Crannóg Magazine

Have a poem in Crannóg Magazine-one of the best Irish Literary magazines-which launches in Galway on Friday. Available in print and Kindle editions. ‘Crannog boasts a vibrant blend of local Irish writing and the best of international writing talent, which creates a feast of varying styles, perspectives and cultures for readers within each issue’

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Alexandria

Two years ago I visited Alexandria for the first time. It wasn’t the most opportune time to visit as it was shortly after the arab spring and  we appeared to be the only Europeans walking the streets but the levels of harassment were the worst that I have ever experienced and it did leave a sour taste. I had come prepared to give generously and to support local businesses but-after we had been ripped off by a taxi driver and been tugged and pulled to ridiculous levels my tolerance levels were seriously diminished. It was a thoroughly disappointing day because I had been really looking forward to seeing a city that had once been a centre of enlightenment-the city with the first great library, the astonishing Pharos lighthouse, spectacular art and culture. 

After the visit  I found myself reflecting on how extreme poverty erodes self esteem and leads to the kind of begging that has no dignity and demeans both the beggar and the person being asked to help-and then i wrote this poem.

On foot in Alexandria

 

I took my imagination for a walk

 

Unwisely from the port, the teeming streets

 

Were like my head, a restless cacophony.

 

 

Poverty screamed like a coyote

 

Trash gathered flies where babies crawled

 

To play in gutters, does anybody care

 

For children, in this wreckage of a city?

 

Torn awnings flapped for five minutes of repair.

 

 

I struggled to make a connection.

 

The first city of civilization

 

Where the Pharos dipped its light to show

 

All the wonders of the age, its library

 

A golden beacon of enlightenment?

 

 

An Arab guy was tugging at my sleeve

 

Urgently, clearly frustrated with me

 

‘This is Alex’ he said, ‘you need a taxi’

 

 

This poem appeared in Floodwall magazine-published by the University of North Carolina

By the Pier

 

Such years we had, exultations, bliss

 

Now there is patience, our dull routine

 

Sitting in the park it passes me by

 

Your strange new world, so jealous of it’s time.

 

Mine leaks in steady drips, like rain from trees

 

Lulls me to sweet slumber, three times a day

 

To the smell of fish and chips from the pier

 

A distant brass band, the herring gull squawks.

 

 

 

Once at Salerno, many years ago

 

I killed a man, he is with me now.

 

Somewhere eastwards a storm is brewing

 

Far away the sea churns, unobserved

 

Where there is no other wish than this.

 

imagined You

This poem has been published a few times-In BURNER originally i think. It was written in Costa Coffee on Division Street in Sheffield, quite rapidly, whilst observing the interaction of a girl and her boyfriend who were next to me for 30 minutes or so.

Imagined You

 

Sunday morning, and you dawn

After too much Chianti you wake up late

To a crush of vibrant birdsong

In a violent light of city daybreak.

 

The languid bourgeoisie are still loafing

Smugly over orange juice and ‘Daily Mails’

Your eyes sting, face smeared with mascara

The face in the mirror blotched and pale.

 

A flood of images; Saturday night

Your thoughts drop like pebbles into water

Each with a splash of avowed escape

The ravenous dreams of an only daughter.

 

The iPod opens a drowsy subtext

Of other lives and Sunday stirrings

Sweet bathos of the loved and lost

You doss around for hours, long past caring.

 

If I could show your future now I would

The claustrophobic web of vague deceits

And the little spurts of assertiveness

Before your sullen, brooding late retreats.

 

I would find a city to fit your soul

Then pack your bags and check the times

I would book your wing and say a prayer

And find you space to say your last goodbyes.

 

Platform 8 for Camden or Bloomsbury?

With your books, your secret looks and violin

All packed and ready for a long sojourn

To save your dreams; but how could I begin? 

BURNER magazine

BURNER magazine

The global creative writing scene is plagued by the same archaic, hierarchical and narrow minded structures that stubbornly resist change in society. A preference to instinctively look down on on-line magazines is one symptom of this prejudice.

Burner magazine is a superb production and one of my favourite, new genre productions-begin with the music issue which contains a great interview with world-treasure Yoko Ono   

Beautiful Delusion

I have decided to select a small selection of unpublished poems to present on here.Many magazines will only accept poems that are new and unpublished, so it is always a difficult process of evaluation, deciding which poems to protect in order to preserve their literary viginity. As a result I have a virtual cupboard of poems that languish unread.

 

Beautiful Delusion

 

You look like someone

 

waking slowly from a dream

 

feeling your way

 

back to consciousness

 

falling

 

I suppose

 

out of love.

 

 

I could have told you that

 

sorrow is twinned with bliss

 

but you were too bewitched

 

by pheromones, a strangers lips

 

the intimacy of the tentative kiss

 

the smouldering beauty of his eyes

 

the complex nuances of chemistry-

 

to unpick, the  tangled web of lies.