Thursday, November 29, 2012

Almost December

The reflected sun is a
fat gold wristwatch, laid out
on the frozen mudflats.
Time is still.
Caws of Hitchcock crows fill the silence.
My boots crunch on salt, crystallised and laid out
on the pavement floor.
A half-moon of banana skin gapes,
a leering smile,
all concrete-stuck and cold.
A frosting-topped train slinks by,
twelve carriages of steamed windows and
sleeping commuters, laid out
like tin soldiers with their legs stretched out.
Grass is stiff and stuck, bunches of
iced green jutting up at the sky
and nestled with lacy leaves.
My face is stung.
My knuckles creak.
The sort of morning that makes
an old man's eyes water at the corners,
the sort of morning that reflects you back on yourself.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bacon; 7am

For National Poetry Day

It's carried on the October air;
a fizzing pop of savoury, salt,
fried and turning an unseen pan black.
Someone has a window open
as they cook,
as I trudge towards my working day.
The morning is fresh,
damp underfoot. A tang of
coldness hangs, not unpleasant.
I smell grass too. Dewy, jewelled.
The bacon scent lingers,
mingling with the morning,
and I am not walking to the station,
I am not heavy-shouldered at the thought of work,
I am not an adult,
I am 6,
waking up in a tent with a cartoon-yawn,
putting on tiny cheap flip flops to slick through wet fields,
I am camping, I am transported back to holidays;
I am hungry.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Haiku FTW!

Thanks to the lovely Inkspill magazine I won a recent Twitter competition for haiku.

My winning haiku was:

Stones are lost buttons / torn from the shirt of the world / in sudden passion

I highly recommend following @InkspillMag on Twitter and buying the brilliant magazine itself.

Ray x

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Big thanks to the lovely folk at the Great British Bard Off for publishing my silly poem Tomato Boy!

The blog is for poems inspired by cake; specifically the Great British Bake Off. Which let's face it, is like a religion in itself. Hail Mary (and Paul and Mel and Sue)!

Ray x

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hotel contents clearance sale

says the A-board, propped up all
jolly and wrong in the hallway.
The hotel was dying, now it's dead.
A small man starts to pick up the corner of the hall carpet,
rolling it back,
is this going too?
Everything mate,
says another man. Everything except in this front room. That's all sold.
We creep further in.
It is a rabbit warren of deceased rooms,
empty of everything but
fitted wardrobes, stripped beds,
and the odd flatscreen TV.
There is a patio out back -
dead plants in plastic pots for 20p.
A slimy watering can.
Rotting wicker garden furniture; everything must go.
The bar is empty, of course. The stools hold no-one.
Crates upon crates upon crates
of Carlsberg glasses; pint glasses, halves. Ashtrays,
a fondue set, beer mats, drip mats, table mats.
Oxo cube tins, "the original beefy cube" - we laugh.
A griddle pan, slick with grease.
A Gaggia, the only thing that's clean and
gleaming, £1,000 ono.
Bundles of cutlery snick against each other in
metal dishes; bound in the postman's red elastic bands.
Nobody speaks, they just rifle. We rifle.
I go upstairs. The bedrooms are too spare:
even a fitted bedside cabinet has been pulled out,
and the bathrooms are echoed and cold.
I could go up, higher and higher,
but I think about the twins in The Shining,
and hurry back down.
We poke around,
looters of this final resting place,
feeling cheap and thieving,
wondering who ever stayed here.
People swim in, and swim out, a quiet tide of shufflers.
A man calls after us.
If you see anything you want, we pack up tomorrow, so.
We nod, and say thank you.
But there's nothing here we want. It's all too used.
Two enormous televisions walk out before us,
legs in sports shorts.
We don't want anything from here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Level 8

