02 July 2010

September 14, 2011

You sit and stare into your coffee
and the smell
reminds you
bills are stacked on the kitchen table
the sink is full of tea stained coffee mugs
you haven’t fed the cat
in two days

Then the phone rings

It’s mother
and you’re a child again


Mostly stolen

June 25, 2011

Keep walking,
there’s no place to be
(don’t try to see through human beings);
move with intent, the way fear makes you.
Today, like every other day,
you’ve woken up and
didn’t open
any doors

Take down the old oboe and
let love be what we do
when we know
hundreds of ways
to kneel
instead of kissing

Ringlets of smoke

June 6, 2011

She said “you’ve changed, I think. maybe
you look older.
No it’s not that.
I don’t know, something.”

She was drinking wine
and i was hitting the tequila hard
trying to confuse
the voices telling me
to stop and breathe

She offered her glass
But I wanted
the anger to blend with the swill
and I lifted the bottle like
men in the movies,
even though I wasn’t one

She smoked and
ringlets of poison
waltzed towards heaven,
only to dissolve.

I drank some more.
Maybe I needed to die a little
but I didn’t think so,
I needed to come alive
a little,
to stomp on some feet or
earn morning trophies

She looked away,
finished her cigarette and got another out.
She looked over to the couple next to us,
the guy passed her a lighter.

Cars drove past. People passed on foot.
We would not part
for another hour

No summer lies

May 17, 2011

I think of your hair
fluttering in the breeze,
and of your hands when you
sat next to me on the warm mountain,
hands clutching pencil
as if it was the last spear on earth,
your yellow pad a shield, but flimsy;
Words, ripe and harsh,
were falling from your tongue

I wanted
to preserve their taste
for desert days;
but you just smiled and said –
forget it, close your eyes,
keep drinking deep
from this brief summer,
While I keep scratching
words into the paper

Your anger melted
when the graphite of your pencil
wore down to the stump;
But it was late, too late and you were
cracked already,
already open and unsure if you
should swim or drown in memories,
spilling your talent like your life blood
across the barriers we had built

This is a heavy re-work of a poem written by Claudia Schoenfeld, and the original can be found here.

A story for Biscuit

May 16, 2011

So Biscuit,
your daddy, he goes
to east London on Tuesdays to
a rented flat
in a house of brown bricks
where children play cops and robbers outdoors in the summer, and
women gossip and hang laundry out
their windows to dry.
Your daddy goes, Biscuit,
and knocks on door 22B

She lets him wait, Biscuit
She lets him wait two minutes, maybe five and then
opens the door
in her knickers,
lets him in without a word and he enters
without a word

So he comes in, Biscuit, and the flat
smells of smoke and her perfume
(like heaven)
Her black skin reminds him of coffee and gold
and her ass sways
as she walks to the kitchen
while his palms sweat
and his fingers burn

He grows hard, Biscuit, grows so hard
that he thinks he might die,
that his heart will stop
And Biscuit, I don’t know if he even
still likes her,
but a girl’s gotta live,
and daddy pays rent and he fucks like a prince.

When he closes the door to 22B
two hours later
he knows, and she knows
that they never
their eyes,
even for a second

Travelling home

May 11, 2011

I walk through the city.
As people struggle home;
I’ve been told to tear it off, to shed:
Victorian flats full of mice,
right side driving,
girls bare legs in the winter –
shed it all like gift paper;
but I don’t know if I can

and I don’t know if I should,
will it eat me alive if I stay?
but middle class peace suffocates, even from afar?
but homeland is darkness too, of another kind?

I gasp for breath on the tube,
another mill horse looking for shoes and a carrot
just like the people
all around me, carrying
Their own. Problems:
that one’s fat, that one’s overworked, that one can’t get a date,
that one can’t afford school tuition, that one has a daughter that
blows her boyfriend every night on the other side of a paper thin wall,
all of us bees,
covered in
pollen of mediocrity and ticking clocks and advertising dreams and weekend hours;

Then this time frame closes
and I get off the train, and the fat lady gets off and some of the others too.

They say that there are no
winners left,
but that is a lie –
they’re everywhere,
just throw a rock, or buy a lottery ticket
And you’ll hit one for sure

Meet me

May 5, 2011

Meet me
at the cheap table in Brussels
when my cigar has ran out
and my glass is half empty again.

We will sit in silence,
drinking slowly
Then I will reach out
to touch your lips and
you’ll tell me
That my hand smells of smoke and
that I should stop frowning
all the time

We will sit while the breeze
makes us colder and colder,
whether the tattoo on the waitresses’ wrist is her only one.

Then you’ll tell me 
that she’s probably a slut anyway,
before we settle our tab
and walk home
through the empty streets

Tea and poppy rolls

April 26, 2011

Tanya pours me tea
and offers me poppy rolls and candied ginger cubes.
She tells me that
her feet hurt more now,
so she doesn’t leave the house too much;
and money’s scarce, but she gets by.
Some times,
she takes the underground,
four stations to Tensta,
and buys fruit at the market.
Meat is cheap there too.

