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.



Version 3

The giant, bloated corpse of Micky Mouse
has been discovered, finally,
and is being loaded onto a flat-bed truck.
Black arms dangle on the road,

gloved fingers brushing tarmac,
a worker bangs down the tent-like ears
with a spade; the tail, a shrivelled inner-tube,
drags by the truck exhaust. The engine

fires up, and between dusty sycamores
the country lane chokes up with diesel
and the mildewed stink of this decaying mouse.
He’ll be buried in quarry landfill, with all

the other heroes, all the other tragic puppets.
Goodbye Micky! It wasn’t good at all while it lasted.
Soon you’ll be just a name to frighten the
children with. All the men, crammed into the

greasy cabin, wear dust-masks on their faces.
They’re really earning their minimum wage
in this drizzle-fucked day: the first cold drops
begin to piss down on the windscreen.

None of them would express any pity for Micky,
not after the things that happened
when that giant mouse last went on the rampage.
And Christ the stink! The stink of that dead mouse!

Moving Along


the endless succession of gods

each leaning forward out of its niche

disappearing into dusk

along the curve of the corridor


our steps tap, random as stars,

the crazy paving of the temple floor

past the imperative faces

disturbing the delinquent dust


sight-seeing in this catacomb

we spy the sightless cats

blank-eyed, specked with gems

clutching each thunderbolt or flower


in secret knowledge their lips curl

pointing skyward underground

in gestures of far-flung design

as if distance was itself a door


past each metonymy or petal

is this the exit we’ve been searching for?

An Arrival

31. Sussex Heights Clouds2

The cries of the distant

damaged people


can hardly be heard

through the mist.


In the pale intermission

notating birdsong


the view becomes

an absence of view.


This new disconnect

floats like soft milk


between hard blocks

where populations live.


No-one lives in the mist

abode of the defunct


they keen and clatter

at the unopened window.


Time-stained, the Viking ship

sails into town across the land


with its figurehead grimacing

with its rows of wreathed warriors.