We are eight floors up;
grey looks out on grey.
If it wasn't for the magenta sofa
on the hotel balcony opposite,
I'd swear we were in black and white.
A monochrome day:
all billowing smoke-clouds,
when you imagine what London used to be like,
where scratchy rain cross-hatches
on our eighth-floor window,
copying the Gherkin's outer shell.
You can't really tell it's windy because
there is nothing green to sweep and shake,
not even a sepia London Plain to
rattle its baubles in the breeze.
Aerials ping the rare sun rays back at us,
sparkling silver like
cutter's scars against the dark towers.
A lone seagull swoops,
a window-cleaning crane winches its way skywards,
someone takes a flash photograph in a building across the way,
a first-day security pass shot, or board-room handshake captured,
and we look up
wondering if it's lightning,
then go back to tapping our keyboards
and sighing at the rain.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


For Holly Whiteley.

Dusty paper; the pinked sides
a soft serrated knife-edge.
Torn in half; a rubber rip,
someone pocketing the green sleeve.
A wave of mint -
a talcum coating on the tyre-tread stick,
sticking to my tongue all
grinning with the taste.
She places the cork lid back on the glass jar;
back on the pantry shelf.
We chew.
Our eyes speak to each other in sister-lingo:
we're not allowed gum.

We'd better not tell Mum.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ma and Me

Cinnamon and burnt orange;
that was the limited edition flavoured sugar
Whittards had produced that autumn.
I remember you in
dressing gowns,
and me in my work clothes: gingham skirts and winter jumpers.
It was my gap year - spent working in a gift shop,
and you were off work, post-hospital, pre-back to normal.
You say it is one of your happiest times,
and it was for me too.
We would sit, in the dining room,
the window view all brackish spider-twigs and
gusts of cold.
We would drink hot coffees,
flavoured with the cinnamon and burnt orange sugar,
watching films and calling Gran in the afternoons.
I would go with her to the eye clinic on Tuesdays,
and we would dine in our weekly routine
(lentil soup and pots of tea in Cafe Pulse),
before I'd come back home to you.
I introduced you to You've Got Mail.
I would tell you stories of boring gift shop afternoons;
broken mermaid ornaments and
trying managers and
women who would come in and pick up dolphin wind chimes and say
Ooh that's just Jean that is, she's got everything dolphins.
I would walk home the sea way;
blustery and great,
and come home to you in dressing gowns
and me in my work clothes: gingham skirts and winter jumpers,
and the smell of cinnamon and burnt orange.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Shard, 19 April 2012

A spark of metal,
driven up from below,
scratching the sky with a witchy fingernail, grey.
Cranes cling to the side like skeletal kings Kong,
inching their way up and looking down on us all.
Muddy, builder's tea coloured clouds
obscure the point, the apex, the top;
swallowing it up in a large-scale vanishing act.
The clawing windows yearn for sun,
to glint the rays back off itself and
into open plan offices in its view,
giving hope and life, and light.
But not today.
It is shrouded, buried deep in a fog of brown sky,
its widest point, the base, all we can see.
It is a giant's impression of hide and seek,
and as the rain hammers on our
smooth and faceless buildings,
we forget it is there, and go back to our computer screens,
and back to talking about the weather,
and think about making tea.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

To London #2

This is in response to my original poem To London.

You said you'd change.
You promised me.
We talked it over,
talked it through, talked it out.
I thought we could work through it, and be happy again.
But you went back on your word.
Now, the thought of being in your company
sickens me so much
I really think I want to leave you.
My thoughts are occupied with walking away;
walking to the coast and not looking back.
It's not the same; I'm not a teenager anymore,
dazzled by your lights.
You're not the hero I thought you were.
Why was I so impressed with you?
You bawled,
ranted and raved,
and hollered your greatness through
megaphones and cymbals,
and I was hypnotised.
Then I grew up.
Work got in the way of us.
Did I become jaded? You're certainly ok.
You're at your best,
your peak; thriving.
We just want other things, and right now,
I do not want you.
You don't need me.
I need distance, space;
air of my own.
I know you won't change,
so this is my honesty.
This just isn't right; you're not for me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

World Poetry Day

Hi guys,

The entire 70 poems I achieved for World Poetry Day on 21 March 2012 can now be found in the 'World Poetry Day challenge' page, tab above.

