Drag me out of the lake

before it ices

pull my recalcitrant arms

out of their doll sockets

pop pop

goes the farmers gun

hush little rabbits

don’t make a sound

blood is russet against wire

you scrape me void

embed the need

we spin in crystalized catkin

my dress is smothering your

bad notion

starve out the longing

makes you so evil

green glass raised to

moon without

give me one sharp pinch

wake without princes touch

water logged

heavy to the touch

too fast in spin

blackness is a blot of goodness

on the tip of my finger

swallow me

I’m intoxicate

i’ll wake you from the drum

beat you heady into rhythm

let’s jostle for position

ending up rubric on well-worn floor

here the songs consume me

follow the leader

all fall down

watch blooming plague taste our spite

survivors don’t speak loud


I’m so heavy

with the seed you’ve sewn

I could burn

red as a fox

cast in snarl

poetry, prosetry


I held a staring competition
with the Sun
in a bid to kill my sight:
a romantic way
to become blind,
cleaner than acid,
tidier than gouging,
a funny story to relay
to the masses
when they say
“What happened, lady?
What happened to your sight?”

She was beating me 2-0
when I realised that even if I
blackened and burnt my soulless eyes
I would forever see
in my mangled, broken mind
you in that bed
and your tired chest
as it rose and fell
for your final breath
and your yellow lids
over your familiar soft-boiled eyes,
once expressive,
now blind
to my tears and my heartbreak,
to the world that you loved
and loathed with all of your might

I could be blind
but I’d still see
everything inside
my head;
I cannot unsee
Death holding out his hand
for me
to take
to shake
but you grabbing it instead
and leaving me there
so painfully awake
so painfully alive

Even if my sight had died
I know that I’d
still miss you every time
I blink
and if I
threw my pretty
empty eyes away,
chucked them into
the kitchen sink,
washed them down
the nearest drain
I’d see it all again
and again
projected in technicolor
on the walls of my brain

(and the Sun won the battle
against my sight
I gave up at 4-0
in favour of getting
blind drunk,
the tried and tested
fail-safe way)



download_20150819_171315-1Translate thought, formed of feeling, spared anchor

If you knew me, at all, you’d be fluent at reading these

Spells hidden within my static mouth and xylophone chest

Words not yet

Emotions at best

Hectoring storm-clouds overhead

They say today it will flood

Maybe with the rain I’ll remove those blue notes and red letters

Yet sent

Sharing is so hard when people claim to know

What they never understand

I open myself to you under a bare bulb and flat sheet

Those colors of my life spill out of me into ether

If you look closely everything secret is stark in review

But most never notice, they only devour, and leave the door ajar

In case you follow them as they walk through empty rooms

We’re two people, we’re here and we’re not

You can spend eternity lying next to someone and know


Like an old clock that hasn’t worked in a very long time

Springs to life with familiar tick

Is that my heart? Is that my history?

We are strangers, we are swapping seed

We can die in each other’s arms

And never

Know the secrets of another’s creed



chris-r-15 Illustration by Christine Renney

The bookshop is big and busy. I feel crowded and I falter, unsure now why I came in; to buy a particular book or simply to browse?
I could easily stay here for hours, days, weeks, months, years. I wonder if all the books are here. A ridiculous notion I know, no one place, not even this gallery on five levels, could possibly house everything now in print.
I need an objective, a reason to move again and I wonder about all the books that aren’t here. Perhaps I should search for those but all that comes to mind is the playwright Joe Orton. I remember how he and his partner, Kenneth Halliwell, had defaced books from Hampstead and Islington libraries.
Would that work here? Obscene drawings in the inside covers of the paperbacks in the three for two section? I can’t draw but I could at least manage something akin to the Cerne Abbas giant, a stick figure man, erect penis bigger than his arms. But which book? ’Fifty Shades of Grey’? No, too obvious. Maybe I should write something short and concise and in block capitals – TOO BIG TOO MUCH or I’ll just scribble an angry and childish scrawl.
I don’t have a pen but they must sell them here and I set off to buy one.

On the fourth floor(20th Century Dramatists), sandwiched between Miller and Pinter I find Orton’s ‘The Complete Plays’. I pull it from the shelf and, hunching over it, open it and I quickly find a space beneath the titles. There is a good three quarters of the page blank.
I move my arm in a little arc and press my pen to the paper. But I can’t, I won’t, deface the defacer. I pull back leaving just a single blue dot.