This Is Not A Lovely Poem

It’s for the boy everyone looks at who hates it.
For the beautiful girl whose baby they took.
For the wasted, the wretched and the cowards;
the bullies, the ball-breakers and the bastards,
the ones we’ll always hate for what they did to us.

For the watchers and the watched, the scribblers,
the stalkers, the stale couples who can’t be bothered
to argue anymore; for the dribblers, the scratchers,
the fidgets and the fibbers, the covert nose-pickers,
snot flickers; the fickle lovers and the fashionistas,
the smokers, the skint, the minted with no imagination.

It’s for the disowned, the dead-eyed, the family hiding
from the bailiffs, crouched behind the sofa in the dark;
the sanctioned and hand-tied, the frustrated administrators;
the blank woman behind the counter in Barclays yesterday.

For the mermaids on knives who can’t hold a tune.
For the insomniac Sleeping Beauties, the Match Girls
not so little any more – for the one who leaves
her heart in a boy’s coat pocket and freezes
to death trying to remember why she can’t go home.

For the boy nobody ever looks at who hates it.
For the idiots, the masochists, the kids squeezing their spots.
Those cursed with true faith and those cursed with cynicism.
The fucked up and the upwardly fucking mobile,
the wannabes and the want-not-to-be-ever-agains.

It’s for the Social Workers, the social-networkers, the socially suicidal,
the Tweeters, twerkers, text fiends and the blink-eyed tweens
clambering shaky ladders to see what adulthood looks like.
For the view from the top showing only another level beyond.

For the girl with the credit card bills in the biscuit tin.
The boy with the dirty habits and the love he’s scared of.
For the disapproving parents, the bewildered, the bereft,
for the just-one-more plea to the barman calling “Time”.
For the independent woman with the scented candles
and the Tesco Value blades on the side of her bathtub.

It’s for the black-iced step that sprains your ankle,
the broken bottle that really is that sharp when you stroke
your curious lip to its edge. It’s for the temptation
to do the stupid things.

It’s for that man down the road with the old whippet
and the sad smile whose name you can never remember,
for the person you’d like to batter with an axe – or forget.
For the nights when you’d welcome that axe
over your own damned head.

For the queue in the offie, the moral police officer no one trusts;
the hopeless and helpless, the unbelievable, the implausible,
the strangest drips of truth; for the things no one will ever know.

For the terminally cool and the terminally unique;
the woman quoting Lady Macbeth in the launderette;
the addicts, the romantics, the worldly-wise morons;
the nail biters, the bar-fighters, the leg men,
the breast men, the worst who don’t know
they’re the best men. For the sleepers lying alone
in carbon monoxide quiet who never said goodnight.
This is not a lovely poem, but it’s theirs – and ours.


I ripped the page of the original pattern
from a wrinkled copy of Woman & Home
at the Doctors’ – I already had ideas
for my particular alterations.

I’m making it just for you.

It would’ve been a plant-pot holder;
I am knitting a noose of it,
my tongue between my teeth,
my mind on your shape,
the breakage of your frame.

That’s where I begin to weave
the more complex attachments
to pull and pinch,
to twine and tug.

I will make it soft for you,
in places – at least partly.

Wool is great stuff – it’ll swell in the wet,
each fibre sucking you in deeper, binding
you with your own leakages:
your delicious sweat, blood
and other fluids.

You’ll be your own unique dye.

My charity shop needles click,
warm in my palms, nimbled
fingers of guardian witches.
We know what you did

and we laugh in the dark,

turning every twist for your neck,
and all of my other favourite places to kiss.


She doesn’t notice when it leaves her;
it’s always been there – maybe it steals
from her bed like a cowardly
lover before dawn.

Could it not wait to escape?
She didn’t know to sew
it tight to her heels; couldn’t bear
to take a needle to it, but she will
happily spill a polka dot rush
of her own blood.

She isn’t scared of it – never:
a constant her whole life, in step
like a sister, mute and matching
her every trip-toe and lurch.

She knows she must find it:
paste posters on lampposts,
put cards in shop windows.
Have you seen this…?
It’s nothing without her

and now she has nothing
binding her to the ground.

