enter the pterodactyl
stage left:
it starts reciting something
in its own pterodactyl language
re-folding and flurrying
its creaking wings

It is an awkward creature
like a gigantic black, broken umbrella
but moving about
in a way an umbrella wouldn’t do
and with a sharp beak
which some umbrellas have

‘Was this the right choice?’
the audience is whispering amongst itself
‘we have paid to see Beyoncé’

71kfXhdJ12L._SY355_ 2

Theresa of Ávila

teresa 2 2

Always fading in and out

the myriad creatures

coming from the opened gates of creation


I look into the mouth, the entrance

and the fissure is opening

in what I thought was solid


in my own chest too

the wound is opening

in what I thought was solid


and the pain of it makes me still

and try and sit through it, please

I might cry to the hurting god


and the sitting through becomes

a kind of knowledge

and the god suffering through


whatever the god suffers too

becomes a kind of compassion

the companionship of passion


and the myriad creatures

between these twin gateposts

which I don’t need to spell out


for a reader such as yourself, I know,

come flowing out like

a spillage of blood,


spoilage of water, the beautiful

and the putrid, the vanity

and the superabundance of humility.




temporary departure

not having seen enough

by any means


what can I add?

except to

say that the


derelict mental


was always


and good place for a picnic

‘Mental’ that’s

what they say


as if that

was a condemnation

there are long


hallways filled

with broken chairs

the burnt remains


of former campsites

and the birds

are used


by now

to flying in

and out the windows


will this be made

into luxury flats?


or the whole site

a business park

an enclosure


for the supposedly

real business

of the world?


I’ll be back soon

I’ve just gone off

to oil a bicycle wheel




Version 2

He hangs
From his own tree,
The negative version

The one
Without whom,
In whom.

His isolation
Is greater,
More forsaken.

Time moves round him,
A mythical figure
As he sways.

The money
Is pointless.
From here

To the terrible
Centuries, the ghettos
And the camps,

The children
Hushed into gas chambers.

A kind of hero,
Reminding Jesus that he,
Too, betrays something.

The whole turning away.
Who was Judas’ mother?
Judas’ father?

It’s not recorded
How they felt
Taking him down,

The shameful suicide
Who nobody helped,
Nobody caught in mid-fall.



Thinking about the murder of Julius

As his name-month swelters

And the Unitarian Doric of New Road

Houses a new busker


The formal portico is like a promise

Of something even better

Rational organisation of things

Simplicity of a sun-shaped god


The flute-player misses a note

Sparrows chip the paving

– No blood on these stones –

The next high improvisation he attempts


Disappears into the blue and out of history.

Columns indent like inert components

Of some unwieldy gear

Which has run down now and lies


Disassembled in the workshop –

Cog-wheels and grease, the smell of solder.





Sitting inside
one of the

graffitied wooden
shelters on

Hove seafront
beside the

peeling green
and brown

paint with
the empty

lager can set
against the

precise horizon
of the railings,

approaching rain
visible as

a greyish membrane
connecting clouds

to the sea.
An unanticipated

sense of
love animates

my perception
of the frothy sound

of toing and
froing waves and

the smell of
stale human piss

that pervades
the shelter.

I notice
a seagull

as it
flutters upwards

carrying a pebble
in its bill

and lets the stone
drop back

down onto
the beach.

It has
some reason

for doing this
as it repeats

the action.