Hope Concept Piece

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Hope is being a small child

And wanting a red bike,

Then watching in horror

As your parents buy one

With a blue frame;

You turn resolute

And choose

Not to ride it,

So it stays in the garage

Where it rusts slowly

Until it’s sold

At a local carboot,

And then you want it again

Hope is longing to go

To a party

Attended by all

Your classmates;

There’ll be jelly, and ice cream,

And a bouncy castle

And face painting,

And a clown,

Though admittedly

You’re terrified

And wouldn’t accept

A balloon animal they’ve made,

But still you want to go,

And it’s not ‘til weeks after

That you find the invitation

At the back of your desk drawer,

The RSVP too late

Hope is being an adult,

Made delirious by choice;

You can be this or that,

Anything you’ve dreamed

Infinitely various,

All your desires encompassed

In the paths you can tread

To make it to the top,

When really you don’t have

A head for heights,

And you want it to stop

And it’s easier to succumb to vice

When not all directions point up

Hope is being in love,

And bargaining for love in return,

Though passion isn’t for sale,

And it takes years and years,

Person after person,

And either you forget,

Or you realise it’s an exchange,

A trade to be bartered,

Held fast with flowers,

Dinners, keepsakes, possibly a ring

To extend the lease

On a shoestring budget,

The romance no less diminished

With fixed rates

Hope is wanting

Life after death;

Wanting a dialogue

To be half softly spoken

That even with its stilted language,

Its pauses,

Doesn’t mean it has ceased;

Perhaps you can’t believe

That living comes to an end,

Or that there’ll be grass

Growing over a silent grave

Whilst the bereaved give name

To loss and clichéd eulogies

And clutch at memories and grief

Punctuated by stories

Of what alive you did;

And in a way, you’ll get this last wish

Though you won’t be around

To endure its sad bliss



Foxes (Sleepless)

I wrote this in March 2016, whilst in a relationship that would no longer be relevant two months later. Words can shift shape, transcend certain parts of our lives, be the landing place we can go back to, and see with eyes made wise by hindsight. No bitterness, no regret that the poem survived us, as I wouldn’t be where I am now, happy and authentic to myself.


My darling, whilst you slept,

I rose slow

Like a fox from a set

And crept

Down padded stairs,

Then let

Myself into winter’s chill bite

Frozen mandible jaw jabbing

My bones;

Each star a bright

Gleaming molar,

Grinding away the night

I lit a fag,

Deep breathed

Each dizzying drag,

Stood off balance

Under relentless green dwarves

Picking for the shine,

The crying birds shrill sheen

Painting early morning game,

Lemon dye of tentative

Sun in the east,

5am shyly keen

For a burning god’s fame

Space overhead,

Space in between

Planets, constellations, comets;

An empty spot in our bed

Beyond sleep’s reach –

The same.

Soon I’ll creep back

Next to you honey,

To insomnia’s dull buzz

And your arms folding dreams,

Sink into light

Streaming citrine

Knowing you are mine,

Not separated by closed eyes,

Not severed at the seams,

Holding love at the end

Of a line

Prison Concept Piece

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In the pumpkin patch,

I see your face –



Round angled

Fiery for harvest and carved

For home use –

Isosceles eyes

Square nose

Jagged mouth agape,

Crown removed with precision

And knarly candle in place

Jack O’ Lantern prison

To light my way.


Cheesecake Concept Piece

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Oh, the divine


Of your body

On porcelain sheets;



Plate to host a feast

Piece by piece –

Strawberried mouth,

Red and seeded


I lick, kiss;

Crumbs of ecstasy whipped,

Bowl curved

In hips






Which I can dip

My tongue

And eat

The vanilla, the


Cut up neat

The cramming of

Black forest cherries

Sticky and sweet

Hives Concept Piece

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The syrupy cells,

Raised walls

Angled and filled

Your mouth, full


And stinging

I hear the buzz,

The dance,

The vibrations of light and


Shadowed by the ebbing

Of latticed tongue


Gossamer strong

Torn words,

Sweet words,

Pulsed out in the thrum

I lay back,

Barbed joy in

Your legs, eyes,



Thick, sticky

Sibilant voice:

Apis strung

Blue Bird Concept Piece

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Dull blade of language,

From blue shard beak,

A flat sonnet

For one who cannot speak

Beneath the bell jar,

Vowels prising leaden

A once morning song;

Abraded letters caged

From petrified tongue

Run aground

From the grinding sky

Mouthing mimicry and

Rejecting the helpless things

That can no longer fly

In fast falling notes

My bird is violent cyan

Within the glass;

Sentinel plummeted

From manic nest

Criss-crossing clipped captive

Not fit for cleverness

With each beat of dull wing

Dragging feathers low

The slow words,

The slow aching words not arriving

As they did to Plath or Poe;

My bird is blue,

Lacking the grim poise

Of a crow rasping

Its bloody prose

From gnarled yew tree

Too close

To sombre headstones

It lacks the horror

Of weathered bones

In repose;

No terror from screeching owl

No frantic yellow

Of a full moon’s blare

Creeping morose

My bird is blue,

From languid eye

To shrinking foot

One colour exposed,

And its song which never comes

Is dull

As all sorrows

Are when fixed undone