A boundless energy of children
On a neighbour’s trampoline,
Mine’s been long converted
By a furtive military.

Depression in ruins abundant,
The city’s stolen heart,
The only buildings standing
Are the empty mosque and church.

My mind of mulchy-mud detritus,
Thoughts like leaves on a lawn;
A modern meditating Augeas,
I found a magpie’s claw.

The shops are all deserted,
Defying life to go outside,
Explosives left below the surface,
The countryside tripwired.

They said it would be different
But the future’s just the same,
I heard the people singing
As they shovelled earth for graves.

The sun shines on the garden,
Those neighbours are delightful,
But my mind was long since hardened
By something far more frightful.

Life Support

Sunday, and they switched off
My life support, made in Germany;
There was not much the consultant could do.
His registrar had a slightly dry cough
As he signed a form or two.
My brother latterly phoned my mother,
And she was much the same.
It’s such an everyday matter,
To wrench from the socket
A socket-shaped plug,
And the signing of a name.
We all do it, from time to time,
These imperceptible losses;
There’s no point being upset they said,
Move on to other moments.
When I awoke, it was simply too late,
All we could do was obliterate
How I loved you from the very start,
Carved your name into my heart,
But carving hearts will not restart
What is dead and long-since buried.


A simoom from Sahara
Descended on our Eastern land,
From Sheppey up to Scarborough
Down-poured a maddening sand.

It got into their eyeballs
And entered through their ears,
It muted campus halls
And inveigled tutors’ fears.

It festered in the mindset,
More flour bought, less eggs appear;
Cancelled cruises and the vet,
No Trinidad this year.

Some went mad, the last I heard,
Beat their drums, took photographs;
Preferred a bulldog-bitten word,
They circled 5G telegraphs.

With slurring speech said phones had started
The spreading of infection,
So they burnt the network poles glad-hearted;
There’s no more dialect inflection.

They danced around those maypoles,
With revelry, with glee well-fed,
But could not return maternal calls;
Their telephones were dead.

Modern Love

Love sets her alarm for five
To let me know I’m still alive,
Grey gloom palls the woods and lane,
Nothing now will be the same.
There is a generic verbal thrust
To what the neighbourhoods discuss,
Have I got it,
Have I not,
If I’ve got it
Will it rot me
From the inside out,
Strips language from a polyglot
Strips medals from a veteran’s plot,
Will I run or will it flout,
Barrels empty, beer and stout,
Patrolmen mythic horses mount.
We used to keep our films secure
By covering tabs with tape before,
Now we’re taping cracks with laws,
Once imprisoned, escaping thoughts;
I remembered something beautiful,
The colour of your hair in 1994.
These are the thoughts listed above,
When I was a younger man in love.