Just a random poem from me today. This was recently published in The Lake.


When he returned, they were so glad
to find him whole, unblemished: four limbs,
two eyes, skin tanned but unburnt, unholed.
They’d heard the stories of what might have been,
those bodies minced and sutured back together, 
faces melted, bones and flesh replaced with metal. 
You made it through, they cried, wrapped arms
around the solid, reassuring mass of him, 
awaiting his embraces in return. None came:
those fine, muscled arms hung limply by his side. 
Such words as passed his mouth appeared
to come from very far away. So much of him
had missed the plane and was still over there,
among the bullets and the bombs that took
his friends but spared this now half-empty body.
What’s left of him is lost inside it, midway
between these caring faces and the other self 
for whom there can be no way back.

Pic: Ronnie Macdonald 2017.  Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0


It’s been an exciting year, poetry-wise, with the publication of my second collection, LifeTimes, and lots of poetry gigs. Following Small Seeds last week, I’ll be at Marsden Mechanics this evening, as one of six featured poets at Sarah Dixon’s Quiet Compere event, co-hosted by Rose Condo. Should be great! Thought I’d share one of the poems I’m planning to read.


Two lives: 
two lines inscribed on time and space. 
Where yours began, where it was leading
I don’t know. My line was ragged, written 
in a drunken hand, lurching from 
one chance intersection to another. 

Two roads, 
one junction. A node, a synapse 
of society, a joining place 
of journeys, and of two lines: one straight,
serene and unaware; and one propelled 
that night by alcohol and gasoline.

Two seconds:
Two cries of terror, two lives flash  
before four eyes, twin drummers pounding,
a shrill duet of screeches, rushing
to crunching climax: two lines 
connecting at a single point.  

Two facts:
Nature does not permit two things
to occupy the same location. 
Once the tracks have come together
there can be no uncrossing; lines
once unwound cannot be reeled in. 

Two images:
Flashing lights surround a space criss-crossed 
by yellow tape; inside and out
the flow of human life congeals. 
X marks the spot where your line ended
and mine dived headlong into darkness.

Pic: Tony Webster 2018. Licensed under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic