The Spaces Between Buildings


[external: suburban garden, afternoon]
The light peers into the flower beds making unseemly demands of the putative blooms

[internal: kitchen table, narrator seated facing patio doors]

Voice: I am thinking of the places that mark the sacred in my history.
This, us, we, this us, this we, that we are now
Is the ordinal Zeroth. The sublime place from which I recollect.

[External: garden, lawn, flowers growing in pots; Fade to: city street of soot blackened stone and glass and concrete rising like plumes of forge smoke; Cut to: blunt brick edged walls of a dwelling jointing a wooden fence in the view]

Voice: It is in the architecture of omission that I find the source. It is the spaces between the buildings which I look to for inspiration

[Internal : Human hand resting on kitchen table]


The Euclidean geometry of love

We have our axioms

And may deduce our happiness

Or adduce happiness from the strangeness numbers

Of our past until our valency aligned

[External: Office building abuts baroque revival Customs House; Cut to street sign; Cut to stepped gable; Cut to shadows cast by concrete upon stone, zig-zagging among drainpipes high above an alleyway]

Voice: It is the spaces between the buildings which I look to

Still silence voiding the line of sight
Making the unfinished
The ache of inanimate border
Boundary of ether
Hereditaments of the corporeal visual estate

Do I mean this ?

That is

Do I mean

This ?

[Internal: Hand holds pen, poised above lined paper on kitchen table, placemats, coffee cup, vape pen, martini glass; Freeze frame on pen nib alighting on the fibres of the surface]

Voice: Your love clothes my days in golden robes of joy

Yet here I am clutching a frozen moment of intent

[External: The shadows in the obtuse angles of a broken wooden fence; Fade out. Fade in: Paper soaking in the ink from a pen]

Voice: Look up, look up,
I asked each star in turn one by one
to bring you a single gift
Raise your head and be star kissed

[External: Gothic revival church tower and beyond the open upper tier of a car park]

Voice: I awoke consumed with one desire.
To kiss you.
A sunrise of tenderness,
A dawn of gentle caress.
Greet you in the day as you deserve.
Now don’t let these few, humble words
Disturb your routine.
But I could not let a day start without
sharing a little of the sweetness you bring to it.
Oh, did I say a kiss ?
When you go outside
There are a thousand
Dew stained fresh blown kisses for you

[Internal: Hand pauses. Cut to external: lines of urban doorways surmounted by neo-classical pediments with punctuation of side streets]

Voice: I did not choose you
Anymore than you chose me
The universe smiled
And chose us

Don’t blame me for my words
You have come to my mind
And with a few little touches
Made it home and you are welcome

[External: The camber of a tarmac surface sunlit. The view rises to a converted chapel now selling carpets framed by corridors of darkness at each edge]

Voice: I have become sinful
I am proud of the blush
I bring to your cheek
My lips are greedy
For yours
Lust stands firm and unashamed
I envy the water when you bathe
That I could caress you that gently
I am a glutton for your smiles
I have wrath for the miles between us
And I will forever be slothful
To take my leave of you however briefly

[Internal: Sheet of paper with the single line “Do I mean this?” A pen crosses through it several times. Below it writes “Do I mean, ‘this’ ?”]

Voice: I simply think of you
And words come like songbirds
To our garden
Yet still I worry I will
Never have enough
To do you justice
So close your eyes
Kiss me right now
I will know
I am kissing you

I will gather up
All these humble words
Tie them together with ribbon
So that you might
Show them to someone
And say “Look what I did”

Never think I am polished
Rehearsed or prepared
I am tongue tied nervous
All I do is open the door
Of the cage in my heart
And let the bird fly to you
To perch on your finger
And sing
No magic or illusion
Real bird, real cage
Open for you

[Internal: The view from a kitchen table through patio doors to a lawn beyond. A blackbird dances as a robin yells from a fencepost; Cut to an ancient cobbled street leading from a minster, the view swivels to look back at the minster showing the buildings leaning in to hear the footsteps]

Voice: A thousand rain-soaked Dublin kisses
Our pilgrimage communion shared
Watching you bob a curtsy as we left the church
You had lit a candle and I fidgeted in the unfamiliar
Outside on the way to Bewley’s for tea
I struggled with wet paper shopping bags
And we laughed ourselves in and out of gift shops
Looking for a token gift and dry plastic bag
And I still have that green branded carrier
Still fidget in the ritual and rite
And still have safe in the folds of memory
A thousand rain-soaked Dublin kisses

[Internal: the pen is laid across the paper. A coffee cup. A gin glass full of ice and sparkling water. The clock on the stove is visible. It is fast or slow. One of those. They always are. A couple embrace at the patio doors. Sharing a kiss]

Voice: A sense of place can sometimes be the observations made of the spaces between buildings.

