those cash desks ringing
Santa won't you bring me the one I really need
Won't you please bring my GHDs...

Oh I don't want too much for Christmas
Boots is all I'm asking for
I just want my Homer Simpson toothbrush
Standing outside the bathroom door
Oh I just want the whole catalogue,
A sponge that's in the shape of a frog,
Make up and shampoo,
Baby all I want for Christmas is...
3 for 2.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hotel Breakfast Room

It is a bad idea
to look into a hotel breakfast room
in winter, on an empty stomach,
because no matter how content you are,
it will instil only
the deepest longing.
Silver flip-top hot-water pots
gurn your face back at you in aluminium,
cheeks pink like a baby,
but without the softness.
Your eye meets a man
with over-scrambled scrambled egg
swinging from his lower lip.
He scrapes it off
without breaking eye contact,
and the egg falls onto the plate;
you can imagine the wet slap it makes
without actually having to hear it.
Your hands are thrust deep in your pockets,
while theirs clutch ceramic cups,
coffee steam steaming up their glasses,
palms clammy with condensation
while yours crack and creak with cold.
Your collar is turned up,
but their coats are lined in some cloakroom
like tweed and woollen soldiers
with gloves stowed in inside pockets.
You forgot your gloves today.


PSP Man, you are ruining my life.
Wait, no.
That's too dramatic.
You're ruining my life between the hour of 7 and 8,
On the daily commute to London.

You're 40-plus
But you've got the gadgets,
The iPod, the Blackberry...the PSP.
Everything you could possibly want,
Tucked into your shiny suit pockets.

With Lara Croft in the palm of your hand
And the earphones plugged deep in your ears,
You're furiously playing
In the Quiet Zone,
And the clicking of buttons is driving

Click-click-click, click-click-click.
You may have all the gadgets
But your manners have gone for a burton.
And you chew your gum, your Orbit Whitening gum
So the clicks are accompanied by chomps.
Click click click,Chomp chomp chomp.

I'd block it out with my own music,
But the cheap mp3 player I bought is dead,
And no amount of staring into the back gardens of Upminster
Is going to block you out.
PSP Man, you are ruining my life.
Between the hour of 7 and 8,
If you could keep it down,
That really would be great.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


I told my secrets down a well.
The words fell, diluted
and strange
by the dank water that soaked
moss into sponge.
Down, they
tumbled, disappearing, to lonely safety.
The rope ran through my fingers,
lowering the tales,
burning my skin,
lowering them down
into deep,
echoed space.
The words dropped with the pail;
it clunked and rang
and I walked away without a care,
breathing the freedom in
and blowing it out into the cold dark air.
I wrote my secrets down on paper.
The pen scratched as fire tore my heart,
emptying my conscience
as the light dipped,
and fluttered and fell.
I folded the paper to a tiny square,
six times for each regret,
the seams and creases set in stone
the ink smudged scores
of lay line-fingerprints,
the paper's edges frayed in the
damp palm of my hand.
I wedged it underneath a table leg,
pushing the catharsis
deep and hardened,
under wood, my fable,
and took my seat
at some other table.
I scored my secrets in the sand
With care I dragged those letters out.
Past seaweed
and salted rocks,
over cockleshells
and broken bone,
There was string
and tin
and a rusted key
that peppered my lines of woe.
The words ran deep
and made themselves up
of hundreds of years worth of stones,
each so weathered,
each so small they could balance
on an eyelash.
I waited for the tide to come,
but the sea couldn't reach what I had done;
my misjudged moon tide
left my secrets ingrained and bared
still as newborn
as they day they were made.
The tales made their way back to me,
even though sodden in the well,
even though breathed out into the air,
even though udner their wood protector;
I found my table, without its lilt,
and unplugged my folded words of guilt,
the only method now for concealing
was to strike a match
and drag its black-headed carbon fate
over those secrets
until they were nothing but a pile of
sorry and forgotten ash, buried deep in the earth.
The well is empty;
the table now rocks;
the sea knows not of my secrets now.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Wave

I walk the sound.
Heels sink
into the sand
making deep and
temporary impressions.
It lays like sugar, soft
and warmed,
looking up at the sky,
pebbles on their backs
looking up at it too.
The tide rolls in;
egg white foam
blurts onto the sugar.
Seconds pass,
the sand can't breathe,
obscured by the salt,
a confusion of colours
and tastes
and sounds.
The wave turns away.
The sand is
no longer frothy powder;
compacted now
into something else.
Once that wave has rocked in
You can never go back.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I, You

I am the past,
But you are the memories.
I am the cold snap,
But you are the falling snow.
I am the deep sleep,
But you are the dreaming.

