, , , , , , ,


a dead net cord

is an affront

to his soul,

he stands


as nakedly


as a child denied,

this bewitching blend

of petulant and


he blows

hot and cold

with fortune’s


his talent

a given,

a ticket

to glory,

his rise



he blazes

a trail

and scatters


shattered and


like so much

tumbled debris

in his fiery wake.

Elemental‘ is the first in a trilogy of poems about Sascha Zverev. The second is ‘Adolescent‘ and the third ‘Disarmed‘.




, , , , , , ,


he’s far away in his head

from bullies in the hall at break.

whereas thoughts fizz

fruitlessly in her skull

like a wasp caught in a jam jar.

he’s not wasting time


clever comebacks

he’ll never dare utter.

he is removed from pain,

absenting himself

from the narrow worlds

of hurt and revenge,

refusing to engage,

his grey eyes as clear

and uncompromised

as a winter sky.

[My So-called Life was the best high school drama ever made.]




, , , , , , ,

sasha close copy

a teenage tennis up and comer,

capricious as an easter breeze,

unlevelheaded as a maiden in love

in a highstrung bronte

tragical historical romance.

wilful with the whims of the

unfairly cossetted youngest son,

headstrong and mettlesome

as a colt all at once

let loose in a fallow field.

protests, remonstrates,

melodramatic as a princess

in a whirlwind of temper

with her rolling-eyed retinue.

he overflows with righteous indignation,

a frothy head of hard done by,

foaming up fast as shaken soda,

moments later subsiding into

the lingering mild resentment

of a schoolboy scolded out of turn.

he is girlish with youth and giddiness

and wild as a storm on the sea.

Elemental‘ is the first in a trilogy of poems about Sascha Zverev. The second is ‘Adolescent‘ and the third ‘Disarmed‘.




, , , , , , ,















you ride with him


the emotional

roller coaster of youth.


avert your gaze

from a discharge

of pent up rage.


but your soft centre

can still be touched

by his broken-heartedness,

his disappointment

as tangible to the onlooker

as a grazed elbow,

nursed with a pout

after a playground tumble.


he redlines,


survives on the edge of glory.

yields utterly,

tragically, to despair,

then surfaces like a

long distance swimmer

coming up for air.



issues orders

and demands,

tosses his head

like a prima donna

expecting tribute.

but his sudden sweet smile

or heartfelt hug on victory


melts antagonisms

cancels doubts,


minor misdemeanours

from your memory,

reels you right back in,

in some uncanny reversal

of catch and release.

Elemental‘ is the first in a trilogy of poems about Sascha Zverev. The second is ‘Adolescent‘ and the third ‘Disarmed‘.






, , , , ,


he vouchsafes you

an empty smile as of someone

just bested in an argument

outwardly mild but at heart

dangerous as a cornered animal.


his beauty’s that of the wild

windswept coast.

he’s possessed by momentum,

seizes life by the throat.

his eyes whiplash

defiance into submission.


lacerated by the flashing

blades of passion,

you lick your wounds

behind a locked door.

his gaze can laser through defences,

sear through to the marrow.


but when the rage relents,

the calm after the storm

makes you sigh like a weary traveller

who’s turned his head for home.




, , , ,

Shafts of sunlight falling through storm clouds

Shafts of sunlight falling through storm clouds

a skiving off shopping

saturday afternoon

with the sun

sending down

slim spears

of lemonade light

against a canvas of pewter,

broken by an inexplicable

bright patch of white,

as if randomly scrubbed out

by a gigantic child

armed with an enormous eraser.


Image from



, , , , , , ,

feel the fire scalding my back,

a sharp electric heat.

kneeling on the floor,

arms around myself,

listening to the boys

of summer,

swaying back and forth.

remembering the open-windowed

sounds of june days in the park –

kids playing, cars and radios

and rushing over pell-mell

when a tennis court comes free.

I’m cold but the room

smells of burning.

it’s february – the weather

is bitter, paying us back

for still hot sun-drenched days,

for too much free time,

for daring to think we’d never

have to settle down to this.




, , , , ,

I simmer with the feverish seediness

of someone who’s gone back to bed

in all their clothes,

way under the weather.

I am crumpled and greasy

as a soiled napkin

after takeaway pizza.

undead with sleeplessness,

a sick heaviness in my head,

my mind leaden and blank,

despair coiled in my intestines

like a snare laid by some malevolent god.



, , , , , ,

wasteland around graceland

we traipse through memphis in a sad dry dusk,

along the never-ending heartbroken boulevard,

busted concrete cooling in the vast vacant lots,

decades of trampled neglect and born again defeat,

once thriving concerns derelict and barb-wired off,

exposed like the underside of an upturned rock.

the stench of the hot punishment of the day,

fades to a less aggressive version of itself,

as if someone remote-controlled it down

in time with the dwindling brilliance,

and you feel the earth decide enough’s enough

and gently ease the pressure off.



, , , ,

my mind flings open the doors

of conception and poems spill out,

chattering children freed by the bell

from the temporary hell of a classroom,

they push and shove and jostle

for position.


words wind themselves around my legs

crafty as cats craving attention;

or they erupt like drunks at a wedding,

uninhibited and brash,

kicking up a commotion

in the corner of my eye.


my metre is unmoored,

ungovernable as an autistic child

screaming in the middle of the street.

images emerge like photos

in a developing tank,

slowly take shape,

acquire light and shade and definition.


my verses are unbridled,

a shoal of silver fish tipped from a net

flapping on the slick boat deck,

gasping hard and

drowning in air.


they shake off form

like dogs out of a river,

ready to rampage after rabbits

through a hazy summer meadow.



, , , , , ,

colour accenton a lonely night with no prospects

you choose to wallow in regrets.

even unsummoned,

they rise up all around you

like cemetery corpses

in a bad zombie b movie,

impossible to ignore.

they compete for attention

and you register each one,

a bulb being drained of energy by degrees,

till your light is faint and faltering,

stricken and enfeebled,

and you have no strength to break free.


Photo of Cumberland Gap by Belinda


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