Saturday, 29 April 2017


The heart is a flaming garland &
like all rings of fire, it is a tough

thing to step through. To step through
the heart takes courage of a gentle kind.

If you can make a lion purr by the scritch
of a fingernail, you are halfway there.

The lion's tongue lolls when it pads down
a path of pencil shavings, all the way

to the story in the woods. Sometimes
it's hard to tell the difference between

leaves and lies but both crackle when
you take a match to them. The heart

is flaming above all things.

Friday, 28 April 2017


The night is an extension cable for the princess’s
skinship. The retro thrusters are the mission
on ice. The mission started out metaphorically
but it turned into a real live trip. If it weren’t
for swallowed swords and skatebolts, the mission
wouldn’t have succeeded. The princess would
be left without skin. Without skin we are so much
wetter, it is so much more difficult to pretend
our bones are white. Bones—real bones—are
so many colours: vermillion, rainbow, forever clementine.
We pretend they are white, because white is the colour
of ghosts. But my bones are not dead yet &
the night stretches on.

Thursday, 27 April 2017


I am not a zombie and like all human people who are not zombies I do not subsist on brains and guts. If you have seen me walking slowly behind you with my arms outstretched it is because I believe in hugging. A hug is a cherry balm for the soul, so they say, and like all human people I prefer banana ice cream to a big flank of thighmeat. I know that sneaking up on horses makes you the predator, but that is fine, because I do not sneak anyhow. I have a slow walk. Scientists say that brains are for turning lights into thought things and guts are for turning food into inedible things, and I agree, of course. What a good use for those body parts. We are all human people here together, let’s hug.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

26. FEUD

You mean all this time we could have been friends
is a hard tack to swallow, but who among us has never
held a pin between our teeth? Sometimes there are hems
and sometimes it makes sense and I confess: I’m a
sucker for the death bed reconciliation. Sometimes I can’t
tell if my grudges are too thick or barely enough to keep
myself warm. Am I the bent branch in a strong gust or too stiff
for ballerina shoes? You know, they say an optimist
is someone who does the same thing over and over again
and expects different results. Well, I have always
preferred butter to the bread’s lonely side, but I lied,
they didn’t say that at all. All this time we could have been
playing dead instead of snagging hooks in the septic pool,
praying we’ll come up carp. They say if there’s blood in the sink,
it’s already time to stop spitting, but even an iron rod can
believe in happy endings. I confess: I’m a sucker, again
and again, so I'll close my teeth tight this time,
and pray for my lungs.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


When I say I can’t even think straight I mean
I am a bent wombat and things are better like

this. There might be many straight things
from a distance but when you get close they’re

like the necks of giraffes. Grateful. They’re like
the Jack of Hearts. When I say bent I include

many things but mainly you in the pink and
me in the stairwell. They say eighty percent of

dragonflies have done it this way but who needs
excuses from the bugs? When I say I can’t even

think straight it sounds like I’m trying but
the magnet on my moral compass is


baby, mine.

Monday, 24 April 2017


Sharks, my love, are old. Older than
trees or flying bugs. There were sharks

before there ever were flowers.
It is hard to tell how ancient, because

sharks’ skeletons are not made of bone.
They are more like noses, &

when noses die, there are no nose fossils.
There are only holes.

It is hard to date a hole.

Sharks, my love, have no ribs, &
a shark on land will crush itself.

A heart exploded under the weight
of history and a whole body.

Sometimes the past is like that: sometimes
heavy & sometimes just a hole
        where a nose had been.

It is not hard to date a shark.

We leave teeth behind, my love,
so check your own ribcage. 

You are printed with fossils: last night,
last weekend, February 5th.

You are your own history now.

Sunday, 23 April 2017


I have mistaken festive for feral again
Woken with a spill of gut in my gums
Don’t blame me it’s snowing in Easter
The weatherman is dead today

We called our first child Kidney &
You were the one to scream
But she looks surgical in clementine
She is such a second helping

They will be here soon and it will not matter
We will call all our sons Breakfast
My darling human person, let me feed you
Let me wipe that drip from your chin

(with thanks to @SICKOFWOLVES)

Saturday, 22 April 2017


The King of Hearts is the only king
with no moustache. In love

we do not need to hide our lips.
Just stick a sword in your skull

& say it’s done. Hair’s a odd excuse
for coming up rosemary, but I forgive

you if you need a curtain to hide behind.

