Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Check out me and my face at the SPL blog! Also this poem that I made!

Better Words

hear the melody of names
blood-streams incantations
sound them like a spell

shearwater meadow brown
cormorant yellowtail

go topless in saltwater
feel the blaze in the eyes

the breeze tangling your hair
fingers tangled in your hair

palmfuls of horse chestnut
explosions of jackdaws
love and grassy jeans

witch-hazel valerian
ragged robin lady’s bedstraw

god or a thing
for which there is no better
word than god

the word that says there is one life
and we are in it

on your tongue
and spreading like petals
in the palms of your hands

is this dwindling list of flowers
may it be forever autumn

One more tomorrow...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mo Poems Mo Problems

I've moved flat! It is lovely and overlooks the quiet(er) end of the Royal Mile. I have also been busy and I will share with you the products of my business.

Here's an old poem re-written to fit better with modern times.


It wasn’t the way the tree lit up
like a blush in the bay window,
or the way its arms spread like a household god,
glowing green and content with his work,

it wasn’t the way it pressed on the glass
that pressed against the darkest nights in winter,
or how at times it was less tree than beacon,

nothing is ever that simple. It wasn’t even the way
that by the solstice, the fairy lights my sister left
flickered like the embers and ashes in the fireplace,

then stopped, or the way my father and I
half-filled the half-lit house with midnight rites
over the burnt offering of the adapter, but
the likeness of the lights that burned on our eyes

then burned a little longer.

More tomorrow? Yes. More tomorrow.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


So Quianna made me some cupcakes. They were good. Poem good.


This is a cupcake, not a muffin,
muffins have no icing
– this has enough in

to make a grown man saccharine, or at least
a more excitable beast. This palm-span feast

of heavy cream, shortening, sugar and butter
and eggs and god-knows-what has me shudder-

ing across the line where words begin to falter,
where desire holds sway. The glisteny way the water-

lily-white frosting is bursting with the lush
insistence, here I am, its brush-

stroked largess and malleable lines
looming beyond its papery confines

and stippling, drippling from your skin-bare
wrists, enlarge your curlicue smile as you declare

here you are.

No poems tomorrow. I don't know what I'm gunna do.
Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another Poem For Your Eyes And, Maybe, Your Heart

Time for a quick blog: director's redux of an old old poem.


I’d clocked it earlier and not realised,
the chubby stroller on the loch-shore, duck-like
and energetic in flight, was the same oystercatcher
I’d imagined or remembered years before,

for whose thin bill I’d confused a cormorant portrait,
for whose chunky flanks I’d muddled a lanky heron’s
scything lift off. Now it sat, dumpy and peaceful
and bobbing to the ripples that tripped across the loch.

A corridor of hedgerows opens onto the rocks
and sand dusting the spray
– so I’d written –
as the oystercatchers loiter in the shallows,
waiting for the water to offer its secrets.

Yeah, right. This one was loath to wet its feet.
As I inched towards the water, it turned
its head, showing its remarkable profile,
or just turning. I froze with a squelch.

It opened its wings like a shrug. “Oystercatcher?” it said.
“Yeah, right.” It sloothered leisurely away.
When I told this story later, no one believed it,
or no one said they believed it.

Thanks for reading, more tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Above: Another great comic from Nedroid Check it out!

SO I promised more poems and by gum that's what you're going to get. No more shilly-shallying from me. Also, if you're reading this on the 14th of July, come to the Bowery tomorrow! There will be a load of fine poets and poems.

FYI that was dilly-dallying.




Now that I’ve finished cleaning
all that’s left to clean away

is a jumbo tub of lemon Cif,
the meadow-sweet Febreze and Glade

Plug-In, a freshly-rustled bustle
of pot-pourri and Mr Muscle.

Perhaps it’s only the scented candles –
Camomile, Sage and Citrus, Evening Air –

but I am a child again
in my parents’ house, stamping dirt

and god-knows-what across the carpet
and my mother tuts and clicks and hauls

me to the kitchen sink and soaks
my fingers clean beside the feeding ferns –

Peace Lily, Narcissus, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue –
the scent of being young

and being one more thing to clean
is stronger now than it’s ever been.

See you tomorrow,

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tycho Brahe Is Too Hot For TV

Above: the funniest comic book frame of all time?

