Finding Life Prosaic

Finding Life Prosaic

fingers bleeding prosaic, money
to clog arteries and veins,
to quell the rise and flow of
something
through the channels; self-proficiency
leaving the poetics seeping – open wounds – bloodied knuckles –
staining the bed in the mornings;

I found myself alone, relationships shearing and collapsing and dreams
of a crumbling marriage overshadowed by someone’s mother shivering over the barrier;
deterred suicide by the ghosts of suicide
deterred art in the face of an artist’s life;

I threw my body into the prosaic grinder,
coming out all pink meat that full stopped every twenty words slipped
into the casings of human algorithms
all singed by developing concerns;
jaded designers, self-loathing the meat recognised – have you ever
seem meat dreaming? meat dreaming classic, crashing joy,
waves of meat in the ocean – mad sensations
that made the meat beat and keep the memories awake at night

meat
got high
lapped up poetics
lost its mind
dug deep to hold insanity, to keep madness tight in the fist
buried it in the breast –
bullied in the heat until it hugged the aorta and fucked each other in the hospital bed
until the chest was clogged
all experience and madness growing fat
together rotting poisons slow to stop the heart from beating like it used to
until the pulse rose, arises still, trembled and trembling forgot the joyous glories of Solpadol-infusions in the wine – the doctors in the white coats
know me now,
they know my tricks
they know the automated smiles
they know the learned behaviours
they recognise the constant need for masturbation burning meat’s hands;

– I have been prescribed the treatment of shame.

Upon the Poet, in His 25th Year

Upon the Poet, in His 25th Year

Let it be no calmer in your hands; time enough
for the calm, the warmth and the cold in the grove – wearied now,
exhausted motions twist to suppress and rejoice; possess him fully!
and now? rapid destruction; the memories of destructive passions now doomed
to be passionless all his days.

A quarter of a century submerged, a rite of death
and a rite of birth among millions – life – so heavy, so ritualistic, pedantic normalcy.

Furies, then, stillborn irritations and nukes unleased in the heart,
beneath the mushroom cloud
smiles a spirit, turbulent and strong, snaking tentacles from endless depths.

Hands! Hands, now calm yourselves, calm and resume tired motions –
suppress and rejoice, possess him then, destroy him then, enshrine the
memories of passions, erected temples of uncalm spirits,
but visit them in passionless days.

A quarter of a century; condemned already, to choke
and growl on the pedantry of life, to ignore the great majesties and
mysteries, with all answers laid bare and naked on the sacrificial bed.
No more; to kiss the face he worshipped in his dreams;
no more; to trace those same familiar scars and scowl that age has not wearied
them beyond the points of self-inflammation.

No more; so simple! Such a normal ending, no more.
What weight those words could carry, in a more resilient
quarter of a century, in one less given to performances of anger and tears,
feeling nothing at all.

To never love again, to love no more, a degree of holy passion fading,
ascending and spiralling into the overcast midday,
a life less lived in grey-tenements and pre-fabricated chapels,
in modular churches with stony veneers.

To love no more, a lie; when all love exists in mirrors,
reflection, denial, amplification,
until all the lights do swell
and shatter and sheer,
and leave the man alone
abandoned now by the poet,
(pale, of a quiet contemplation shuddering,
a tightly-wound fury; completely possessed now
by both the alien and the familiar)
a claimant, now, of his own anger, worn,
stretched between edges cruel and unfamiliar, now a
framework of insidious designs, trapping and to punish the
poet, who fled the soul in exhaustion and disgrace,
and ended a lynch on the horizon’s solitary tree.

The cafés now, too full of mirrors, and closed doors but endless
open windows resembling television screens, and sunlight becomes
the blue light of laptops and monitors, all leading to exclamations,
to shouted screenplays in the mind, where
cigarettes are no longer frowned upon,
where the pills are cheap and not needed,
where the Guinness takes minutes to pour,
where the smiles come easy and genuine,
and where he doesn’t need to chase his own spirit
into the bottles where all the other spirits go
to ferment.


I’m writing again; not well, but I’m putting pen to paper. I’m punching my keys instead of my mattress. I write thousands of words everyday, at work, but every sentence I manage to throw together in my own time is a triumph.

