the titles reached up high,
the mountains of fantasy
dominating the upper reaches
in long stretches of hard-to-say
names and strange england-like
lands, then came the crime
in black-and-white city streets
and men with eyes too haggard,
then bright-souled coming of age
novels, asking for optimism and love.

at the bottom sat the poems
tucked into notebooks.



We abandoned the street names together
and tried to decide a better way
of falling down these roads and bars
and coffeeshops and bookstores,
anything that meant we didn’t
have to name the floor below
or have to name


Your flowers follow up my skin,
unfurling petals and chlorophyll veins
running patterns across my scars.

Cut the ink out of me,
paint stems in my blood
lose loves in my margins
roll thorns down my wrists.

Bind and bleed me of words,
collect every sentence I spill:
set me to your name.

“Forgotten Names”

I’ve lost the names I gave you
a fair few times now we’ve gone
searching for new sights – a burst
of unseen life by the riverbank
soars, aflight, demanding attention
entirely unresisted.

The battlements bore host to colours
entirely unexpected, punctuated by
intermittent spatters of brilliant
bright smoke falling down stony walls.

I cupped my hands and caught
a few piles of rose-red dust
to lay down on the ground
and drag my fingertips through,
writing forgotten names with colour
so I could properly remember.