today poems

i like the way our bellies meet & as always

the solid spike of hipbones       this hold

plugs me to the earth       nothing else

here i’m a bubble of value, brief spindrift

you’re circling under the park lamplight

caught in a micro-dance

i’m a doctor of paying attention, a hidden camera

pub sounds blossom the blossoms our friends

then he made a fold in the timeline of the poem

dreams of getting back into paper planes &

there are cows across the river

one the colour of a hippo

with a vengeance


true suffering

you can’t ponder something poetically

at length, said beth, under her breath

when that something can be googled

in seconds. for my smile i attack her

with a chance gust blowing apart the

venetians & a chance shaft of sun.

one might ponder how this

line of sunlight emphasises

just how close we’ve grown but also

that it’s probably way past 5pm.

o beth i had your eye & your aura

then for barely a second before the

thing about the keys but i swear

there was a big fat dust mote eclipse

orange & blazing between us

you had to have noticed?


i prefer roads to airports always will

let’s not playact we’re explorers grizzled under

an ornate moustache or two ounces of petticoats

never abandoning our coats in a bar never

losing sight of the objective


when is the moment of discovery? huddling in the rain

it’s a more contemporary sign of romance ho hum

i wrote this but also danger (i thought that) like knitting narratives

under a tap, thought plashing & my faux-corduroy nylon jacket

was just a projection backdrop reinforcing leftist beliefs as if

politics is a possum glimpsed with autoflash eyes or

a phase of the moon to pass through


‘on this day’ pls imagine things pictorially for me 🙂

a sleepy powerpoint will do, somehow graph idea / action

/ privilege thanks


there is no need for emotional labour beside your yellow

& purple fabrics see      constructing poignancy is hot

but also danger really, whether running through

that world of rain or perched on a walking mangrove foot


two thousand & seventeen was unpublishable anyway


‘a tree cannot walk’ (what does go mean?)

putting lyrics to music one evening, as above

you decide erasure is a the key failure to avoid but then

once i reviewed gigs in poems that too was foolish, exploratory


the planet can still smell of my cologne 20 hrs later

a playful elbow or two later, a mutter about

the swell of bass later, the muted harp later &

those sequins, like i said & wrote:


this year we sit on tree roots before we crest

new decades with your hair soft & ringletting


the persistent raindrops (white feathered leaf dodgers)

persist & rats make the drain-cover-call & yep i’m sloppy

with clichés & cartoons & this is a bouncy sobriety!

i’ll write more on the plane home (i write this) but also


don’t label-make      i thought this     like last time but

resisted writing & revealing we’ll see hey mate

urban camper circa 2018

twirl a parasol while searching on ‘dusky’

how it applies to eyes specifically while away

time picturing a quiet look while we talked

afterwards, disabused of all fucked-up-self-talk

under the fan, the noise


why fib i wasn’t searching all day & edit that out but

we are always trying things for the first time together

it’s a mirror view of broken hills underwater


like my drive home coming off meds, a fevery dizziness

when i swivel my neck at an emu, moved slightly

to tears by a taxi etc. how to distinguish boundaries?

either a raised threshold for dizziness or tears? scared tho

you swallow two tablets before even patting the cat &

muse: every album is just working through a relationship,

the dots of socio-political imagery just icing, or dots, &

each song a way to celebrate a being-ok-with-you-as-you,

mostly hopeful mostly lies


the attempt is uplifting nevertheless, so delicious

a recipe (we were baking after a long time

of not baking, a cheesecake-style slice that bubbled

then settled into a solid apex, this is why) frameworks

creep in as underthought, convenient as a distance in time,

two days ago, or perhaps maybe not (this should be

revisited for better irrigation of emotional landscapes) wrote:


‘irrigating your emotional landscapes since the 1980s’


slogans for my latest joke business venture: my only

reliable party discourse & i fall backwards so often:

a straw that is also a pen; a consultancy firm that articulates

the solution you already know you want, suggests

a rebranding to the colour red evermore      but we’re

too busy for realism & re-thread the threads

while reclining in a puff of smoke


static websites will make a comeback man & every email list

is a celebration of the drumming in Mayonnaise & look

the keyboard player died & it’s a leap but oscillate with me

to Dumbledore in the new adaptation of Little Women

& for a brief while local tribes fought white settlers but

they were always back for the watered country


i find my obnoxious approach to people still unhealed?


