Posts Tagged ‘Michael Ashley’

That fence is too high


my neighbor screams

in a teeth & blood vessels kind of way.


I close the door. Take off my jacket.

Greet my dogs,

& nibble a handful of raisins.


The machine never stops.

Wheels turn, & oil-slicked bits

slot into grooves.


In my house the TV

is nearly always on.


I scratch my bollocks.

Turn my thoughts

to the dispute with my neighbour.

Finger the hole in my couch.


The Non-poem


I sit in cold strip lighting

thinking about what to write about,

& all the things I’ve seen

but never put down on paper;

the Friesian scratching

her neck on a fence post,

nothing to set

that little image against,

except maybe man,

more specifically you

scratching your bollocks,

the nature of things

It’s how mammals move,

and then there’s the gorilla

masturbating in his enclosure,

and again man,

more specifically you

hairless and naked

in the bath tub,

and what of the sea

its endlessly moving edge

pulled up by the reach of a moon

and once more man,

more specifically you

walking into the distance,

not once looking back,

with only a small leather bag

and the heat of the sun

weighing you down.



The Humble Blue-arsed Fly


travels miles in search of the perfect spot

to deposit her eggs


all to give her young

the best possible start


the inside of a cheek or nostril

or the gaping red hollow

of road kill


next time you’re scrapping

the twisted, mangled body

from the newspaper


remember, we aren’t so different



Those Perennial Things

the light-bulb bursts
darkness showers
an empty room
still, but for the motion
of a girl, her wrists tied,
her cries muted
a flower wilts.

It’s the First Day of Spring

and we’re burying you

rows of friends and family
mumble the Lord’s Prayer
like a zombie song

a strange weeping woman
at the back of the church

the wry smile on Mother’s face
beneath a black lace trellis

Love is a Friction Burn

we cling to a long length of rope
clockwork dolls, smiling dogs,
crazy girls with Pixie hair,
pulling ourselves skyward
towards the constellations,
paintings of naked Greeks,
and the greatest of beasts,
we cling to a long length of rope
swinging from the light side
to the dark side & back again,
a rotten heart at the end
of a piece of knotted twine,
we cling to a long length of rope
with fields of despair at our feet
& a dim sense of bliss above,
we cling to a long length of rope
too scared to let go
too tired to climb further,
with the laughter of perfection
yammering at our ears

Pushing Warm Mushy Peas Around My Plate



my goldfish swam

on its back for 3 days

before finally snuffing it

euthanasia just seemed

inappropriate for animal

that lives in a bowl

with a 10 second memory



he recalled stories

from a different era

where men fought

for their beliefs,

the child on his knee

enthralled by the tales

of war and adventure,

soothed by the scent

of tobacco & spearmint,

closed his eyes slowly



they laughed at first

“of course you know”

but it was failing

little by little – degrading,

she read an article

five signs of dementia,

the fog lifted around

midday, and it rained

all through the afternoon

and into the night



when the highlight

of my week is a hot

cooked meal at Morrisons,

God you have my permission

to pull the curtain down

end this morbid show

and I’ll count myself lucky


these are our idols
American dolls
legs-spread wide
in a grainy sex-tape
kick starting a career
what of little Keera
sat on a toilet
her eyes run
blood seeping down
a painted face
what of her perfume line
or modelling job
or autobiography?
6000km away
the doll stumbles out
of a fine dining eatery
into the streets
of Manhatten
as Keera’s blood dries
on the lip of a toilet
neither of them
any the wiser

November in Bridlington

the promenade is long and cold
two gulls perch on the pier-end

they scream at nothing
and the sea sings back at them

scrawny children weave
in and out of bollards

an old man eats fish and chips
with a small plastic fork

a stout moutstached lady
sits beneath the neon change sign
that flickers

like the final heartbeats of a Mayfly

the sea-mist rolls in
and on the cliff-top above the town
a small boy watches

as it pulls across this godforsaken place

with all the gentleness
a coroner affords his corpse

The eating habits of hard-shelled animals


there was always a boiled ham
in my Grandparents’ larder

for fifty long years
they sat around their kitchen table

the lace crocheted covering
filled with soiled crockery

and the shadow of Grandpa
puffing on his post-dinner Dunhill


the wild giant tortoises
of the Galapagos Islands
mainly eat prickly pears

Darwin noticed
how they differed
from tortoises on neighbouring Islands
their shells so much thicker


on television a scrawny
-faced nutritionist

spouts on about how food
is a social super-glue

holding together this fabric of flesh
we call family

but I roll my eyes
flick the channel
to watch Coronation Street


I’ve been adding up
the minutes lost

since you convinced me
to buy the 600 watt microwave
reckon you owe me three days

that will be written in bold
on our divorce papers

beneath the long list
of irreconcilable differences

Miss Gale

takes the $5 note
invites him onto the bed

& counts the squares
on the ceiling

as he barks like walrus
into the eiderdown pillow

when he’s gone

she cleans up
taps her naked heels together
& thinks of home



he woke up

in the cold arc

of another man


a haze

above his head

whiskey tinged


perfumed regrets

kiss lips

that screamed


the words


I’ve fucked

another random.



he wakes

in the cool

& familiar curve

of the one


the one

who dared

to tame him


who tied him down

restrained him


the one

who built the walls

& forced him

to endure


the same

the same

the same






he’ll wake up

alone —


eyes in the ceiling

scrutinizing details


only to conclude


the space between

a man and mattress

is almost always cold


& familiarity

is no conductor





the same floral print dress


sat in

the same pew



the same tuneless hymns



the same prayers



the same clammy hand


beneath the door of the church,

and yet despite her habitual faith

God blighted her with lung cancer


three weeks from diagnosis

to furnace


as I look upon the empty pew

and smell the same stale air


I can’t help but think

that I really should give up