fridge somniac



The square was crowded with the
coffee shop gait of foreigners
leaning away from their ordinary.
Me too. Awkward on the shoulder
of a world class coxswain turned
irritable technician who
wanted to return to the luxury coach
with or without me. We were.
Young, tasting the flavours of this city
between training sessions, basking in
UV strip lighting before the shadow of
my escalating paranoia snuffed it out.
Breathe. He said, grinding his teeth
as he hoisted me into a seat
then moved further down the aisle.
The month after, I befriended the dawn
we flirted for almost six months
sharing brown bottles of all kinds.
Twenty years on
I still hear birdsong
between my ears
at night

On the anniversary of my grandfather’s death

Little bird tapping on the window (Edna Johnson)

Words get lost in her throat

like the days of the week

and the name of the man in the

picture frame next to a

little bowl of sweets religiously

offered to every visitor

still immaculately dressed

by Marks and Spencer

good manners, money and a tie

always went a long way with Edna

our land army girl. Her music hall

piano skills, her tall tales

the glint in her eye and her glee

as she tucks a tenner

into my palm to ‘treat yourself

dear’ are long gone

but this final time, I’m blessed

we eat crisps in the sun

and I’m eight again, sitting with

Alex, Zak and Dan watching

Batman on a Saturday afternoon

in the small TV room

while she and Johnny hold court

at the Anchor

until a little bird tapping at the

window brings us back

I wrap her tighter in her blanket

and wheel her inside
Substitution (Johnny Johnson)

of karmic debt paid 

You were soft charm
and hard sparks
and so was I
a hurricane
the best of times
We were rare
and roared like angels
who had come home
But mirrors sharply expose
any and all
of our unresolved pain
We can use the nails to build a life
or to seal a coffin
and sometimes healing arrives
after a journey has come to an end
So now I’m a new beginning
I’m whole on my own
I can hold my own
and because of us
I know I can love my own too
and I’ll always hold onto the echo
that beats in time with you
Thank you for being poetry
and in another life
I might be lucky enough
to again run into my other half
Then perhaps we can sit together
under the Bodhi tree