I stir a spoon of sugar into the tea,
and tell her of my brother starting
on his own;
a little owner of a one bedroom slice of propriety.
She wants to help, of course,
How will he do his laundry, can he even iron?
I tell her that it will be fine, and
promise that we’ll tell her when we go to Ikea

The TV murmurs in the corner,
as Russian figure skaters
put on a show
for an easy audience.
I used to skate too, she says, but I started too late,
and I danced, for real, on stage

When I depart,
the cold spring sun shines in her hair
as she waves to me from her balcony


April 10, 2011

When the war comes
They will decide to send the warnings
via SMS.
People without cellphones will not know,
and will be caught in the streets as the bombs drop.

Then they will decide
that text messaging is too expensive
and people will have
to become fans of the war
on Facebook
while the prime minister posts updates
on his wall
and waits for the likes to flow

That will only last for a week or so
the only way to find out about the war
will be Twitter.

Old ladies will sit, faces pale from the light of screens
and update their streams
to see if their sons died
and update their streams
to see if there is any food
and update their streams
just in case we won or lost

If you don’t have a cell phone
or a Facebook page
or a Twitter stream,

you will not make it.
I promise you.

This is no Orleans.
the mirrors of the beautiful
surround me
In a cacophony of monkey voices
of minimalist sofa groups
Lust? Allowed, but through ethanol curtains
Desire – can’t find no parking space
Everybody answers their phones
and that’s a lie too
(voice mail smells like success on Thursdays)

mama, let me get thousands of roses,
your grave matters
are the only valid ones and
the Dog is out in the cold too
while understanding faces
Repeat last week’s lottery numbers and
the wronged
dream of shopping and spa treatments
Not me though,
I only want
The blonde across the bar

so tell me nothing, stranger,
we are children only of salt
and our blood and come
keep us from slipping
on winter roads

The snow fell slowly

March 21, 2011

The snow fell slowly.
lonely flakes drifted downwards
in diagonal memory lanes
of purple,
from a stage
where a band kept their smiles on like light bulbs,
panting washed out hits
over a mellow crowd

The base banged my lungs like a drum, while vodka and red bull
made my legs twitch.
I started dancing in the snow,
like a fool but for real,
as the hi-hat poked my gut like a finger.

She was smirking at me
and I said:
“Sophie, don’t. We are only alive for seconds.”

In July 2003

February 23, 2011

It became dark quickly.
Summer cold crept in through the bones,
shirts closing the access to hearts like shutters,
excitement for what was to come shining through the cracks

Five tables stood in line
Small candles flickering Morse promises
of future greatness and the perfection of the moment,
casting shadows of time on
the crayfish, cheese, bread and the paper plates,
which were ready to lose their innocence for our pleasure

You drank vodka and sat on the far side o the table.
I drank vodka and made your friends laugh (a fragile bond at best).
I tried to understand where I was
and why I could not see through the dark
while people around me
ran through thorned forests at will,
but the raised glasses confused me again and again.

Later, we shared a bed like brother and sister,
while the sounds of your friends fucking wormed through the walls.
If you had asked me then, I am not sure I would have told you truth,
or maybe even known any.

Even later, it turned out that truth,
your truth, was a thin kind of ice and I went through.

But by then we were no longer speaking.

66 Wardour Street, W1F 0TA

February 15, 2011

Freedom’s open till 3 am.
Then freedom closes.

Freedom opens again, at four or five the next day.
Hours of freedom,
as long as you can afford the drinks at
nine pounds a pop.
The laughter of the free is pearly,
their movement your movement while their longing fills you until you’re bursting with freedom, longing to burn the bridges or fuck in a toilet stall,
to the beat of a girl who kissed a girl

Freedom’s open till 3 am;
then freedom closes
You feel the oppression when
there is no freedom to be had,
and you catch a quick cab for a quick rub and a quick death and a quick goodbye,
coming home to an expired milk carton and
laundry and
email and

And you long for freedom to open, even if it will close at 3 am

Losing count

February 2, 2011

She met me at the end of the long escalator
where I was spat out,
hat and coat and bag and all
(A crosser of borders if there ever was one)

her feet were planted
on separate tiles
of the train station floor,
And I wanted to count them
(just to see if I could)

The station lights shot re-used photons,
aging my eyes,
while she led the way
to the freedom of tunnels and the steel caterpillars
that cost one euro eighty to enter

I hummed an old song I had heard somewhere else
and it went:

“She was script
waiting to be written,
A fruit to be peeled
I just need a napkin
and a quiet corner”

Hours later on the floor,
Empty Walls bounced our soundtrack
into our faces.

By the time we fell asleep
The room had already cooled again.

In Rome

January 25, 2011

I show my passport to an unsmiling
guardian who waves me through,
cross the border in silence.

The light falls somewhere else.

I cast no shadow as
One foot
then another
takes me towards the Centre
of the former empire that built roads.

Calvin Harris is in my ears and he gets all the girls
while my “I’ll be there soon” shoots out into the ether to
prime her embrace

Soon our lips will feel unfamiliar again,
and I will still smell her on my hands while
carries my bite marks back to the land
of beer and lawmakers

My dog barks in my memory.
I want to close my eyes
But the view allows only for wonders
as time
stands still,
while people exclaim and exclaim,
over coffee and wine and statues and houses and roads
that carry the weight of our photos,
and the fountains that swallow our coins