Category Archives: Poetical Misdemeanours

In the modern world the muse has been murdered. I try to commit only small crimes against poetry.


A taste for riddles that have no answers

At the end

Upside down

The sky sharp as a knife

Dogs let loose on their own recognizance

Prowl the gutters

Rifling sodden wrappers

Break open their skulls

Could be teeth and bone

Could be the rubble of sepulchred Rome

You tell me

As she lies there neither living nor dead

Fabric knotted around thighs and ankles

Winding sheet widdershins

With the warm silver of forceps

Flashing in the dark

You pluck the hairs from her body

From her head

White limbs rigid

Laved in spit

As if a semblance of innocence could engender resurrection

Faceless one

Your hands filthy as history

Splintering boards the grave colour of earth

Gored routed runnelled and worm-eaten

Here the building consumed by cyanic lichen and arsenic moss

A lair for delinquent perversities and slipped blades

Hides the mask

The dark emerges the secret

The permutations of that face

Livid in the umber a puzzle

Bruise mottle

Torn rags

Lipstick a bright discarded jewel

Keys in the red dirt

Over the concrete culvert

Sigils, misgivings, remnants of misadventure

Evidence, detritus where the river ends

Stink of fear

Here was the trail of blood

Left, fled

When my heel split open

When I stepped on an axe

Running away

Right, red

Circling up on toes like a dancer

Wince and hobble

Over the splintered boards

The peppertree filling the air

With a tangerine spice

Pomegranates spilt where they fell

Flies worrying the mingling stains

The creek awash with yellowing leaves

That fall but do not turn the wheel

The mill house wearing moss

Like a comfort

Of years that could waking be cast aside

The nacreous vehicle lumbering sloth-like away

From this cold glade

Past crumbling ochre chimneys

Detritus an alien expanse

A wound opposing the sky

The orphan weeds

The cavernous terraces

Crawling with the black and yellow of poisoners

Smoke and dust taint the blue balm

Into the unyielding horizon

One wheel circling

The moment when

In the dank water

So lost in slimes and sharp reeds

The dragonflies drone as the mud leeks into your ears

Uprooting the leech from this pale limb

Leaves it neither pure nor soiled

A smear of blood is ambivalent

As vast as is the night

Unaffected by your sarcasm

This space is the opposite of infinite

Here, now

The faceless and the masked and the naked still cry

The building lumbers circling


Kouji Tajima




Something a little strange for Halloween, with a picture adapted from a piece by Kouji Tajima.

The Untold Tale Of Tom and Zellandine

While the beauty slumbers

Comatose but rasping

With ursine bravado

Aphrodite calls on our prince to pluck

Her precious fruit from the slit of love

To wake the maiden (and silence her plaint)

Innocent that he is

Our Trojan searches high and low

For an alcove, crevice

Or even vitré armoire

Deciphering neither ripe fruit

Nor ready container

He cries to the goddess

Who outraged by virginal tears

Inflames his passion

The doubloons drop


Taking his awl in hand

He plucks and plucks the promised pear

Threads the gimlet

Breaks the caul

Until the damsel rouses

All sticky from sleep she cries

What is this palaver?

Oh Sleeping Beauty, I am Tom

Tom Thomb the Piper’s Son

The Goddess has bid me wake you thus

To break the curse and win the prize

From whence you rest

All slumb’rous as a cadaver

From eternal sleep’s great death

With la mort by comparison

Quite little

Well my lad you’ve tried the bacon

Before you’ve bought the pig

You’ve played the pipe

And played the fiddle

And played a song more tune than riddle

Hey diddle do

Hey diddle diddle

While we wait the nuptial cake

By such swordplay you’ll be king

My black cat is lamenting

And requires more of such attentions

A little stroke a little milk

Will give the purr to the pretty thing

While my father is a piper and my mother is a beast

You’ll find I’m just a common lad

Travelled from the east

Just a ‘prentice shoemaker

Neither prince nor pauper

And while that ermine looks best pleased

I’ll be howling down the streets

But if you harken

To that clipper clopper

A prince with shining hair

And gleaming teeth

And a horse probably named Philip

Is coming hither

I can see him from this tower

Through the wind-er

Instead of using the garden path

He is cutting his way mightily

Through thorns

I’m sure if you turn again to slumber

He will prick you from your sleep

With a little kiss

For the none the wiser

Do not wear horns

You avail yourself of the window

I will unprick my thumb

And rest this sweet cherry on my lips

To fulfil the Goddess’s wish

And slumber some

I hope he’s not too long

I’m kind of peckish

If you ever need a boot

I am skilled with finest vair

Or just a wooden clog

You will find me at the fair

I can spin a slip of glass

That will unbreak itself

And after all the wedded bliss

All the feasting done

Dear Zellandine upon her shelf

Collected shoes of every kind

Blessed by the Goddess every one

Made by our apprentice

Fate’s accomplice Tom



Monsieur A

When he was an old man, he wrote

Wanted, ladies companion for an old
gentleman must be short-sighted not
wear specs must powder and paint
Lost, a certain ladys temper in the
corridor of Les Bosquets
on Saturday night five francs reward if
found which is hardly possible.
Lost, a bonnet which need not be
returned as there are several bees in it.
Enges Meringues are the best you have
only to eat one and you feel as sick as if
you had eaten six. Try them! Cream
fresh once a week
shell fresh once a month.

Only 15 sous






The pavement scars my drunken face in gravel and

her cursing bitumen eyes the houses of her face

more derelict than distraught in their abandon

to an unrelenting season of heat cooled

only slightly by the calming storm

wetted and bedraggled by the rain runnelled gutters

and the debris it casts a dirty city’s jetsam about

my damning atolll whose birds are all dead

of some falling sickness as heavy as gravity and as inexorable.

Such is my defiance that I rise only a little above this earth,

an escape velocity to the first power of c, required,

is beyond me.

The wings of her simple joys, the cathedral of her face,

flies me so high above the accusing fingers of her spires.

Soft with the cumulus, a mist in nimbus,

From here the pavement reviling the footprints

of its billion erosions

is static as a map.



Father’s Heart

My Father’s heart beats in a glass jar,
All black and blue and red,
On the windowsill.
All loverly with the sun going down,
And the sky all dark and colourful,
Through Mother’s delicate lace curtains,
Sheer and trimmed with edges like snowflakes,
And embroidered violets.
Mother’s heart unfortunately is still and black and clouded.
Such an ugly thing,
In the jar beside him.
I suppose it was the vinegar.
But my Father’s heart is like a sunset.
I’ll be sure to show sweet Jenny,
When she comes home.


I’ve been reading Weird Tales recently – the classic magazine of the macabre imagination. There’s something quite extraordinary about horror poems. I suppose it is the poem’s purpose to encapsulate, to concentrate a moment of intensity, combined with horror’s exploration of the intensest moments. Of course terror and beauty have been inextricably entwined at least since the time of Edgar Allan Poe. To add in some small way to that tradition is a worthy poetical ambition.