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




A threatened baby rabbit will push his face into a corner

Between two walls, ears folded back

Brown 9mm round fired into linoleum

Though exposed, stubbornly hard

Against all pronged voices

Fat, pinching insults


The corners

The underarm nook

The upturned mouth

The eye and its pink slime


I have always sought the corners

Of mouths, Of rooms,

Of hot, hollow thoughts, Mercuries

Poison planet,

Boundless, round

Foreign bodies

Distant messengers


Not for comfort

Not in the bookdog’s ears

(Folded and forgotten)

Nor in the sleeve peeking

Out of a coat cuff

Asking to be tugged

To be trimmed with teeth


I have never seen the centre

Middle of you, Man

In a silver hollow-point hole

I bury my face and wait

For anything to happen