um counterpoint: everyone is a purist for the original

Anne of Green Gables that diffuse orange light

a mosquito net of protection from the contemporary

if only mosquitoes were individual doubts

about my individuality


(emma watson & emily watson should work together

on a film project / is that the toxic coating on my skin

talking / regardless, Beth is still about to die)


twirl a parasol while away time

picturing a quiet look

under the fan, the noise

please read

For me the one constant of personal/public writing is a feeling of regret. Looking back over written versions of the past with regret. It’s my own perspective I question, my own thoughts, my own way of analysing myself and events. Sometimes intentions become more troublingly clear after time; sometimes it’s all too clear that my thinking was totally self-centred…

I think I have held back with this piece of writing because of that fear. Maybe 5 months too long. I didn’t want to write it wrong. But the regret it always happens and here it kind of has to. My intention in this writing… I’m still not exactly sure, but it’s necessary. Part of a process. It is far too easy to go on with your life not thinking about things. Court distance. Avoid contemplation and just wait it out. I’ve done it before too much. Arguments, instances of severe social embarrassment, more drawn out failed romances. It’s not positive though. Nothing much changes in the underlying behaviours.

So. Last year I harassed a group of women after a literary event. I can’t describe it in the exact detail I’d like to because for me it was a black-out drunk period. This isn’t offered as an excuse it’s just the truth of what happened. A complaint was made and the verbal retelling I was given confirms that the evening involved: inappropriate verbal and physical behaviour on my behalf towards the women, being asked to leave the venue by the proprietor, continuing with some harassing messages via social media after that. All of these things happened and I don’t dispute any of it.

I work in the arts, both as a writer and as an administrator, where the socialising often is your workplace. It’s not a 9 to 5 job. The women involved where also artists, writers. After talks with my supervisors I took some enforced leave from work, began regular psychological counselling, as well as drug and alcohol treatment. This is ongoing. I was also offered the chance to withdraw from a literary event to not cause further problems. I know I’m lucky that these options were given to me. But then really, I’m lucky that my behaviour was reported in the first place. Because I honestly would still have no idea of the severity otherwise. I would have written off the evening as a mistake of way too much booze mixed with medication and continued on my way, letting it fade. Instead, I’m able to take the opportunity to attempt to be better. The work isn’t done yet but I hope it’s progressing. Writing/speaking is a part of that.

Communication after the incident in question was handled by a higher-up member of staff exclusively. I haven’t approached the women in question personally to make an apology, and at this point I am still unsure about doing that. I don’t know whether or not seeking contact would cause more trouble. But I do want these words to exist here should they ever seek them. I am sorry. I didn’t treat you like people at all. Not in the way I believe women should be treated. I want to own that. I’m unreservedly sorry for the pain caused to you. I’m also particularly sorry that I did this in the context of the literary social community. I have always valued the way the community of writers in this country has been incredibly open and supportive to me, both online and in person for many years. And this is the way it should be – noone should have to fear the inappropriate attentions or actions within that space.

Although this is the first I have written about it (other than talking online about the new challenges of sobriety) I want to make it clear that my response has not only been to seek help for myself, but also to tell every person in my life the reasons why and to talk openly of what has happened. I am by no means suddenly fixed. I don’t think I’ve displayed a pattern of harassing behaviour over the years, but at the same time, I recognise black out periods have been increasingly common for me particularly over the period 2015-2017 and I cannot rule out other instances of inappropriate behaviour. I know the way I’ve used messaging and social media has been questionable. Sliding into the direct messages of people I don’t know or barely know has been common for me. While it has sometimes been a positive thing, I know at times I’ve done it in a problematic way also, and have to change this. Online communication is a very real space and one where women and people in general deserve to be treated respectfully.

