The sun of a preacher

Take the short road, she said;

It’ll get you there quicker

Magpies won’t swoop you

Only the wind;

White and whipping;


Gives chase there.


Take the short road, she said;

It’ll get you there quicker

There’s no bogland

No bones of Vikings

Clutching around your calves

Just calves tipping into the clotted smell of their pink pillows;

Dewy at their teat

And underneath their unfurled flank.

The carpet’s rolled out;

It’s clear there.



Take the short road, she said;

It’ll get you there quicker

The land’s mostly flat,

The sun wears the earth like a skirt

You’ll hear the tinkling of the ravine,

You’ll scoop the wet with your palms,

And suck the soup in

Before the skirt’s hitched up

Not quite to the chin.

It’s all as you see it

As you saw it

Back there



Take the short road, she said;

It’ll get you there quicker

Bitter; though apple-cheeked

Sweet; though bare-faced

A bear face


Around the track

What’s that?

Back there.


Take the short road, she said;

It’ll get you there quicker

Aye, said I,

I’ll go there to here.

That’s the short and long of it,

The long and short of it:

Here to there,

There to here.



"Do I have enough
For this?"
His little hand cupped
Around copper and silver
No gold
His other clasping
A roll
Of tin foil

The gatekeeper, a shopkeeper,
A sculpture
Of a cigarette burnt through
All but drooping ash
And browny-orangey pants

"And some sweets?"
A single sharp nod.
"How many?"
"You tell me, Sonny Jim"

A sinister grin
Limped along thin
Lumpy lips

And then like a snail
He protracted.

A glint.
The splinter dissolved,
"You don't want to rot your teeth."

Yellow, gluey pebbles flashed
At the splash of colour
At the sploshing of each treat
Against the paper.

The coins spilled,
The black eyes of both shined.

Out in the street,
Mouth watery, lips cracked and tingling,
Eyes pinned to the seam,
Where the path and walls meet.
Where pennies fall from a half dead tree,
Its leaves uninterested in the science of the sun.


Diary of a crazy woman


Oh, I'm not your mummy, little girl.


Am I?

I mean, I'm not


Who's to tell?

Could I be?

I could be.

You do look a bit like me.

Your hair's yellow and your skin is pale.

There are some freckles on your forearms.

Do you want me to be?

I will.

Of course I will,

Little darling.

Let me take that hand of yours,

The one you've thrust into the sky

In your mummy's direction. 

Oh, right, your mummy's there.

Damn it!

OK, I'll just keep walking then.


Resist Debt

Resist it
Bin it
Tell them they can shove it
Up their arses

Wipe your hands
And your conscience

This isn't a debt
You've not already repaid

We're impotent
Until we're not
And we resist

When you resist it
It'll mean I pay more
For my shit
But you've paid more
For my shit
For too long

We're keeping you poor
Your not ours to keep
As if we have all the answers
Us, a mob of chancers

Who are we to play Christ?
Why are we rolling the dice?
Not for long

When you rise
I'll rise
Guilty, I'm on the wrong side

It's like Thomas cried:
"If we don't pay the debt
Nobody will die"
Yet structural adjustments will try
To keep the inequality we buy

So I beg you
Please resist it
Bin it
Tell us we can shove it
Up our arses

Equality by default
Here starts the revolt.


Nothing but evolution

Nothing but evolution
Except your elocution
Leaves us in diminution

You're splendid
The way your colours are blended
Did you do that because your atoms did?
Or where your consciousness is?

Tear traces
Track the cracks of your stasis
Into the blue, take this
As an opportunity, your basis
For deciding if it's fake, this
Or if God made this

No it's atoms
Collecting in inverted chasms
Plunging to diamond fathoms

Where the cold chatters between teeth
Time, not tide, the pull from beneath


Permission to speak

I do not need what you offer me,
I do not ask for it
So keep

Your permission in your pocket,
I won't knock it,
And nor will i reap.




Chile; your art felt me,
Tested me,
Your poets talked of things I know,
Your vines filled my blood, purple,
Your mountains watched me as I slept,
Cristobal showed me Santiago,
Marcela told me Santiago,
And Chile,
The Chile of before,
When the dogs came,
And took you,
And choked you,
And bit off your limbs,
You grew them back.
You're free now.
Or as free as the rest of us are.


