I watch a spider struggle against 

the imitation marble vinyl sticker bathroom tiles 

I watch you type and undo and type 

and undo as you decide what not to tell me 

I watch a woman share a cigarette 

with her prepubescent son

I watch the stretched reflection 

of a man in a bus window he turns 

his spaghetti eyes towards mine and 

in the dream it is my lover 

even though it isn’t

I watch the murky yellow rectangle in my ceiling 

fade to blue and soon pink and then to pure white

CHLORINE

Jasmine and talc 

on a wrist extended 

across my cheek

perpendicular

 

the tendons backlit 

vein blue and bracelet, she, 

taut grip, hip to hip

against the swaying 

of the bus,  I think of 

 

swimming lessons

    and the clean after

towel dry, hair tousled 

white dust on a 

rubber cap, pink slap 

and blush, the chill grit 

of changing room and

tiles and

 

holding hands home 

    the sunlit asphalt warming 

our white socked feet 

DREAM

 

Trying to sleep and body feels like flickering 

You are a thing like a large strong fish muscular 

weight twisting and flaying in my arms kicking 

your spine and I’m trying to grapple 

VAPE

 

Warm round punch inside 

A pinch, a scraping breeze 

Top of the warmth, a thin chill

Enough to discolour it 

 

And sticky thumbs 

This shiny monolith failing 

Under them 

 

Yesterday I rode through the blue vape plume 

Of a man who crossed the cycle lane 

And it was burnt butterscotch

Yellow brown 

Stain in the quick cold air

 

Breezy, unsettled, 

Why does spring always feel shifting 

Like flippant, like jolt, flap of startled dove

like an edge you can’t judge, just have to keep 

Tiptoeing

 

CONCERTINA

here’s when I miss it, though thought I never would:

a spit of sunlight bent over the wood like 

gold, like cruel 

saturday, airless room

the long slack mouth

of an hourless day sprawled and me 

left to suspend and to hear the clock chipping

at the seconds one by one by 

singular but lost amongst each other and

the house is a maze 

though I well know where the door is

 

(easier to dwindle 

twist in front of a silent

mirror reflection creak

floorboards, go, go, 

get outside/take a walk/please)

 

Outside wind throwing rain like rice at the glass

and humming in all the cracks, a

 

thin day, thin tension-film spread

taut and lucid/miniscus/I, 

balancing finely 

though heavy-footed

though footstepping the family agoraphobia 

though unscheduled seance 

 

Three years concertina collapse

To a neat little bullet, a 

Pin-prick thorn to carry in my side

And seep out on days like this the slow coffee-shop saturdays

(And really we’d just bicker and I’d panic about

productivity and you’d drink it all up your 

stupid blind optimism that I never did get a share of)

Felt a distant rumbling in me like thunder oncoming, felt low chattering like talking when the TV’s on and can’t listen to either, felt like left the hob on, felt like drifted far away from my cluster of things on the beach, need to wade back, can’t pick it out in the distance, felt the dark blue and grey white noise with the yellow pollution the nearer sounds occasionally punctuating, punctured, percussion-like, felt limb laid on limb like a closed birthday card and finally fell asleep. 

SPLIT

I clawed around for a semblance 

head in palm, 

heel of hand 

The bone curved and 

hard and 

skin, a mediator 

 

A carved-out space 

warm and hungered 

Heavy trodden

Towards a split,

The split.

 

How to split this?

 

 

Pins and needles set in 

thick 

Thick and

Fast,

 

Prickling

Clinging 

Fickle 

Fucked.

 

Nail-biting display

In the low light 

In the warm thighs

In the hair-raising 

Belly-full

 

What?

What?

 

Language circling

Your rhetorical questions

falling flat 

I take each thing and 

show it back to you

What do you what 

do you mean 

by that?

CONTINGENCY

 

I    feel  a  little    sick   at the 

        thought     of     it

something    not     yet     uncurled
but         ticking       away

like   that   swallowed       clock

in      the                   crocodile.

 

And   the air is    sucked up    before a storm,   I

  dwindle    and    circle

     a  ridge      in    my     mind,
a      balancing        act

     of  nausea            and

               sweetness

between     the        interstices
                     of         conversation

and       in the             silence

of     a      bike    ride,             blind,

guilt    -    stricken

           yet         gripping it         wholly,

 

Couldn’t  leave   it  alone  if   I   tried.

APRIL

storm flies oscillating

low against the spattered tarmac

of white blossom smeared and

                       bark mashed

the pain of yellow calyces breaking

silently and

              walking circular I

saw something in the mundane

the duck pond picnics vacant

grass blue with goose shit

and warmth fusty in the air like

sweating, like about to lose it

RUNNING TOWARDS AN EDGE AND NOT 

KNOWING WHERE THE EDGE IS

cloying in the mouth a flat 

film, a diaphragm tongue I 

sit on a hard ridge I suck

my stomach in 

 

pulse, is a levelling 

lopsided gallop and 

you bloom again in the 

back of my neck 

I cannot ditch the twisting feeling

of something unfinished.  

 

Is a moment ever its own? 

or only an oscillation between 

the just-now

and the now you apprehend and

apprehends you -  

A running back and forth

between what was, 

what might

and what 

should.  

 

I remember how surely 

You once placed each foot: 

One and then the Other 

down carpeted school corridors, 

Proud and hands pocketed 

Towards the future in fact 

You consumed that distance 

Readily.

BRYONY

DAWSON