confessions are self-serving

Tag: travel

I seen hope in a train station

I seen it wink on the wet cold of the tracks
I seen it smiling in slices of wheel
I seen it hug with a hot breath of diesel
I seen it clatter in tippy tap heels
I seen it squeal in the railway man’s whistle
I seen it clutching up bunches of skirts
I seen it rumble along with the luggage
I seen hope so it no longer hurts


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.

Leo’s last day

-We do the shit, waiting for the sun, bam, easy life – Leo sits on two water kegs – Fuckin’ hell, thirty degrees to the face, it’s hard, ah, putain, wow – Last day on South Beach, he’s been here almost nine weeks, no licence living in a stationary van, Gang Starr plays, stove set on the floor, the most black coffee hits my stomach, nausea slight, Marlborough  smoke expands like time inside, I lie back on towels, t-shirts, sleeping bag pillow, light comes in strong down the right windows, Luc reaches for watermelon brought in from outside, Leo elbows on knees, nods to bass line – I’m going to start doing my shit – To no one in particular, met with silence, a slurp of melon, turns his head and stretches long tanned arms back to rest on driver’s seat headrest.  Past him the woman I saw topless changing with big dog, bumper sticker – Good planets are hard to come by – Middle aged, whistles to the dog baseball cap purple top no bra, Luc jams to trade – they gonna see-ee – soul singer, bass line rolls away, Michael Jackson style, bottlecap graces the floor, though it’s been swept – In my mind-d – Leo sings, grabs a vest, shunts it into his face, inhales, yelps – One year of stink! Papa was a rolling stone! – Head bobbing like a strutting pigeon, flicks a shirt out and a spray of crumbs and scraps of plastic fly everywhere, scatter my journal – Sorry man – Luc hocking up phlegm, spits it onto the tarmac – Words can’t describe the feeling I feel, oh glory, Hove! – French guy I’ve forgotten name of stands outside reading my copy of Dennis Haskell seriously, hands it back some minutes later without comment. Open sour cream crust paperweights smoked salmon, baguette exposed to the air, joint smokes like a thread from a silkworm into the air, track begins – Is someone listening? Okay … – Dirty towel beige, blue, brown innocent dirt streak hangs over bumbag, tooth brush rests outwards like one side spooning lover. Vested man, 30s, backward cap mirrored glasses and trimmed beard looks in, away as he passes on, backs out in big black late model Jeep, Leo returns, stands outside with didgeridoo 30° into van, Luc flips his guitar to back and tap taps the wood with fast fingers, shouts something in French, Leo back, searches for a lighter, lifts some jumper up four inches, barely glances underneath before replacing it, repeats with the next item the same.

Bongo Bones



A painting for an old buddy who’s just off on his travels to New Zealand.


1st draft extract #1

I unloaded our little camping stove, which was dented and covered in spatterings of dried tomato sauce and dust, and banged it upside down and placed it right by the front right tyre after standing straight and still for a moment to try and determine exactly where the wind was coming from looking (I hoped) like a very serious meteorologist. I put water to boil in my one good-for-all-jobs pot, which was heavy and good quality and which I had bought for eighteen bucks when I first got to Australia and had that kind of money to throw around.

“Hey man!” I said suddenly looking up from my pot and pointing out to sea, “did anyone just see that? Was that lightning?”. And out to the west was the most strange yet familiar bank of cloud like the type you get over the African savanna, long and low, with the sun deep orange and leaving us, lighting the bottom of the bank in a warm glow. I watched again, and a couple of the others put down the things they were busying themselves with and looked out, and we all stood there silent in the wind that whistled in towards us angrily, and waited for something to happen. Sure enough, and silent as the brooding water below, a gush of lightning dashed downwards, hot and yellow and completely unlike the white-blue lightning I know from back home, and then another strike, and another.

