Right royally we’d screwed up, splashed out on non-essential starches and yeasts, spreed through a month’s wage one Wednesday night till emptied pockets hung loose and sad like donkeys’ ears. So we stooped low at the fountain of dreams, stole pounds and pence from tiled shallows, coins […]
A Golden Shovel after ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ by Ocean Vuong You light candles for every ghost of your blood, bend to say your prayers, burn joss to mask the smell of surrender. You pile plastic fruit at the shrine and queue for rations. Remember to say cảm ơn, even in the eye of […]
A Golden Shovel after‘Party Piece’ by Brian Patten let’s forget it how we cut flares like night steamers the way we can clip and unclip each other’s bright wires worm our currents down to earth our […]
A Golden Shovel after ‘Call Me by Your Name’ by André Aciman We die so many deaths before we turn twenty. We, the schoolyard Kardashians. We sew our stories, rip them out as the schoolbus pulls up at our door. We out cast our vile tongues so the aunties won’t. Scrape it so they won’t […]
A Golden Shovel after ‘Fern Hill’ by Dylan Thomas Funny how the spring rain unscrews the time sending the clouds scattered ahead that had been held fixed like memory for months, nowhere for me to look; now branches drip overhead, fat and green droplets like crystal earrings glittering and singing on tarmac like there’s no […]
A Golden Shovel after Shakespeare the garden yawns: it has just struck two o’clock. small creatures crawl, summer-drunk and muffled by heat. in the dirt, a bee tumbles over and over itself, belly showing, legs whirling dust. i excavate, scooping up an ore made of hot earth and gravel and grass and animal, a hysterical […]
A Golden Shovel after Heathers christ, as soon as he turned seventeen he was swallowed up by it all. chaos coated him like a sugar glaze. dressing like the search results for ‘grunge’ on pinterest is popular with teen girls. apparently. a different one every Thursday. what lost me was the way he threw out […]
A Golden Shovel after ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley They have built things, these wrists, my teeth and tongue, they howl my name I hear it in the downpour, the glass is rattled with it, a furious Ozymandias gale-force. I choke on the word king the wisteria forming my spinal cord isn’t of bending bowing […]
A Golden Shovel after ‘Days’ by Philip Larkin For me, pain brings, among other things, the tissues of the priest pressed into my palm, and the silence surrounding the suggestion of seeing a doctor.
(in Hills Cemetery) Seen it. The plot & like it. In all particulars. Rough grass soon to be mown. The handful of ants clambering up the harsh green stalks then down. £437. A snip. I’ll take it with its unseen complimentary worms. The only earth I’ll ever own around me wrapped tight.
At full tilt, air gleamed – and a window-struck kingfisher, snatched up, lay on my palm still beating faintly. Slowly, a tincture of whatever consciousness is infused its tremor, and ram beak wide as scissors all hurt loganberry inside, it crept over my knuckle and took my outstretched finger in its wire foot-rings. Cobalt wings, […]
I could not run so I took root, still as a housewife, stagnant. My eyelids went first. Desiccated to tracing paper to sandpaper. You, in your gleaming arrogance, you could never foresee this; that my arms would age to bark, my belly an empty whisky barrel. The feet that failed me trickling in sunlight, toes […]
We blame our bad days on opening umbrellas indoors, magpies and broken mirrors, walking past black cats on pavement cracks under ladders, killing spiders, spilling salt on the table next to new shoes in a size 13. Cold calls from numbers ending in 666 – throwing pennies, picking clovers, blowing candles out, wishing for something […]
Contains strong language A man will drown if held under by his own dead weight or a stranger’s hand, pushing him to the piss-slick tiles. There’s no safety in a closed door, but a man wouldn’t hope for more than he’s given – a body desperate for the air in another’s lungs – take his mouth, […]
Contains strong language. Love is a hairy moth: fickle and fleeting, Not the knight in shining armour I was promised, But a balding man who can’t stop eating, Just a turnip farmer shrouded in Wiltshire mist. Would it hurt to bring me roses rather that shallots? Or take me out to a fancy candle-lit dinner? […]
What’s the point of oxygen if we can’t share it? What’s the point of Hydrogen, if I can’t watch the sun set with you? What’s the point of ionic bonding if it’s stronger than our love?