As always, all the eBooks on this site are completely free, like The Burden (which I think was my latest), and there’s plenty of old stuff to crawl through if you fancy. If you’re looking for poetry, then The Grand Western is a place to start – not necessarily a good one, but a start’s a start. For something a little more prosaic, there She Wore Blue Velvet and The Air Spoke, which are just the right amount of stereotypical miserable shit you’re likely to find on here.

Hollowed Out

Hollowed Out

You hollowed me out and lived in my skin.
When I opened my eyes, it wasn’t me looking out.
I’m trying to reclaim my body from you; the great
valleys of your fingernails still stretch and end in
deep mines, emptied of the natural goodness
carved original sin sold off to the highest bidders.

You hollowed me out and lived in my skin.
When I spoke, it wasn’t me speaking out.
I’m trying to reclaim my tongue from you; the horrors
you have been through slipping through my teeth
like the wind cracking through ancient alleyways
in dying cities breast-beating rejuvenation.

You hollowed me out and lived in my skin.
When I heard, it wasn’t me hearing it.
I’m trying to reclaim my ears from you; the slip-
sliding away of relative identity, the sounds of foreign
bodies became to me the endless majesty of being,
as fuel for more songs you could record and sell in the streets.

You hollowed me out and lived in my skin.
When I tried to feel, it wasn’t me touching.
You slid your bones inside my fingers; the burning
connections on your calloused skin so sensitive through
my scratched and pierced tips, and you recoiled from everyone,
every woman I wanted who wanted me, you pushed them away.

You hollowed me out and lived in my skin.
When I tried to blame you for it, I couldn’t.
You didn’t want to wear me so totally; the desperate
man that I was did it myself, I opened my body and
wrapped around your ghosts and made it punishment;
you hollowed me out and lived in my skin.

I’m sorry for that.

I don’t think I can ever make it up to you.


You know it’s getting bad again when you’re holding conversations with your whisky. I think, so long as it doesn’t start talking back, I’m probably alright.

If you’d rather read something a little more prosaic, The Air Spoke and She Wore Blue Velvet aren’t too bad. As always, all the stuff on the right (or below on mobile) is completely free.

On the Bird’s Wings

On the Bird’s Wings

I find it impossible to write you poetry;
dense, leaden, eyes like mine that strain
beneath the ghosts of love,
and are quick to snarl
or freeze in embarrassment.

I find it impossible to trace
the faultlines of your body running
towards the galaxies;
to grace the tectonic plates
of olive flesh – so many jokes
I made, and you snarled,
and fell in love with me;
or the me I made for you,
more right-wing than I am;

No, my love; I don’t think
children deserve to eat either

of course; nurses are cruel
and overpaid, and stalk the night-wards
with scowls, and leave me tied to the bed for a week
and joke that I am too lazy,
too miserable, to get out of bed;

Ah, S – toiling away at books on law;
I hate them, there is no beauty
in such manifestos –

Yes, my love; I think Thatcher
had some good qualities too –
no, I don’t want to drink tonight.

I find it impossible to write you poetry,
as you find it impossible
to nail me in one place long enough
to capture a selfie,
extended at arm’s length,
of us smiling at the same time.

S; I could churn
a thousand words,
ten thousand words,
a hundred thousand words,
if I thought, for a moment,
you’d get further than the first line,
or understand the mad metaphors –
that you’d see your body as my world,
that you’d see your mind as my prison,
that you’d see your soul as a fertile village
on the seashore,
awaiting the dragon-head ships
and the pregnancy of murder,
carried in memories by the bird’s wings.


This is something I don’t think I’m ready to talk about yet. I don’t think I know what it means.

After the Parasites Came

After the Parasites Came

I draw my grandfather’s lungs
in charcoal spit the fluid in his throat; tremor
in art as is the shaking
hands when he goes to lift the tea to his lips.

Making leaves in old mugs transferred to sipping
cups and the brief illumination of
the body choking on life.

All the sounds of his life are the sounds of death;
pumps and footsteps, Scouse laughter whistling
heat lamps like a surgical table
(running through a temporary, heartattack wall)
– the wheeze of 87 years in grey plastic and taped up tubes
(we need to return it when he’s dead).

