First Year

Oh, Tom, I’m wearing my lucky pants in the reading room
but you still turn away. Come back. I’d like one night with you.
I’d like every slow day in your arms. I can’t read this Bible;
I’m taking my time but the lines run away into the rain.
I’m a cat on an ice box longing to touch your hair.
Winner Hamish Canham Award 2019. Published in Poetry News

Bumping into John Lennon

The signature specs had gone,
he had that myopic, sore-eyed peer
all contact-lens wearers have.

He’d also ditched the white robes
and had a crew cut. I bought him a drink
and I think it was a relief to talk.

He told me Yoko had become a bit much,
that he couldn’t keep up all that showering.
She got the money. He started again,

took a City and Guilds in woodwork,
started a business doing sash windows.
He showed me the scar. A flesh wound.

He had an allotment, loved cycling,
would set off every Sunday at 5 a.m.
in fluorescent lycra.

Once or twice he crept into the back
of Macca’s concerts but, to be honest,
couldn’t take the hair dye, the terrible lyrics.

The last time I saw him
he was up a ladder fixing a pane,
whistling Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.

First Prize Poetry Space Competition 2017. Pub in The Peregrine Falcons of York Minster

To my cyst

Flu set you going
like a ticking bomb,
growing, growing
in the cramped space
between skull and brain
which I imagine
as like a crack in a tunnel
where a buddleia
tries to flourish.
You see them from trains,
that urge to grow,
or mushrooms in a shed.
You had food and water;
you would make it.
I was your host,
me, this me that cries
and loves and is typing
these black letters
on infinite space.

Published in The North and in Sodium 136