• The black door

    Darker than the keyhole
    and painted with pitch
    and tar
    laid over repairs done
    reinforcements made
    armature nailed
    iron straps riveted
    bolted with blind studs

    Set back in it’s own hollow
    near to the mid point
    of the narrow
    and twisted alley
    No sky to see
    The rising walls
    seem to converge
    and overlap

    The contortion
    the way out
    at both ends
    To enter
    is to leave the light
    I stand here
    at the black door
    Is it locked?

    It is difficult to measure
    Taller than its breadth
    and wider than its height
    You would have to stoop
    to cross its threshold
    There is a small hatch
    its’ outline just visible
    Where a face would appear
    to demand a word

    From the surface
    resolves a dull streak of white
    and then another
    the black door
    bringing a plague to mind

    Greek icon






  • Dust

    Dust is everywhere
    it gets into everything
    until nothing works

    Sadness drops without a sound
    It’s heavy veil
    covers and consumes
    Nausea oscillating
    a tin spinning top
    sounding its humming note
    An off-key siren
    looking for stability
    on the tipping point


  • Leaving

    I am the stranger at the gate
    With nowhere to go to
    and nowhere to go back
    I have arrived

  • The first day of Summer

    Coffee so weak you can taste the water
    Pasta with nothing
    Or salad cream scraped from the bottle
    Or cheap marg scratched from the tub
    In the end it tastes better with nothing
    No salt
    No pepper
    No veg, not an onion
    The last of the milk gone
    The sofa and chairs turned over for the third time
    Pennies and crumbs matchsticks and a pen top
    Old jackets searched
    Sun and dust particles billow in the still room
    All is quiet like silence in a library
    As quiet as waiting rooms used to be
    Not even the sound of your breathing

    Maybe you’ve been talking out loud
    When did the day start
    Should have stayed in bed
    Couldn’t stay in bed
    On the first day of summer

  • Waiting


    At the bottom of a well
    feet wet and bones cold
    Neck too sore to look up anymore
    Vision is the pressure increased
    on an eye ball
    Drawing lids to a close
    decreases the blindness
    escape and release
    There are suggestions that
    China will open up
    their emergency frozen pork reserves
    in order
    to deal with the problem


    I saw a prehistoric horse
    in a cleared field of wheat

    George McArthur
  • You find yourself

    You find yourself walking
    towards one of the entrances to the high-rise
    With your friend
    Going to see another friend
    With someone you don’t know
    Going to see someone you don’t know

    It’s hot and dry this summer
    There’s a breeze kicking up some dust
    You’re nearing the door
    stepping from grass to broken slabs
    The other smokes
    You both have a can of coke

    Behind the heavy doors your
    footsteps rocket around the walls and halls
    voices echoing
    like swimmers
    in a crowded pool

    You disappeared so fast
    The light and breeze
    left behind
    as the heavy door slowly closed
    The stairwell stinks
    The smell of chlorine
    and scrubbing persists
    It looks clean
    but is it acceptable

  • How much time do you have

    How much time do you have

    Philip Reeves


  • When the killing will stop

    Lichen on the roof
    looks like snow in woodblock prints
    of Ukiyo e

    In order to remain calm
    and unfocused
    it has become necessary
    to lower the eyes
    The effort involved
    is consuming
    I see what looks like snow
    on the roofs of houses
    forming delicately
    over the surface of the tiles
    like snow
    that’s fallen
    in a woodblock print
    relieving me
    for this short time
    from wondering
    when the killing will stop

  • Give me peace to break down and sob for my grieving soul

    What an electric night of jeopardy
    The living room was the wreck of a ship
    in a frantic storm
    Tilting and listing and banging
    Voices raised to shouting over the noise
    and the beating of the storm
    Voices caught by the wind
    Pleading lost in the fury
    The masts broken splinters
    The shattered glass revealed
    the blood
    across the hand that broke it
    Another cruel arc that hits its mark
    as your begging brow split at the hairline
    The blood
    pours down your face
    Dizzy now you swing your arm out
    the moment of fainting upon you
    God knows how you kept your feet
    or managed to speak
    This is a false peak
    in the sobbing and heaving
    Like a whipped dog the storm recedes
    It is hard to abandon the devastation
    the wreckage of a soul now broken
    You approach tentatively
    and we retire blanched and strained to our beds
    with the promise of safety given
    and tomorrow dry land

    John Riley b.1939
  • Having had too much

    Having had too much
    I was now beginning to feel ill
    Like the sea creature on the sand
    Or a prisoner roped on display
    I had the feeling of so much earth on my back
    I was becoming less than human
    a more basic thing
    Less than a thing
    an object
    Distant from humanity
    accepting a disease

    Having had too much
    I felt ill and light headed
    the nausea was in my crop
    I needed air
    cold and fresh
    I needed to throw up
    to make sweat beads
    stream from my scalp
    with tremors in my hands
    and rattling of bones and jaw
    It would be a rebirth
    crashing through the atmosphere
    a wrench and rend of body and mind
    A first landing on earth