My weak brave husband, he was always a brittle blade, Honour before reason, dry eyes open to the blaze of the sun, Each letter I opened talking of dead Scots and rebels and anyone But me. Me, empty-bellied, staring up at the night sky. Once. Twice. Thrice. At least until that final, crumpled, yellow light […]
a tiger can dissolve into mist – the river cannot abide unscathed prey. you want to span the whole thing with looming towers, yet i too slip between sounds, iron dagger at my hip. that sparkling dust that refuses your fingers like scattered rice grains in a bowl. the dull clink of your machine-struck coin; […]
Here, Forbesy Daubs and daddy Daffydd a right bungling pair for the car boot Dafty Daffydd waiting We’re late-ing Dai’s diabolical give him an insulin while Forbes Daubs – fat Artsy old fart – finishing up the plum job dabs in lwyau caru by carbolic soap wrapped up. On the TellyVision I saw a collared […]
a response to ‘Whoever She Was’ by Carol Ann Duffy they see me only in dark corners. hurrying, they pass me. a hot flash of alarm traces their face. delicate, like the warm trail-wake of a finger on cheekbones. i am not golden locks. i am anger and screaming and protest, presumably, and i can […]
The bird’s chest is like glimmering gold. Frogs stand still whilst the sun beams down on their shiny skin. Autumn leaves fall from the sky. Trees bowing to the beetles below. Cat’s meow at the blinding sun. Gold is expensive, gold is bright, gold is nature.
Grown from our cuttings and darkstuff. Believe me when I say – it was child’s play, starting them off on blotting paper, a drop of whisky here, a few tears there, before potting them on in soil rich in creosote and engine oil, staking them with the old paint sticks. Like grandfather before us we […]
Oh, Tom, I’m wearing my lucky pants in the reading room but you still turn away. Come back. I’d like one night with you. I’d like every slow day in your arms. I can’t read this Bible; I’m taking my time but the lines run away into the rain. I’m a cat on an ice […]
It wasn’t a date, I don’t know what we were doing there at MOMA together, I don’t know which painting we were standing in front of – gilded, plump, wiggle-lipped cream-pitcher, ladies’ hair like naked-lady nether-hair, and the most erotic light I had seen, I was nineteen, I turned and kissed his mouth and held […]
Each ant will one day be an Indra thunderer whose chariot is the sun who answers prayers with lightning splits mountains to bring rain for now I’ll live quietly behind these eyes and watch the young blind to what’s brewing or I could become old woman of the sea grip Sinbad with my wrinkled thighs […]
after Beethoven for Zahzee Months from now it will happen again / in gin-and-juice loose-tongued-stupor / I’ll be like fuck classical music / fuck those elitist dudes in dark suits / there’s nothing I haven’t seen J Dilla do / that dude with a MIDI and a Mac composed the whole world right on wax […]
Each train is announced by its porcelain tinkle. The glow in the tunnel expands to a blue-white gleam. Inside the capsule, the seats are wet. The floor is slippy and dangerous. In some towns, guards throw buckets of sand in at every stop. Here, we pride ourselves on a pristine look and lower the temperature. […]
The harshness in a human face adores its closeness to the bone. It glories in refusing to yield. It patrols its own numbed attitude sealed off from another’s despair, to guard its air of being strong. A fox that strolls in broad daylight has something shameful to disown: a half-buried relic he’s scraped up, worried […]
The arguments of lovers condense in cars, then fall as windscreen tears. Speeches cause rainbows. Wedding guests spatter their chat like dew on the lawns of parsonages. It dampens marquees. All the words ever uttered cloud the sky, queueing to recycle the waters of Noah. Baby’s first word and all of our word-strings, float in […]
A moth’s wing stammered in the air vent I unzipped on one side of the bell tent. Tea lights spent their carbon in a lantern that panicked stars onto the canvas. Outside, deep field, you pointed at a moon so real your finger came back dusty. We stared like telescopes at our past – that […]