Wednesday, 20 October 2010


Deserted funfair in the rain.
Just the two of us.
A day out after so many years.
You're looking well, I say.

We'd go on all the rides,
but there's no one there.

At last.
My God they're fast, I say.
We skim the rink in ever-decreasing circles.
It's like a dance.
Then we're poles apart.
you're hurtling towards me.
The picture freezes:
Your hands on the wheel -
and that smile -
that smile -
Then it's over.
We're moving again.
You steer right,
I steer right.
The collision never takes place.

a smile
or its memory
takes you back
to an idea
of what happiness was
but wasn't.
even on Dodgems,
collisions can't be avoided.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Trying to breath meaning into the shadow of a ghost of a memory of a former self. Trying to understand.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

How to write a novel

You start with an idea, a line of dialogue, a place. It's as simple as that. Then you write. And write and write and write until you think you have come to an ending. Then you leave it. Then you come back to it and see how terrible it is. You throw away the rubbish - hopefully there will be something left for you to work with. So you go back to the start, and write and write and write until you have come to an ending, which may or may not be the ending you came to before. Then you leave it. Then you come back to it and see how terrible it is - but this time, it is not as terrible as it was the first time. There is still rubbish, though, so you throw the rubbish away. Hopefully, there is more left for you to work with. So you go back to the start and write and write and write...this process goes on for months, perhaps years. The trick is to know when to stop and say, That's it. Then you go on to the next thing. You start with an idea, a line of dialogue, a place. It's as simple as that. Then you write.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Drunk Man, Hunched Over His Glass

Don't laugh at me,
young scallywags
and painted dolls.

You use this place,
my place,
a stepping stone to
all points West.

I used to be like you,
alive, I had it all.
The games, the loves,
so long ago.

Don't laugh at me
or at my tears.
I envy you
your years.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

An Old Story

I look at him sitting there,
looking at me,
looking at his mother,
who's got her hands in her lap.
She's looking at the floor.

He tells me about it.
(I try not to yawn
as I look at my watch)
The confusion.
The forgetting.
The wandering.
(At this point I reach for my pad)
The visits at
2, 4 ,5, 7 a.m.
The forgetting.
The wandering.
The visits at...

'Yes, yes,'
I say.
I scribble on my pad and
push a leaflet across the desk.
What a doctor I am.
'A tablet before she goes to bed at night.
Read the leaflet.'

He pays me with a crisp note,
then guides his mother to the door.
The waiting room is full.
I look at my watch.
5 minutes.

Oh, yes.
It's a vocation.

My Gaff

The Landlord
twisted his key
in the lock
and pushed the door

I moved forwards,
but he stopped me with a hand.

he smiled,
and pressed the bell.
There was the sound of a canary
being electrocuted

Very early
in our relationship,
I realised
my Landlord
was a wanker.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Rod's Gaff

He told me,
with a weary smile,
that it was on the fourth floor
above a baker's.
A 're-ti-reh', he said,
which translates as 'penthouse'.

We walked, hunched in our coats
against the Vardaris
blowing ice
all the way down from Russia.

I knew we'd arrived -
I could smell the bread.
We climbed the dank stairs,
me counting the floors.
Then a heavy door,
which Rod pushed open with his shoulder.

We emerged onto the roof of the building.

I thought he was having me on.

The penthouse,
the 're-ti-reh',
took up all of one corner,
past piles of second hand bricks
and stacks of Yester Year's tyres.
The walls of Rod's gaff were flimsy sheets of tin, and glass;
his roof was flaps of corrugated rust.

Rod had his key in his hand.
he said,
with Vardaris tears in his eyes.
In storms,
like today,
the rattle is deafening.