the flow of our over

The past does not return, nor do past loves.

They languish, slump, fall into ruts:

we try to recreate that first-time wow

but bypass that love, end up fisticuffs.

And so a river passes under our pain:

what part of us can bear to love again?

Much easier to blame, provoke insane.

Under the Pont Mirabeau flows the Seine.

Through my father’s lens

If I look at my work through my father’s old lens,

I can only see fatal flaws.

If I look at my work, check down and not up,

I’m only fit for a crippling critique.

If I view my work through his envious look,

I can sense his blue eyes go glazed:

his look can melt my cast-iron talent

to a wobbly, kiln-broken mess.

But the lens through which he has cast his spell

has been buried five years and ten.

At what point can I say ‘enough’ to his hold,

and deny his dream-hogging blitz?

My real dad’s been dead a decade and a half.

But the inner one just can’t let go.

OK, so I’m loyal to my daddy by birth.

But there’s a time and a place for loyalty and guilt.

Instead of looking down my father’s old lens,

perhaps it’s time to write my own script.


Loss: the unsaid

 Loss speeds alone; angry car drive

unpleasant. Duck, dive, dodge;

sneaky sideways swerve

leaves the South London visitor

outmanoeuvred. In the funeral lodge,

wishing she’d ever had the nerve

to address the issues she’s never dared.

Long-gone relatives leave memories dislodged.

Maybe black and bruised was all she deserved.

An imagined apology from my abusive mother

My love in life was seeing the world.

To be precise, it was sunning my soul.


I came alive on my summer holiday:

my skin could cope with all those rays.


My problem was, I couldn’t see beyond

those speckles of sun. I was just too fond


of easy-bronzed skin to see that my girls

were curled to wizened, before-their-time whirls.


A strip of hurt they might just tolerate

but, in later years, they felt victims of Fate.


It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t really know

that love and abuse could be bedfellows.


I thank the wisdom of my first-girl is called

to cancel the bits that left her appalled.


She learnt from me how to be what I’m not:

she’s now reaching out to heal what I hurt.

A poem for my third day of grief

inktuition broken flower

I know all about the shock that comes

with that sense of leaden dread:

it’s all over now.

We’re talking definitive adieu:

no more chances for ciao.

I know all about the stages of grief,

but knowing won’t numb my pain.

Shock, anger and denial,

depression and then acceptance?

Yeah. But MY loss can’t be so contained.

A poem for Good Friday

inktuition good fridayI’ve always wondered what was hiding in Good

about a Friday that foretells a death,

where a revered man is nailed to a cross

with the scent of vinegar on his breath.

Dying he destroys our sins

is the story I’ve been told.

But what the story means to me

is a transforming that will unfold.

I had to explain, one random year

To an au pair of Easter knew nought.

So I explained that trust and hope and faith

can get lost in the cycles we’re caught.


We’re meant to believe that all will be right,

when cometh that sacred relief,

But when agony pricks the white of my eyes

I’m tumbling into my own grief.

Metaphor’s the cross, I know all of that

because problems resolve in their time.

Let it go, they say. Let fate do its work,

let your bum note again find its rhyme.