Personal Space


Personal Space

Out on the isthmus, they could be sales reps on a junket.
One shoulders his rifle like a paintball gun. The balaclava slips
as he aims across the scrub till a hand on his arm defers the event.

On the headland, a man in a coat with too many pockets
scans the horizon. So much sea. It could be Dungeness or Clacton.
Men look so much smaller wearing uniform, don’t you find?

Great banks of cloud move in from the east, along the pipeline,
by the coast road, in unmarked trucks from the ferry terminal.
I’m thinking about personal space. I’m thinking about the edge.


That an Horse hath no gall

stubbs cobb

A horse in a field is worth two in the hand          Applejack is a reliable and hard-working pony, although headstrong about doing things on her own[1]          take horses for an example, if you look closely you notice that all horses have exactly the same face[2]          Glueing coconuts to your dogs feet so people think you have a horse[3]

Hi-yo, Silver!           Next to the running horse pub on Davies street in london under an orange cone I left a signed ten pound note[4]          A galloping horse gathers no moss          crushed white chalk[5]          a glittering glass eye, formed from bottles pressed neck-first into the ground[6]          they also create snowflakes and rainbows in special factories[7]

A horse in need is a horse indeed          hooded and faceless, mounted on a huge snarling black horse with insane eyes![8]           Swing Bill 9-1, Stewarts House 9-1, Barrel of Laughs 11-2[9]          Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them[10]          Black horse hooves… snarling horse mouths… a fleeting black cowl[11]          A horse paints a thousand words          Enfants, faites manger vos chevaux de guerre[12]          the Earth ponies who are seen bucking trees and hauling heavy ploughs[13]


Good horses make good neighbours          Eddy Waller […] once told of Lane making unpublicized visits to children’s hospitals[16]          (on an unidentified horse)[17]           a little sticky in the early stages[18]                      Cannon to the left of them[19]                    they soar among the clouds, they rain down jellybeans          We had to wear knee-high rubber boots          IT`S NO USE. THERE`S NOTHING I CAN DO ANYMORE. EXCEPT BEAR IT. I WISH I DEAD. DEAD HORSE DON`T SUFFER.[20]           I fucking told you horses are ignorant cunts[21]            A horse walks into a bar

An Englishman, an Irishman and a horse walk into a bar            I know a horse from a handsaw                 a large, odd-toed ungulate mammal          The horse orders a drink          and a packet of dry roasted peanuts          by means of optically stimulated luminescence dating[22]          During the Iron Pony Competition, she resorts to using her wings in many of the contests, which Applejack regards as cheating since she does not have wings herself[23]          DEAD HORSE DON’T SUFFER          they rain down jellybeans          Useless horse![24]           on a horse![25]           never got a Charlie horse[26]          Chaucer loved this kinda stuff          overbearing horses          they have a special magic only humans can access[27]

Once a horse, always a horse          Once upon a horse

[1] My Little Pony,

[2] Abigail Oborne, ‘Portraits of a seaside town no.3’

[3] @iSpeakComedy, 11.11.11

[4] @flea333, 10.11.11

[5] Uffington

[6] Cherhill

[9] Cheltenham, 13.10 11.11.11

[10] Alfred, Lord Tennyson, ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’

[12] Prosper Mérimée, Lokis: Le manuscrit du Professeur Wittembach,

[15] Ibid

[17] Ibid

[19] Alfred, Lord Tennyson, ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’

[24] @IleKara, 11.11.11

[25] @_Hollymd_ 11.11.11

[26] @JuiceCOURTuree 11.11.11

Go for Gold – A Poem for the Olympics

Oh, wow, look –

glossy sponsors’ logos glow from forty foot gobos

from Romford to Croydon to Pontoon Dock.



No go for dogs or cowboys.



So fond of sports: to trot, to shoot, hop-scotch, golf.

Who to root for: GB bods or jocks from Togo, Oslo, Congo?


