the attrition

the fine dust of loss

along the window ledges

that are my eyes


what if looking out

enough through them

would make them hollow

and cause collapse?

the dry eye of the weary


the salt eye of the lost


in rain that air turned liquid

that falling wet of relief

how it moves

and downward


washing wishes

to their threadbare vanishing

because looking through

you become blind

and blinded by that crust of

fear that was the wearing down of time.

Dog II


The river has a hollow in it

where you would have fitted

four footed leap plunge

the spring of you

the coil of that pulsing good-will body

full of joy’s vibrations

intent on the moment

as if every passing one was a smell too rich

not to contemplate

the airborne seconds

the water’s thick arms all over your fur

and how you threw it back

off your coat when it let you go.


Sometimes you shadow me

are so close – those times we nosed

one after the other

over the sand sky water

the sweep of your tail an extension of my arm

you a blur in my eyeline

a flash of brightness shimmering

or sleeping all purry soft

the grass smell of your paw pads

the easy heave of your breath.




Sniffs its way to the low point rockfall

sleek and tingling black with silver highlights

thread and scent and earthturn, log tossing, bending, fishtug

fills the day with rush the night with runnels

finds the interesting depth and stays there

mulling, turning, breeding

insisting on life and nurturing the algae the dragonfly pupa

washing the rocks until they ripple themselves

becoming and becoming.



The staccato spark

light worms the darkness

stripes of fire-drops

cascade of gold dribbles

matching the sunset.


The eye does duplicate

two for the sweep of one

the air filters and stings of smoke

peppers with glitter

the combustion of tree crusts.


We whoop to the night

with our glowing sticks

black and torching

making twirls and spirals

on the retina of the sky.



I would take all your injuries

and put them on my body.


The swell of blood up and out

would be my own.


The way it falls tearing out of you

to swallow in me and become


that magic river of pain and painless

that granted thing that once spilled


congeals and stains a dangerous red.

When you were born your whole skin held you


so complete yourself so fine and finished

the skin of your heel that spread to shape your eye.


I, breathless with wonder at what had fallen out of me ,

found falling the clasping point; the broken thing was me.


Made of blood and so brimming with it

that I could weep and weep and not lose you,


and you go and damage yourself against

this ramshackle world never to lose me.






‘If someone’s skin was made

of infra-red would we be able to see them?’


My answer grapple

is disabled by your quick

thinking flick mind

making new glint eyed views

about all that’s new in the world

and ancient things that

swam the seas and

saw toothed their way

through water as thick with

prey as my airspace is with your



The hook and sinker of it all:

the spin of the reel:

the way the sun throws

light across the world

to catch your eye.



John Oakes circa 1905 (a photograph)


Eyes to lens

he looks

from the photo

seeming to look

all the way along time.


Sees his own death

filtered there

in the moon

of the photographer’s

box, the hooded man

crouching in

the dark of the future.


At once his eyes are

alive with love;

all those possibilities

that open and close

so many valves,


he feels his heart

battering there

the small pansy

she picked him

cooling in his



He is as sad

to seem pleased

as he stares ahead

remembering some

small pleasure

like choosing the

dapper tie

and his daughter’s fine hands

straightening  his stiff collar.



I came to hate that clock

its stiff hands chronicled grief

and all its ticking days

held steady up the time

each one of you died.


I dream of that house

the wax flowers on the door step

the rows of bricks that

were the formal entrance

on the shady side.


I dream you have installed

an impossible aquarium

where huge faceless fish

idle in the clarity and swim

their speckled bodies against the glass.


The solid gold of the inner workings

don’t hold back all this changing

from metronome to monotone

that dark peculiar portrait

haunting the hall.


I came to hate that clock

that percussed breakfast

laundry, the bringing in of

bright jewelled tomatoes from the sun

and patience on the flecked laminex.






Wing category supple taught

wheel powered and mounting

the fickle fling of gravity motion

the tingle of that flip high.

In the air you know it’ll have you

the ground is curved without give

you will hit and rise with the tumbled force:

velocity in control the skid in landing

foot first unbloodied.


Right the lean and tame that

crawling fear that pulls and tugs

and advises in quick pulse bursting

a lack of oxygen a lack of mind:

be inverted and know that

even if a second counts

you are flying, will always fly

air can hold your weight

that solid part of you leaping

is light and mote-like until you land.





We nestle

and match – one the other’s striking board

the sulphur flare of

our pitch


and burn.


I coax you to heat,

feed you pine needles and

you are fierce in your concentration

you consume these questions, these answers

these encoded woody stems

that once held blossoms.


As you turn and the light is

creeping from you so your face

is lit like a beacon and as blinding

there, you are me with that glittering eye

I have known you like myself

you have thrown flame

all along my secrets.