More troubled than the sea’s unsettling, where
is calm among these currents? the low tides
stirred by an angry wind spark words of despair,
the mouth’s storm hungers for love, and seagulls whirl
twisting all graceful but with fear in their cries –
and over all the joker wind the mind
tosses the sharp words on through emptiness
to hurt and bruise the shores –

What I know
is flung up
distinct upon the shores,
so that now
I start
as beachcomber …


Yes there was rubbish all over the street
cabbage leaves tissue paper damp cardboard boxes
the women in charge of the stalls shouting
men brawling past in cars

I kept to the side and saw
the wooden frames of the walls giving way
bright products grasping the road’s surface
the sun-soft treasured road’s surface
unsafe, too slippery now except in dreams

… and I walked without a satchel
on the sun-hot cluttered road of childhood,
liked to eat the fruit from stalls,

but the barred clouds grew larger
over a playground that lacked walls, lacked walls –


Now to cry
silently. Is there no space
in a stopwatch world
to hear a woman’s pulse?
To claim the wherewithal of love?

Now the barrier between memory and dreams
is torn down

a dark freeway opens up

The road is where
my head aches

in silence I could love
but a red demon moves me

the wheel of the sun the wheel of the sun
noise the hub of my screaming prison


Recently I have lived on a par with objects
bathroom junk dish-rack children’s clothes
the fridge door swings shut
who are my friends
what is following me around
the scared myth of a would-be actress
let me fetch from twilight
gestures and voices
in her mirror-antics
see her making faces
queen and clown

I can hide it it is here
I must get out of here


In a dream
the surface of all things shifts

at bay in a vacant room I see
a hand of ragged violence sweep the past
and come up empty

in the distance all I see is fear
and men harpooning women for the sport –

but here are my treasures
wave-dunes of dust
bright jewels unfathomed lie in wave-dunes of dust


Slung in the whirl
of the men-and-women scene,
a moody girl
is seventeen.

Babe lived in the flat downstairs. The poem was written for her birthday.

Share away: