the one who gets under my skin

the one who gets under my skin

is needy, lays back,

waiting to be fed;

but what I put on the plate

will never be enough:

it’s too late, too meagre,

too tasteless, too wrong.


the most sumptuous feast

will never sate

the appetite that devours;

bones are sucked dry

teeth are picked

a sneer that reeks of menace

mocks my begging bowl

as I wait for a tiny morsel

of gratitude.


I won’t stop cooking for good

but I have to stop buttering you up

with dishes I don’t even like,

puddings far too fancy

mains that betray their true meat,

and sides that sell their soul.

I have to accept, finally,

that even the finest recipe

made to your exacting order

will leave me tasting your bile.

stars in disguise

The melancholy moon, with a

bite out of its side,

does a smiley for the stars


The constellated night jewels

catch my breath,

lining up for their sightly


Minor. Major.

Who cares what key

they play their twinkly

chords in.

Their well-placed face,

their bling, their show,

will make the dark more


Yet the brightest one

I only have eyes for:

It squeezes my heart’s


For Day Two of NaPoWriMo: a poem about stars

I can’t find my mother

I can’t find my mother in work,

but I can locate her

in the deepest of hurts.

I can’t find my mother when I drive,

as people cut me up, in the

conflict they contrive.

I can’t find my mother when I cry

for what I’ve lost

and my lungs are turned dry.

I can’t find my mother in love

that’s pretend; a glamour

that’s just a rubber glove.

I can’t find my mother when

betrayal means bereft.

There’s nothing left then.

leaning into the lonely

There’s a magnetic lean to the front

of the elderly, knowing they’re dying.

Will I be next, they say

as their curiosity bends in

to smell the freshly tossed earth,

circling the inevitable grave.

There’s a reticence from the heart

of the broken soul knowing it’s over.

Will I finally leave, they ask,

as they submit to one more abuse

from a partner who says they deserve it.

When will alone beat feeling lonely?

feeling dismissed

I’m trying to talk,

you look at your watch.

I want your time

but you’re far too cross.

Those lines on your forehead

show you’re far too busy

to raise your glance or

heed the neediest me.

I pluck up some puff

to express how I feel

but your eyes become glazed.

My spine loses its steel.

So what I really want to say

feels unworthy, goes unsaid.

All I want’s a shred of praise

But I flush with shame instead.

I never was, and won’t ever be

enough to be front of mind.

The words I speak to you are mute.

By dismissal I’m undermined.

So I stop showing myself out loud

The treasure is hidden deep.

It’s only my words that know the secrets

my sorry heart’s been forced to keep.

Why I’m tired of being bereaved

 It’s fifteen short years – today – since my dad passed away.

Five long months since my mum did the same –

and two sets of grandparents, before and in between.

My black suit’s hung up, hopefully for a while.

I’m clearing out cupboards, releasing old bones

from my present day guff to stuff from my teens.

I’ve been grieving, on and off, for twenty-five years:

funerals, death, and the emptying of heart,

that beiging of walls that one’s small life becomes.

But my eyes are tired of closing to what’s vibrant.

And I’m done with that greyish half-life not lived.

The anniversary today, I wanted quiet to think

but what I got was the buzz of life and a blocked sink.

I wonder if it’s finally time to colour my house

with the glories of living, not the shadow of a hearse.

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.