July 18, 2016

they leave
Holes behind them,
Wide open doors, worn out spaces
Where they used to sit
before they came to halt
And stumbled out
beyond the horizon of whispers

They leave,
Behind them,
absence of their speech
Small trinkets in wood and metal
new patterns you have to draw
And lack of warmth in silence

They leave
so that you can stumble
but baby i know i know
that your narrow walkway
Will end in a light switch
and not a moon eclipse

They leave
Holes behind them
Then we fall in
Then we crawl out




July 11, 2016

Some days
I have no love
Between the worry
the anger of things
I give way to them
in various guises and
Unopened hands clench
Like teeth in the night
Which ends
with dreams of wolf me
Or world me
Not enough specimens to breed healthy
Of one
The people coating me in their faith
Of the other


April 3, 2014

If I was asleep
I would open my eyes and find her,
Lost between the birch branches in B Cemetery,
Hidden in the budding leaves covered in city dust on K street
Twirling with the eddies of rain as it escapes down gutters on S square

If I was not asleep
I would open my hand (the one that’s always closed)
present my palms to her (like a gift), and say

I still have the picture
where you smiled
that last time”


November 6, 2011

I want to carry you like guilt
into a room
smelling of dust and books.

Like all the yesterdays we drowned in,
the mattress on the floor is a truth
waiting to be obscured
by the veils
that protect our songs from the streetlight

then you’ll remind me
that at night
the words that you say
become the oaths that i live by
until I die again

and I will reach for your lips
watching your eyes for danger

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

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

Where were you?

November 30, 2010

Open the paper and here’s your news –
a woman writing to tell the town:
“man stole my car when I was going to father’s deathbed” and
personal tragedy is made public;
Human interest sparks,
audiences filled with soul mush
stop hating the christmas ads for a minute

Turn the page, open me from the inside
And staple me to the first wall you see, woman.
I feel for you,
but where were you
when the oncology nurse
looked me straight in the eye and told me
to Back Off and stop asking for information?

Love is always a palimpsest

November 23, 2010

Love is always a palimpsest
and Joanna erases and writes,
erases and writes

Long ago Daddy
secretly told her,
that the solution was simple and cruel
Like a dress of nettles

She gave me her body
like a lottery ticket saying
‘Win truth!’.
while her youth called to me
in a siren’s voice of false memories,
but I saw her turning the page
as I started scratching

Fold another airplane Joanna
You have forgotten your father’s words.
I have no sympathy for your troubles
I will follow your lead
and eras

Snowflake/flower petal

November 23, 2010

It’s time to settle scores with the idea
That I’m a snowflake or a petal or
Some thing that is unique and therefore was
Imparted on the world as gift or curse
My mother loved me, other mothers too
Love children to their sweet or bitter end
A talented and sickly thoughtful child –
Can practically be found on every street
To overcome the fable of myself
Existing whether G-d cares or cares not
I will ignore the patterns that I see
Because they leave me grossly unprepared
To face full on any one thing except
The polished mirror which serves but one cause
In showing me my likeness in such way
That I’ll spend hours touching my own flesh

Arriving in Los Angeles

November 11, 2010

Guy says ‘taxi?’
and leads me
to the saddest Hyundai in town;
Maroon paint job dulled by years –
one more small town beauty
who didn’t make it in the big leagues,

Nice car’s in the shop, he tells me,
rear ended by some asshole and so
he must
do the streets
In this piece of garage

He drives for
three girls, for the baby mama
training to be a beautician;
for the kindness inside,
and he feeds the roads with his stare

His phone rings
and rings and rings and he looks but
does not pick up. (cops are out to get you, you know)

‘my girls are so good’ he says
we baptised them;
They get up each morning and pray together’

He longs for the wife to start working
Maybe take a day off;
seven days a week on the streets
is hard on the guts

He charges me too little
and lets me off
around the corner from the Four Seasons –
You just don’t approach golden palisades
in the saddest Hyundai in town.

Flight BA283 LHRLAX

November 9, 2010

We chase the sun towards Los Angeles
like troopers.
equipped with headphones
laptops, screens, eye masks, and complementary facial kits

The 747 flies windows shut
(souls need to be transported in darkness)
We bring our night with us
unaware (or maybe aware)
That there’s enough night where we’re going

Temporary salvation

November 2, 2010

Sabina dances
like there’s no
Sequins swirl in my living room
and the lady
below us
her bare feet

She doesn’t care
about the Tories or the oil price;
she dances for dancing, and
for the hours
you spend
criticizing the world order
Only to toil some more

‘You are children who
became slaves for profit’
she chants,
‘You have no foes and listen
Only to the wisdom of ants’

Sabina doesn’t care
about oaths, or the compacts
we signed
She dances for our salvation
And her freckled skin
and her breasts
make us remember
how much we have lost

October ends

October 31, 2010

I do not see
how a dawn spent warming
my body against hers
shifts blame,
when my hand meets her
and she moans instead
of calling the cops

Never have I ever
and other games
have no meaning, when
four empty bottles of red and a quart
of Jack are the kegs
in our bowling parody –
hit the floor
and air leaves lungs
with a grunt

Desire turns dark, smells like
paper secretly burned in the toilet when you were five
with stolen matches.
This must be love, this must be;
Growl, leap, for tonight
we understand
the longing of the centurion

Go back to your boudoirs, strangers
Tonight we march. Our cruel games
are the pinnacle of every hymn
sang during vespers and
we do not heed your calls for restraint

You have one new message

October 28, 2010

I want to enter
in an Orca’s pool game of
‘smack the trainer’
while Seaworld watches

Undress in silence
daughter of songs,
Your golden years are not forgotten


I want you
to be the one joke I remember
As I repeat you again and again
until we cannot stand


The sound of your name,
And the sound of my voice
sicken us both