Writing Music About

Dividing Lines

A collection of poems from 2017.


I am the other kind.
Not like you.
The other kind.

Actually, I’m not sure
I am a ‘kind’ at all.

The more I think of it,
it’s just me.

And if that’s true of me
then who am I to say
it’s not of you?

Maybe you aren’t a kind either.
Maybe it’s just you too?

Perhaps we’re not so different after all.

Unlike them.


Maps are all we have.
Maps of this,
maps of that.

Some are words,
some are pictures.

All are simply observations
after the fact.


Come here!

Do I look like a girl?
Well, you came.

I was already here.
It was you who came.

The World and his Wife

The world has a wife?
I didn’t know.
I’ve only ever seen him
out and about
on his own
doing that spinning thing he does.

Always spinning
never stops.
I can’t imagine him
finding the time
for another soul.

Spinning? You say.
Not our world.
Perhaps you’re thinking
of something else?
Maybe one of the planets?

Earth maybe?

Dividing Lines

This is not poetry!
she says.
These are not like
any poems I have ever
seen before.
This cannot be poetry.

I didn’t call it poetry,
I say.
You decided that.
And anyway,
What is not poetic?
We are clearly in the
second stanza —
even as I speak!

How can it be said to be
anything but poetry?

You are tricking me!
she says,
with your childish meter
and your overly simplistic
rhyming scheme.
And even here
(she is pointing to these very lines)
you can’t maintain the con
but instead get carried off
on some capricious flight of fancy
only to come crashing back
a little further on.

Well, she has a point.

Can we not agree,
I say,
that at the very least
it has poetic qualities?

Against the Clock

I should like to measure you —
measure you against the clock.

You mean you’d like to time me
as I set about some task?

No, I want to measure you
against him
by way of a comparison.

His face is big and round
and positively beams.
His hands are long and thin and elegant,
his movement quite sublime.
And have you heard him chime?

Him (interrupting):
Well, I should like to measure you
against the clock.

His face is fat alright,
but not as fat as yours,
my love.

His hands are all askew
and asymmetrical
my love.

And he has that frightful tick!
Although it’s true,
it’s nothing next to yours,
my love.

And by god he’s slow!

Did you notice how
he says the same thing every hour,
and announces it as though
it’s something new?

Yes, by god he’s slow!
But he’s quick compared to you,
my love.


Is it pointless
or hopeless?
I can’t be sure
of the correct

These things matter.
I worry about them
or perhaps
since it’s actually
quite exhausting.

A Winter Song

A winter song
is whistling
through barren boughs.

Life has closed down
for the season.

We sit at the bar
behind perspex
watching kite men
catch the breeze.

The waters roll in
and then recede
with a regularity.

I’m tempted to think that it’s
the period of the wave
but it’s not.
It is an altogether different scheme.

We, for our part,
operate at a lower frequency.
And after an hour or so
we leave.


I am not.
Not that.

You may have caught
my thoughts
at a bad moment,
reason having briefly taken leave,
sanity estranged.
But only for a holiday,
I tell you!
It will be back.

Any moment now.

It will be like the old days,
the good old days.
Days when all things shone like new
and I shone proudest of them all
in pride of place.

This is just a thought experiment.
Pushing boundaries.
What would people think?
Why don’t people think?
You’re not thinking now!
Stepping through the boxes on the form.
I can see the mechanics.

It’s just what I’ve been explaining.
You and your iron filings
caught in a magnetic field.
I know how this plays out!
Turn the current on I say.
But you don’t and won’t.

I’m not.
Not that word.

Anything can be arranged.


I do solemnly declare.
I do, it’s true.
It’s something that
I always strive to undertake
with the utmost solemnity.

Anything else I do sardonically,
sarcastically, playfully,
gleefully, systematically
iconoclastically, or
if I can’t be bothered,
at least nonchalantly.

But declaring.
That’s something that deserves
a certain amount of seriousness.


Hurtling is what we are
hurtle is what we do.
And yet it feels so still
so … dull

Perhaps this is why we invent
new kinds of precariousness
to inject some excitement
into our tedious orbit?

Line Two

She won’t listen
Not her.
Never has,
never will.

She’d rather go whistle
her own mindless tune.

I try to speak
but my voice is blown away like dust
by mighty gusts of nothingness.

In the recent years
the wind has turned a corner,
always coming at me
squarely from the west.


My love is away
in search of a thing.

She doesn’t know
exactly what kind of a thing.

Not until she sees it.

When she sees it
she will pay the price.

When she gets home.

The Lane

All those sorts
with jobs and cars
and fancy clothes.

In our village,
in our bar.

Shooting the breeze,
no doubt,
with empty talk of deals
and balance sheets
and how their team
is doing in the league.

All kinds of busy-ness
that have no place round here.

They have gone
and left the silent husk.

I smile at that old friend.
as I stoop to pick up
weeks-old streamers
muddied in the lane:

The road that leads them
to this place
and out again.


The tides are turning
they always are
and with them
whole worlds turn
on themselves.


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