Sunday, July 18, 2010

Profile on One Stop Poetry

Thanks to Pete at One Stop Poetry, the new online celebration of poetry, for profiling me this weekend. A top chap, a top site, and a top compliment.

Have a look at the site and enjoy the poems on offer:


Ray x

Monday, July 12, 2010

A balcony, brandy, and a family holiday in Corfu age 17.

A balcony is morning;
a breakfast of torn fresh white bread, with sesame
and cream cheese. Jarred jam of
forest fruits bleeding purple and hitting
sweet and sour notes.
We walk over the hill behind our apartment,
and try to remember the lyrics to 'Colorado'
by Manassas. Skinny cats dart
out of bushes, slinky and streetwise.
We swim. Pine needles fall like soft pins
around the pool and we think about
cider, and feta cheese.
There is the clink of china outside
in hot sun, and
the ruffle of napkins.
A balcony is drying swimwear,
halter-necks swaying in a
warm breeze,
my childhood swimming towel slumped
over a railing, faded tutti-frutti colours.
We fizz local brandy, Metaxa,
with cheap lemonade in self-catering cups,
and watch the sun winch down the sky,
a bold orange sinking,
letting out soft pink veins that swarm in the clouds.
Dad and I play a game of guessing song intros,
while Mum reads. She is cool
and beautiful
in a tie-dye sarong and her arms
are nut-brown from the day.
A balcony is getting ready for our evening meal;
we have picked a restaurant with friendly waiting staff,
who give us free kumquat liqueur;
a kindness we are not used to.
We get changed, Metaxa swilling in our
hot, easy heads,
and I decide against jewellery because it is
The drying towels wave us goodbye
as we track the pathway down the hill,
side-stepping squashy fallen fruit
and laughing at something Dad said
about a fig.
I already know I want a cool, crisp Amstel lager
which they will give to me in a girly, stemmed glass,
my Dad a pint.
Mum will have wine,
and I will not yet understand why. Wine is still vinegar
to my teenage tastes.
Evening food smells rise like steam off tar
and beckon us into gazebo gardens.
We push on,
looking in a window at a bracelet
we will buy for my sister,
then take our seats with growly tummies,
ready for the local catch.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Something about a hot, sticky
August afternoon,
makes an ice-craving witch of me.
Something about a still,
warm night,
that urges my limbs towards the freezer.
An ice cube,
melting its hard lines as it meets
lotion-slippery skin,
or a plastic picnic ice-pack
seamed hard against a leg.
I wish it was winter.
Take away your treacle nights
and give me hoar-frost,
rimey windows and the
crunch of a walk home.
Cups of tea are lost
in fogged days,
steam curling into the atmosphere
and beading our top lips.
We walk through cushioned streets,
buffeted by clammy pockets of air
like fenders on the sides of boats.
December days are clearer,
like the sound of a bell
with air so crisp
you can tap it like a pane of glass.
Here we are wading,
ears plugged with cotton wool,
sweat a second skin.
Trees, shed your leaves,
and days, race towards the autumn term.
We will sharpen pencils
and dig out full-length trousers
and put our feet away.