Songs that inspired me…

For anyone who might be interested, I’ve put together a Spotify playlist of songs which have either inspired me lyrically/musically or that I love to listen to when writing. I’ll add more to the playlist when I get chance (it is by no means exhaustive). I hope you enjoy! 🙂

Spotify Playlist Link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0Ebk9zojhEKrXBqXTYYHUh?si=1qJQnhEDRpathySKAeGFRw

Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/nightwalkermagazine/

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An interview with the writer…

Last week, I was lucky enough to be interviewed about my poetry collection One of These Years for AllFM. The interview went out over the weekend and you can listen below.

We talked about the power of poetry, the benefits of writing during lockdown, poetry as free therapy and the influence of music on my writing. With a sprinkling of songs and poetry readings too.

Enjoy 🙂

Thanks for listening!

& thanks to Ruth O’Reilly at AllFM for getting in touch.

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Bonfires [with audio]

I was living certain and sure
of the future I desired
A house by the water
sea air kissing my eyes
before I brave the morning paper

A figure framed in a gaping doorway
watching freighters skim the horizon
Rest my coffee cup on the fence
slide a nail down this foreign envelope
draw the perfumed letter from within

The paper see-through
like her summer dresses
My fingers beneath it
don’t do justice
to the gentle tan of her skin
or the constellations
of those freckles

“They’re building bonfires
down in the city park” she writes
“I’m jealous of that fire
and that flame
I think of the fireworks
that only we saw
I recall those fireworks
with a dampness in my eye

The realness of the fantasy
we’d be painting daily
between the thighs and sighs
and all the magic we brought forth
our bodies so alive”

Signed off with red lipstick
and the creases of her mouth
it’s suddenly not so obvious
why I made my home here
It’s suddenly so unclear
why I made my home here

And I look out to see
they’re building bonfires
down on the beach
O, I’m jealous of that fire
and that flame

How I long to feel
the creases of her lips
pushing hard
against mine…

[2020]

Thanks for reading.

Image: A photo I took in Staithes, North Yorkshire. 2019.

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The Hate Destroying You

Doe-eyed woodland artistry glows
O, how you hide your face away
I give and give to you
investment in a broken thing
once-grateful hands crave more and more

There is a sickness of mind
a blackness, a spoilt heart
where blame is always searching
and mirrors do not exist
once-blooming thoughts crush more and more

Pushing on the pillars that held you up
you’ve yanked too hard this final time
the string of respect has frayed to nothing
and now we’ve come to this closing door
once-hopeful eyes fear more and more

One day, when all is settled, I hope you change
let go of all the hate and grow in mind
One day, when all is healed
I wish you love and say
‘Destroy the hate destroying you
and save yourself

Destroy the hate destroying you
and save yourself…’

[2010]

Thanks for reading.

Image Credit: https://www.behance.net/gallery/273370/Folklore-Illustrations

Note: Reposted. Originally posted October 2019. For the friends needlessly lost.

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The Wind Is Howling

In the grate, the shivering flames
hungrily wrap their lips around logs
The boards above me creek
my wife haunting somewhere
the baby’s hands reach out
wave before its sleeping eyes

The wind is howling…

The smiles on our faces as we galloped down the aisle
making sense of scattered photograph moments
but I can’t remember why
can’t think of anything but waiting
and doing everything I can
patiently hoping
for you to get well

The wind is howling…

You’ve been asking me to stay close
you’ve been praying ‘don’t change your state’
and you’ve been crying, screaming, aching
at 4am
to just feel well again

The wind is howling…

And with the tiny heart
that beats beside me now
I’m filled with a strength of love I have never known
and yet I feel
so alone

The wind is howling…

[2018]

Thanks for reading.

Note: Reposted. Originally posted October 2019. Written for a new father struggling with loneliness.

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I Will Literally Pay You To Abduct Me

The static crackles
in the living room
and in the hallway
I lace my shoes
and go out walking
tonight, I am out walking

Tree-shapes calm me
raindrops kicked from blades of grass
maliciously
This act cleanses things
I feel my fangs receding
feel the silence
breathe back into me

Imagine the TV glow, dimming
imagine the hatred in her eyes
retreating
I dream of the bad air clearing
but climbing the driveway
back to our place
I spy those red eyes waiting
and know things are worse now
since I went out walking

On nights like this I cannot win
on nights like this
I call out
into the saucerless black sky
and scream
‘I will literally pay you to abduct me…!’

[2016]

Thanks for reading.

Note: I saw the accompanying image on a meme website and it made me smile. I wondered if I could turn it into a poem somehow. This is what came out… 🙂

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A Map of The World

In the bright cave
of memories, retained
lives a warm smile
kept, always, for you
Glowing with sharp precision
it will not fade
You painted the walls
of this space I occupy

With no hint of any slight
that could be held to you
No reason for ill thought
of any kind could be
Though I leave you here, our story over
You’re imprinted on the person
you helped me become

You showed me
a new map of the world
Your mind caught mine
and threw it wide open
I’d never known
such connections could exist
though now friendship only
it’s deeply revered

I remember how we lay
on your narrow bed, listening
Playing each other the records
of the songs that shaped us
You span me ‘Harvest’
I unreeled ‘Knock Knock’
Our minds at peace
in the glow of your globe

When I felt the slow damp tears
collecting in my heart
How I hoped this map would lead us
somewhere else
I’d been so sure
our river was longer
with more meanders
Still your wisdom remains, retained
deep within my bones

You showed me a new map of the world
Where you’d come from
well, I’d never been there
Now, I wonder if I’ll ever go
but if I do, know I take you with me
fondly, always, in my memory

Still your easy way has etched
its map across my brain
A place I think about so often
A place I’ll never be sure
I should have left…

[2011]

Thanks for reading.

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