Publication News – Poetry24

Hello lovely readers – hope you are all well!

Just a little note to say how very happy I am to have a poem featured today on Poetry24. Here’s the link!

Poetry24 was set up “to publish news-related or topical poetry that reflects what’s happening in the world, or current affairs.”

My poem, “Tonight I’m Washing My Hair” is a response to a recent event in the UK where a senior Conservative was taped in a meeting making inflammatory comments regarding disabled people in the workplace, suggesting that some disabled people should be paid significantly less than the minimum wage, and the subsequent (often hypocritical) public reaction.

As with all Poetry24 pieces, the poem has a link to the relevant news story attached.

As a visually impaired person myself, I have my own views on the matter and have been fascinated to see the way the situation has unfolded over the last week, both in the media, but also in “water cooler” type conversations I’ve both overheard and been part of. People, as always, fascinate me…

Poetry can feel at times disengaged with the realities of the world we live in – the beauty of Poetry24 is that it provides a platform to use poetry to explore issues that matter to us and opens them up for consideration and discussion.

And that’s why I’m proud to be a small part of it.

Happy reading folks!


Why He Likes Her

She breaks her own heart
on her knees at his feet
begs his permission
to lick up the bits

Tells him it is always his
though it’s not very good
and she’s sorry
always sorry

He can have her please
keep her – she promises
to apologise her love
to him forever



He’s stocked up his reserves,
insulation from the cold outside,
from the wind, the cruelties;
he’s tuning them out.

Forget Christmas, forget snow,
forget whisky-cheeked lovers
laughing under streetlights,
holding mittened hands.

He’ll keep his warm in fists,
the heating cranked high,
the windows locked tight,
the lamps off.

He wants no part of it;
he’s checking out
until spring.
No one will touch him.





Ok, so it’s not quite winter yet, but this song came into my head as a cosy antidote to the rather melancholy poem in this post… Enjoy!


Publication news – The Stare’s Nest

Hello, lovely readers!

Just a quick note to share some good news. I’m very proud indeed to have my poem “Nobody, Of Rotherham” featured today on “The Stare’s Nest”.

It’s a new poem, totally unseen here or elsewhere and it focuses on true events that have been very much in the UK news in recent months.

Leaving my poem to the side, I cannot recommend “The Stare’s Nest” page highly enough. It’s a platform for “poems for a more hopeful world” and is updated daily with contemporary poetry about the world we live in – how it is and how we’d like it to be. There is much to enjoy and inspire.

So, here’s the links.

My poem is here:

But also, please, please take a look at the site as a whole here:

Thanks, as always, for reading!
Take care all!




Never meant to bite, just to nip;
a risk to any tender skin, but
only playing, yes, only playing.

They muzzled her loud mouth,
chained her up, caged her in
with all their other mongrels;
the odd-looking and the lame,
the abandoned and the strays.

Said she was best kept that way;
like all those other dirty bitches
who couldn’t be trusted
to sit and stay;
behave: or she’d see the man
with the needle and nothing more.

The night-howling was the worst:
she vowed never to learn to beg.

One morning her leash swayed,
empty-slipped like a used noose
above the blanket she’d pissed on.

Now it is her season: she runs
for her pack, to find a fit mate,
to roll, growl and play
dirty by her own rules:
no one can hold her.



“Why do you do it?” she asks,
a genuine question; her fingers
worry at a pink frosted cupcake,
dismantling it on her plate.

“No one pays you,” she says:
her eyes mourn ever wider,
fingers pattering the crumbs,
trying to make Braille of them.

“But then…” She hesitates,
revelation stilling those fingers
in the devastation of her plate:
“I guess, if you’ve time to waste…”

Rising to it, I force-smile myself
to the counter – two more cakes,
a pot of strongest builders tea:
we are both in need of the sugar.

Publication News – Nutshells & Nuggets

Just a little note to share my happiness at having a poem featured on the lovely Nutshells and Nuggets page. They publish short poetry – some very short poetry indeed – on their page. My poem is “Hums” and was written over the hottest bit of the summer…

Here’s a link….

I totally recommend having a read round the other poems on there – some excellent stuff.

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