Monday 23 December 2019



I was 18,

had only started driving

and didn’t realise a main road
was ahead.

I just snoozed my way across
—thought I had the right of way,
no less.

I grasped the madness of my fault
as I sailed across the bitumen.
—A streaker across a warzone;
some bird through the blades of a turbine.
I could have been crushed.
I was never in control.
I was nothing. I could have been killed.

Are we ever in control?

Our passions—anger, sadness—come and go.
They’re not in our control.
We’re told, of course, they are,
but trimming hedges back will never kill a root.

Falling in love and breaking up:
they, too, are not in our control.
Even times I’ve done the breaking up:
I wasn’t really in control
of anything
at all.

The moves I make to cook my food:
I do them out of hunger
or habit: both out of my control.

Being born, my earliest tears,
or all the tears I’ve ever cried:
no control.

Then the time
I almost died
on some main road.

We’re not in control.

It calls for forgiveness, really,

of everyone.

Even yourself.

I think we learn to forgive
when we see
we’re none of us
in control of our lives;

or, we learn how to love
when we see
we’re not
even truly

The breaking wheel


Back in Old Europe,

by swollen Church
and funky dress,

they kept a thing in the
back pocket
of the zeitgeist:

the breaking wheel.

The condemned were
tied down,
the enormous wheel





for the tortured
—at such a frequency—
must feel more like death
might feel
if death could feel like anything.

The broken bones would then
be threaded through the spokes,
the puppet of flesh
hoisted up
to parade its screams
to a crowd.

For those most damned,
the Reaper took its time in riding in
to haul the soul away,
the meat
by beasts.

The condemned
were criminals,

but how that fits
fails me.

They might have used the breaking wheel themselves;
that wouldn’t make it right,
only worse.

But here’s no study of justice.
Here’s no study of anything.
No final thought,
no sombre lesson to be learned,

save for

life is hard for all,
and, for some,
death unspeakable.

Saturday 12 October 2019


are the coolest
and loneliest

Love is a wave
that rolls towards or away
from us,
depending on which direction we face.

Or some shit like that.

Better to know how to float
than have learnt how to swim.

Or some shit like that.

are the coolest
and loneliest

and mantras

are much the same.

It's what we do

I refuse to sleep on road trips
in case the car goes rogue
and there’s time to pull the handle
                                and throw myself to safety.

I’ll play those odds

though keeping alive
means getting old
and laying friends to rest,

though keeping alive
means further scars along
the spirit flesh of the heart.

It’s what we do.
We take the blows
for spaces between the blows
lending chances to laugh with mates,
to kiss a lover,
to read a quote or two.

Not much else. It’s bittersweet, really,
                but worth it.

at junctures in every breath,
walks the gallows

but hangmen take sickies too.

It’s bittersweet
but we keep ourselves alive for little else.

It’s worth it though.

I don’t know why

but it is.

October 16, 2018

My housemate lands his share
of women newly divorced.
I see them stumble out his room at 8am.

My Facebook feed is full of albums
of recent weddings
—where the stories begin.

My housemate’s room is messy.
No albums feature my housemate’s messy room
—where the stories,
so often,

Monday 16 September 2019

This glass here's for you

When I was young,
dad would only say he loved me
when drunk.

He’d take me to his face
—a toilet bowl—
and spew the sewerage.

Or at least

that’s how I saw it.

I hardly do it but
years on,

I got drunk

and when my housemate entered

I felt this overwhelming love.

It was like
I was free to just admit
my housie was chocolate cake
and I’d loved my chocolate cake
all along

and none of this felt weird
in any way.

Maybe dad had it something like this

and it took the grog to just let go
and love me the way he always

Maybe most of the time
love is too intense to handle sober.

I never really get you dad
but this glass here’s for you.

Wednesday 14 August 2019

I think

So I observe my thoughts.



There they are: my thoughts. Sweet.

Got that part.

But that’s a thought itself:
the thought that I’m observing thoughts

which further breaks things down
so now
I’m free of thoughts themselves.
At least
I think I am.

No, I’m having the thought
I’m thought-free.

No sweat:
that just breaks things down completely
to true,

I think.

At the cemetery

I was at the cemetery today

and things were in their place.

The iron gate was owlish
—always on nightshift
even at midday.

The crows shrieked
and passing freights came moaning back.

The grey sky
weak rain.

Things in their place
—the world in emo at the cemetery.

But what of the graves?
What of the death
that whispered secrets eternally ignored?
Even there,
Death seemed strange
and out of place.

Even there,
at the cemetery,
Death was impossibly awkward.


I miss you
though I’ve not yet left.

Venice Beach beneath
a burning, blasting sun.

My burning heart for you,
How long can you withstand?

buses and deserts


Oklahoma, suburbs
and questions, America.
Fears for you
in my churning gut.

just how
will they loot your legacy?

Texas and longhorns
and NFL with pizza.
Jazz and sweat
in New Orleans
and dirty secrets
of a city
that sweats on a port.

so confident.

I fear for you.

The mob attacks
the shining city upon a hill.
They want to clean you out.
They need to clean their rooms.

the mirror in our rooms
reflecting the image
we see in ourselves.

you fought the Crown
then fought yourself
for a
yet greater

Warrior, liberator
in dark nights of the soul,
you’re Susan B. Anthony,
Dr King,
General Patton.

Are you on your knees,
—Your history, your anthem, your children

if you go
we go.

you’re Jim Crow,
you’re strange diseases like CNN.
But more,
you’re Jefferson, you're Lincoln.
You’re enslaver but,
much more,
a people
that shine a light upon a hill.

you’re the stretched fabrics
of all the world has sewn

and yet remain
the greatest
we’ve ever known.