No odd jobs for Bow-born gyro boys.

No, LOCOG only kowtows to posh knobs –

tycoons who syphon stocks from boomtowns.


O proctors of gloom

known for PR boobs!


O floppy clowns

too good to spoof!


LOCOG control food.

No cod, no pork.

Only blotchy lollypops or – John Dory.


On London rooftops

spooks prowl for throngs of rowdy schoolboys,

troops bombproof blocks of condos, look for ghosts;

PC Plod from Norfolk growls.



Mostly so-so.

Shoddy logo.


Lofty LOCOG do polls, do vox pop,

knock on doors of common London folk –

“Rococo morons!” mocks Jo.

“Bossy Cyborg dolts!” scoffs Bob.

“Gosh – who?”


LOCOG borrows dosh, croons soppy songs

to dodgy corps who do no good, only wrong –

“Sponsor John, sponsor hotshot Johnny, sponsor doorknobs.

Sponsor pylons, pythons, schoolbooks, thongs.

Sponsor Morocco, body odor, hymnbooks, sponsor two o’clock.”


LOCOG’s torch wows crowds from Oxford to Bolton.

Convoy of sponsors’ motors follows: Lloyds, Dow, Mondo.


Only fools cross LOCOG.

LOCOG chloroforms Goths, hobos, cocky non-conforms.

LOCOG co-opts groovy folk for costly lowbrow jolly.

LOCOG concocts horror show cons. O London’s folly.


No gold, no oomph to shop.

No bloody trophy.

Seven Seven, Eight Fifty

The BBC have produced a beautiful and sad documentary to mark the seven year anniversary of the London bombings: One Day in London. This terrible event has personal resonances for me, as I was living, as I do now, in Aldgate – site of one of the three explosions on the underground.

This poem, written to mark the anniversary, is a simple relineation of the Home Office report of the Aldgate bomb.


Eight Fifty


CCTV images show the platform at Liverpool Street

with the eastbound Circle Line train alongside


seconds before it is blown up.

Shehzad Tanweer is not visible


but he must have been

in the second carriage from the front.


The images show commuters rushing

to get on the train and a busy platform.


Some get on, some just miss it.

The train pulls out of the station.


Seconds later smoke billows from the tunnel.

There is shock and confusion on the platform


as people make for the exits.



The Other Maria

Maria, guardian of a thousand year tradition

with your ageless olive face

and lips ajar just so,

I am eating chilli tortillas from the bag

and thinking of you

exhorting us to discover hidden secrets

experiences, itineraries,

with your lips apart as if to speak

(though in this guise you are always silent).


I think of you, Maria,

and my mouth grows chilli-hot.

You emerge from darkness

and from smoke, your hair

gathering to a halo.

Eruption Island

uncut pirates    w/ automatic weaponry

go dolphin mad!           adrift & emasculate

boys whose frondy underarms are undermined

we say most unforgettable & recommended

crater caught mid-spew not even technically

volcanic but about which we might say

the process of making / being made makes manifest

in dark unlicensed ways           a view

of motion paused yet filled with such

potential knowledge of its past / future to propose

a golden not-quite-yet-completed O quite like this bay

away from not-quite-home      suppose

This is what a love poem looks like

You are underfloor heating.

You turn my insides to so much packable meat.

You are thoughtful in dreams.

You make secret signs.

You swim with impunity.

You are speculative.

You are radio & tides.

If the cuckoo sings you sing right back.

You wake to this.

You have the qualities of snow.

You are space travel.

You practice mixed martial arts.

In the event of fire you are rain.

You are a fine mist.

You found the escape hatch but will not tell me.

You favour cheddar.

You wake the street.

We go where you go.

You are untranslatable.

You fall in gaps.

You shatter as you rise.

You are wearing 3D specs.

You breathe in rooms.

Everything is purple where you lead me.

You are solid state.

You are timpani

& trumpets.