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.

she flies

The sere reality of her lips,

Their taste of brimstone,

She flies she flies on wings,

Bright and molten,

A vast encompassing mania,

Demanding my eyes, my breath,

Scorched in joy,

Attenuated, weak as leaves,

Fallen in a last warm autumn.

Blissful acquiescence.

My legs are weak,

All bright, all dark,

No time for stars.

She flies, I am pedestrian.


Uninsane In Dunsinane

Uncompromising death,
Boot stamp freedom,
Nose blacked with old blood,
Disassociative order,
Lumpen clay and iron,
How a soldier,
Sticking a gun in the face,
Of a crying woman,
And her dirt coloured child,
Barking rote abuse,
As he orders them to the ground,
Honour the soporific of callous empire,
Duty a blind bludgeon,
All the songs a goad,
Barbs unremembered,
Glorious in memoriam,
Gone for blood,
Gone for silver,
Obedience the ill-valoured shield,
Unheartened, unbent, broken,
A madness of iron hands,
Unthought, unyouthed, unlifed, unmanned,
Old as soldiers,
Unhearthed, broken mantled,
Filth-handed, inured,
Implacate reason demeaned,
A clash of scarred shields,
Blazons obfuscated by untempered use,
Ill-meaned, crook-angled, broke-faced, sour-breathed,
Broke-hearted, unlifed, breathing, dead.




I love the scar across your face,

It speaks of dissonance,

She says all malmsey and refined.

It speaks of moments,

Splayed like a windblown leaf,

Pale limbs bent back,

The mask rent,

Bone laid bare.

It speaks of gravel and splintr’d glass,

And metal buckled and mindful,

He says.

Her grimace is gentle,

Bare like autumn.

Cast away,

Her face lapses and is blunt.


Time, Mangled and Meaned

What Is History?

It is said speculation is the spice on the lumpy porridge of history. Satire is the plums. History itself is a morass, a bowl from which a spoon may hold juicy raisins as likely as recalcitrant nuts. With the cream and maple syrup of human discovery, is the gristly lumpen oats of the doings of cardinals and kings, that must be chewed over endlessly in order to get any taste, a newly refound bone like crunchy sugar makes it more palatable. But it is a mouthful that has been chewed first thusly and then otherly, it has been slurped, sucked and roundly munched, crunched, jawed, swallowed, digested and regurgitated. It is the cud of a great and brazen cow with endless stomachs. It is the lowing and clucking and raucous braying of farmed gossip. The he-said she-said of deserved infamy. Debate the perturbations of haggling tut-tutters. It is not the eponymous book. 3/6 worth of an odd bird. Time, mangled and meaned. History is a toad. In a whole. A dog’s breakfast. The elaboration of ill remembered mischief. The ashes of marvels. It is a question often answered. That from which we repeatedly learn nothing.