I haven’t yet found the first word

The one that validates all others

So when I move my mouth to speak

I reveal the tragedy of empty sound


Would I accept this, my last decision?

I would walk to the quiet mountains

I would cut off my tongue and eat it there

It would better serve me in the form of food


Excerpt: Blood on White Hills

Time is not a constant,

But porous, distended matter

And the mind must have mortal bones

That buckle under such complete encumbrance

As this, solitude in the early morning.



I lay still, toppled clay golem
You sleep, deep and animated
Against my joyless insomnia

(Dreaming of rabbits?) No, bone-saw
Flee, they turn and see you, now flee
Flee on short limbs, four red stalks

In my ballooning, musing ego
I put these tremors in you
This brooding traversed two skins, osmotic

Plasticine bull-demons, horned men
Stalk through blackened infirmaries
Casting voices of lost family

My violence becomes your twisted wrist
My frustration becomes your bruxing
I am fearful and so you shiver

Impossible deserts, impossible sea
Tunnel through glass dust dunes
Paint tell-tale scars across soiled skin



Jazz since nineteen-fifty-nine


Penned in and rounded off

By the careless chattering

Of lesser city royalty

And aspiring champagne socialists


The five steps of composition


The evening staggers on

On in broken movements

As convoluted as it needs to be

Teasing arrangements

Simple as sweat on walls

Sixty solid years of cigar smoke

Precipitate in a glass

On a lung, under tongue

Inside an ear canal


If I died now

It would be as a big, bald man of sixty

Face down in a bowl of lukewarm linguine

French ‘seventy-five in my stiffened claw

Disinterested mistress by my side

My face a mask of contentment

Her menu masking embarrassment


Old Marat

Scatters rice for ungrateful birds
Feeds the three black strays of the disused lot
At home, he was a shoemaker
Lost a finger to the machine of his trade
Paid for his mistress to join him
She took flight as soon as she’d landed




My friends and I are sat around a table. One friend comments on my new watch. I look down to see that it is upside down and on the wrong arm.