Hard Up

I fell out with the Royal Mint
No cash for me,
No more,
I'm skint,
I'm not a slave to monthly pay
'The best things are free'
As the short of cash say,
I seem to spend hours
Scrabbling around
For any lost treasure,
A penny,
A pound.
Who needs it anyway?
What will it buy?
If these theories fail
I'll give scratchcards a try.

The Inner Pensioner Tuts

I lean my elbow on the bar
And my cardigan soaks up
Someone else's spillage,
And from afar,
I hear the c-word.
The inner pensioner tuts.
Schoolkids snogging on the bus,
Someone throws a Quaver my way
And I have to shout for my ticket
Over the 3.30 din.
The inner pensioner tuts.
I go out for a paper,
Treat myself to a Twirl,
And splashed on the pavement
In a white paint tattoo reads PILL HEAD.
The inner pensioner tuts.
I'm only 23,
And I'm sighing during half term,
At kids wheeling on the pavement,
And I try to stop it,
But it just takes over,
And the inner pensioner tuts.

I Gave a Shirt to Oxfam

I gave a shirt to Oxfam;
It was peach with blue polka dots
But had started to cut under the arms
Due to a newfound penchant
For toasted cheese sandwiches.

I saw it in the shop window one day,
But the next day it was gone.
I never saw how much it went for,
Or who idly touched it while browsing,
Let alone who bought it.

It might have gone somewhere exciting
Or to the road next to mine,
I might see a girl wearing it
If I do, I might tell her.
But I might not. She might think I'm weird.
I just hope the shirt
Hasn't been talking about me.

Hair Consultants

I'm booking a haircut,
But I lost the phone number
From the time my phone got ill
And had to go to Vodafone rehab.
Can't be arsed to haul out the Yellow Pages,
So here I go, tap tap tap, on
Any number you want, it says,
Any business, it'll find.
I type in the name,
Press the yellow Search button.
Come on, it's a bloody hairdressers called Hair,
Is it that difficult?
I try again.
I 'refine' my search,
Something that always amuses me,
I'll refine my search, take it up a social class,
Give it a cigar and hope for the best.
Ok now here we go, I've got it now.
The reason I couldn't find it in the first place
Was that it's not a hairdresser's at all.
It's a hair consultants.
Well excuse me for getting that wrong,
They don't dress your hair these days,
"Raymond's hair," they'll ask, "is a fringe ok?
How do you feel about layering, Raymond's follicles?"
Hair consultants, I ask you,
Whatever happened to a simple cut and blow dry?

Friday, May 16, 2008


The roads were slick
With oil and tedium.
We wandered in and out
Of cool white rooms,
Where bowing palms grazed chequered floors.
We were the chess pieces,
Easing our feet on the smooth black and white board.
A girl in blue sat at a piano,
And played and faltered and played.
She was neither good nor bad,
And someone said
"It's like Casablanca."
Brilliant canopies blew
Like ruptured feathers,
And the ice in our drinks
Melted on contact.
I drank mine through a straw,
And traced a star in the soil with my toes.
The buildings were crumbling
The ghostly living remains of other people's lives,
With clothing on washing lines
And black cats eating red geraniums on white steps.
I bought a linen shirt to cool my skin,
And sat under the biggest umbrella we could find
Until we were moved on,
It was siesta time
And the bubbles of drinks ran dry
With the shutting down of the day.

Pub Quiz

You've got the ones who go every week,
Who thought about getting badges made,
Who never come anything less than third.
You've got the ones who go for a laugh,
Who talk through the questions,
And go for a fag in the Science round.
You've got the ones who think they're the shit,
Who have puns in their team-names,
Like 'Quiz-team Aguilera'.
You've got the ones who wait for 'Entertainment'
Because of their Heat subscription,
Hoping for one about Geri Halliwell's baby.
Then you've got the bar staff,
Sick of the quiz-caller's voice,
Sick of the competitive heat in the air,
And sick of
"Can you repeat number seven mate?"

