Brexit Passions

I am condemned by others, wearing Asda’s finest, loving the curry, hating the Indian, them that visit Spain for sun with chips, who thought Labour was for the working man, they made the cross of wood and nails of iron.

That I must carry as this was born of my silence as factory whistles and streets of common worth became black and white movie reels.

Yet I stumble at shaky pensioners wanting back a childhood of back to backs and Empire cakes, and the Daily Mail Pharisees preaching whose life, whose tongue, speaks for me. Yet where was I when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

I watch a man round as a cottage loaf, t-shirt bare arms showing tattoos of faded love and sinking ships as a woman, hair dyed young, worn jacket too big for a shrinking body, kisses away his tears. I walk on, mothers are a story that others tell.

Let me help, another man says. Yet he speaks hope too loud like a Bible reading where God wears jeans and Angels are your buddies.  But he walks with me to rattle away the cawing rooks pecking at scattered seeds.

She doesn’t cry in the wilderness. So give her face to courage, let her smile words at bitter lips, let her be the icon lit with candles where flowers are gathered to rest.

Yet I stumble at save us flag wavers defending the big lie, the golf club wise men seeing no star. Yet where was I when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

Of the three, this woman listened between words, gave a wordless touch, let the day decide the colour of lipstick and if a Judas kissed she’d hit and forgive latter. When they called the sea a moat she and her sisters ran over waves to show how free they were.

Yet I stumble at those tongue smiths who made hard words too polished to see, who played the game, who spoke holding only rotting apples. Where were they when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

I am stripped, left nothing to reap, made a single road, given a shroud for a wedding dress.

It will go away, this wood will flower with May blossom, the nails will strike bells, candles will light the way not weep at dark silence. And pain is but thunder clearing a sky for dawn mists.

Forgive them for they know not what they do.

As I fall, hold me, give me warmth, reach out to each voice, make them a choir, sing with birds and dance with the breeze, make heaven seen.

And from dark cold valleys will come new turnings, new woods and places to dig and in clearings will be hands to hold and smiles at our fresh steps.

i am not a silent poet


Geography Lessons

We are betterer then the Swiss
cause our cheese has no holes
and they need feet of snow
before they shut schools down

We are Africans that got lost
walking on water to China
and became white because
we argued with the sun

In Russia, they make cold sores
so we have to keep curtains
ironed in case they come
and make us like the poor.

Australia is made of desserts
that kangaroos jump in
but not like our puds
as they are originals

Reach Poetry

Down where the washing-line stood

an orange flicker
in the outside privy

where leaves rustle
where night screeches

said carpets rolled
said bottled beer

said black and white faces
to fade, to stay young

for voices by the piano
for tunes of summer nights

when fat fingers thumped keys
to gramophone scratched trumpets

while in shadows
in unlit hedges, a cat hunts
and something bitten screams a melody


Reach Poetry

Early morning in Mafeking Street

I may have been dead or at last breath,
you came skipping up from the alley
short bare legs, dirt on your knees.

I saw you stop, a thrupenny jubbly,
in your hand colder then I was,
the blood on my face jam thick.

I was wrenching a punctured fifth wheel
when the axle broke, pitching the trailer
on me as straw bales toppled like Lego bricks.

I saw you laugh at the policeman too fat
trying to run like a keystone cop,
as he blew his whistle in the empty street.

I could hear the ring of the ambulance,
you danced to until you saw the man
jump out with big sticks and a blanket.

I watched you stand, jubbly untouched
as they bent over me then you turned
and ran to play and so did I.

Reach Poetry


On not saying hello

It was on the 8.30 to London and I was lost in a poem
more to pass the time then for serious effect
when I looked over and saw a basement squat
and a time when you and I were friends.

More to pass the time then for serious effect
I imagine leaning over and apologetically reminding
you of a time when you knew me and my brother.
I turned back to my poem and remembered why not.

I imagine leaning over and apologetically reminding
you of my brother, now dead but scared of life yet
I turned back to my poem and remembered why not
as the train announcements make you stir.

Of my brother, now dead but scared of life you
won’t recall but it’s when I lost my world
as the train announcements make you stir
I see his face sketched now only in my thoughts.

I won’t recall when I lost my world
as I look over and see a basement squat
so as the train announcements make you stir
I’m lost in a poem on the 8.30 to London.

SOUTH Poetry Magazine

If they are so hard up why aren’t their kids skinny?

My granddad would put the Mail
on the beeswaxed table,
and reach for his pipe to point his opinions.

‘Anyone can afford a bit of veg.’
I’d murmur ‘ Cheap vegetables
starve the poor of Africa’

Grandma would sigh,
straighten her housecoat
and dust the mantel-piece clock.

‘He’s right you know, in our day,
a man did a day’s work and then
got out in the garden to dig.’

They looked blankly at my joke
about the Archers’
High Rise market garden.

Then pipe wagging, he’d say,
‘In my day the streets were our playground.’

‘Yes but what about the cars’ I’d say
and they’d agree
and say it’s a disgrace they had cars.

Granddad would then
blow a kiss at Grandma,
who’d giggle
and tell him to stop being so daft.

I’d reach for the Kipling’s cherry cakes
and ask after cousin Betty.


Reach Poetry

On retiring to bed with a cold

When her,
she says,
tomato soup,
Heinz, red, warm, white bowl,
round not long spoon,
bread triangles, toasted, slightly,
butter spread to be seen, not melted,
tray, pink not white, wood not plastic,
bottled water, not tap and in the nice glass,
fluff the pillow, straighten the duvet,
do you love me?

When him,
he says,
let me sleep.

Published in Gold Dust

I wished upon a star

When was that night of Christmas lights
in streets shine-wet, the splash
of footsteps, windows bright for the curious
and you, hand cold and rough
as I tasted wood smoke of fireside happiness
Our conversation as empty
as the puddles, just a reflection
that vanished as the car swished
by letting you make a joke about snow
I wanted to say ‘fuck’ but you had.

Now even the roses on the bird-cage
are plastic as the voices
that made me invisible,
like cast off toys in attics,
then dogs barking
said it was time to kiss the cross,
keep eyes cold,
like rows of your brightest books,
but outside leaves rustle in the wind
and distant birds dot across the sky
saying all that matters.

I am not a silent poet

As you danced in the street

Barbara Croker,
at 22 with the green door,
with ‘mustn’t grumble back’
and ‘legs that’ll manage’
will dream
of falling under
cat-eye stars
where wind screams
not like seagulls
wanting fish
sea fresh
nor a man
but like a mother
her boy
as waves
today from tomorrow
when she will awake
to old photographs,
summer beach smells,
and a hand still reached for.

Reach Poetry

Calling, calling

Parlez-vous français?

Pardon, this is a Whitstable number,
we live near the greengrocer and take
tea at 4 with a cherry slice on Tuesday.

Parlez-vous français?

I think you have the wrong number,
for I have never left this island
except when war called for my body.

Parlez-vous français?

You sound distressed so perhaps
you need to ring your number again
with fingers in the dial following turns.

Parlez-vous français?

I’m sorry, I am unable to respond
for I know nothing of what you say
and soon the sun will make shadows.

Parlez-vous français?

I am sorry…si vous appelez encore,
je doit rappeler à la police
de votre emplacement,

Vous ne parlez français!

No and now I shall put the phone down
for it is time that the sparrows were free
and this will be when Eagles are clipped

Published in Your One Phone Call