The Clearing

  1. By the age of five
  2. we’d replaced it all
  3. with piecing together.
  4. The relation of things,
  5. their graphic stamp,
  6. countered with language,
  1. with words that lurk in the shadow of
  2. their own discarded hull,
  3. a broken oath,
  4. silence unknown,
  5. with finding
  6. another way,
  1. scrubbing over,
  2. as simple as never
  3. still among them
  4. as they are never
  5. still around me.
  6. Three years later,
  1. he’s the same,
  2. the crowd is
  3. gathering
  4. in the midst,
  5. the indistinct,
  6. the borrowed force of voice.


  1. ohhhhhh
  2. that is unber leaver
  3. can I can I
  4. tell you something
  1. force of voice
  2. a blurt of questions
  3. remember when
  4. no observation
  1. the open window
  2. the breeze and diesel
  3. the engine outside ticking over
  4. the cold against the
  1. heat of cover
  2. the air beneath is
  3. why I
  4. opened
  1. blurt of questions
  2. what how what when
  3. when you but still
  4. I hear him sing
  1. ing by
  2. the gate
  3. hello hello hell
  4. o everybody
  1. I hear his fidget
  2. his shuffling feet
  3. slope shouldered
  4. the others do the same
  5. but pass me by
  6. I am too keen
  1. to hear
  2. the momentary
  3. spill
  4. to notice
  1. that night
  2. never taken
  3. taking hold
  4. of me

The Chair

  1. a night of sitting
  2. on the chair in his room
  3. waiting for
  4. the rain to stop.
  1. Unmoved by knowing
  2. that lull running under
  3. his waking to answer
  4. my absence with
  1. a volley of tailed
  2. loanword prayers,
  3. threats, pleas
  4. and calls.
  1. Of heading out
  2. into the night,
  3. stuck close to the river
  4. and tracking its rise
  1. until,
  2. as the morning comes,
  3. a stop to sit
  4. and look.

The Flood

  1. I’d watched an old woman up on the bridge shake her head at the flooded footpath and lift her bag of bread over the wall, emptying it into the river.
  2. She didn’t bother staying to see if the birds came
  3. and they didn’t.
  1. They had all withdrawn.
  2. The swans through the open tour boat gate
    1. and the grey heron
    2. to the weeds and willow
  3. on the bank beside the railway line.
  1. All but a few of the gulls had gathered
  2. in the rain filled burrows of the cricket pitch
  3. and those that were left
  4. had followed the swans
    1. to the bench
    2. or perched
    3. by where I’d sat.
  1. The river was even higher that day.
  1. High enough to cover the path
    1. and the mooring fence.
    2. Scaffold poles
  2. had held the narrowboats in place.
  1. And, although the weir was covered,
  2. its shape was still outlined
  3. by its backflow and break, but its
  4. rumble had come and almost gone.
  5. Within a minute of heading off
    1. I couldn’t hear it at all.
    2. In fact
    1. as I got closer to home
    2. the river’s sounds stilled
  1. despite its speed and
  1. all I heard was the church bells
  2. or the bleared tick of a bilge pump
  3. and the lap of the water it pushed out
  4. hitting the passing current.


  1. When I got back
  2. there was
  3. when I
  4. when you
    1. When
    2. you

Night Swimming

  1. When you admit that it need not be him,
  2. it is the alonewith of water,
    1. what is caught,
      1. if not grace,
      2. in its gathering and
      3. each and every descent, in turn,
  3. no change from your own, two feet on each step
  4. and something like a presence.
  1. Or the last time you notice the flavour to the air
  2. of distant traffic and wild garlic —
  3. brittle, dormant, slight —
  4. buried with every strip of you that
  5. loosens its weight to the mould until
  1. your shoulders ease and your ears fill
  2. with the bruised overspend of the sound
  3. of spoken words — no need to know —
  4. your hands unclenched, resigned to the blight
  5. of what was washed from the others.


  1. I followed the tunnel, looking ahead for the moving lights among the white and blue on the wall, the music played. Once I was sure there was no one else around, I pushed through the gears, gaining momentum, through the exit, the trees and in to the next. Out the other side and up the rise and the path that led through the park. I waited for the traffic to pass and joined the main road before swinging down Holloway. Freewheeling, I hit the descent and felt the cold of my speed and the wind in my ears. Between the wall, dashed line and parked cars, I made the corner and saw the city laid out between the trees. I braked too late, both wheels caught the edge of the ice and the bike slipped from under me. I heard myself yell as the saddle jarred my groin and my hip and shoulder slapped and skimmed the ground. But wasn’t down for long. I pulled myself up and walked at the side of the road. I remembered being a child, racing round the block, one at a time, against the clock. My brother had taken too long and some of the others had gone to find him. Going back inside, my mother nursing him in the lounge, his face cut up by the fall, she had told me he’d lost consciousness. At the bottom of the hill, I fixed the position of my handlebars and saddle and rode home.


