I 've been going through a big batch of old notebooks and floppy discs, trying to work out if what they contain is worth putting in the public domain. How to publish any material that's good enough is another question.

I'm veering towards Kindle but there are issues with formatting poetry for Kindle and only some of my back catalogue is prose. I'd like to investigate this further, current commitments and constant distractions permitting, but in the meantime here's a sample from the cachet called Small Packages.

It's hardly a sneak peek as it dates back to the sixth form (for American readers that's a bit like the last two years of high school) but on the other hand it's rarely been seen by eyes other than mine, so any intelligent opinions are welcome. It would be interesting for me to know whether there's any kind of audience out there for my early stuff, beyond my own circle, and help me decide how to proceed.

Corroded Christmas

Another corroded Christmas
poisoned by dad's temper
with mom doing her fake smile duty
and wishing she was back at work

Another corroded Christmas
followed by the hollow farce of New Year
and in between the blank days
that seemed to stretch and stretch and stretch

Wrong Tu

Walking to school I realise
I've taken a wrong turn

Why would I take a wrong turn?
I walk to school every day
I must be dreaming
This must be yet another dream


A Level Poetry

My dreams are full of flying
or they used to be

Now they're full of garbled
half-remembered lines

of A level poetry


Home versus School

silence silence silence
gabble gabble gabble 

Free Period

The door of my sixth form locker
seems to shut with a hollow clang
however quietly I close it

I sit in one of my usual places
the echo reverberating in my stomach pit
the wind whistling through the bars of my ribs

Alexandra High School

Alexandra High School
has broken up for the summer.
No one I know
would understand why I come here,
why I'm drawn to these dark, blank windows,
unflinching bricks, vindictive railings,
this gruesome door.

They say that elephants linger,
pass and re-pass,
pace and mournfully sway
around the bones of their dead.
I pass and re-pass
these dark, blank windows,
unflinching bricks, vindictive r
this gruesome door.

Five Foot Nothing

Five foot nothing in high-heeled boots,
she hacks her way through
towering jungles of teenage limbs
with machete elbows.


The hook with keys is like a hanging tree
The prospectus cupboard is a forsaken place of fear
The dartboard is a wheel for breaking bones
The clunking darts are arrows in my heart  

The chairs with metal legs kick at my shins
The locker clangs like a prison door
The clanging bell splits my ears
The room divider splits my left brain from my right

The easy laughter is an accusation
The record player is a tuntable of death
The chitchat chops me into sidelines
The laminated tables feel like marble tombs

Watery Lane

I hate arriving
at Watery Lane crossing
to find the pedestrian gate is locked
I don't mind waiting for trains to go past
but there's always a chance
someone else will arrive
which means waiting with them
in an agony of awkwardness
shivering under a heavy overcoat of heat
ice water sweat
dripping down the back of my nec

Corduroy Boy

I am Corduroy Boy
I am made entirely of corduroy
Even my face is made of corduroy

I used to be Sci-fi Boy
Now I sleep in a corduroy coffin
and creep down the road like a corduroy shadow


I haven't seen you vulnerable
since the day the dog got in the playground
that dog on some demented mission
to snatch your bag and make off with it
You held on tight but so did the dog
snarling savagely fangs in deep
A tug of war broke out
People laughed
Consternation crept over your face
A sense of persecution
Anger at your absurd predicament
If you hold on you look ridiculous
If you let go you lose everything
The bell went but the dog didn't care about the bell
Eventually two teachers came and prized him off
but it took them all
of their combined ingenuity and physical effort
his jaws were so firmly clamped
his monomania so intense
I saw then
for the first time and the last
the child in you
dumb with rage
and outrage
a why-me
sense of persecution
unable not to cry
tears of humiliated impotence
your bag ruined
beyond-repair useless
ripped and flapping
gaping open
covered in the frothy goo
of canine slaver
Now you can handle anything
and have a back answer for everything
I often wonder if you remember that day
that day when you only had two choices
and whichever one you chose
was wrong

Show Me

Show me a poem that changed anything
and I'll show you waterproof rain

Early Modern Art: 1

Blue Riders gallop
through a German Expressionist landscape

Italian Futurists in honking motorcars
blast out their manifestos

A Spanish painter
does Paris through a Cubist windo

A Safer Place

Found a worm on the pavement.
Picked it up.

Put it down in a safer place,
if there is such a thing.

Early Modern Art: 2

I am the self-portrait of Munch in the painting Jealousy

I am every self-portrait by Egon Schiele

I am any of the living skeletons in James Ensor

I am the hanged doll with the long black tongue


A Different Beast

Next year someone else will be sitting in my chair.
Somone else will be using the small key to my little tin locker.
Next year, he'll be gone too, my enemy friend.
The year after that the whole sixth form will be a different beast.
Its many heads will all have different faces.

His Fence

I'll soon be forgotten by the guard dog.
There'll be other kids to bark at.
Other kids who have to go this way.
Kids who are tougher than me, and less scared of dogs.
Kids who bark right back.
Kids who won't take it personally.


When I'm with my father
it's wrong to speak
and wrong not to speak
To sit is wrong
and to stand is wrong
To be in the room is wrong
and to leave the room is wrong
To offer help is wrong
and not to is wrong
But most of all
when I'm with my father
to be young is wron

Teachers' Table

She wore her doll's cardigan today.
The tiny giant at the teachers' table.

Pretty as hell in her well-chosen clothes
and her boots that go with everything.

Not that I noticed. Not that I noticed
the way she was buttoned.

And don't tell me she's pretty, when the tap tap tap
of her boots is driving nails into my mind.



Two Minutes

A new shirt, for university,
folded and pinned on its cardboard backing.
More pins in a shirt than I've ever seen.
I carefully remove the pins.
I place them on the surface I use as a writing desk.
It gives me another focus, for two minutes.

For two minutes I forget her.