The Jumble Circuit

The jumble sale book table.
It's like a slice
Of unwanted society.
Dog-eared Rupert annuals feel mothered
By the Barbara Taylor-Bradfords.
Many a pastel-coloured saga novel
Lie hoping, wishing
That someone might just once
Keep them:
Then they could escape
The jumble circuit.
Two copies of Much Ado compete,
Both scarred with GCSE-note scrawl,
While the only hardback is
How To Pass Your Driving Test circa 1994
But no-one wants to know.
Then, like a coin in the sand,
Like a good colouring pencil
In a sea of browns:
Iris Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea.
Alone, almost aristocratic.
The other books seethe with envy;
She'll definitely go for 75p.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Summer 1991

I learnt that if I sat alone
Cross-legged in my gingham dress
And sanded my palm on the hot,
Silver playground floor,
My hands would smooth
And smell of outside.

Bare knees with barely hair,
It was summer
And we were dreaming
Of ice-cream
While suncream smells
Drifted off those with fairer skin.

The roads were being tarred,
Hot air heavy with the deep
Nostril-filling scent
As marbles were lost and won,
Bouncing the sun back up to our eyes
Which were marbles in return.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


It was heat then -
Pressing through the seams of my jeans,
Filtered to pure liquid warmth
Poured through the bus window.
Each fibre
Curling and heating,
Fictional ants,
My leg roasting like those tiny
Subjected insect bodies
Of someone else's pointless science experiment.
I knew winter was over.
No more the crease of frost
On morning grass verges.
No more the itchy wrap of scarves.
Soon, the bloom of blossom,
Breathed down to carpet the streets.
Then come the bare arms,
Or the hope of that at least.
Bathed in banana yellows
And iris blues,
Feeding the minds
And quenching the eyes
So we'll forget what we were complaining about
For so long.
The bus rolled on,
The sun making tiny droplets of moisture
In the corners of my eyes
Which were born again,

And the bus rolled on.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


It comes and goes;
Sometimes early in the morning
When the sky looks frosted
With its new light,
Sometimes halfway through a song
And it all suddenly
Just makes sense,
Sometimes when you’re talking
And you nod
But your mind’s on what to note down,
Sometimes if you’re feeling doubtful
And someone says something
And there it is again,
Sometimes in the middle of the night
When the stars are in bed, and you should be too
And you scrabble for a pen,
Sometimes staring out of windows
Or looking out of doors
It arrives,
And sometimes,
You don’t even know when it happened,
You just know it’s there.


I feel so... something.
Not bad,
But too unsettling to be good.
Something coursing
Unfaltering electricity
Running in my veins
Running like a deep need.
Scratch my skin,
Pucker the smooth
The goosebumped,
And it would burst out
In streamers
Or screams
I'm not sure which,

What You Love

Count up for me please
The things that you love.
Is it the smell of other people's houses,
Or the smell of your own
When you go back home?
Is it the whispers that swim out
Of a second-hand book?
The shine of an LP
Scores of frost,
A first-hand look,
The taste of granulated sugar
Or someone else,
Playing cards,
Pin badges, buttons, bells.
Is it new carpet?
Victoria sponge,
New pictures hung
Old pictures found,
The crush of ice cubes,
Old territory, new ground.
Getting lost,
Only to be found.
Is it a compliment
Making blooms of a blush,
A bustle of backpacks
Or a library hush.
A bowlful of marbles,
Paper stars,
Paper anything,
Light on glass.
A turn of phrase,
A typewriter clank
The perfume or headline,
That gin that we drank.
Count up for me please
The things that you love,
And we'll make them into a list,
Just like this.


Sometimes sitting staring
Thinking out of windows,
And wishing out of doors.
Push up that sash window
And just
Just take it in –
There’s a city over there,
Rippled with heat.
Just breathe it in
And look
Where no-one else can see
Where no-one else notices.
It’s yours,
Just for a moment;
Just take it all in.


What do you call
A day without a soul?
I won’t weaken
And call it overcast,
Or romanticise
And call it balmy.
I feel like I’m trying to choose
My favourite brick from the wall
That my splintered window looks out on.


Thumbprints in dust
Hinges on a wall, bleeding rust
A lightbulb blown,
Crisp packet thrown.

A lock stuck,
Clock stopped,
Flat tyre,
Chalk-dust of ash in the fire.

The quick-slow pass
As smooth as glass,
The endless chime,
Then, now, is time.