Does the light in your eyes show you your dead son,
or has the baby’s cry of Jesus followed me from one room to the next?

Would you have let me grow my hair, and shave
my wrists rather than my jaw and read
books on French existence and homosexuality?

– Arthur! if you’d had your strength!

Meat when living, now a king in his Camelot;
hospice nurses bring sunlight,
chatting to bone and open eyes;

Who said death was a private affair,
after the parasites came?

I never knew you were an atheist,
and I pretended to God on your bedroom floor,
where you’d left him after Michael died.

Afterwards, we heard Nan perform her Cleopatra,
and beg a gone you to hold the door wherever atheists go.

I think she wants to be buried in a church;
while we all dress up for your cremation and spend more
on your coffin than you ever had
in your pockets
after the parasites came.

When the undertakers came, blood of my blood stood
behind them to make sure meat was treated right.

What dignity, Arthur, in your death!

Empty gums and stained dentures on a flat tongue,
tasting shadow rabbit stew;
miner’s muscles flat on the bed;
mechanic’s mind gone senile – all the
parasites agree.

The Grand Western

The Grand Western

I don’t remember
much of the days we spent together,
roaming a water’s edge,
watching black summer storms
rolling in across the ocean;

I remember Guitar Hero was my
seduction,
like clutching buttons too tightly
was a sign of things to come;

Guitar Hero was my seduction,
and yours was living –

how we envied the beautiful,
the semi-naked art, all wrapped
in shrouds abandoning their ghosts,

who needn’t humour,
nor lies to make themselves

– the tall room, too, I recall,
more clearly than your body;
the squat television set and the table I carried
to the centre of the room for us to share,
the smell of acrylic paint and glue
and ink all together with our sweat,
the sagging black seats,
tarnished and glittering beneath failing lights;
the white bathroom blinding
even through the heavy wood,
the swimming pool’s curve
and laughter as limbs made the water shake;

I remember being lost, one
street over –
and your voice panicking as I made
hazardous guesses
to find the right building
– I can’t remember what it was for now –

do you remember the journey up the pier;
along that mile of wooden cage?
do you remember that?

no, you wouldn’t;
that wasn’t you? was it? that was me
all alone, smoking the sunlight straight over water,
and remembering it all in the back room
of the Castle Hotel;
another home than ours,
in a different city.

Mesnes Park

Mesnes Park

How coarse the street-piano’s language appears,
how brutish and dumb
when spavined hands perform ugly
permutations in the air;
conjuring that beastly Autumn,
right before the rain.

Our summers came wet, too;
blistering light which made
eyes – more accustomed

to wooden candles at 2.A.M –
contract and convulse; the impudent clouds’ crossing
of distant mountains and crashing in amongst the true
beauty of our evening walks in the park.

We went in search
of beauty, beauty
that might explode your chest like an
obese heart and send the pure attack
of creativity through the tenuous ventricles and the ugly aorta
to the constant motion of your lips,
and the sadistic conjuring of fingertip callouses;
that finger-picking made your body mad,
like all the punches I’ve thrown make me
crazy.

I promised, in Summer, that I’d stop aiming for the throat;
when I never asked for any promises;
and give you no chains, our goldfinch red-faced
embarrassed, framed by your own human purity
meeting the angelic blood I’ve left on brick walls
like puzzle pieces
around Mesnes Park.

Or like those Tetris pieces, perhaps;
all lined up and orderly awaiting
the last fierce rage or late-night weariness
to clear the board.


I used to go drinking a lot. I used to sit in the covered spaces of Mesnes Park and empty whiskey down my throat and didn’t tell anyone. It became a regular thing – every week or two, I’d sit in the shadows when it rained or when the sun wrapped the park and drink cheap shit that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

I’d like to look back and say it was horrible. That I could regret any of it and wish I’d spent the time practically. Learning to code or something like that. But I don’t regret it. Given the chance, and a little sunlight, I’d go back to the Park three years ago and drink until the park swam and the laughter of children echoed even over the roar of my headphones.

If you’re looking for poetry, try out the recent Night Terrors. For prose, check out She Wore Blue Velvet or The Air Spoke. As always, there’re plenty of free eBooks on the left.