Three news poems coming up, stay tuned. This one is about a chap called Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer who studied Copernicus and taught Kepler. He lost his nose in a duel and wore a gold one to parties. He was one kickin' rad 16th century noble. There's an old pseudo-Donne love poem I tried to write that incorporated him, but it didn't work. So I handed the stage to Tycho.

How Tycho Brahe Made The Sky

The stars are laid out like a glowing stage
on the papers that litter his workbench.
Tycho is trying to see the whole picture.

He has grown old in observations,
spherical and uncertain and alone tonight.
Tycho places his pen on the workbench.

Outside, the night is quiet as a dead thing.
Mice, maybe. Maybe owls. The wind.
The stars are all laid out

like white specks on a huge black workbench.
This much is true: the stars wander,
Jupiter orbits the sun. But the sun

must orbit the earth, that much
is true. Tycho studies his papers,
tries to see the whole picture.

The stars are laid out like a story,
like a joke by whatever lies
behind them. His apprentice doubts him,

his skill, his work, his world.
But the world is too sluggish, too different
in essence to start working now.

Tycho takes his pen and looks outside.
The stars are laid out like the stars
on the papers that litter his workbench.

He steps to the window, bellows
at mice, maybe. Maybe owls. The wind.
The stars are all laid out.

Tycho tries to see the whole picture.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, July 06, 2009

Better Late

Gosh time certainly flies. I have sent off more copies of my chapbook with special messages inside.

This one didn't really work on blogger because it has some fancy formatting that blogger wasn't happy about. So I'm going to try attaching it as a picture because I am on the BLEEDING EDGE OF TECHNOLOGY.

[click for larger image]

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Dammit Federer

Andy Roddick is my champion.

I promised more poems so here is the fulfilment of that promise. One that has been pretty thoroughly reworked. Thanks to RVW for the first line.


We were twins when she took my arm –
diabolists, naked dancers, a rucking swarm

clambered into sundown-spattered air
and I stared at her, my head stirred –

when I was there to see, to be her first kiss
and she was with me at home every Christmas

and her voice was the earth, so was mine,
and her mouth met the earth that was mine

and on her tongue that was every river
and the puddle we tripped over or nearly over

were the motions of every dance,
every dancer, street light and bar light

and in the shifting light of a new year
her tawny eyes, her Indias of spice, cold silver,

looked down at the feet that were not my feet
then the eyes that were only mine, and yet –

even as each door of our twin cells closed
and the sky paled to eye-blue over the clothes

we had discarded – I settled down in my casing
and simmered to the accent I still have trouble placing.

Til tomorrow,

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Hey, how's it going? I have been away for an altogether too long length of time. Updates: I have begun my job at the Scottish Poetry Library, working at the front desk! Check out our adventures through poems and cake at the awesometacular Our Sweet Old Etcetera. In other news, The Forest Café have published a beautiful little chapbook of my poems, and a sister-volume of my buddy Fiona Morrison's fiction, which rocks many socks. I have rarely had so much fun as I have had wrapping up and posting things to friends near and far. Whether it's any good or not is nigh on moot.

Other news: I met Jen Hadfield! We talked about creative writing courses and I was an excited fanboy. Doubtless she will soon be blogging about the experience. Also in the month of June, I started reading Charles Simic, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Americans FTW.

Also, the gorgeous Julez embarked with Anna on their mission to make the USA fractionally more awesome. They're intermittently blogging the experience here.

Here's a poem I guess. More tomorrow, and another the day after. RAISE THE FRIGGIN ROOF Y'ALL

How Jackdaw Made The Sky

Crouched among wet leaves
and looking up past streetlights
lining this car park, Jackdaw
waits, wings tucked in,
head tilted toward the tarmac.

Jackdaw’s haunches
clench and release, launching
those few pounds
of flesh, bone and feathers
away from concrete,
away from lamplight.

Feet, yards and faster,
Jackdaw’s wings spread
furlongs and further,
Jackdaw’s wings span
the breadth of the sky,
tearing wing from wing
feather from feather
Jackdaw’s beak
space-black, world-black.

Why shouldn’t the sky be a bird?
There is earth beneath the tarmac,
there is indifference in the stars.

This much is true:
shards of feather will turn
to the black and glinting
winter sky, all the stars
tangled in Jackdaw’s wake.

Hasta mañana,