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January 31, 2008

Poem in imitation of Roger Finch

It is in the dark that I find the difference

between myself, the green ink user, biro penner,

and you, who blues out thoughts in fountains, scored wet

between our thighs and scrawled on our hot backs.

Nibbed up into us the words, and their oppositions,

inter-loop: some dry and some bleeding out;

Looped sighs over the kaggy handed words.

Looped sighs bind our opposing minds

into composing flesh and sweat. In the dark

our difference condenses, smudged under the finger

tips and the mouth, and the cry words and the language

of a sobbing groin. It is in the moment, repeated, that

our sentences find one another, and we are the same

writer, with different diction. Later I scratch out your

scent, verdant, in words such as melting snow,

silver polish and moss. And the sound is mine.

Termless: A love poem employing no terms of endearment or adoration


She lets you open her

like the two halves

of a nectarine,


from about it’s core.

You liked the seed:

Licked it, and kept it in your palm.

Now, without you,

she shall never be whole.


She screams out sometimes

in her sleep,

and you whisper her awake,


close to the moon of the nose

that has taken in your smell.

The sighing mouth

that sometimes smiles around

your wide heat.


She watches when your

thoughts come

and your frowns come,

and leaves little bruises

with her teeth,

upon your arms.

You comfort her in the old fears,

and the fear

of this new requirement.


She sits by you

with the silence of tea,

still warm

from your finger dance.

The tasteable smell.

Now her throat throbs

while dual skins cool:

Shared heat

made milkily.

Poem in imitation of Douglas Dunn's 'Land Love'

The gate is warming in the morning sun

and where it holds my arms. Over the fields

I see your head limp and I kiss our son.

The still cold breeze halts. It scents his hair

Where it stirs under my lips. Thin

and warmer; You approach us, bearing pears

in your thick arms. Our child gargles at the

orchard and the softening view. You

check, pause and smile in your journey.

Bulbous fruits red-rolling your hairs, and, damp

from the tree, wetting the shirt. You

are as toughened and tall he is plumped

and smooth.

The pears are for us both and our

fences whiten in the light. Faces

turning simultaneous to him,

pinkened by the wind and by the joy.


These circular words are dancing:

Carving rings into our chests.

Thoughts as brands, compassed

and encompassing the strange world,

returning, unsolved, to itself.

Scarring the irreconciled hearts.

What can one do but tremble

when the bleak ideas come,

unanswerable and cold?

One of us frowns, black eyed,

into the unknown fibres of his night.

The other twitching in her terror

of old discontinued discourse.

Of the weight of all those words

that fail, and the need

to engender them:

In the shifts of naked skins

in the reverent lipping things,

kisses, irrelevant, and sighs.

But what are these

when she cannot find the lies

to form your comfort?

November 22, 2007


DISCLAIMER: John Ware is not actually a stalker ( to my knowledge)

This is the seminar piece worked from our partner's short story. I mistook the assignment and thought we had to amalgamate it into a style of a different short story alltogether. Classic schoolboy error. Anyway, I rewrote John's story in the style of this dubious sci-fi short story I found on the internet about a man who remembers everything, literally everything. It ended up creating an interesting stalker-like effect, though I wasn't that pleased with the piece as a whole.


John saw the woman standing outside the party. She had left for the ladies room, in the wrong direction, at 12.15. As it was now 12.27, he knew that she had been standing out here alone in the dark for a full 12 minutes. He calculated that during this time she must have smoked 2 and a half of the cigarettes in the slightly crushed packed clasped in her hand. He approached her back cautiously.

‘I love you’ he repeated again, or rather, he corrected himself, almost repeated. The fist time he had actually said ‘I’m in love with you’, at 12.05 in the west recess of the marquee on the 13th of October. If she had replied in words he would have remembered them exactly, as he remembered everything. Instead he was left to memorise her slightly confused, slightly upset expression.

The woman’s shoulder blades rose and fell with a long smoky exhaled breath that shook slightly. She did not turn round. John looked at a tissue she had dropped, strangely bright in the darkness against the black tarmac.

‘I have since the first time I saw you, Tuesday the 8th of August, 2005, 10.15 in the morning and you were shopping. You were standing outside of Morrisons, you had lots of bags and you smiled at me because the wind was blowing your hair and skirts and shopping bags everywhere and you had to smile at it or be embarrassed. You were wearing that brown skirt and a blue shirt I only ever saw two more times. You had your black rimmed glasses on. You had six shopping bags and they were digging into your arms they…’

‘John…’ She didn’t turn to face him.

‘Do you remember?’

‘No John I don’t really remember...’

‘And then the second time I saw you, on September 12th, you didn’t remember me but I remembered you, in Starbucks and I was sitting on my own…with a house blend coffee, a large house blend coffee, and you sat at the table next to me and I saw your briefcase and knew we were working in the same building and…’ she turns, exasperated ‘Do you remember?’

