London Machine

This small piece came to me this morning, as I had to travel into London for my job. I hope you like it.

Emerging from the crush of the London underground, squeezed through the exit like toothpaste from a tube. The scattergun dispersal of my fellow commuters, out into the morning sun and morning traffic.
Travellers removed from their self-imposed bubble whilst on a tube carriage, to once again engage with the world. Coffees to buy, buses to find, offices to get to.
But just for a moment, to pause in a quiet doorway and really see my surroundings. When the sun shines and the chrome glows, London can be beautiful.
Watching the cyclists as they gather at a red light, the snarling couriers, hipster office workers. Their daily roulette of battling the cars and lorries in the name of avoiding public transport.
The pretty women with their summer outfits, headphones providing their own chosen soundtrack as they hurry to their workplaces.
For a moment, the genuine feeling of being part of an unknowably large machine, the beat of commerce and finance at it’s heart, the individual people as blood cells, flowing through it’s streets as veins.
It is a love / hate relationship. The idea, the image, the idealised thought of this great city, missed when not seen and experienced for a long time, calls to me as an oft’ recalled favourite place. The urge to once more walk among it’s lanes and streets gets stronger with each passing week. But then, upon arriving above ground from another grubby and dirty journey among the tunnels, bumped and barged and banged around by the inconsiderate… The ringing though, “Oh why do I bother?”
But then, I am a Londoner, in heart and in mind. My accent speaks of the Thames, the west end, the great parks and bridges. How can I not feel part of this great machine, when stood in the morning sun, feet planted firmly on the streets of London?

Never Again

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything and for that I apologise. My muse had taken another extended leave of absence, but she’s graced me with a fleeting visit this evening. I hope you like this one, and I will try and not leave it so long next time.

A drop of dark blood on the pillow again;
What secrets are kept and hidden
Behind the doors of the castles
Of men?

A bruise on the skin on her body again;
The colour of ink with yellow
Surround that stings as she straightens
And bends.

The hate in the words that are shouted again;
Such poison is heard and violence
Revealed when all that she wants is
A friend.

The snap of a bone as it echoes again;
A shocking report that shatters
The peace and once more to doctors
She’s sent.

He’ll not raise his hand to her ever again;
His body now laid out pinned with
A blade; she’ll never be beaten

The Left Bank – Revisited

One of the people I am lucky enough to have following my blog has been kind enough to improve my recent poem “The Left Bank”. And I say that with no malice or sarcasm! She has captured the essence of the poem completely, but made the language far cleaner and far more elegant. My version is what happens when you do something with half a mind, and not completely focused on what it should be. Anyway, please visit her rather splendid blog Scottish Momus because she has an absolute treasure trove of poems and other delights. I hope you like this one as much as I do.

Scent of coffee, sounded horns,
Yellow light on skin,
Dawning day in tired room,
Paris life began,
Sleepy eyes consumed your form,
Body made for sin,
That summer morn revealed its bloom
While passing buskers sang.

Iron frame, its shadows cast,
Dark, old-fashioned bed,
Cigarettes and last night’s wine,
Such words of love we said.
You took my hand and stole my past,
Down boulevards you led,
Lights upon the Seine they shone,
Into the shadows bled.

Oh to be that place again,
Palette painted view,
Floors above the old Left Bank,
Sunlight streaming through,
Paris in its waking grace
Colours all I knew,
Gratefully I give my thanks
For being there with you.

Daily Prompt: Memory

I posted this a while ago, but wanted to update it to include it in the Daily Prompt.
“Which good memories are better — the recent and vivid ones, or those that time has covered in a sweet haze?”
Although it’s not clear whether vivid, newer memories or time-stained distant ones are better, I think this post shows how good memories can be. I hope you like it.

walk with me,
these dark and dusty halls
of memory.

remembered scent,
of perfume lightly misting
treasured skin.

familiar music,
we danced in spinning circles
round the room.

laughter ringing,
shattering the silence of
misery’s hold.

arresting quiet,
the sound of passing breath
in gentle slumber.

forever wandering,
through dark and dusty halls
of memory.

The Left Bank

I did say I would take a pause from the poems, because I wanted to try writing some other things, but as I thought about this idea as a snapshot, (as I’ve taken to calling my new pieces), it morphed into a poem, which really annoyed me. I’m not happy with the third verse in this, I’ll gladly accept efforts from anyone and I may post them up here, crediting the author of course. Anyway, I hope you like this.

The smell of coffee, the sound horns,
Yellow light on skin,
A dawning day in tired room,
A Paris day begins.
While sleepy eyes consume your form,
Body made for sin,
A summer morn reveals it’s bloom,
The passing buskers sing.

An iron bedstead with shadows cast,
Dark old fashioned bed,
The cigarettes and last night’s wine,
Such words of love we said.
You took my hand and stole my past,
Down avenues you led,
The lights upon the Seine did shine,
And in the shadows bled.

I wish to be in no other place,
Such a pretty view,
Floors above the old Left Bank,
With sunlight streaming through.
While Paris in it’s waking grace,
Paints a sky of blue,
Quietly I give my thanks,
For being here with you.


Another mile gone, another mile without a word. It was my fault really, I once again let my temper flare when by now, I should have learned to bite my tongue.
I feel a little sympathy toward you, because while I have the act of driving to focus on, you have nothing but the passing world.
Staring out at cars with families, lorries and their loads, the lone travellers off to who knows where. Hearing the last salvos of our argument play round and round your head, dissecting and offering counter arguments to each point.
I have the mind emptying task of just focusing on the road, to drown out the “you said, I said” repetitiveness.

Arguments are always won in the mind, after the fact. But it’s the ones that are first spoken, then shouted, that make it harder, with each passing minute, to offer reconciliation. The point and counter point that plays out in the mind, “If I say this, he’ll say that”, which in the end leads to only more silence.
The lie we tell each other – “Oh I love your stubbornness, it’s why we get on so well” – is in fact a curse that can damage our relationship when it is at its most intransigent, and we both refuse to concede to the other.

It would take such a small movement to bridge the chasm of heavy silence in the car. A hand across to rest on a thigh, or to gently stroke the back of the head. That would be less effort even than just quietly saying “I’m sorry”. Instead, another mile ticks over, and another small slice is added to the growing pile of resentment. All the while, you stare out at the flowing road, while I drive.


It’s always the rain I remember.
Whenever someone asks me, “what happened?”, and I have to think back to that day, the day when in a moment my life changed, it’s always the rain I recall first.
Because if it wasn’t for the rain, would I have been there, in your room? Would I instead have been out, rushing through a thousand and one different tasks, each demanding my time?
But no. The rain had kept me in, and as I think back, it was the music of the rain on the window that soundtracked my rude awakening. The soft susurration, in that moment, replacing the sound of my stopped breath.
In that split second, when I read and understood those words, to wish with all my heart that I could go back to not knowing, to carry on living in ignorant bliss; the constant rain denying the fact that I could stop time, reverse it.
Such simple words, a few syllables, once sentence, but with the power to explode my every assumption. To tear away the false facade that was my life, and reveal to me a new future, one of unknown and unplanned for changes.
But throughout those changes, throughout the pain and torment, there was always one constant. The rain.