Schliemann’s fumbling kin
forced Delphic rifts right here

dug deep and exhumed the dead
the Pythia of consumption

her brown body under the lamps
carboniferous for miles

jungle upon jungle
rows of tygers covering spoor

beware the claws ten foot high
Puss in Boots leaves his marks

Little Red Raincoat Hood
is bending, squinting

Blake’s infinity picked up
in the tread of her gumboot

the hard packed earth
does not speak but it can draw

she-oak split like a trinity
and octagonal beech

mount and fix, lower the coverslip
but the image slides away

wear the safety hat
the mist gets into your pores

pollen under fingernails
coarse soap blacker than coal

which you now know
in all its ash-soft delicacy

earth burned in offering
lest sacrilege be repaid

the Late Cretaceous
dances down the drain

water flowing out of the world
memories that must be kept wet

to balance small against large
tears against fire






All of my idols worn smooth by the wind

Lack mouths to advise me.

Salt has danced tattoos on my lenses,

On my cheekbones, but it sends

No intelligible codes today.

I am dried out.

I have sat in the mud and shrunk down

Into a crab. I disappeared into my mother

Fingers first, leaving no castings behind me.

Those tunnels hold no secrets now.

Eldritch pipes erode the grey shoreline

At my ear’s entrance. All the whorl’s a stage,

But no libretto will embroider these howls.

The beach has lost the voice

That spoke to me once in my own tones.

A hard passionate pulse

Grows fur at the edges of my eyes.

My fingers are at low tide.

The breath needed for new songs

Mutes my keening limbs,

Pulling inspiration through a cracked straw.

Broken friends, let us croak by the estuary

Of primeval Lethe, gulping down the mud,

Drinking to the last breath.

Together let us paint squeezebox songs

And sing them to old, uncaring gods.



walking the thin line through the columbarium

imagine that you see me and take me down

from a dusty niche

funerary urns

hold the dry ash

ash goes in and is never meant to come out


hold the thin oil

grown stale from waiting at the graveside

I’d like to ask you a favour

shape me

but not like this

make me something less ceremonial

more practical

your wet fingers

describe the line from my waist up over my shoulder

in an unbroken curve

forming me from red clay

spin me

with each excited motion of your right foot

driving the treadle

I will turn to face you and then away

and then to face you again

as I change day to day

showing you new faces

delicate white with a long nose

or the gorgon at my breast

let us try to make sense of this vessel

so easy to break and ready to hold so much

as you release the large handles for carrying

and take hold of the slender handle for pouring

rest me in your lap

not on a table or the floor

keep me close

keep safe the contents

that you have filled me with


sweet water

coursing from me

that’s it, wipe my cheeks