If anyone is reading this and want to talk directly to me about anything further please do get in touch. I do want to read more accounts. I hope non-famous men, men perhaps in small regional communities like mine, are now speaking and acknowledging their wrongs and complicity. We don’t have to be publicly named to do this. In fact the thing is you probably won’t be. And then yes there will be consequences to speaking. You might lose work opportunities, or people once close to you might remove themselves. Distancing yourself from shitty behaviour with time though, it may make the memory fade but that’s all. It needs thinking about openly, needs discussing, particularly now… And I’ve still got a lot more of that to do.


on stage she is a far superior version of her own shadow


on stage the plummet of fringe it’s front-lit like

navel oranges      suffuse in a past 11am winter


the friday after we discretely fought off sleep

in our nebulous gritty locations     perambulating

sleet will urge the city upon you     every time smudging

memory to actively possess     i was lost in a half-grown

hedge maze it’s called the country     in periodicals


you’re a real person under an identical rupturing sky

a warship on the bay while the tourists finger

the opera house (silliest acoustics in the cosmos     peer-reviewed)

literally you are you tho & i wrote: i am me! with a flourish ha

it etches exclamation across that council hanging-shrub-trimmer’s

life      he works his way up an infinite street misted & soaked

today it is     thursday


(i won’t even buy wine for pasta sauce now too

afraid of falling over     destroying the remainder

see instead you cajole half bottles

from guests & scribble out a list titled ‘tactics’)


the fridge is my gallery space but

we’ll go deep into the details later – past the canopy

microcosm & the vines of friends-of-friends, foggy

peculiarities hard to parse – or fuck it though am i right


i’m newly aware of ‘flight’


i’m leaving the city as vibrant & lit as i found it

i am myself or the world these are the same things


your voice is steady & always haunt in the best way

you have to dull the spirits of art-school kids fetch

warmth & quiet to an antechamber in the best way

you are warming into the fingerpicking & all things

make me happy like the neck marks     yours

this time & veiled     blearily


not hungover in the wrong terminal &

never again every atmosphere like

a set-pose: poem as situational comedy

poem with its back to the limousine

our designated roles for the next epoch flagged


when your closest friend is the voice of your map

mechanical & reliably one beat too slow

when you are nothing to former lovers

& you vainly blast your cortex ghettos

when you explore misted amazon cafes with

a broken public piano in each     when you tap on

for experience & hold up buildings in your palm like

an illusion or kissing in semiquavers


then i’m a nap expert a performance-space connoisseur

& a belligerent fuckwit – just part of the problem


the chamber is lighted & applause forgotten &

you can view me telling myself that i’m recognising stuff

not virtue signalling     still sick that people see

the reality of me while emending

any last conclusive statement

pondering a grace note


a first kiss after two months. slow & slightly past midnight. but it’s never the visuals of kissing that are described unless it’s the preceding moments of lips parting, perhaps an estimate of moisture. unconnected, i’ve woken with a sore shoulder, the hurt only reminding me at odd moments, say a left-handed reach into that low laundry cupboard to retrieve fabric softener. such pangs surprise me & remind me that muscles exist & keep functioning mostly unnoticed. it’s up to me to present things as if they are connected.

there’s been a history of people saying ‘yes’ to things in my life and maybe every life. generally it’s a professional serendipity, an email invite arrives at the right time, mid-point in the recipient’s hopefully life-affirming yes period. i’ll arrive in my own period thinking it was over for a time. i’ll say yes to a series of things that provoke an initial small jolt of worry because challenges are good right? at least during a period of deciding this is so. a poetry reading, coffee with a girl, getting my face painted. whether adding ‘et cetera’ implies a list too long to manage or experiential failure. i’ll revel in being a human of action & carefully edit the images to reflect a narrative.

i’ve noticed a different clarity to the living room & have tried to pinpoint the elements that inform it. it’s just one more thing in a life-narrative full of pinhole cameras, lighting up faces with a new torch on a scout camp, & the choice of reading lamps in the bedrooms of people i care for. nevertheless: the waxing spring light. the breeze that’s closer to body temperature on dark. the exactness of the wooden floor after polishing. the effexor limiting negative dalliances but not thought. images of that past love floating on the periphery but not able to disrupt. hoping. preparing a meal in a cocoon of sharpened focus.  never arriving home after a drink.

violet has taken to throwing the frisbee & it’s allowed me to theorise. she’s not athletically inclined so this activity is part of her well-rounded future. like me she’ll maybe never give over to the body’s pure exertion but might marvel at some kind of technical artistry. things the body can enable. i remember the rare beauty of landing a topspin backhand lob, the exaggerated racquet head speed perfectly fooling my opponent. that. or something similar. inventing ways to be.