The End


With the close of a hospice door, clunk of a saloon, tyres

on gravel: an ending if ever there was one. Let us slalom

round statues of Mary, grottos in grounds, funerary fetishes.


Let it end with handed-over possessions, towels, slippers,

photo off the wall (she never saw), smell of softened linens,

folded neatly with inventory, for no-one especially.


Ask for no heroes, villains, nick-of-time pliers on wires,

no H-bomb to defuse on the horizon. Ask for nothing

as the sun pops, extinguishes. Let it end as a balloon.


Let the chauffeur pull unsmilingly through the driveway.

Let the leaves fall sometimeish in September.

Let unhappy accidents happen on dual carriageways.


See father as a mannequin, us both as mannequins, feel

the numbness of thumbs on a gear lever, steering wheel

turn, sink in a blue lagoon, birds scatter from traffic islands.


Let doctors be anything but miracle workers. Sack Christ, 

alienists. Insist the priest toddle off with his rosary beads,

chuck out his wooden crosses, fuck off to the hypermarket.


Pray only clouds on roads chaperone us. Stay on auto-pilot.

Read of St Bede’s swiftness of sparrow down a dining hall.

Let’s go art house, kino lounge a while:


Let bus stops hang unseasonal icicles, Belisha beacons

be lollipops if they want, the forget-me-nots freeze,

apocalyptic winter, denouement leave all threads a tangle.


Then fin, fade to dark. Stars drip to stalactites.

Ghost Story

It arrives in strips     torn out of a compendium of dreams. It begins as wisteria

up the walls     a boarded-up window     a gable     another window     dark as

an eye-patch. It’s something I’ve meant to write for some time. Each night another

vignette is unveiled     as if viewing a mural by torchlight. It’s always a darkness

beyond darkness     like once in the attic with a shade no photons could escape    

or where such darkness festers     in oubliettes     undercrofts     outside with rooks

and a sense of the venerable. Often it’s a house I’ve once been in     one with a tumble-   

down facade     sheer cliffs on every side. Last night     the house of a married couple    

or mausoleum     its door-turned-tombstone carved in exotic ciphers. I chucked a  

grappling hook over the roof to the other side     hoisted myself through a spider-filled

frame. All I remember was a presence of husband and wife     how I kept opening

doors to bedrooms or staircases     or doubling back on myself     finding rooms

were running out     or floral walls closing in. Shut in the vestibule     I sought

the bustle of the streets. Shrieks out of a letterbox met with nothing but disinterest.

Some Deformed Fukushima Daisies


It’s gone viral

from the outskirts of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Close-ups with the highest res of megapixels.

Heads fused as conjoined twins

cresting at the lips or stigmas.

Any other context and they’d be said to be kissing,

though it would have to be eternal.

And how might they eat?

Their enclosed faces spurn the sun

whose fusion is a saviour.

It beats down regardless.

And their stems are bent over double

like spines of grown-old-together brothers.


Shasta daisies born of a tsunami

show off their skins of leukaemia bruises,

thyroid cysts,

like pubescent nightmares of another Windscale,

another Chernobyl.     

And as I google the meaning of meltdown

I stumble over stories of evacuees,

articles on damage done to genes,

what the mutant reality is

of kids whose heritage begins

in rhizomes, grasses, trees,    

toxic hospital units.


No matter what the cause is,

whether malformed stalks are metaphors,

they can’t stop us from our sleepwalk.

And this is the way the planet talks,

like the body talks with its symptoms

or the mind talks with neuroses

if only we’d listen

and re-learn how to read signs and ciphers

rather than rely on pills consider hysteria,

no longer think of sadness as an illness

or think of madness as a lesion.

Perhaps the heart truly has its reasons,

and we are the daisies,

we are the fallout,

the Twitter feeds our babies.