Liverpool Street Gallery

Liverpool Street Gallery

To the Sea at Night

The half hushed
waves pound on
the beach like my feet
things that rise in
the sea at night
driftwood dreams
relief and despair
glimmering infinity
dance to the moon
the quiet welter
of the shifting tide
where do I come from
I was born of the sea
I can be thrown back
the sea at night
undulating with fire



Dear Miami  

Water and light scuffle and divide
wind met caution meets morning
sun honeyed room like a lion
day like an oriole
emerges from tangles
sky clouds plane torn rustle
yellow dust martyred forms
coral born fields
gale shucked seed
bored cores
absent worms turning
cucumber evenings
why of course
clouds can't burn
smoking grey coals
this evening ocean
running like asphalt's
grammar passively
peeling voiced sweetly
how the summer
hangs around
longer than you wished
wood and brandy casked
a flash magical
poured swirl coiled
vapour born swirled
poured tongue tapping
tongue's tap tap
feeling a hundred thirty
years old salt it takes
two showers to feel clean



while we
were sleeping
in the air
rain in the rain
thunder interrupts
love like water


Married to the Sea
to the sea
only a man
who loves islands
can appreciate
the stars
the stars
are not a country
just appetite made flame


When darkening
light through autumn
leaves the hour
of everything simpler
than sound
you know it's name
but that is the limit
of your importance
a wake of light
I'll earth it back
as soft as dust
a word too much.


A sea talks to the ocean
and a bird to a tree and
miles to go before I sleep
life is a long way home



Why do we love the sea
do we love the sea
we love the sea
love the sea
the sea



Summer, a History

Waiting on the shore,
is a restless half-life,
so maybe i'll let some
wannabe factory boy,
smash my box again,
and again, and for
a moment, on this side,
it's you over me,
just bending low,
under the night echo, 
and a blue shore,
Venus, that good ship,
bound, and bordering,
like a sail, look,
I know where,
storms and stars
come from, but,
I don't know,
where you are,
or come from,
or go, or went,
so this life,
is just love,
and idleness,
and nothing else, yes,
nothing is really worth
having, and if you
could live uncertainly,

you would live here too.



I close both eyes, 
and drift towards far company,
and distant islands,
warm winds blow down rushing,
across jagged hills,
gently undulating green canes,
are sweet tended,
in morning's sunreal showers,
and tea leaves whisper
damp and wild,
indian aqua-lucent waters around,
are amniotic warm,
familiar and beautiful at last dark,
strange stars caress,
the earth and every love is touched,
and lustrous, and endless.


A Town of Bricks
Life hit me, like a to(w)n of bricks.
All the other children were little squares
solid perfect little walls of the community
I had turned into a pyramid, a party balloon,
a marble pillar, an ogee, an arabesque
scrolled and superfluously spangled, and ever
unwanted on the stuccoed facade of society.
Their double brick bodies, their tongues
of mortar laid neatly one upon the other
their steady veneer of monogamy planed,
steam shaped and deftly cut, a brick bourgeois,
sun-burned and hardened with untiring clay,
under ever-winking corrugated iron minds,
these sweet invested frogs of broken bead
were holding-down the roof. But, I came to
know much later that their pointed, durable pegs,
in spite of bricks and hatchet-shaven faces
were to be wind-change worn, water lapped
and salt crumbled, and so it is, now-always,
the world is full of equalled wonders.



Again, on a wild and burning shore,
deep with salt and thick with weeds,
swept-up, beached and beckoned,
by an unseen moon,
unreasonable winds
and waves tug at jetsam; like all waves,
and push towards those fatal shores,
what fortunate gales will have me
surging on those scattered coral sands
bleached and broken by underlining currents,
I will write to you in wind and running waters,
shooting at the sky to free a firmament,
while night seas, stars and storms glisten,
swing and batter; as I, long foam bordered,
sky driven and sea blown, drift and sunder
in waves, coming and going on gleaning tides,
again drawn-out
beyond depth, clutching
flotsam fragments to wilder shores.


Some Visit


So, raise you glass, and give three cheers

for the old neighbourhood, that I left somewhere

between the dirt and the shock of the new, and three

taps, for the drip and snake of the hose and the pinging

of rain on the somewhat rusted roof, and raised voices

in other rooms when somebody else is crying.


Three stumbles for the angel shape of pressed flowers,

and the unkept hedgerows between the pub stumblings,

all salad days and lovers, three sighs, for that

half-knowing someday backlit somewhere glance,

framed by the muffled savagery of the drum-kit and

to each our own suffering tapped-out rhythm.


Three crumpled tickets for the five-am bus and sour

summer clothes and pavement shattering ice-creams,

three something shadows for your fenced silhouette,

and the traitorous scrape of the gate after midnight.

Three surfs for lumpen couches and the the empty

leftovers, and the test pattern of the dawn raucous.


Three dusty breaths for the carpet burn lies and underwater

love and the melancholy trees, and unconscious friends,

and three salt tears, and some big deal for the steep rolling

place somewhere you touched me, once or twice and three

shakes; or two fingers, for the somehow kids in the un-mown

park too old to play, too young to drink, too drunk to f***.


