confessions are self-serving

Tag: rain


When I was a nipper
I used to love to watch the rain
rip across, along
the car window as we blasted
up the M1 towards Doncaster,
endless rivulets and patterns
dancing, swinging with the lull
of brake and acceleration,
countryside dark, barn shapes, bales
street lamps deep orange
in those days, something poignant
between the in and the out,
Beatrix Potter scratchy on cassette,
heater cooking velcro shoes,
and out there, the night
always magical, darkness,
the universe mirrored
in every glittered drop,
no want, nor need
to catch the feeling
in a net of words
or analysis,
t’was merely life
being lived
one breath
to the next.

Bar sketch

two fellas, one shorter, looks worriedly over shoulder, kept dry under union jack umbrella held by taller mate. Step tip topping in and out of gutter – yellow lines smudged from long ago careless hand – headlights roll on, the road stretches every which way as a black, boiling sea.  The buses are always full of faces, stationary contortions caught like grandma used to say the wind would do – red brick, postbox, rain swashes to and fro. Blue fingered chef ahead of me, reflection, bends to preparation, responds to joke but looks serious – few customers, bar staff feign business, pigtails and maroon skirts fluttering like sail in cross-wind, or tent wall.  First floor of building opposite, large chalkboard on wall, windows tall and revealing.  Man rubs eyes in frustration, not tiredness, moves untouched dinner from one table to the next, focuses on problem out of sight – lights cigarette, standing then pacing, scratches chin. I come to as if from a cheap magician’s trick, and  full and heady sadness seeps into my underside, moving and filling till it reaches the throat.  The traffic shudders and jolts like a thing just barely clinging to life – door opens – couple around 30, late 20s, sees me, I compose myself and adapt an appropriate unglazed but also nonchalant expression – a half smile cracks on my lips like autumnal leaf.  They sit and bound into an animated conversation, she doing most of the talking.  the older couple behind them sit silent and sad, though at least not on their phones.


My ears are cupped in headphones, hood up,
the radio’s drowned
in the river of mid-morning cabs, buses, and rain.

Down it comes in droves
onto my jeans, wet through,
I only catch a word or two
over the wind:
Diabetes, Lucozade, Sugar, Stew.

Coming to my own conclusions
sloshing alongside Chinese Kitchen,
muddy yellow dragon,
no lights, no sweet or sour scent,
sign on the door reads


Go gently forward, these doors move for you;
don’t rush. Your presence in that air-lock;
that two-and-a-half feet of empty space; you own,
enjoy it.

That swoosh- swift, elegant, mechanical-
moves without prejudice, the glass polished and impartial;
the double panes bore out and in, ancient; unrevealing,
reflecting dim bulbs

indoors; and outside- a shy moon refracted, shattered by imperfection
in the glass. Endless feet away a woman rushes in the rain,
jacket stretched from her shoulders, the echo of her footfalls
cracking, gnashing skywards-

the ushering warmth of that space; a hug, a home-cooked meal
and breath on your neck, softness against your heaving gut,
a simple sentence, perhaps “It’s okay”,
perhaps not.

And too soon you’re in, enveloped completely, blinking,
nervous as a foal, smiling weakly, waiting
as if for your name to be called; bad news to be told.
Manage one last

chance look over your shoulder, but already the rain,
and all things dark seem a shadow of a shadow,
the perplexed ghost of yourself blocking
the fate of the woman

kept alive in those short moments of memory;
running, always running, in the rain.