A video of my performance of ‘Catching Hand’ at University Winchester during a showcase of my work to a group of Third Year Creative Writing students. Thanks to Ian Roberts for posting/administrative support over my degree and to Rob Hicks for filming/editing.
She had tan lines on her lips
from where the lifeguard
rubbed off on her.
each other in a UV bed
in a sun temple, the ready
available Paradise, with discount
offers, on the high street
we salvage ourselves to
when the sky decides
it’s into waterparks for hours.
Imagine everyone in this carriage is single,
the advert gleams as we rocket through
scratched paper arteries, old posters
selling CCTV smiles, powered by oysters.
We try the hydrogen Overground
learn to breath each other’s exhales
during months that we are closer
to people we don’t know, than the ones we do.
We pay for limbo, hope the quick outside
is still there when we step back into it.
The street churches become lungs,
break dancers undo their feet to choir music.
People will say things like South-West girls are hotter
than North-East girls. No-one looks like where they grow up.
I shout trebuchet?! at a taxi driver, he shrugs
and throws me out anyway. I expect
cockney shouting and football chants
knocked over in the road.
Grease hardens in chalk outlines of dead men.
They will walk in the parts of buildings
made by the sun sinking lower.
Women will listen for heavy breathing.
I cannot find grass that wasn’t put there
by a government official demanding Air Tax.
We will worry about the gangs
but beg to turn the lights out, to stay green.
The coat hanger by the front door is upside down.
A pile of jackets sleeps under it.
I’m certain that soon, enough cold people
will come over to fill them.
I wear my shoes on my head.
You tell me not to walk to you like that.
I put a Converse in your mouth,
wait for you to chew.
These laces aren’t firecrackers,
I can’t talk surprised anymore.
I have rubber band Christmas jokes
and plastic-cast PING frogs.
You weren’t selling Mormon merchandise
or window cleaning blades or subscriptions
to magazines that sell things that make
your house smell like outside on the days
when you can’t fill the space of a coat.
You didn’t want my vote or recipe
for a time machine or my in-sole size
or a fingerprint to confuse a Zebra’s
body paint with.
It was nice to meet someone
who followed the conversation wherever it went.
I will be writing tweet sized poems every day this month as part of NaPoWriMo, as well as contributing to a Roundhouse Poetry Collective blog. A link to my Twitter page is above if you fancy following! Check https://www.facebook.com/napowrimo for info and prompts for your own writing!
You were jealous of the butterfly flock stuck in her eyes.
You determined that she’s a doll.
I told you that makes her easy to break.
Some people want that.
When I mistook love for a butterfly flock,
she was standing in a library spotlight,
batting the kaleidoscope wings
curled on her eyelids. I asked if she liked jazz
and stumbled in all the right places.
She found a drawing of mine that wasn’t finished
and when I coloured it in for her,
she said she would put it on her wall.
I killed hours and laid them at her feet.
She never wanted to spend more time.
Some people catch a lot of dust in their eyes,
or they just like blinking too much.
When my girlfriend called, I ignored it and texted
‘busy, call later, love you,’ most days.
She drew me a blueprint of a family,
a house, with a dog, that could run and we had kids
with names and I would golf at weekends
with her friends, who had names,
who spoke like reunions and I never made jokes,
because my tongue is a baseball bat, most days.
We didn’t have common interests in sport.
I gave her a stick of dynamite for our anniversary.
When I left, the decorators had finished
putting up blue wallpaper,
after two years of promising to turn up to do it.
Rooms For Hire!
£500 to stay in my stomach, per night.
We wake you up when you need!
Shout instructions into the room on entry.
Breakfast is complimentary.
We’ll do our best not to eat you.
We held a piss party.
Clean place, up until the games began.
HA HA HA
Accommodating staff, didn’t ask questions.
I murdered my wife in Room 208 last night.
Pillows were plump and cosy.
Police response was too quick.
I wish I could have tried the breakfast.
Played Hide ’n’ Seek.
The room almost gave me away
when my giggles tickled it.
Game lasted 45 minutes.
Please resubmit feedback.
We need it to breathe.
My grandson’s graduation was the next day.
Our stay was perfect. I’m glad the heart-shaped
bed can split in two. He didn’t need the alarm system.
I kept him up all night with the motorbike
stuck in my nostrils. I need to get it fixed.
Wish I had the chance to bring my wife here.
The room tricked us out of a séance.
Gladys is convinced Derrick was talking to her,
but I saw the walls throw the mirrors off
and inflate under the table.
I didn’t pay for bullshit magic.
Please advise your rooms to behave.
Also, the décor was too Nuevo-post-glitch-core-abstractism for me.
I like sinks where the water pours downwards
and doesn’t avoid your hands.
Thank you for positioning paparazzi outside
our room. I should be alive in newsprint again
for at least a week now. One ruined marriage,
one revived career. Big Brother, embrace me!
Sorry for throwing a wrecking ball
through your walls yesterday.
The government told us to play catch
with the wrong building.
If you survived and need somewhere to stay,
the Comfort Inn down the road
does continental breakfast too.
I also got the chance to perform in the Curve Gallery with the other poets, a truly amazing experience to go echo hunting with our words!
A Rubix Cube Dancefloor Shark Attack
I drop whiskey rocks and admire the neon lacquer walls.
You don’t focus on décor, only the dance flock and spot her.
She is an ex-primary school mate, with naked pictures online.
We approach, but lose her in a flaying limb-crowd of friends.
You say her legs would make a nice neck scarf.
They swallow her up with shapes and colour shifts.
I drink from jukeboxes to grow kaleidoscope vision.
You tell me to stop singing and pull me to break beats.
She bumps into us, doesn’t recognise, but says sorry with hips.
We forget how to speak. Bass lines do wingman talk for me.
You tell me to get a drink for all her friends, wink and grind.
They notice I don’t have enough hands, laugh and let you in.
I am addicted to liquid coping mechanisms and barmaid company.
You are too good at arranging sleepovers.