grief, love, masculinity, poetry, women



Where we never met

Where I didn’t message you

Or I died tragically young

Terribly old

Where I lived in shadow

Afraid to let the light touch my soul

Worlds Where I didn’t

Betray my marriage and don’t feel

Guilt and relief when I look at the space on my finger

Where I didn’t let her go

Or she never arrived

Where I was smart enough

Good enough

Where I didn’t feel like dying

Worlds other than this

But here in this one

All and nothing

Alone in a way I can’t explain or justify

This is the only world I know

And across them all


grief, poetry

Ten Years

I still smell

The air of medical struggle,

They took you in

Sudden but not a surprise,

Knowing you were hanging on,

Soul packed and ready to fly

To better skies than the night


I’d stayed a year of Saturdays,

Bore spousal displeasure,

To try and offer up a meagre

Sacrifice against the grief

Both present and forthcoming,

I tell myself he was waiting,

Trying to find greater meaning

Because as Tom Wolfe said,

Non fiction doesn’t have to

Make sense,

So for all the losses,

I’ve recovered from,

Within and without,

There’s still this,

A ghost,

A wound,

Still learning the route

To exorcism or expedition,

For all this pretty string of words,

Unplug them and hear this:

Whatever holds the keys to

This vessel we’re passengers within,

Give me back my


I won’t say it any clearer



grief, poetry

Monster in Love


He had fed

On battlefield blood,

Watched twisted engines,

Cut scars into the earth,

He had sat at the feet of

Ashen gods and beautiful monsters,

And watched the light flee,

The eyes of a million different

Beauties and when she came,

She did not fear him,

Saw through the alien actions

To the ceaseless sweet play


He had sold the castle,

Sent the brides away,

They chose matching coffins,

Planned her perfect eternity,

And the first night,

She fed him as much

As he fed her,

She left a note,

Keener on the life,

Of violent independence,

Than the eternity he thought,

He found himself pinned,

To a moment of perpetual,

Agony and when he walks,

To the park,

Dressed formal and sharp,

She made him give up

The cape and so he wears

A cravat, comb marks in

His widows peak.

The sun hasn’t forgotten him,

And as he folds his hands

In his lap,

He finds the flames,

Hurt less than her


The sun washes him away

Like chalkmarks

But the chocolate labrador,

Sniffs the sadness and cocks his leg

Against the bench

Smoke coils into

A fresh park morning,

The dog told no one

But listen,

Don’t tell the cats,

They’ve no restraint

For the inherent privacies

Of tragedy



animals, grief, poetry, Uncategorized

Good Dog


All dogs have a Buddha

Mind so you’ve

Barked your last mantra

And intellectually

As comforting as it is,

You’ve transcended

Your suffering,

It doesn’t make the

Silence when I walk into

My old house any easier

To bear, old friend,

And the paths we walked

Night and day,

Will miss us both,

But you’ve ran long enough,

And the pain is over,

And I will walk around,

Remembering how

You’d rush to greet me,

When I got home,

And now neither of us

Are there, are we?

Pieces perhaps,

But pieces are all we have




grief, love, short fiction, Uncategorized, women

Customer Complaint


Ivor walked out of the mall, putting more weight on his cane as he adjusted his cap to alleviate the thin layer of perspiration. The canvas shopping bag was gripped in his left hand, swollen knuckles turned pale from the pressure of his grip. It swung with the weight of its contents as he looked up at the restaurant.


He ran his yellowing tongue over his cracked lips and said a name. The association raised the hairs on the back of his neck, gave him a boost which alleviated the pains which came from the simple act of motion, deepening as the years went on.


People milled around him as he made slow progress.


They had come for their anniversary. Katya, their eldest had warned against it, said the food was made like play-dough, preformed and packaged. She chided her mother, telling her she could make a better meal at home. Bettina’s eyes had narrowed, a flush of blood rising in her soft cheeks as she folded her arms.


‘Your father never takes me out. It has movie star pictures on the walls and impersonators.’


Ivor overheard from his position on the recliner, reading the scarred, leather bound book with his spectacles perched on the end of his nose, muttering words in a language thought lost to time and decided to make the reservation after all.


They played music at an ear splitting volume, served with a desperate theatrical quality which made his blood pressure go up and the food was late and cold.


She had cooed and pointed at the pictures and the staff, dressed as movie stars or characters. Ivor remembered their server had been the drunken pirate and how Bettina had mistaken his sloppy stoned attitude for attention to detail. Ivor sipped his cola and fought the rising indignation like a dose of indigestion, smiled at his Bettina and took her hand.


The server, Jay, had smoked a blunt on his break and it got him through his shifts in a warm, bubbling haze of intoxication. Sure, he missed details but most people wanted to eat or stop their kids from ruining the entire evening and he was convinced of his charms with people.


Sure, he missed details.


Bettina’s allergy.


Ivor told people his last memory of her was lifting the dripping burger, giggling as something warm broke across his chest with pleasure. All these years and he never loved her more.


He lied to people.


