19 February 2018

The Final Straw


I lost my spit and shine

And the all weather finish

That had served me so well

Against the inclement

I had been less than diligent

With my applications

You might call me lazy

But I was tired of the front

And dropped my guard

The signature of a chump

I took the blows due me

And maybe more besides

But there’s always a final straw

An injury that cannot be borne

Often it’s a concealed blade

Nestled in the hand of a friend

I’d be a hypocrite to complain

My dabs were all over that instrument

The blood on my hands was not my own

My complicity was beyond all reasonable doubt


17 February 2018

The Boy Who Wept


His name was Calum Fraser and he was seventeen, though none of us knew this at the time. The folk on the ward just referred to him as the boy who cries. Calum cried a lot – no, Calum wept a lot. You might say he was inconsolable, but I don’t remember anyone actually trying to console him. It was heart rending and it was embarrassing. So we did our best to ignore him. I thought about going to him once or twice. To put my arm around him and ask him what was wrong, but I never did. I always figured he had lost someone. You only grieve like that when you have lost someone.

Poor Calum. He wept both night and day. I know because he slept in my dorm and kept me awake with his sobbing. One night I lost the rag and told him that if he did not shut up I’d give him something to cry about. I felt instant shame. Those words shame me still. He stopped crying a few days later when he fashioned a noose from a bed sheet and hung himself in a toilet cubicle.

It must have taken a determined effort to hang himself on his knees like that. He was still kneeling in the doorway of the cubicle when I found him; the improvised noose held him upright in cruel mockery of prayer. His had been a gruesome death, a violent death, the bulging eyes and bloated tongue attested to that. I hoped to God that he’d found some peace and that death had finally dried his tears.


15 February 2018



Most people are lost

In power games

Of their own devising

Ensnared in the he said/she said

They endorse misery and conflict

For all of their lives

But it’s hard to hold your head high

When you’re swimming in shit

And that’s the greatest threat

To your personal freedom

Not that some unseen hand

Takes away your power through force

But that you give it away freely

As a matter of course


9 February 2018



we were playing silly buggers

death games on the wire

we’d heard the voice of God

and were feeling quite inspired

fistfuls of magic mushrooms

washed down with tonic wine

a dangerous prescription

for fools of every kind

I and my fellow Argonauts

practiced a psychedelic chic

that had long gone out of fashion

but we were trying on our freak

with a zealotry passion

they say the politics of ecstasy

require a leap of faith

that you’ll recline in mother nature’s arms

and she shall keep you safe


Another Requiem

Wire Rose

You were mathematical

When I was off the leash

Our interests were inimical

And so were our beliefs

I hovered around the honey pot

I couldn’t get enough

But your juice was always rationed

Your love was precious stuff

I was over generous

And spread mine far and wide

I was in the wrong

That cannot be denied

It didn’t last that long

We had a pretty bumpy ride

Yet when we parted company

Something in me died


8 February 2018



A stranger to the power and glory

Exiled on these dismal shores

I only wanted to make a living

What else would I be here for?

Home is but a distant daydream

But not the guilt and loss

I’m trying to negotiate salvation

Like the good thief on the cross


I brought it on myself I guess

I was having too much fun

And fucked up on an epic scale

So it’s nobody’s fault but mine

It’ll take more than magic thinking

To get me out of here

I used to do a little

But no longer have the gear


7 February 2018



Lead me to the rainbow rooms

And paint me into the mythic

I want the kind of faith

That ties the tongue

And stupefies the mind

I want to unthink my karma

So I can reap my just desserts

With rhetorical silver spoons

Let the keys of Solomon

Unlock my mystery

In half remembered childhood prayers

So I can lay my head in pastures green

But sadly I lack the grace

To turn the other cheek

And I have no faith

In the inheritance of the meek

If I could only believe

In the great consoler

I could sleep with the righteous

Instead of scouring the night

With the dismal lantern of reason


5 February 2018



And you were there with me

In the clouds and the rain

What does that signify

In the landscape of dreams?

Is it one of those things

Only lovers would know?


2 February 2018



those stones

we so carelessly cast

birthed ripples

of unforeseen dimensions

now there’s a tsunami of shit

about to engulf you and I

and we shall reap more

than we ever sowed

in yet another dismal harvest


our practiced tongues

wove convenient fictions

from little grey lies

which we honed into truths

sharp as switch blades

I heard what you said

your words were ugly

I had words of my own in mind

but they escape me now

perhaps my conscience is cloudy

how about yours?


30 January 2018



The margins are minuscule

In this cruel season

It’s hard enough to raise a buck

Never mind a smile

I sing with the crows

And bathe in the dark

Cold fibre is scant reward

For all the bareback adventures

And romantic misdemeanours

That blot my copy book

(Kudos to the phallus imperator)

My chapped lips and a caffeine smile

Reveal there’s fear in my monkey

His silver tongue and leaden heels

Have him hobbled in the blocks

Those softer metals conduct static

To the brain pan

And my blood’s impurities leave

A tell-tale stain on the inside

But there’s no point in concealment

No-one gives a fuck what’s written there


9 January 2018



dope him

rope him

tie him down

and smoke him

electrode his brainpan

with 20,000 megajolts

zap some sense into him

teach him to be well again

then take him downstairs

and chemically castrate him

with the great abomination

pump him with the ga ga juice

until he’s lost the will

kosh him ‘til his lights go out


4 January 2018



My credentials were impeccable

At least on paper, if not in the flesh

Your papers were forged

But I didn’t mind

You brought me more pleasure

Than a thousand dead poets

“The only good poet is a dead poet.”

Isn’t that what you said?

Imposters pout and posture

Across the page

With borrowed icons

And stolen voices

Genius lays face down in the gutter

Death is the final measure

Of its dedication to the craft

But not for me darlin’

I want to be adored, at least once

However briefly

And in this life, not the next