Thanks so much for your support!

Ray x

Monday, March 19, 2012

World Poetry Day challenge

To mark World Poetry Day on Wednesday 21 March, I am setting myself the challenge of writing as many poems as I can in one day. If you would like to see a poem written on a certain subject, or in a certain style, please let me know and I will do my best to write it for you. I'm excited by this project and nervous too, and will keep you guys posted with my progress. After the day is over I'll be posting the results here :-)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ode to Nowhere 26.02.12

Hi guys!

Thanks to the lovely Kate Lynn-Devere, my poem PSP Man is going to be broadcast on the delicious Ode to Nowhere poetry radio show this afternoon at 4pm.

Do give it a listen :-)


Friday, February 10, 2012


Sugar, dust:
a freshly whipped dream;
elderly handfuls of branches
under too many crows
to count my superstition.
Hushed are the cries of
children, praying their school is closed,
and pairs of feet
wriggle in bed,
planning to call in sick.
Outdoors, silence:
slamming through the morning and
clogging up the internet instead.
SNOW DAY! we ‘like’, and
#snowday we trend, as
managers collectively sigh,
scraping their windshields with an
American Express.
Cars slide in side roads, as
a thousand thermostats are tinkered with.
The over 60s clear their driveways,
wishing everyone else
would do the same.
It makes the front pages when
other news isn’t good enough,
and TK Maxx sell out of moon boots
in record time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The death of Kodak

"When was the last time you looked at a photo album?"
the news reporter asks,
a trembling teenage boy conjuring up a childhood memory.
"It has to be six or seven years ago," he says,
and we cut to a piece about the death of Kodak.
We just take and store our photos in a different way,
they're saying,
and my bookshelf panics
wondering if it will be cleared in favour of a machine.
For those nights when there's nothing on the telly,
or afternoons that call for a pot of tea,
or when you're trying to remember who came to that party,
I like to go through my albums of printed
yes, printed photographs.
How novel, it seems, that these archaic albums exist, now
that we have the opportunity to
watch our memories on a slideshow,
tagged with the attendees,
on another screen.
We have become a world of screen junkies:
why read a book when you can have a baby screen;
it's just like the real thing,
you can turn the pages and everything.
It looks just like the pages of a real book!
Except, well, it's not.
And what happens if you want to lend your book to a friend, or
you drop it in the bath, or
you'd like a reading session that
isn't dependent on battery life.
I don't know about you,
but I spend at least eight hours a day
a slave to the screen,
so the thought of curling up with
another humming LED display of an evening
fills me with dread.
I remember when at gigs,
it would be a sea of lighters,
a romantic fan's tribute to how much they love the song.
Then it was mobile phones held aloft,
so your loved one would listen to it too.
It then became a photo on a mobile phone,
then a video on a mobile phone,
and now it's an iPad held proudly.
Picture an intimate gig,
and the dickhead next to you is
watching the entire thing through an iPad,
his arms wobbling with the endurance,
his mind already forgetting what he's seen.
I want to argue over an over-folded Ordnance Survey map,
lend you my dog-eared Raymond Carver, well-loved,
be asked to sit down and look through your
real-life photo album
(even if it's pictures of you at Disneyland, or
swimming with dolphins).
Don't put my address book into a memory chip,
that at one strike could be obliterated;
don't ruin a pub debate over who co-starred with
Meryl Streep in The River Wild by
looking it up on fucking IMDB;
I don't want to know,
I want to get there myself,
without you,
and your guest wifi,
and your shiny palm buddy,
a touch-screen conversation-killer;
I want us to wait for the photos to be developed;
a four-day limbo - a lesson in patience,
without deciding we look shit in that photo you've just shown us
on the display screen,
so could you take it again?