The most contagious #poems
Thrive in closed spaces
Pass to close contacts
Rise to ah beyond one
Engender variations
Provoke occasional conferences
And endless reflection
On impacts

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After birth


Snatched car park kiss,
Bags in hand,
Bands around the ears,
Lift to the wrong floor.
Buzzed onto the ward,
Past PPE tabled,
Nurse concierge ushers:
The partners are barred.
Eyes meet above masks,
Feet fleet,
No hug,
And out.
Tension knot
In the stomach,
From moorings untied.


I eat at home alone
After two days
And I can trace the ghost
Of a mask on my face
And feel cradled kicks
In my belly

A lonely thought

About ‘welcome home’ flowers
Is that they might wither
Unseen by the door


I am a new dad
Who has had
Three full nights’ sleep
On bedsheets I only just hung out to dry
I’ve hoovered and cleaned
The pots and pans and tools
Have been tidied away
I have some photos
Of you on my phone
The lawn is mown and edged
The borders are weeded
Every so often
A text or a call
I planted petunias
In a line to the door
My skin-to-skin t-shirt
Is still in its box
I try not to over-water

Poor reception

Never had so many people lend an ear
I didn’t want to borrow 

On over-watering

Crying in showers
Is a practical choice;
You just have to mind
The acoustics.


It took two days
To write an email
Putting the miles in
Tripping over
Dusty floorboards
Too busy to write
Right now in the kitchen:
A call to the crib

Fear of loss

Last night you dreamtYour head explodedAs you felt yourself slipping awayYou tried to tell me you loved meImploredPlease look after herI am reducedAs I hang out clothes in minatureThe dehumidifier humsAnd I just want us to writeA happier ending 


Today you winced in mirth
Shook your head
At toilet Ted
Your childhood bear
Now sporting a nappy
Whose scatalogical nonsense
Dislodged a wet clot.
We phoned the midwife
For the encore


See how much
A room can change
With a profusion of pillows
Twin milking machines
Rows of cards
Climb bookcase shelves
Soft toys perch
On the chest of drawers
You on mine
Rising tide of your breathing
Coffee cup empty
My stomach stirs too
Daylight creeps
Between the blinds
Falls on the swaddling
Vase in the corner
A V of white lillies
From bud into bloom

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Ho hum Haiku

Flush filter feeders


Toxic Brexit bile

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11th November
Armistice Day
Yellow leaves twirl
From trees turning skeletal
Pile up round borders
Cleared out and mulched
Year after year
The fallen
History repeating
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The sex lives of Romo-Grecian statues


When you got back from Madeira
You flashed holiday snaps:
An exhibition of stones found by children,
Trestled in neat labelled lines
Beside placards in four languages
Of the things said rocks resembled.
Nestled incongruously
In the front row:
A scrotum
And clitoris
In pride of place.
Not everyone finds one of those
On their travels,
We laughed,
At least they were checking for lumps.

In a chance coming together
Of worldly antiquities
In the sterile hours long after closing,
Adonis lost a chiseled finger
To the permanence of marble,
Venus chippped an alabaster buttock,
Abraded her braids in dismay
Over her unyielding belly.
Pearly tears of frustration
Fell from their cracked exhibition
And were ground
Into plaster dust underfoot,
Proclaimed after dawn
To be footprints of vandals.

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A long sentance in the present tense

The separate strands
Of the futures-that-could-be
Are a bunch of zips
Spilling out from a vase
To myopic infinities
The further down
Any line you look
From the fixed focus
Of the ever-moving present
Whose clenched teeth
Trail a snail line
That recedes ever more so
The further back you go.

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The glamour was televised
Sword-waving mutant fights

The narcoleptic apathy
Domestic arguments
About licking Lycra
Overspending on hairspray
Fur-balled halitosis
Marks from the Claw Shield
Down the armrest
Of the interest-free sofa

Programmed pre-prognostication
30 seconds of British Gas adverts
That couldn’t be skipped
Before you got to ‘sight beyond sight’
And a recap of the recent past
As it was just prior
To the immediate future
Was the present
Which was your own face
Growing increasingly exasperated

Struggling with the futility of the Thundercat condition
The nocturnal notion
Your nemesis is ever-living
So he can just…

He called the Samaritans once
“Snarf, snarf!”
Never again

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Dismissed as ornamental
You put down roots
Climbed aggressively
Flexed tendrils into crannies and nooks
Became self-supporting
Thickened with age

He bemoaned the bind
Of preening nip and tuck
The status quo maintenance
Muttered over the fence
Insidious, invasive
Grasping, sneaking, squeezing, smothering
Persistent, persuasive
Cherry blossom failing
Dreams of greener grass

It was a hatchet-job
No-one intervened
The portrayal postulated
You were poisonous
To the touch

He always thought you bitter
But he’d just held you back
You still feed the birds
Every winter

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141019 Speech Therapy Words

Warming up for Speech Therapy at Nottingham Festival of Words, 19th October.

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Food poems

To offset the recent maudlin missives, here’re a couple of more light-hearted ones spawned as comp entries.


A matter of taste

The tongue comes alive to a flavoursome five,

Marmalade swaps sweet and sour;

The very best bitter elicits a titter,

Especially if drunk by the hour;

Delicious umami will placate an army,

Though glutamate’s sticky my friend;

Aqua’s relief when it’s too-salty beef,

It’s all down to taste in the end!


Gone fishing

If pondering the right way

To catch a fish from brine,

Tuna’s like a telegram:

Best done by pole and line!

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