Friday, May 29, 2009

More exciting times ahoy

Fantastic news! The folks at Forest Publications are publishing a pamphlet of my poems! If the others are anything to go by, this will be one good-looking piece of book. Here's a sneak preview, the new and improved "Descent".


Flying from Glasgow to George Best Airport.
Through the window, knuckles of coastline
reach out beyond the fallow piebald farms.

What to make of the rolling breakers, snow-
white foam? I think of my grandfather
flying from his home to work in Scotland.

He left his son behind to watch the sky.
What to make of the sun split in half
by the horizon? The light lasts longer

at this altitude. And what should I make
of the city where two rivers meet,
this strip of black we will suddenly hit,

the pilot’s lilting “BMI welcomes you to Belfast”?
My wings melt as the black hills drift into view.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Let's Dance or Drum or Windsurf or something

So! More great news, the lovely webzine Spark Bright will publish the old poems "Cat's Eyes" and "Train to London" (which is now called "Trains" and looks different but that is how these things work) in their upcoming second issue. Amazing.

In other news, here's a poem! It is longer than most poems I write because it is secretly two poems.


for Julia


He has fallen in again. His lessons pizzle
into the loch as he straddles the board
and breathes off the dead weight of the wet suit.
The others have blown downwind like Basho’s
folded poems. The sheet sears into his palms
as a jet fighter blazes overhead.

He heaves to his knees and steadies
himself. The rig is heavier
than when he set out. The waves
seem fixed on taking his footing,
even when the wind fills the sail
and crosses the loch like a godwit.

His feet are stuck in place
at the rudder and the burns
in his legs are ignored
as the board lifts over
the sloothering waves,
cutting its own new waves.


She hoicks the djembe over a shoulder and skitters
down the stairwell, the heft of the wood
cutting bruises on her hip. Her palms
have grown callouses from beating tabletops.
She breathes the boom-tic passcodes through her teeth
and shoulders the wash of the breathy rain.

She listens to the rhythm turn
from aerobic blueprint into
something like bloodflow, like fire,
like water, a motion still formed
out of flesh, bones and the mind, yet
expressed with an ease that amazes.

The heat of her palms
where the skin is tight, hard
at the thumbs, is the heat
on the skin of the drum-
head: taut, smooth. It sounds good.
The drum sounds good to her.

Thanks for reading,