The King of Hearts is sometime called
the suicide king & when I try to type king

it keeps coming out kind. These are small
facts of little importance, but still.

You cannot hide your throbbing heart
behind keratin. The other kings

are solid objects: weapons & precious
stones. Enough to break your teeth.

A heart is a soft wet thing.

Thursday, 20 April 2017


Some men like to take a beautiful girl and hide her
from the world. Some fools believe in towers.

Well, if you really believe my long hair’s your ladder,
I guess you’ve never seen my tights.

If you’re crawling up anything, it’s to the glory hole.
If you sever your feet on the way, I don’t mind.

Whisper it: my cunt’s the Hadron collider. My knickers
faster than the speed of light in Switzerland.

Last night we found negative matter. We posed
the thought experiment. We didn’t mind.

The tower came down.

Some men don’t understand what it means to say
her body is an axe. These men are slivers of glass

you won’t see until they’re stuck in the flesh
of your foot. Then, ladders don’t matter anymore.

Listen: you can be the lightning or you can be
the people falling. You can make her tiny

or you can both be storm clouds, rumblestruck
and kabanging. What would you rather?

Are you under the tablecloth yet, or all the crystal
glasses still standing?

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


Listen boy, you’d better prove your worth

Bring me seven trays filled
    with the hearts of mosquitoes

Run the bubble bath overflow
    of tears that are never-fucked

I don’t need much but I need all that I ask for

Mixed drinks with hot milk
A salt & vinegar gum weekend

Listen boy, the price you pay for tickling
    is blood and beetlenut

So if your ribs aren’t glass
    why cry when they snap?

I’m not demanding—they tell me
    I’m debutante and licketysplit

If you want to keep me happy
        just go for the twirl   

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


She is an axe.
No, she is a penknife, folded in your pocket.
No, she is the needle threaded with bright red string. When she moves through the world, she leaves a trail behind her. Fat stitches, almost medical in tone.

She is pop music.
She is the bad-for-you riff, the one that’s stuck in your teeth.
She is singing in the shower again. You go to wash and there are wiry red threads stuck in the soap, in the curtain. Snags, spelling every letter of your name.

She is a door.
She is oiled hinges and a golden latch.
She is the letter you regret as soon as it’s posted. Your fingers open and she falls into the fat yellow belly of the box. Trouble, says a voice from the dark.

She is candy.
She came up from the underworld to bring you six seeds.
She gives you a hall pass with someone else’s name. When they catch you, there’s no get out jail free. But it feels good, the snick of metal on wrists.

You are tempted.
You have never been able to spell penitence anyway.
You follow the string, the letter, the melody. The postman is whistling the bad-for-you-riff, so good in the sunlight, what could possibly go wrong?

She is not an axe.
She has never been a penknife, you can not fold her.
She is a woman, and she tells you, You? You are a fool.


a grenade is a french pomegranate, so
throw one in the midst of your enemies

because everyone’s doing better
when they’re burst up and spatter pink

a myth’s a high horse with a worn-in saddle, so
choose one that the shoe fits

because you’re lazy days, you’re lies
sleeping spaghetti in the afternoon

feeling optimistic about death by asteroid

we can say hey, it wasn’t our fault this time
hey, we made the myth about the dinosaurs

we believed in lizards like skyscrapers
taller than fir trees and firmer than rock

they say adam’s apple was really a pomegranate
does that mean your throat’s ready to explode?

without dictionaries, it’s hard to remember

listen: what else could you believe
if you really put your mind to it?

there are 613 seeds in a pomegranate, and
it only takes one to make it the whole world bang


On the way to the sexverse
Banana man peels it &
    throws it on the tracks
Cops clumped like a bad dream

They don’t arrest banana man
They don’t forgive him either

When the trains play slip & slide
We play forgiveness &
    mind your own consent

I don’t know how to say please
I say thank you ten times instead

You look best when your body’s
    made out of maps

Swollen purple and turquoise
Pencilcase colours of teenqueen girls

I show up at the sexverse
Close my eyes and whisper hello

Saturday, 15 April 2017


Yesterday, I was the pixel bitch
The multi-cube stuck in small spaces

We climbed aboard the mat and played
limb kersplunk, waiting for the
elbow to show

Teeth on a blue mat look like rocks
River rocks, gnarled and calcified
by this morning’s current

I didn’t mean to win the game
Her grin a leaked black pen in a white shirt pocket
I didn’t mean to swallow the hole

Today the game is dental frogs
and hello sailor

Counting knots to keep my mouth busy
One two three four kersplunk

Does it hurt when you can put a tongue
right through it?