  1. When I’d get back
  2. there’d be no one awake
  3. to witness my return.
  1. No one to know
  2. like for you that night
  3. that I
  1. had
  2. been
  3. gone.
  1. been gone
  2. and done
  1. gone
  2. and done
    1. for go on
    2. through
    3. with
  1. doing and undoing
    1. doing
    2. and undoing
  1. sloughed off
  1. the rivers-s-sounds-s-stilled
    1. done
    2. and
    3. undone
    1. done
    2. and
    3. un
    4. done
  1. done
  1. and
  1. un-nnn
  1. done
    1. What seems to matter
    2. most is to be
    1. on the inside,
    2. patched to this
    1. scrap of road by the
    2. cluster of the crowd,
    1. the faith, the press
    2. of lilting bodies,
    1. blocked views and barriers,
    2. the hush which lags
    1. behind each rider
    2. never quite resolved.
    1. Only the sounds
    2. make it over —
    1. crossing points closed, we
    2. chat through the tells
    1. of the helicopter
    2. and chaperone and
    1. then, at last,
    2. the bike’s own tapered
    1. hum — a spooling
    2. whirr and warp,
    1. drowned by the cheers,
    2. our last lean in
    1. close enough to
    2. grub a bite of
    1. this constant and
    2. verging, concealing,
    1. creatureless
    2. stillness.



    1. Afterwards, we head
    2. back along the course,
    1. careful not to
    2. step from the pavement
    1. as you don’t
    2. trust the cars
    1. to stay away.
    2. We watch the
    1. national anthem
    2. on a stranger’s
    1. TV which they
    2. have brought out to
    1. their garden.
    2. Before turning back
    1. to the road and
    2. two Chinese race
    1. walkers training
    2. for their event.

2013/2014 – Family Enclosure – Book No. 00005

  1. always
  2. watching not
  3. always
  4. watching
  5. un til
  1. the forced borrow in his voice
  2. tack lim tack lim tack lim
  3. they keep them out
  4. I say it’s worked and
  5. he believes me
  1. this barren
  2. trust in words
  3. I’ve given
  4. before is gone
  5. and what is left
  1. my own nostalgia
  2. always there
  3. the curtains
  4. open to the dark even
  5. ing rain
  1. in the
  2. uncompleted
  3. of I
  4. I breathe in the breath
  5. of the cold
  1. the burnt grease
  2. deep heat
  3. cigarillo
  4. smoke muffle
  5. clamped applause
  1. step off
  2. into
  3. the nothing
  4. coming
  5. step off into
  1. the coming after
  2. re-en
  3. actment
  4. hand pull walking hand
  5. written lists
  1. the luminous under
  2. bunched black letters
  3. are we past
  4. I’ll tell you when
  5. are we past
  1. I’ll tell you what when
  2. who if he can I
  3. we go behind and he
  4. bellow fulls
  5. they didn’t hear me
  1. refusing to hear
  2. more
  3. like
  4. him than them
  5. and he
  6. alone
  1. breaks the silence
  2. we stand against
  3. have formed to take absence
  4. he can’t
  5. ignore
  6. the brackets and presence

this ground is a memorial


  1. to say that it is not absence is to
  2. tell us nothing, the resemblance
  3. is enough to set it alongside
  1. when one thing becomes another
  2. when something that is becomes nothing
  3. or the nothing left by becoming something
  1. forgetting a name
  2. lost ways of telling
  3. too late to answer
  1. the blow fueled edge
  2. of conscioussness returning
  3. the door checked twice
  1. knowing that you will forget again
  2. the gaps made by art
  3. filled
  1. the gaps filled
  2. by that
  3. masked as art
  1. childlike unnoticing
  2. replaced by the feel
  3. of the dirt we’ve no need to confirm
  1. imagined
  2. as we wipe it from their hands
  3. brayed
  1. reduced or overwhelmed by
  2. the part outside
  3. its own compactness
  1. each new thing
  2. the noise rooted in quiet and uncertainty
  3. the moments that I go missing
  1. mistaken for pauses
  2. coincidence unaddressed
  3. inarticulate
  1. the feeling that memory is absent
  2. when it should be triggered as the
  3. room is lit fully from outside
  1. both windows
  2. resisting the shadow
  3. of the other


  1. without judgement
  2. these absences are all we have
  1. I think of going back
  2. following the path and the scheme of trees
  1. through the other gardens
  2. over each fence
  1. when I get to what was ours
  2. the path is gone
  1. just a line trodden in the mud
  2. leaf spine and mulch
  1. a growing welt
  2. holding each step
  1. another walk
  2. the sound of the bourne
  1. like someone is coming
  2. I think of the space
  1. caged by the trunks of the tree
  2. the saw mark
  1. finding and leaving the dead cubs
  2. for someone else to clear


  1. For a moment
    1. the sun picks out the shadows
    2. holding
  2. a patch of the far wall
  3. the wires rigged
  4. steam or smoke rising in the window
  1. the sheer whiteness
  2. covering.
    1. It is its own
    2. threshold.
    1. It is an entrance
    2. into itself.
  1. No memories
  2. all memory
  3. the lines of the brickwork disappear
  1. shaking loose
  2. the glare of lost things
  3. renamed, recounting on
  4. and on
  5. it passes through
  1. the heard, shed
  2. crowing