“Putain!” Quebec shouted and immediately took off up the road, pumping his big frame like a piston in an engine, and Luc followed after him, slower and shoeless and cradling a bowl of pasta and sour cream…

A Poem For An Old Laptop

You were always petite,
with your thirteen inch screen
sometimes I had to squint
to catch the fine print,
though more often than not
I didn’t read it – I trusted you.

Someone else’s hands had been all over you
before we even met,
I dread to think
about the fingers thick as sausage links
dipped into salsa bowls with chips
slip and sliding on your keys;
oh you were cleaned
but pressing my ear to your alphabet
I swear sometimes I could hear his heavy breathing.

We’ve spent three years together,
travelled three countries together,
and the crack in your face
screams ‘relationships need structure!’,
however, I never thought the day would come
when you wouldn’t boot up first time.

When you went completely blind
at first I was frustrated,
but part of me knew our time was near;
I hooked you up to a life-support machine,
your stretched insides on someone else’s screen
said to me ‘what kind of life is this?’.

My eyes were moist as I packed away our things;
poems, sketches, pictures and Cvs;
I’m sure you took longer than usual,
but who could blame you
for toeing the dirt
while waiting for the final ride
for which I’ll catch alone this time,
you turned off
for good this time,

Goodbye my friend,



For a second I didn’t know what it was,
and then I realised and I bellowed
and I sailed through the lights laughing,
near blind, tears streaking the muck
on my cheeks as the road fogged
and the blacks and whites swam and cuddled and kissed,
and it felt like the first spoonful of steaming stew
and crusty buttered bread of country lane winter,
like churned up mud and chocolate milk puddles
and the tiny flowers that grow in grass,
haven’t you seen them? Look –

and it felt like not being guilty and not being blamed
and I saw death like a lamppost
and red became green
and I laughed
and I laughed
deaf to the sirens
and death to job
I knew my family
loved me
wherever I was

Song For O

Take it
you said, note between your two forefingers
crumpled, mauve,
still alien after eight months.
I know you got it hard
you said

Yes – poor me
my poor alarm set
sentimental to five to five
the pain in my back
a light sleeper
piercing like a crow’s call
as I move
like a clumsy astronaut,
gravity and all the stars against him
alone in space,
through the compression chamber
to the driver’s seat.

I might have agreed, at least in part
if I hadn’t heard your tale
told around the totalled nose
of your four by four;
a misunderstanding with a tree.

And you told it laughing
and with false starts,
complete with tangents, stops
and distractions,
How you almost lost your little finger
preparing chicken for your dinner
How all you wanted was a simple life
How you almost came to kill your wife
How psychologists will never get
the feeling of a child dead
How you sold Ice to jump past your backward steps
How you might end it all ’cause you’ve nothing left
And that pretty much brings us up to speed
to the misunderstanding with a tree.

I stood in wonder
cloaked in the dark
and marvelled at your world,
a world which made atomic blasts
look like mere children’s toys,
and the next morning
at five to five
I woke easy,
took a breath,


He’s close enough to sink
into the swirling galaxies
and worlds of her pores, close
enough to struggle
in the whirlpool and torrents of hair
fanned in ceremony
upon the grass.
Flowers of a rose hue
grow quietly out of themselves,
each petal like a written word
spoken confidently aloud
and there can never be silence.
The wind anxiously rattles on
it speaks of scalpels
of drills
and machines of war
words which patter
harmless as hail
against a yawning deafness
born when their finger tips first touched.


I spied it in your eyes, caught grey
and wistful and dangerous
spluttering I pulled, pulled
as if trying to clear a flooded engine,
and keenly with my ear I listened for a gag
or else something guttural
that meant life.

The hum of silence
seemed unnatural
the anxious throes, rigid, worried,
in our home-made mausoleum
to the sickly notes
of some stranger’s laughter-
my ears flat to skull in hot flesh
truth whistled soaring past
in that vacuum I heard the answer
but I couldn’t understand a word.