Writing Music About


A collection of poems from 2022.


Finding you here,
finding you where
the here runs into there,
where the space between
dissolves into margins

Finding you when
my now becomes yours,
in this miraculous place
where parallel lines
periodically meet.

Not Today

It is only Wednesday
and I’m already dead.

I ran at the wall
as hard as I could,
harder than I thought
that it could take.

I could take no more,
but it still could –
it hadn’t moved an inch!

Someone new has come
to take my bloodied place,
to do the running
for the next few days.

I am not mourned,
and nor will they
despite the energy
we put into our running.

It is Wednesday and the wall
will not be moved today.


The shelf is playing tricks on me again.
Something I know is there
is pretending not to be.

I can tell that something’s there
from the way the light rays
bend toward it as they near.

And if I make a sound
I can hear its shape
extruded from the echo
off the wall behind.

I don’t remember what it is,
or what it might be called.
I just remember that it is.

And I recognise as clear as day
that in a very real way
it is now unavailable to me.

Some day soon
I will look at my own hand
and it too will have gone.


I have come to live
in a strange kind of house.
I can see that now.
The longer I have lived
the stranger it has become.

These walls are five feet thick
and still growing by the day.
That can’t be right!
And these stairs
that fold back on themselves
without leading anywhere…

Perhaps if I’d tried
to arrange the rooms
to be more like
other people’s homes
before the years of accretion
I could have made myself a
different kind of place?

Or maybe, it would have
always turned out this way.


I am making a list
of things I know.
A catalogue.

I feel a sense of urgency
to record them while I can.
when I know not only
that I know them –
which is not enough –
but can recall the detail
of what I know.

I want people to see
that the empty husk
once held something inside.


They came for her,
not as she slept,
but while she was fully
wide awake.

They came for her
at the time the letter said.

She looked them in the eye
and smiled
as they went about their work.
The work of coming for her.


They have become unfashionable,
lurking in ever-stranger liturgies,
under spiky neo-gothic vaults.

And when not lurking,
are forced to run
undercover of night:
romantic emigres
fleeing the persecution
of technocracy.

But they’re still here.

Every now and then
you catch a glimpse
as they pass between
control towers
at high altitude.

Air Conditioning

Light and life
burn slowly,
but burn they do each day.
in a cruel wind
that feeds their flame.
not with them in a game,
but on them,
the way a trick is played,
the way a threat is veiled
by a bully’s tease.

Light and life
and laughter.
Your sound now:
Hollow, thin
dragged out of you by him,
cruel wind.
Down to your last.

Light and life
is cheap
it seems.
The marketplace is full of girls
who can propagate a seed,
get it started
in cupped hands
whistling soundlessly.
Get it started early
on the bitter sweet caresses of
the breeze.

The Fall

Whoever ushered time
into these halls
has meddled with
the beauty of creation.

we exist without it.
In perfection.


These were the lines
that I had sought.
Firm in their conviction
fearless, fierce and deep.

Lines that penetrate,
that get to the nub
of the thing that must be said
without the saying.

The thing that must be known
without the knowing.


Modernism used to be
a terrifying place
where all the rules flew south,
and even laws of nature bent
around a wondrous new geometry.

There, men looked out from
villas floating in thin air
at vistas spanned by progress and velocity.

I’ve always taken holidays to that place
to savour the profundity of absence.

I tell myself that it’s not ideological
but I know it is.
I have seen what freedom brings
to men who want to trade away the world
and mine the moon.

I retreat there more and more these days
finding clarity of thought
in simpler forms and simpler ways
than the uber-technocratic hell
we’ve wrought upon ourselves.

But then I’ve always been old fashioned.


The ovine mass is on the move again
smashing themselves in the face
with their hooves
and bleating on about the pain.

They’ve been told there is a market
and that duly they’ll be served.
Better to believe the homily
than to dissect those words.

They have put their trust in dogs –
looking to a species
who’ve been bred for nothing more
than to exert control –
to offer leadership.

A kind who’d gladly
follow their own noses to the stalls
where mutton is piled high
and lamb sold cheap.

A kind who for themselves
like nothing better
than the taste of meat.


I have seen
and I have heard
and I don’t want
to know more detail
than I’ve pieced
together up to now.

the paucity
of my education
or my chronic lack
of skill in reasoning.

Give me the rope
and let me tie myself
to something that
has weight enough
to hold me fast
in these increasingly
uncertain times

as I close
my eyes and ears
and mind to anything
that might require
a re-evaluation.

A Time for Action

It’s intolerable.
Simply outrageous.
I can no longer stand by
and simply do nothing
tacitly accepting
the gross injustice
meted out on a daily basis.

Of course it takes
a level of motivation
to wrest my idle bones
from the easy chair
and rise up.

Of course it comes
at a personal cost,
but rise up I must.

I want to be able
to look my grandchildren
in the eye and say to them
in a strong voice
and with a clear conscience:

I was there.

I was one of those
who put aside
all reasons not to
and travelled into the heart
of our once great nation’s capital
to stand shoulder to shoulder
with my fellow men and women.

I was one of those
who stood up to be counted
when the time came
to be ushered in
for the recording of the
topical comedy show.

If you listen you will hear
my strong clear voice
at the end of that
hilarious description of
corruption, self-enrichment
and mendacity.
There, at around the
thirteen minute mark
–– that laugh –
that’s me.

The Epoch of Incredulity

It was the worst of times,
it was the worst of times.

No ‘best’ for us!
At least,
not one discernibly different.

No shades of grey or white for us
but just the black monotony of
a black economy
of that which came from deep within the earth
and enslaved our imaginations.

Black as the hearts of men
who wished for nothing more
than to bring to the surface
that which had been buried for a reason.

The Dance

High tide came
to drink them in
and drown them out,
to flood the vaults
until such times
that tides are once again
persuaded to give up
the secrets of the sediment.

Conjured for a moment
in thin air, as chemistry
performed its miracle.
Thick with irony,
it raised up a cathedral
from the sands of time,
and kings and queens
emerged from beds of lime
to perform the dance of life.

This is the sequence
these are the steps
this is progress and regress.
There is nothing more
and nothing less.

In the here and now
we are here
and we are now.
We are nothing more
and nothing less,
and certainly
not something else.

Tides will ebb and flow
in patterns that emerge
but can’t be known.
There is no sequence,
there are no steps –
just the weight of water
pressing to be felt

until the bow line snaps
and the starry compass shifts
to set a different course,
and time itself is called
upon our kings and queens.

Giddy from the dance
we’ll trip down gilded steps
into the lapping murky depths
to be smothered once again
by mother nature’s cold embrace.

And taking us into her arms
she’ll put us back to bed again.

Here We Go Lightly

Here we go lightly,
here we go
against the brutal unforgiving
into the unknown.

We have known for some time,
known how this would end for us
and still we ran the course
of days of emptiness
but for the running.

We had a name for it,
had a name for everything about it,
hid it in that name for years
in amongst the empty words.

And, somehow it has come to be
not a name at all,
not even a certainty,
despite the knowing.


You have saved my life
more times than you could know.
I don’t suppose
you dwell on these things.

I do.

You have shown me how to live,
shown me how to take
the chaos of the present
and spin it into threads
that can be stretched
across the frames of time.

You are the master of the years,
you seem to know them
like old friends.

I will sit next to you
while you talk to them.

And I’ll watch you
in awe.


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