The Slow Heart Pacing


it’s not so much the double push

one then again straight away

and noticing how it flips and floes

when i feel i am made of nothing

but blood reminds its home is here


up and back around renewed

so many tunnels to travel

so much dark time

and noticing you are not me and

i am not more of nothing


there is a way a hand or voice can change

that squeeze of sinew filling veins

of time with blood and you

the pacing heart moving across that space

on the way to slow forgetting


how to move that red that is not red in the dark interior

its not so much you as the second beat

the heap and heap of you

that presses my whole still life and moves it


sinew flicking through time

up and back, renewed.



She uses her sing song voice

to love me

in all my frailty

even when I am menace

and shout to the veiny sky

furious and dangerous.


Even when I crumple

so faced with my own wishes-gone-askew

smeared with the mud of desire

even when I have to stay and she has to go,

she can love me.


She is the fire queen

ice maidens will fall to her torch

and she dreams she has a million

fabric squares to smooth her nose

as she sleeps guarded by

the curled cat.


In all this egg shell world

where the very gravity

wants broken ovals on the stone

where pieces fall fractured triangles of

that curve that’s in her smile

I tell her: she has broken me and

made me whole.

The returner: 1.15am


We furred at the edges

have forgotten where we each end

in this cocktail of aching sleep and wakening.

There are times

when you wrench yourself from those

dreamless drifts of pure rest

to footfall your way

to the fretting

and I can lie, wakeful for your return.


Often it is my body rising me

the way a wave pulses to the shore

I go to the child, that child who has woken

with no covers, or a dry throat or a terror filled dream.


But have I told you how

I swim in our warmth

and it is like that comfort I can give

returned and returned?


(Concentric circles, a pulse of falling,

the moon’s shadow across bed.)


You are my home and my returner

even when we are pulled awake

here in these small hours.




It leaps and barks

so remember, when you feel that

hot sparkle of fear

press your curled hands to your chin and stay completely still.

Close your arm pits,

jam your knees together

lock your toes into position.


From all these loves

anguish rises up like

tides that grow and overflow themselves

as love does

so does fear.


Press down on the smell of it.

Keep it in the hollow of your body

the runnels of it

oozing out

a tide of your body’s making.

A body that you love too much

to have it punctured by toothy

possibility.  To have other tides

leeching from you

wounds and other injuries

that don’t bleed outwards.


The spark is not just fear.

It is the the tinkle of

the knowledge

that this is your own silken life

running liquid time surfing.

Tide breathing.

Creeping up and receding.

Shadow dog receding.

Fuller then gone.

Black Hen


I must have believed that soupy death

all dark and dreamy with the precision of night

the cut blade of infinite was not for you.


Your feathers dusted up a grief I couldn’t place

in my child world right and wrongness.

The bite mark in your back was enough to let you go by.


I remember thinking spinach might save you:

these feathers so dark they were green in the dim cave.

I kept you alive for days, then death swallowed you,


much as my dog had wished to, when he bit down

through plumage and bone; the damage was done –

but I had to test if love could hold you


much in the way I saved selected snails,

spent tenderness on earthworms you – hen – would happily have turned

into part of you.  Your reflective eyes.



The paragraph where I fall in love

is written, published, distributed

has sat all papery and lush on the shelves

for some years now – but has been read a loud

and sounded out so the words are

round like the moon and just as full

but reflected, now, like so much light.


It is the tang and spring of the garlic in our food

the surprising sweetness in the nip of it

papery and cloven the hooves of it across our floor

like so many feet in the night

searching out the warmth we make

for heat that shatters across the tastebuds

is grown on the good stuff

filled the mattress with its outer layers

falling off and falling.


I will write you poems on fault lines of

this fruiting body

I will drink your breath ’til dawn when you turn in your sleep

and face away from me

I will inscribe all the tiny events

into the curve of the skin

and peel it peel it

the paragraph when I fell in love

in minute letters all over again.

Hammocky Heart


You could rock to sleep

against my mitral valve

in and out with the freshened blood

and your cheek against

the smooth meniscus of my

left atrium

or tangle among the strings I keep

in the ventricle.

Hammocky heart that swings

pendulum to my moods and desires

all muscle and strong enough

for two, or more if they need the refuge

and can take their places

right atrium, tricuspid valve,

bedding down against the ventricular septum.



Poetry, Uncategorized

Core flutter

something was about to change

my heels as light as magnolia petals, as see through

(i have been reading too much Didion

leafing through the book of possibilities)

the oxygen in this room proliferates indelibly

something in the way he slid down next to me

slipped into my wrinkled mind

slept there for a night or two

as Hemingway or someone from long ago

magical thinking has dream-warped time.

(I have been reading too much poetry

and talking to myself at the washing line)

as if I could lather my mind and this would be gone

like a stain, like a lack of stretch or self awareness

that sees a blank in others, this birdcall at dusk

that will never be repeated.

I count my footfalls now and don’t trust the simple

time flow charts. Things can pivot in a second.

I write to see what I think

and throw it into the wind’s jaws.









Poetry, Uncategorized


For you, I iron my breath,

dust the flames from my shoes

grapple with my own fingers and their workings.

I go and finish sewing the apples back to the tree

blossoms to my lip

sprinkle flour on the floor of our kitchen

and dance,

dance until we all return.

For you I will tie down my tongue

loosen my eyes

avert my palms.

It will be my job to fade the tiredness in the sunlight,

my duty to bulb each lantern

and polish polish polish all those tears.

You must do your own breathing

wearing all my wrinkles down.