I have learned this week that the common bed bug
can survive for a year without a meal and that Alzheimer’s
may be caused by fast food, which reminds me of David Blaine
suspended in a box above the Thames without so much as
a single snack while people pelted him with sausages
and golf balls, how he descended, woozy after 42 days
murmuring ‘I love you all’ as if he had forgotten, which
causes me to wonder at the hunger and delusions of
the loveless, like that anorexic girl in black who jogs
past me every afternoon but never lets me smile at her,
which leads me back intractably to longing and denial.
Perhaps it is something to emulate, the bedbug’s stoicism,
how it lives reviled and passive in the cracks, waiting
with quiet certainty for any fool to lie down in the dark.
Commended in the Ledbury Poetry Competition.
Charm for Late Love
Here we go again, my old crow.
I’ll ride your boneback, edge and turn,
up where the windsongs coil and glow,
feathers fall and currents churn.
Candle Gutter Flare and Burn
Let the stars drip sodden light.
We'll find the shine once more, we'll name
our quarry, rattle it through night:
let's taste the blood of the ancient game.
Candle Snuff Gutter and Flame
Let's wing it, old crow, deny the laws
of chance. How hard it is to catch
and hold a joy in yellowed claws,
to risk the slip, outface the crash.
Candle Gutter Snuff and Ash
Let your straitened wings unfold,
eclipse the moon with a surge and sweep
through grip and glint of marrowcold.
Let's hunt the heart we'll never keep.
Candle Gutter Snuff and Sleep
First published in Magma.
Sometimes I imagine you dead, and then
I remember open sea from a life before:
that tease of horizon, lovely
inconstant monsters of the deep:
strange, because I love you and the force
of that love is like the drag
of an anchor
tied to a boat
that was once at the mercy of the tides.
This is the chain.
I remember the swift unwinding, each fat link
chafing against the next,
iron claws that burrowed into the sanctuary
of the ocean bed.
Sometimes I dream a sailor's dream:
eternal solitude and water, pregnant stretches of sail,
a salt-skinned sea beneath me, breathing
and pulsing like an animal.
Won second prize in the Essex Poetry Competition.