We manufacture our structures and it escapes us, eludes our reason

That we also build great landscapes full of sky and dust and air, light and shadow

Just as we enumerate our feelings, casting them wisely or well

It is the inescapable and irrefutable spaces between

The ineluctable modality of the visible

Redefined that define us.


To Whom It May Concern (after Adrian Mitchell)

In the mid 1980’s I had the pleasure of doing readings with Mr Mitchell who had written To Whom It May Concern about the Vietnam war in the late 60’s. I have re-purposed this poem to take account of the current ‘situation’ as the ever more vacant sounding newsreaders are prone to saying. The original is at the bottom. 

I was infected by the truth one day.
Ever since that moment I’ve breathed this way
So fill my lungs with disinfectant
Tell me lies about PPE.

Heard the alarm clock wheezing in pain,
Couldn’t find myself so I went back to sleep again
So fill my ears with experts
Fill my lungs with disinfectant
Tell me lies about PPE

Every time I shut my eyes all I see is the clapping game.
Made a marble contact list and I carved out all the names
So coat my eyes with tax avoidance
Fill my ears with experts
Fill my lungs with disinfectant
Tell me lies about PPE

I smell something burning, hope it’s just my brains.
They’re only testing the water and rinsing out the drains
So stuff my nose with flour
Coat my eyes with tax avoidance
Fill my ears with experts
Fill my lungs with disinfectant
Tell me lies about PPE

Where were you at the time of the crime?
In a Cobra meeting deleting rhymes
So chain my tongue with Twitter
Stuff my nose with flour
Coat my eyes with tax avoidance
Fill my ears with experts
Fill my lungs with disinfectant
Tell me lies about PPE

You put your revised stats in, you take your conscience out,
You take key worker status and you twist it all about
So scrub my skin with isolation
Chain my tongue with Twitter
Stuff my nose with flour
Coat my eyes with tax avoidance
Fill my ears with experts
Fill my lungs with disinfectant
Tell me lies about PPE

//“>To Whom It May Concern



11:50pm Thoughts Inspired

You Said

You said

“she died”

And if

I could

I would

Have taken hold

Of your hand

And hold it still

And never

Let go


Do not

Do not be deceived I am

Improvising and coaxing

Whatever I have learned

To place before you

Discovering a place

To be me at last

New and fresh and real

Fate perhaps at work

Whatever meager ability

I manage to set free

Oh beauty they name

Is eternal to my heart

Not a quote but simply

Me talking to you

No translation errors here

My heart pronounces

Your name perfectly


I Will

Catch the spiders

And release them

To start again as we do

I will shoo the mice

To find where they

Belong as we do

I will be as strong

As you need

And no stronger

I will be pest control

Labourer unquestioning

Devoted servant and

Leader when you wish

Telepathic empathy

A newfound skill of mine


From Work

Home at last

Meal cooking

Bath run

Kisses kisses kisses

Hearing ear

Coat taken

Day unpacked

Kisses kisses kisses

Twenty minutes

Soak with wine

Meal ready

Kisses kisses kisses

Eat from knees

Sit back full

Talking laughing

Kisses kisses kisses

Head on shoulder

Dropping off

Silent warmth

Kisses kisses kisses

Time for bed

Hand held

Told you are the golden star around which my world spins

Kisses kisses kisses


Just Because

Because I Can

I would paint you

As Lempicka painted Rafaela

Each brushstroke livid with desire

I would write you

As Neruda wrote Your Laughter

Devour you with my words

I would sing you

As Gregory Porter sings Just The Way You Are

Sooth you with my voice

All these things for you

Gifts from the air

Just because I can


Conjugating Us (As seen on The Poetry Bar)

