and maybe the electrons of the atoms of the particles of dust, dirt, and dead skin in the ninety degree angles at the follicles between my hair and the skin on my neck buzzed a little more recklessly for a millisecond

but you’ll never know.


Hands Turning Hands

How long is a minute?
If you answered 60 seconds,
then how long is a second?
Save your neurones the workout:
I don’t want you to cut bits into pieces with your mathematical magic —
I’m not buying it.

I’ve lived seconds that stretched out across sandy deserts and sleepy states,
and minutes that measured millimetres, so microscopic I might have missed them.

What does it mean to turn the hands of a watch?
Hours of daylight and geographical position
creating the pretence of an authority that is not mine.

This train is a blink in the frame of those waiting for the barriers to be raised so they can pass the tracks, but a long and rumbling line in mine as my bum goes numb, warming the seat.

Is there someplace I can fly where I can turn back the hand to when yours was last in mine?


‘Wow! Look at the stars,’ said the child at my side.

We were in a transparent marquee waiting for a concert to begin and white lights were flickering above our heads. They continued to flicker throughout the concert, but they weren’t stars. They were reflections from mobile phone screens.



I want to blur the lines between me and you,
the carefully crafted contours we’ve worked hard to create.
The wall we’ve built in our digital age
is a wedge that will age while you stand strong.
But in these seconds of solace while the sentinel is gone,
let me creep through the cracks to where I belong.

I want the freckles that cling to my nose to be dew drops.
I want birds to perch on my barky skin
and blades of grass to sprout from my scalp.
I want to associate seasons with colours,
not with customary commitments.
I want to feel the weather inside of me.
Don’t send me rainwater in the stream of photons from a handheld screen.
Don’t tell me about tomorrow, I want to know today.
Don’t give me sun, wind and rain: make me wet, sweat, sweep me away.

I want to finger the paper as the raindrops make it translucent
and then feel how it curls up in my hands as the sun dries it out.
I want you to read the creases.
I want you to see how the ink runs and blurs two words together,
I want to blur these two worlds together.

Ordinarily Extraordinary

‘That’s unbelievable. They should make a film about him.’

That’s exactly why you’re wrong.

If they were to write a script about this man, if they were to pin his words to a page before planting them in the pre-owned mouth of some American stud, if they were to cut up the events of his life  into precisely timed scenes and to wrap it all together with the bow of forbidden love, it would make a shit film… because you wouldn’t believe a word of it.

This man stands tall in the morning after hours of work. His time belongs to those who pass through his life. You get the feeling that even when he sleeps, which he loves to do, his body is soaking up strength to gift to us once he’s awake. His feet are like everybody else’s feet: he has hairy toes and sometimes he forgets to cut his nails. Only they’re nothing like anybody else’s feet because when he stands tall, they don’t just touch the ground, they go deep to the core, down and down. When he speaks, you get the feeling he knows something that’s hidden from the rest of us, something that’s being channelled to him through the layers of the earth.

He’s a regular guy with a dodgy passport photo and a pile of dirty washing in the corner of his room. So if I told you his number was on the speed dial of the poorest souls or if I told you he was the one to dive under while my sister inhaled the salty water or if I told you he jumped onto the tracks on his way home from work to save a woman as the train hurtled through the city’s bowels…. would you believe me?

So leave him in the darkness. Leave him there to shed light like the constellations in the desert. In the city they know how beautiful the stars are, but that doesn’t stop them from turning on the streetlights. Leave him there. Don’t you know there’s a reason he whispers and doesn’t shout?

Red Shorts and a Net

And it was crystal

Crooked and Cracked

with only my tired

trembling white knuckles

holding the fragments together

But the pale green

had started to seep insidiously

through the cracks and the crooks

and the lines in my hands

And the edges were sharp

Stinging me

a green guilt that was not mine

but that my skin absorbed

with every blind touch

To let go was to break

and to break to destroy

and to rip the paper

from under the words I had written

So they might fall

Into a poisonous web of

twisted promises

and fresh guilt

But then there was you.

Red shorts and a net.

You were silence.

Knotting up the right and the wrong

And the fair and the cruel.

But the knots made sense.

Their origins clear,

Their destinations concrete,

They wove a roof in the storm.

You took a step forward

And that step was mine.

I stretched out my hands

And I crossed the line.