Three four letter words because I punched you: because

I loved you, and woke-up scraped in unexpected places,

and three jeers for the people we f***ed or f***ed-up,

or three punctures for all the sticky fond-lings behind

the bike-shed, and the midnights on your mouth.


And three words because writing became a rock I could

slough myself against and shed a freight of adult feelings,

and three flat pebbles for skimming across our lake-lagoon,

and boots made for walking-off the cicadas shrilling on our

brains and the bridge where they found that torso in a cage.


And yes, three storeys for those neat same-ing of apartments

tidying-up and jostling all the yielding tired beach shacks,

and three echoes for the people we used to be, for all the sand

and the seaweed and the flowers, again I say: three cheers

for all these frayed sun-bleached memories on the dry-leaved

quatrefoil pages of our hearts. Three,to,one. Cheers.



Heading back into port,
with a shimmer of saltscales
dried at the windward rail,
finally the season’s end
no more rough tourist trade
and I long for the cold work
of oystering and other things
that come with the fog:
crabs and scuttling hearts,
up aloft with the top men
they, with their gale shoulders
aching, battling the mainsail
to storm watch, midnight rain
roaring through rigging,
when they brush against me
with all the silken brutality
and looseness of morning
their canvas skins calloused
by the salt diamond waters,
stained with sun and tobacco,
and roses and mother's gladness,
I clutch the sky’s soaked sheets
the way that all lovers do and
everywhere jellyfish bloom.
Our Captain is an admirable man,
able, honourable, and reliable...
handsome too, although that
doesn’t really matter to the wind,
don’t let any old prude say otherwise,
but real ecstasy's a sign
we're sailing in the right direction,
what fractions of any human heart
are carried and counted, divided
and summed-up, until the whole
number was just flesh and zero.
On a threadbare Persian carpet,
my hairy legs over yours,
a fat book against your back
tangled up in you, you're
mending the ensign again
tailor-legged on the hatch
as the sun sets, then theres
a few vague stars: salt drunk
sailors gaze in reverence
and never look back.


Titanic Centenary
(1912 - 2012)

Tugged and fading fresh,
four funnels depart
streaming a metaphor of iron,
1912 crisply cuts the air,
no more pomp for turning
cold water into speed,
(fear is never calamity)
unthinkable, we forget the
shore’s spring semaphore,
and we are in the brimming
sunset of the age,
that builds itself into a storm,
saving face as we candlelight
white-tie and tails,
politely kissing hands,
as the gods get drunk
on glory and cream,
Iceberg dead ahead!…
the pistons of the heart lunge
and retract… faint grinding jar,
sleepy iron complains,
and the maiden finds her first kiss
ice cold, as time shudders still,
shaving-off the starboard beam,
eight thousand dinner forks twitch,
unthinkable bolts strain and pop,
steel gates seep catastrophe,
portholes blink uncomprehendingly,
to the calm moonlight…
“ditditdit dahdahdah ditditdit.”
plucky music blazes
for night rockets of distress,
and angry sleepy bees thrash
in the dark, in the deep in the frothy
stink of steel blue, the waters caress
gentle souls to silence, while
deadweight chambers, rise higher
and higher, to mud and smoke,
to ashes and ice, before snapping
and descending, the gull opens
it’s wings to the gulf-stream’s
embrace, cooling it’s ticking metals.
Headlines and the newsboy
kicks his wet can down
the empty Belfast streets:
RACE OVERTHROWN (enemy the sea)
Now, the seep of 2012
a shoal of fish glint in flight
of five grand pianos sailing
into New York Harbour.
And the turning world is still
a work of wish and circumstance.
It’s a history of being rusted,
being burned, rusting, being burned,
years burned-up, not down,
burned, burned-off into the night.


On the Beach

I will make love to men on the beach, like a storm,
I will make love to you on the sands, like a tempest,
I will un-stuff you, like a guilty anemone, at low-tide,
I will force open the pucker, of your swollen lips
until you tightly swallow, each fisted digit,
until your salt rash, rubbed raw, melts unto my cock,
I will build castles on the dunes, and rule over you,
and I will make upon you, until your skin tears,

until you are ambushed, stretched to both horizons,

I will make upon you, until your bones crack,
like all the dry shells, that litter the wash line,
rolling over, and into, and under, all seven seas,
the oceans, their waters do not cool my lusts for you,
as I batter and explore your deepest sea caves,
like the tide swell, like a drowning sailor,
I will enter you in waves, and stretch, and slap,
and pound, all those secrets from your body,
until you beg for more, until my warm wet
spray spume, crusts-over all your lies,
until you beg again, until the sand speckled scabs,
around your holes, match the ones around my heart,
and I will refuse your pleas, until I kiss-out,
all your broken promises, from your mouth,

and bury them in the sands, and bury them in time,
kiss me hard, before you come, kiss me deadly,
before you drown, kiss me before you eat my dust,
before you salt-sob, the morning mirror of your fog,
kiss me before you try to soap yourself clean again,
before you have to stand on the train again,
kiss me hard before you go.