His last memory was watching her seize up with anaphylactic shock. Clawing at her throat as her eyes bulged in their sockets, disbelieving and watching how her brilliant, magical Ivor could not save her. When he lurched towards the idiot server, barking curses in a language which made people ill to hear aloud, it became an awful cartoon.


The lawyer explained it. They were a franchise with money and an army of lawyers. One stoned server doth not make a summer, he had quipped and regretted it for the rest of his life.


It was two weeks.


An embolism in the pool of the motel he had been living in since his divorce. Ivor had dropped a pebble into a bowl of water on a night his grief whipped his soul into action.


Jay, the stoned pirate threw himself into traffic after giving his deposition to the franchise legal team with something of a smile on his face. Ivor twisted the bandana he had snatched from the idiot when he had rushed at him.


It was not enough.


The items he needed were available in the mall, although his disdain for the commercial was mistaken for the simple awkwardness of an elderly man but he muttered something about standards as he left.


The restaurant had not closed. It bulged on the corner of the main street, and he felt offended by its existence. It was not open for business at this time of day though, which suited him and soothed the small voice, a perfect impersonation of his Bettina which asked him why he had gone back to practicing again.


Because you were my reason not to, he told her.


He stopped on the kerb opposite and set the bag down, reaching inside for the snowglobe and the hammer as he shifted his cane from one hand to another, gritting his teeth against the pains in his hips and knees.




His voice was low and rich, bristling with operatic power. It made people stop, turning towards the source with a bizarre curiosity, like they had seen something take wing from the ground.


The hammer took out the globe and Ivor watched the air twist and shimmer above the building before he raised his hand and scattered the spray of blood, water, glitter and glass onto the road. It had been a warm, sluggish day but people stared at the building, now encased in ice. Its garish, plastic logo was now lost behind thick opaque ice, razored chandeliers hanging from everywhere and all of it making people lose their minds with shock and disbelief.


Ivor felt the first twinge of pressure in the base of his spine, how it sent a million love letters imploring him to give up and as the pavement rushed up to meet him, he felt his Bettina’s breath at his cheek and smiled for the first time in months.


beauty, masculinity, poetry, smoking

War, Tomorrow

a scream

A roar.       A plea.

In my lowest moments

When the weight

Throttles my worlds

Throat and I know

The face of my enemy

Each time I catch

My reflection

And what comfort there is

In knowing I can beat him

Make him work for me

Than against me

Friends and lovers

Turn away when he declares

Victory but I know my foe

As I know myself

So let me weep again

Raise a glass to him

‘War, tomorrow?’




beauty, grief, love, short fiction, women

Baby, It’s You

Tomorrow would have been a day of splendid heraldry. Five years to the day, and I’m here to talk to you. We had picked out every last detail, lost in the tremendous, anxious excitement of a day celebrating our love.

The start of everything.

That last evening was full of mundane details which tragedy lent a mythic resonance

I had undercooked the spaghetti.

You complained for forty minutes about your job then started work on a spreadsheet.

The headache was down to stress; you said. We kissed, your eyes were dull with fatigue but you whispered for me to wake you in an hour and cupped my crotch.

I still feel the squeeze of your fingers against me.

You did not wake up and the world ended. If the devil had come and asked me to trade places, I would have in a heartbeat.

The flat became unbearable. Selling it was like chewing a limb off to escape a trap, and it hurt as much.

I could recite the memories, large and small, but I need to say this without crying.

Let me have my stoicism. Just once.

A smaller apartment, but being sentimental, I carried things of yours with me. Your family became feral in their grief, but I asserted my primal, mourning authority and was the first to take the share of the treasures your passing made of simple things.

They are in the spare room. Boxed up with the lids unsealed so I can torture myself and mourn in one visit.

Lying there, last night, I had left a light on. Which I don’t do, do I?

It used to irritate you how I would turn off the lights when we were not in the room. My way of showing you I had your security in mind.  I figured you knew, but it got lost in translation.

The light came from the spare room. I had spent the evening reading the blizzard of post-it notes you left around the place. A possible oversight, but I got out of bed and check.

I opened the door, expecting to turn off the light, see all I had left of you and go back to bed, wounded and feverish.

Lights strung along the ceiling. Bunches of willow branches dusted with glitter hung on the walls. Throw pillows piled in the corner.

It brought me to my knees and I laid there, fetal and sobbing until my pills kicked in.

In the grey light of morning, it had all gone. Wiping my eyes did not make it any better.

The lights still coiled into a wreath. Pillows mummified into a vacuum sealed bag. Branches resting in a pool of glitter.

Madness would be a relief. I could discount it as my imagination. The gesture, though, baby it’s you.

I am seeing the doctor later. I wanted to run it by you first though before I say anything.

Are there rules over there? Are you twiddling the dials on a celestial radio, looking for a song you need to hear?

Sitting here talking to a lump of Italian marble with your name carved into it makes as much sense as anything else these days. It all boils down to a binary decision.

Pills or poltergeist?

I will leave the things where they are tonight.

I hope it’s you rather than me.

OK, got to go. I love you.

I will look for you, baby.