The idea of a terrorist

You're the idea of a terrorist
No more than a monster
An idea of fear
You creep, seep, stew and sew
Mutant seeds of thought

You exist in cells with other dud batteries
There's no power left in you

You don't stand for anything
You think you do
But you don't
You don't even stand for destruction

You stand for nothing
Not anything
You're not one of us, so we can't let you in

There's no politics in your mind
No theology
No mind
At all
You're nothing
No one
Not anything

You're an idea of fear
A vibrating bubbling core
Of fizzing frothing lava and poisonous gases

You're nothing
Not anything
And no one
You're an idea i choose not to dwell on.

I have a real family
A real community
Who are better worth my mind
My time

You are not
One of us
You're a nightmare of a monster
But when i open my eyes
I see people
Real people with real strength
And power

Who will overcome
The idea of you.

You are nothing
Not anything
To us.


Apprentice wanted

I have never been the best at anything.

Not ever.



I have grit.

Stalagmites, stalactites,

Great limestone caves of it,


One dark smoking abyss.


What I can offer you is a team,

A one-woman advocate,

And competitor.


Pull your weight,

Drag your fists,

Wash the dishes.


I’m the team.

I give you that.

Have you heard that saying: Jack-of-all-trades, master of none?

That’s me: I’m Jill.


So I know.


Do you need me?

I don’t need you.

You don't need me either.

But you can join me if you like.


Experts need not apply.


You and I.





I need flames.

Cracking, smarting, skin liquefying,



You feel it? The water?


Polar, though.

What can you give me that I can’t give you?


Either way, get to.


Have you taken a slap,

A gut-punch,

And a driving drop kick?


Have you been ever-glorious?

Fists smashing to the heavens,

Wings of flying sweat?

Alone in the amphitheatre’s white circle.

Hand up, it’s you.

Only you.


No-one else?


Did you rub her face in the dog shit on the way?


Have your eyes been burned by the stench of it?


Always won?

I’m not interested.


I lose,

Every day,

All the time,



Are you a loser, too?



I’ve been knocked out,


Nose cragged out to a ledge,

And ugly.


Left for fucking dead.

More than once.


Twice and thrice.



But I’m a worker,

A carrier,

A bell ringer,

A marathon runner,


In life. (Bad knees.)


Sprinting is for innocents.

Not an old mouse,



Scurrying, tracking, running,

Trading the cheese.




I caught you.

Not very ladylike,

Snot slipping down the slide,

Between the point of the nose,

And the pinch of the lip.

Pooling there, sticky,



For itself,

Angry for itself.


Self. Self. Self.


Teeth bared, all gums and gnarly stones.



They can’t take it.

Can they fuck.


Your blood is thin,

Your heart-beat weak.



There’s nothing we can do together.


Maybe you’re just not ready yet.

Done it all.

Except be bad,

At it all.


Come back to me then.

In ruins, hat out, no pennies.



Answers, there ain't none

What do you want it to be like?
The end?
The fruits of your labour?
What about the 180s, the spikes, the bends.
The fences, the walls.
Who's your neighbour?
(And will she help?) May be you don't know yet.
I bet
You feel dumb
Draw a picture.
Take that step.

Who does it look like?
Is it you?
A metaphor for your life?

Or is it a scene?
Walk through that
Picture with me
Tell me who you see.

Is it me?

I hope not.
My way is very different to yours
Don't mirror my plot
Plan your course
Or just start
It's par for the course
Part of the course
The course is the bit that's important.

There's no one answer,
I told you that before.

Stop drawing now.
But follow the lines you drew,
Right off the page,
With the mind you blew.
(By demanding an answer too soon)

Imagine you get to a place,
You take the left in the grit
For miles
And months
When you look back you see,
Right would've got you to this, Point B.
But quicker.
(And less haggard)

So what are you asking for?
To get there?
You can do that can't you?
You dare,
Don't you?

So why are you asking then?
Do you want my permission?
But I can't
That's your mission.

If you've started,
You'll get there.
Keep striding out.

That's the answer:
Stride out.
The long way round is the best.
Without doubt.