I always lost at Tetris
Forgot to leave a hole big enough

And then they came faster and faster
Pixelfresh and falling like rain

Thursday, 13 April 2017


After the volcano, we breathe in hot milk
to leech the ash from our bones.

We tell our brothers to join us.
We teach the snakes to kiss with tongue.

After the volcano, the marketplace is frozen
in time like a polaroid.

Silhouettes drift to the surface as the ink
names the story it will tell.

We alone walk through it, milk-footed
and dripping.

Half-moon crescents in white on the tile.

After the volcano, things are quieter. There are
no tennis games or burlesque.

Fingers dry out, fingers snap
when the wind from the east gets going.

The sun is a fat white dinner plate.
It blinks once, and starts weeping gravy tears.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017


When I kiss the pebbledash princess
I scald my tongue

Small pink bobbles rise
like the pills on your favourite sweater

They make my tongue look cheap, so
I shave them off

Up swell pips of blood
My tongue a strawberry in reverse

Quick! I close my mouth because
with my mouth closed

No one will notice the gush

My mouth is strawberry softserve
Cherry bomb sugar syrup

The pebbledash princess says
kiss me again & I can

never resist, so I open my mouth
and drench her in red

Monday, 10 April 2017


I don’t know why they call it crystal night,
she said. I didn’t see a single crystal. Just
feathers falling from windows like snow.

I guess it helps to claim you’re fighting
something loaded and impenetrable, I guess

it’s better than admitting you went straight
for the beds.

Now, it’s the night of broken glass and I hear
that glass is made from sand, that sand

happens at the meeting of rock and a thousand
years of tides. So many things so long in the making

but a fist and a gunshot are shorter than seconds.

Still, when I wake up thinking the odds
are stacked for the other side, I can’t

help believing in small rebellions, six
long nights of woman banging pans. 

Could you stand there, machine-gun sighted,
your only armour a hope they don’t mean you?

Could you drown out your doubts
with a clang?

They say that glass is also a liquid, it’s just
moving more slowly, and I can’t help

believing we’ll get there if we’re careful,
if we choose the right words to remember,

because words are our only windows
and we owe the past one that’s unsmudged.

It was feathers. It was broken glass.
There wasn’t a single crystal in sight.

Friday, 7 April 2017


for Christophe Tarkos

He brings me tongues,
         so many tongues,
and he says the tongues are poetry.

Look! as a fat wet meatslab
thwacks across my desk. A sonnet. 

Or Here! a small catlike curl,
pebbled and pink. A haiku!

These are not poems, I think.
My notebooks, my shelves,

begin to bloat and drip. Thick
cords of drool slather

the floor. But who am I
to judge? I’ve said

so many things are poems

—cunts, mainly, but also
bicycles, cherry blossom,
the Glasgow Subway System...

So I gather his tongues
            in my arms
and recite them one by one.

This is a poem, I say,
while our Bambi feet begin to skite.

We end up horizontal and dripping,
searching for meaning

in the gush. Hands and knees,
pawing through flesh on the floor.

Thursday, 6 April 2017


Bad Girl’s got a dick silhouette in tight white jeans. Bad Girl don’t care. We take a trip to the lake out of town, sticking dinosaurs in all the subway doors. U8 gets the T Rex, U7 the Steg, but it’s the Ring that really wins: Velociraptors all the way down.

This started out as a love story. This started out about the twitch of flesh in denim, have you ever seen anything so magnificent? It is a million snowglobes stuffed with damp pink rose petals, a leopard in flames, tiaras in the oilslick at dusk.

I would sink a machete in the shagflesh of mammoths, I would slay the meteor with one flat palm, if it meant a replay of the dicktwitch before dinner. Before we suck out garlic snails and dunk into the lake’s popsicle blue.