The Colours Inside

They try to tell you what you look like inside.
Collections of organs,
Neatly compactly arranged around each other
Like the boot of a car packed for a holiday.
Strings and sinews,
Parallel lines of muscles
In a limited spectrum of red through brown.
Blood flowing through you in lightning-fast highways.
But in truth,
It only starts to look like that
The minute they cut you open;
That's when the spell is broken.
No what it really looks like
Is something altogether different.
Blocks of colour,
Every colour you could imagine
Make up the inside of you.
You're like a walking Mondrian painting
Of pulsating, vibrant shades, keeping you going.
When you look at something beautiful,
It's what's inside you trying to get out.
Real beauty,
That exists in an eternal striving to escape.

Metal Dream

The cars rattle along the busy road
The smell of February rises in steam
And as the tyres sigh into the tarmac
The sky is an orange mistake,
Burnt and victorious.

I see in the distance
Canary Wharf and its tall companions
Struck silver against the violent sky,
Like a child's impression of a city skyline
Only in miniature.

The white-noise hum of London
Puts pressure on my head,
The voices, cars, drills;
It’s mirrored in the sky
Which turns a clashing pink.

A split of blinding sun
Creeps through a snag in the sky,
And all the drivers
Pull down the visors,
And traffic moves
Like a choreographed metal dream.


This is just a selection of haiku I've written, going through a year.

This is what happens;
I could curl up like paper
Too close to a match.

Rewind the cassette,
Listen to what I've said now
And tape over it.

Craving that crackle
October's sheets of ice-glass
And hands in mittens.

Pearly spheres of cold,
Silver sky lets out a sigh
Tapping my window.

You under the sky;
Rain has never looked as good
As it did on you.

Stones are lost buttons
Torn from the shirt of the world
In sudden passion.

Caramel pebbles,
Granulated sugar sand
Lit by honey sun.

A Nice Change

I'd like to see
A well-dressed dog
Taking a man for a walk.
I'd like to see
The stars teaching their kids
The names of all of us.
I'd like to see
A carp laughing at the man
Who lies, hook in mouth, on the path.
I'd like to see
A house growing out of control
Over some winter jasmine.
I'd like to see
A bus driver running for his car
Who rolls down the hill unblinking.
I'd like to see
The newspaper reading you.

So Much To See

Some days it’s splintered glass,
Fractured pieces.
Saucepans boil dry
Curtains catch on the rail,
They won’t open from damp.
Pins of rain spark from nowhere
And you find yourself misplacing,
Or misplaced.
But then other days,
You’re awake and breathing,
For your soul’s barely born,
It’s not yet weary from the world,
There’s so much to see
And so much to be,
So the glass gets swept away
The windows let in light,
You’re wide-eyed from outside
Face with a honeycomb glow,
You’re not lost but found,
And there’s so much to see
That the dark disappears.

Photo Karma

I took a photo of that old hotel
And a month and two days later
They bulldozed it down
And now it’s nowhere anymore.
I took a photo of your antique clock
And just shy of two months later
The glass that shaded its old face
Cracked and fell away.
Note to self;
Stop taking pictures of beautiful things
(So cancel that portrait
You ordered.)

Piece Of Mind

A van just drove past,
Lightning strikes painted down one side
Claiming the company specialised
And it got me thinking;
What if that was a real service?
Inside the van, shelves upon shelves
Of different levels of happiness
Bottled from contentment to ecstasy,
Available via mail order
To be delivered to your door.

Metallic Brain

I am a standing, walking, waking engine.
A metal stack of time,
Each outward breath
A fine line of iron filings
That slowly make their way
Through the hourglass.
New thoughts encased in silver,
Old memories brass
Within my metallic brain,
A tap makes a tinny hollow noise,
Out fall a few more.
I can cut through paper,
I can withstand the knocks
And on I walk, shining
To the sound of the clocks.
If I catch the light
My skin flashes white, magnesium-bright,
Hinges balmed like new,
The strides do not creak but sway
As I walk through the days, and the time clicks on.


Perhaps I am not sleeping
Perhaps I saw what the sky looked like
Before anyone else was awake today.
Perhaps the shoes you bought me
Were too big
And I was too polite to say.
Perhaps I can't stop listening to a song
And the neighbours must be tired
Of me always pressing play.

Perhaps I wrote a message in the dust
And promised to be better
But then wiped it away.