‘Not really John I think…’

‘You were reading a magazine, Grazia, an article on PTS’ Her blank expression brightened a little, as if she remembered, and he felt encouraged. HOwever,before he could go on and pour out all the memories of every time they had spoken or passed in the hall, she looked back at the marquee silencingly.

‘Look, I’m gonna go. I’m going. I’m sorry’ She starts putting her cigarettes in her clutch bag, but changes her mind and hands him the packet sadly. She starts to walk away but he grabs out at her arm in desperation. She stumbles at the contact and falls onto her hands in the carpark. She lets out a small cry of distress and he tries to help her back to her feet, mortified, but the woman shrinks back and hurries back into the party, holding her bleeding palms out before her like she is carrying a tray of drinks.

John blinks at her retreating figure, absently counting the number of steps it takes her to reach the glowing tent in her heels and committing them to memory. He pauses and then pulls out a kinked Marlborough light, smoothing it and putting it into his mouth. His trusty box of matches, in which he knows there are 37 matches left, is where it should be in his tuxedo pocket and he lights the fag gingerly. He inhales deeply and tremorously and as the memories of every instance in his existence flow gently past him he recalls automatically his first ever drag of tobacco. It was a rollup, damp with a friends spittle, behind a building in school. It was June 9th 1998, 2.47 pm between maths with Mr Ross and Geography with a supply teacher who was wearing a particularly hideous pink scrunchie. The scrunchie had fallen out of her hair and onto the desk halfway through class. It was difficult, being forced to remember things like that- having a brain like a sponge for the most trivial and frustrating details. John kicked at the soggy tissue at his feet and walked off into the night.

November 19, 2007

A Brief Essay on Madness

The man who called himself Death waits for her as she scrunches through the shingle at the bottom of her cave towards him. Sometimes she steadies herself against the damp walls, and sometimes she steps over small streams that have dripped down from the high dark ceiling and its stalactite teeth. He, Cassius, waits for her without much of a face. He is tall and well built and dressed in black. He is clean headed and handsome. The girl stands before him in the noisy cave and amongst the splashes and rattles of water and wind she hears his voice. The voice does not echo as it is not spoken anywhere except inside the top of her head.

‘Why do you come here?’ it says. It is the question of the teacher who already knows the answer.

‘Because I love you’ She replies with an urgent twinge of sentimentality

He places his hands on her shoulders.

‘And when I am not here?’

Speaking back in her mind she is eloquent.

‘Because I am enamoured with my suffering but cannot live through it’

He kisses the side of her neck.

‘Come outside’

‘I do not want to’

He is gone with her words even though she lets herself believe through necessity that he is always there if the darkness frightens her or the demons come, and that he loves her despite her own ridiculousness. She looks around her cave and crouches to a stream to play with pebbles for a while. She likes to watch the colour rushing into them as the are wetted, and it dry from their skins till they are dull again. She returns to her bathroom and the mirror she stares in. Her hands have gone cold from resting heavily on the sides of the porcelain basin. In the mirror her eyes look back at her bloodshot and reproachful, wet and burning. For a moment paralysis means she can only scream in her head. Behind her a figure that is not Death capers, something out of a movie she recently saw, but less bloodsmeared and smaller and greyer. It is everywhere about her today: when she opens cupboards it looks at her from them, when she opens doors it hides behind them, when she looks out windows its face is pressed against them. With a pink the bathroom light goes out. She returns to the bed where she lies staring at a vaguely discernable ceiling with shifting faces in. The creature approaches the bedside slowly and stands over her.

‘Why have you been hiding from me’ She speaks voicelessly to the space above her head.

‘Why have you been hiding from yourself’ These are quite possibly her own words replying to her. The blackness of her bedroom shivers. She closes her eyes and sees herself with Cassius at the top of a high cliff that plunges into the abyss below: the abyss where her cave is and her world is. Up here there is sunlight and he has angel wings. God is above them and they are kneeling clutching each other in the radiance of the sky and the quick air. You do not have to be in the abyss. She is on a hill above the sea marrying him. She is in a bed again but it is not her own and she is being held by her guardian in red sheets and dappled sunlight like she wrote about once for a character who was not her.

‘Stay with me forever and it should be this’

‘What if you are temptation’

It occurs to her that as much as she has needed her ghost she has never trusted him to be the way of goodness. This does not mean she loves him any less. Her world has brought her up in a culture of mistrust, particularly of happiness, beauty and good fortune. It is not in her blood to be happy without fearing some consequence. Cassius makes love to her and she is in her own bed oncemore, the tiger Ragnarok pacing the room in the dying throbs of her gratification. Figures surround her and she sleeps.

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  • Charlie! you filthy filthy girl! Still, all this is very amazing. well done :) didn't see you over e… by Adam on this entry
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  • Devon, and theres nothing out there but a hurricane….I agree that the last line does 'let go' and … by charlie jones on this entry
  • Hey, Charles. In the best 'you–comment–on–my–poem–I'll–comment–on–yours' tradition, I noticed you'd … by on this entry
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