In the subway car, I whisper smutfilth in Bad Girl’s ear. I am a bad influence and a hot commodity and a witch with puppeteer’s spells. I say things that make the dinosaurs blush—even Clever Girl, even after all that she’s done.

The meteor misses earth by less than the width of Glasgow. They say the mammoths will be resuscitated, but that’s not my concern. I am practicing tongue magic on Bad Girl’s neck. Bruises bloom like flowers in my mouth.

Bad Girl won’t stand up in the station. Bad Girl squirms, says her shirt’s too short, she shouldn’t have worn these jeans. I am triumphant. We keep riding, throats thick with giggles. Sooner or later, the Ring’ll take us back where we belong.


Yesterday we got lost in the cream bath
Hot sauce and pantyhose
I know I said I’d show up
But I lied—I got distracted
Another girl with spiderplant shoes

Some weeks the past emerges
A hollow ghost with no hands
We knock twice
But the ghost doesn’t give out secrets
The ghost believes the fastest wins the race

Another seventeen rings gone to dialtone
I feast on lost calls & free afternoons
Gumchecked and bloody
Starter pistols turns the air fluorescent
The air a chlorine triumph in blue

In the relay, the ghost swapped the batons
The ghost gave us knives
Srawberry blood palms, well
Call it off on account of slipped expectations
I’ll stigmata if it means I can already go

Tuesday, 4 April 2017


Hey there riverchild, have you forgiven your monsters
yet? The trickster bits that sit by banks, ready to wrestle.
Slick with carniverous mischief. Feed her a cucumber
or take her to the horse stall—make her apologise in writing
if you must. Or just remember that we’ve all drowned
cows when we’re lonely, just remember that we’re both
talking in all carps this time. Salamander and koi trickle
between our fingers, so pluck a kimono from the water
                                         & try to make yourself heard.

Monday, 3 April 2017


Thighs full of sofa foam again
Stairs full of spit
You rip me open and marvel
So much sponge in your fists

When you start pulling
My intestines turn party favour
My innards turn blow torch
Who knew?
I always start with habenero intent

We showed up here with all this discogloss
We slept in
The morning’s wet and pompadour 
Yet another movie about love

Listen: we get on better
When we’re not shaking 8-balls
Don’t you believe in infinity chilli?
Won’t you let the doctor trip out his bones?

Stick out your tongue
I’ve got a drip to make you shiver
Don’t even wriggle
We’re due this dedication to the burn

Sunday, 2 April 2017


In the gallery, they tell me
that eye contact must be sorcery,
for how else to explain it?

A field of vision the breadth
of a cruise deck, a pupil smaller
than a pomegranate seed...

Boom! Somehow, two pomegranate
seeds find each other on the boat
to Hawaii—the only ones who play

pinochle or believe in love
at first dinosaur. I tell them
T rex had a snout as sensitive

as human fingertips, that
there must be so many
ways to kiss. Suddenly...

Boom! We end up slick
& horizontal again, sticky
pink fruit in our cracks.

We’re too close now to catch
each other’s eyes, so we shut
up and fumble. Blackness

& bruised lips, we reach out
for something sorcerous.
Tiny arms, still grasping in the dark.

Saturday, 1 April 2017


I put a torch in my mouth
& make my skull a red lantern

I’m here to guide ships

The lighthouse is at the drive-through
playing the burgerflash again

My new game’s sending sailors
to Dollywood

Front row seats on the great wahoo

I keep finding anchors
in the salad drawer

Keep forgiving myself
for those dashed on the rocks

Absolution is a napkin
wrapped around a still-beating dormouse

& Dolly says we’ll all do
better in the morning

In the morning, the lighthouse gets a row
of gold bells, thumbs up!

Another metal avalanche

Let’s spend the coins on a compass
(not the drawing kind)

Something to quit my beam
from all this turning

Something to stop me
sending myself back home

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Passenger

See the Elephant reprinted my story "The Passenger" recently, for those who don't have a print copy of the glorious Gutter magazine where it first appeared.


And some forthcoming words in the new literary journal, Geometry!

The Rules

Friday, 6 January 2017

The Importance of Listening Even When You Don’t Know Your Body’s Language

The wonderful Clever Manka just published my TRUE LYFE STORY about ticks and Lyme's disease and this terrible no-good summer. You can read it here.