You were terrified

of moths

their dusty wings

flapping near you.

You wished me

to kill them

you were crushed

if I let one free.

When it was dark

going to the bathroom

gave you goosebumps.

Once I was amused;

you glared

and tiptoed to the couch.


I like the crinkled paper

in my pocket

my pen poised to strike.

A bonfire of words

blazes over the page:

it warms me.


His story is harsh

like December hail.

So tell it, don’t be shy.

I was fostered

behind the gas works

growing on eels and rain

and prodigious thumping.

I wore 


from charity shops

and never schooled.

My poetry was rats

on the canal bank,

my music

wheezed in my lungs.

Muddy Rivers

Behind the municipal car park

the chimney stacks

belch bad things.

The city is bedevilled

by dirt.

But I like its muddy river

full of shopping trolleys

and beer cans

where you can angle

for old boots or condoms.


You would starve

if the food

wasn’t correct.

I could see

the rack of your ribs

feel the hunger,

which ignored,

made you shake.


You had a scarf

with a snowflake

printed on it.

You slept

with it cowled

over your head.

So only your

sumptuous eyes

peeped out.


It’s been trying to rain

but I’m deaf

to its lamentation 

on the window panes.

I should like to

be wretchedly


till the raindrops

bore holes

in my blonde skin.

I should like to

fade, and pass

before the rain can

resurrect my dying.