the big day.

It’s just rain, rain, rain,
all morning,
til the funeral starts,
then the sun comes out –
wouldn’t you know.

the grass is green,
the flowers are beautiful,
the soil is black
and everyone is here.
So let’s begin.

his world.

the owl is calling to me
out there in the darkness

he pulls me away
from my sofa & comfort zone
to listen in wonderment
to his call of the wild

maybe he sees me
through the rain
silhouetted in the doorway
from his perch high in a tree,

and when I sleep
he’ll silently glide down
into my dreams
and I’ll find myself awake
at the top of a tree

watching a shadowy figure
in a distant doorway.

Summer, 1954*

in Tognarelli’s coffee shop she sat & waited
for her friend & cappuccino,
red lips & nails,
and beautiful to behold;
handbag by the chair,
white cotton gloves together folded spilling out.
and our hero spies his chance
and, chancing his arm,
relieves her of her lace-trimmed favours
and, cloakroom-hid,
deflowers their delightful virgin folds
daring all,
stoops unseen amongst the throng and
replaces them as before
and settles to finish his espresso with a sigh
and a cigarette.



the King and I.

I saw Him the other day
pushing a trolley round K-Mart
& He confided, yeah, it’s true –
that He’d just had enough
of the fame & all that goes with it,
so He shaved His head,
got a couple of tattoos
and lives in a trailer park in Arizona;
– still wearing the shades, though,
& the white rhinestone suit,
which, under the circumstances,
I thought was a bit of a giveaway,
but He says that’s cool,
cos everyone just assumes He’s Elvis.



I am neighbours
to many
to all
in one sense

& see the freshly squeezed friends
arriving for dinner
as the shine
has barely worn off the twilight

John Dough
and the stick girl
steel magnate & trophy wife
mutually attractive
you might say

the jesus nut
and the old bird
with the carcinogenic suntan

the kiss of life
being administered
to someone’s wife

assorted fragments of nastiness
and love
passing back and forth

yes, they’re all there
with their familiars.

draw the curtains 
fade to jack.

the whether man.

will it rain

will it snow

around these parts

we never know


will it hail

will it blow

the whether man

will let us know


so if you’ve got some time to kill

a pine cone on the window sill

a scrap of seaweed hanging there

watching clouds in the rocking chair

a whether person you could be

and find yourself on prime TV

you couldn’t get it wrong you know –

you’re the whether man on the whether show.


summer long ago*

the smell of your mother

in the kitchen maybe

or doing the ironing


when she breezed past

the cotton smell of her dress

fresh air & meadows

clean & perfume musky shadows lent


to you she was just your mother

always alone & making do

with your dad long gone


to me she was a dream

destined to remain a dream


then you away and I knew

the warm smell of her neck

her hair, I knew her lips

just as I imagined, dreamt,


that summer I knew

the taste of your mother.



It’s time for me to lie down,
beneath the broad oak,
in this land of green pastures,
in this, my England.

Sunday best.

Jesus Christ on a bike
– it’s been hot today.

Silent, dripping sweat
heavy,   waiting,


no breath, no breeze, no respite.


And then it comes all at once,
a lusty kiss from God,
the thunderous roar of monsoon rain
on the corrugated porch.

I step out into the warm sweet rain
as it throws up little puffs of dust
in the baking sandy soil

and I am soaked in an instant
as me and the tree-frog exchange
meaningful looks
and the mango & banana trees
throw off their workaday clothes
and don their Sunday best.


the darkness*


she told me all about her dreams

and about a thing called love


I’d never heard it’s like before

so I asked her what I could


she spoke of things beyond my ken

of lands where strange things grow


where little girls & little boys

reap what their parents sow


I asked her where this land could be

& whether we could go there


but she answered that it’s here & now

and I only need to look there


she laughed at me and I at her

as the darkness fell away


she took my hand & softly gave

a kiss of life that day.