I hiss

You dismiss

He/she/it reminisce

They Judge


I evoke

You provoke

He/she/it revokes

They judge


I blurt

You hurt

He /she/it revert

They judge



This lame mule has appetite

For more toil and to be faithful

Once more to be owned

And to take the burden

Companion on the road

And warmth when at night

In makeshift hedgerow sleep

I stand in my field and flick my tail

Alert to noises in the lane

I stand and wait

This lame mule has appetite yet


Sad Eyed

You were sad eyed among headstones

And I wanted to tell you

The most honest tribute to

Lost love is life


Inspired By The Beauty of Sunlight Through Stained Glass

I tried to write for you today

But the words were too humbled

To want to be heard

Like candles in a sun beam

I wanted to write something befitting

But  where once the lone wolf words

Would hunt you down

Somehow they have curled at your feet

But let anyone raise their voice to you

And snarling they will arise

Entirely at your command



3 for this afternoon

Asterion Earthbound

Alone in a private corner

Of the labyrinth the Minotaur

Sinks to his knees and holding

His sword to steady himself

He lowers his head and weeps

Pasiphae his mother named him

Asterion, but he is Minotaur

Part dumb animal stalking

His vast ornate prison and

Part man, weeping at the

Yearning in his soul

To know just once a touch

That is not from combat

And rising to his feet

Asterion looks to the heavens

And cries for Theseus to come


Idle Moments

An unplanned thought occurred

And I re-traced accustomed steps

Through Eliot’s Wasteland

A familiar stroll through

Conversant surroundings

But paused today at a place

I usually walk past in a hurry

Struck mute at the ironic

Call from history that

Prefigures a fond thought

And I recited aloud

The brief extract smiling

First then laughing at

My naive foolishness



On average a square centimetre

Of air has a mass of one kilogram

And I look up at the sky

And some days feel the weight

The atmospheric pressure

Decreases the greater the altitude

Which is why thinking of you

Leaves me light headed, giddy

And why the boiling point is so low



This sacerdotal exegesis

Enumerated passage of

Noah in the dry seasons

Cry of apostolic credence

Art is the condition which arises

As the result of a subjective stimulus/stimuli

Meeting with a subjective response

We may consider subjectivity to be

The extent to which the judgmental process

Is unqualified by context or expertise

We may also consider a stimulus/stimuli

To be the conscious placing of metrials in order

When we speak of response

We are identifying the activity of

Decoding the order of materials

(It is not guessing at the conscious or unconscious order

Of the materials, or the original order or the originality

Of the order)

Decoding is the term denoting

A comprehension of significance

This significance is wholly analogous with meaning

Meaning can be said to be

The condition arising as the result of

A subjective stimulus/stimuli

Meeting with a subjective response

The conscious placing of materials in order

Produces the artefact

There can be no prescriptive

Or definitive category of artefacts

Or materials whose order can produce the artefact

Concern with the materials

Detracts from the subjective response

And qualifies the judgmental process

Through the criteria of context

It is not enough to rely on the caveat of intellect

Intellect is the qualification by context

And/or expertise of judgemental tools

The chief obstacle to overcome

Is a reluctance to rely on the

Judgement of the individual

We are clinging to the wreckage

Of the process of industrialisation

Where every aspect of existence must

Have a qualitative value placed upon it

As part of a continual process of stocktaking

We are perpetually measuring worth

Education systems are  means

Of perpetuating existing values and

Limit the choices of judgmental tools

A professor of literature may spend

All their life conforming to

The demands of the institution

Much the same way recidivist criminals

Behave according to their patterns of

Institutionalised socialisation

And experiences literature in those terms





Sketched Poems

Summer Evening

Outdoors at the Fox & Coney

Sipped gin and conversation

As dusk creeps bringing

A slight shiver with the laughter

The cardigan across your shoulders

Soft to your skin and warming

Effortless  yet elegant form and function

Sometimes the simplest and most obvious

Caresses are the truest and can be

As undemanding of you as

These flights of fancy you inspire


Idle Thought

Unbidden I pictured

Slowly sliding the strap

Of your dress from your

Shoulder and replacing it

With one lingering tender kiss


At 51

No age to be riding

My bike past you

No hands showing off

Inarticulate tomfoolery

Grazed knees from

The playground of life

No longer sting with

The antiseptic dabbed

51 is the perfect age

To show off for you

No fear of falling

Old enough to know

Better and do it anyway


Estimate My Stupid

I’m sorry I said

It used to be sprung

Like a basketball court

But is now a sunken water feature

When you showed me

The thing with the pencil

For the avoidance of doubt

I am exactly, no rounding

Up or down that stupid