hot hits


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hot hits

one lazy day in the softcore
70s summer holidays,
he comes home clutching
a handful of hit parade LPs,
salvaged from a council
compulsory purchase order.

someone’s home’s suddenly
swept from under them
by multiple forms
and modernity,
seized for the sake
of the new shopping centre.
the wrecking ball of progress
smashes through their lives
and will not be denied.

mantelpiece photos,
odd bricks of lego,
and seaside souvenirs,
they leave with their memories,
and a new colour TV;
and he idly scavenges
from what’s left behind.

the scantily clad
album cover girls
pose seductively
in hot pants and
white leather boots,
or draped suggestively
over motorbikes.

bored to death with glamour,
pouting at you from the past,
their crushed velvet
deep cleavage world,
acceptable sex objects
for middle-aged married men,
their faces empty
as if their souls
had been erased
by key lights and pan-stik.

all night stand


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the roguish old rockstar
flirts relatively freely
with all and sundry
who fall in his radius,
as irresistible as his 60s self,
a satyr in his own

his radiance transcends the years;
even perceived infirmity
can render them
against that
inimitably impish smile.

his charisma exerts itself,
an umbilicus composed
of years of adoration,
the mouth still seductive,
if the teeth less secure,
his girlfriend’s guiding hand
on his shoulder, generous
with her bounty, but pulling rank
when fans break bounds.




Photo from original satsang weekend



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sprung from a storybook,
this fierce hellenic youth,
descended from olympus,
slipping in sandaled feet
on the dusty winding paths
through ancient gnarled
olive groves that cling to
the hillsides for dear life,
the sea’s salt breath
in his face and hair,
a fresh and free caress.
his head sometimes
in the heavens,
as he surveys
the coruscating mantle
of earth below
as if it is his to put on
or shrug off exactly
as he pleases.

‘Leventeia’ = Greek term for reckless bravado and panache.
Photo of Stefanos Tsitsipas from youtube.
Here is the first in a trilogy of poems about Sascha Zverev. 



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a persistent mildew of misery
settles in the skeleton
of the suburban semi-detached,
malignancy lingers like an unquiet spirit.
the echoes of endless arguments
reverberate within its walls
and all its experiences are tarnished
by a sediment of discontent,
the sour lees of sorrow.

all at the mercy of the man’s moods,
wound tight as the springs
of the stainless steel chest expander,
its teal blue handles shaped for fingers,
that he works with a vengeance
in the bedroom each morning,
gearing up with gritted teeth
to unleash the fury of the day.

Photo of Spenby chest expander from ebay.



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lonely boat

you and I it turned out –
some sad burlesque
of a real relationship –
boats that passed
and paused a while –
bow to bow
without ever getting
to anchor.

a string of hectic episodes
that never hung together right,
a fractured narrative
of neglect, betrayal, loss,
your unforgiving
hierarchy of value.

one of us bound for
rocky waters,
the other distant shores.
I wonder now –
did we ever really
know each other at all?


Photo of boat in Ireland (Roundstone) by Belinda



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DSC06089 (2)

focused on a 229
stopped at the light,
we trespass
through the corner
of a death.

a side gate open
into the churchyard
at holy trinity,
its tidy flowerbeds
and fallen statuary,
a shortcut that sees us
stumble blindly,
uninvited, into
someone else’s tragedy.

running full pelt,
we’re brought up short
by the funeral party,
as if caught running
in the corridor at school.

sheepish and humbled,
we mumble ‘sorry’s,
cross ourselves and scurry on,
skirting the edges of misfortune
as if a patch of muddy ground
on a sunday morning ramble,

weaving our way between
the coffin and the hearse,
the mourners and the undertaker’s men,
the living and the dead.

Photo of churchyard statuary at Holy Trinity, Sidcup by Belinda



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me and dad

my dad is dying and I don’t believe it.
we waste so much time at war,
engaged in battle on a million fronts:
the utter absence of truth,
the preponderance of lies.
I’m so angry it eats me up
and I completely fail to see
till he’s too weak to argue any more,
that he’s wasting away before my eyes.

corona means I can’t hold him,
this shrunken, helpless, incontinent,
trembling bundle of bones.
and I discover too late
that I love him despite
our horrible history, the long list
of grievances I keep in my head.

I can’t bear to see him suffer
and so I find all of a sudden
that I can let go of the past,
the cruelty, the hair-trigger temper,
the dark years of dictatorship
lived tentatively on the foothills
of his volcanic wrath.

my heart breaks
and compassion
is like a wound
that starts bleeding
and won’t stop
and the blood washes away
everything but love.

Photo of me and my Dad by Sally Jones (Sally Mussett as was)



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new eltham library

escaping the stifling confines
of a smugly overheated
suburban branch library,
outside, perched on the edge
of a bench cold as despair.

overtaken by the flash flood
of a hot flush pressed like an iron
to the base of the back
of her neck
an energy saving bulb
of intense fever,
turning her ears scarlet.

this icy spot the usual preserve
of a homeless man, often burdened
with unwieldy bundles
of belongings. around the co-op
he shambles aimlessly,
in hope of charity,
the other shoppers repelled
by his centrifugal fug.

for he came complete
with his own peculiar miasma,
of unwashed and ceased to care.
it preceded him, a tolling bell,
and lingered long after his parting,
as though his presence stained the air.

Image of New Eltham Library from flickr.



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the golden-headed
golden-limbed first
flush of freedom people,
all privilege and polish
once school has
finished them off.

you’re heliotropic
and they pull you in,
smile you a perfect white
welcome, drawing you close
like the family you will never be.

you bask and blossom in
reflected radiance, feel
all of a sudden, enchanted.
flourish as their protégé,
turn your face to their brilliance
and drink in belonging

but you are expendable,
cursed with a short shelf life
in their martini advert world,
slaughtered on the altar
of their discrimination.

casually callous,
no longer charmed,
covering a yawn with a hand,
they cast you aside
like a withered bouquet
and you are walking through
an endless winter storm, alone
always and forever alone.
you wrecked yourself on their shore.

Photo of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law in The Talented Mr Ripley.