Pricklish Allsorts

A collection of poems and shorts - some new, some old, some lost, some found again...

bottle blue

bottle blue we’re all just so many vessels, clinking together on Sunday buses. entirely at the mercy of brakes; we rock forward, we rock backward. later… before…

a long time since i have seen an unspooled tape on the floor

a long time since I have seen an unspooled tape on the floor growing up, my gingerbread kingdom, would often be riddled with the metallic brown linguine, of a dismembered cassette.

a pause that isn't a pause

a pause that isn’t a pause a man throws five coins into the wishing well. there is little grace, each throw an agitated arc. in silence, he makes five quick wishes,

a strand

a strand i need a coastline, need to be able to hullabaloo, from the green land, to where the lapping fold of the water comes, hurrying ashore like a wild eyed refugee. lingering,

a trophy, gold

a trophy, gold a mid-October sun, catches on the plastic bag held night-tight in your hand. the gold, of six litres of cider shines out, as you come first. upstairs cold water flat

an equator of traffic jammed

an equator of traffic jam back east, a low showing ramp stuck out like a tongue, pokes from a delivery suite. shackled in traction, automated birthing partners breathe out

at night they play music to the plants

at night they play music to the plants strung from the curved wooden sky, strange metallic shapes, like badly drawn megaphones in dolphin grey. in the early light

baby capers

baby capers i knew a girl once, who kept a spunk jar. one that she filled from cold morning condoms, or spat leisurely from her hot mouth. originally, it had contained tartare sauce

bran tub

bran tub i am sat beside a large tub. it is filled with light brown soil, supporting a shrub that is unknown to me. perhaps it has origins in Japan. it reminds me of a bran tub

can dead technology produce flowers?

can dead technology produce flowers? i get through laptops like cars: cheap, acquired secondhand, routes to places known and unknown. both tend to die when i least expect it.

cat street

cat street these are the guards of my weekday mornings: soft hill beacons, paws neatly at rest. together like lips that have ceased speaking. arranged around my walk,

christmas crows

Christmas crows quick black shadows pass by the skylight; hints of yesterday peeling away, to a pale grey sky beneath, left wanting, heavy with the promise of questions.

cigarettes at dawn for the poetry group

cigarettes at dawn for the poetry group the problem with writers, is that they are not as interested in each other’s work, as they claim to be. for beneath the polite


clueless she looked at me and said: "I want you to do rude things to me". so i let the door go in her face, cut her up in traffic, criticised her food with a slow, slow fork,

ladies and gentlemen, the Trafford Centre is now open...

Ladies & Gentleman, the Trafford Centre is Now Open the snaking lines of German automation simmer in the baking weekend sun, resentment clogging the interiors like a drowning gruel.

my fallen owl

my fallen owl thrown to the gutter, in a spluttered thunderstorm of progress, my owl lies cold in an open grave. an ill fitting shroud, patched together from sodden litter.

flowers fell

flowers fell there can’t be many chances left. like wildflowers in a meadow choked by roads tangling and constricting old memories grown calloused and unyielding.


lines once upon a time people, were people, and machines were machines. now, looking out across a tempest of cabling, there are so many vessels – empty and drifting,

the artefact that should never have become such

the artefact that should never have become such i just put it on my table, beside the coffee, and a crowd formed. at first, it was just one man,

the first crack

the first crack cradling the final one, four hands fumble for the ailing pulse, as the coffee convoy leaves town. the occasional dropped bean crushed under ten tonne wheels.

the sea hog at noon

the sea hog at noon cool blue, revealed in waves asunder. grey beard shingle weeps toward an embrace, the shifting water rolls abroad; the gentlest of marauders.

man with broom for head

man with broom for head at first, as i boarded the bus in a confusion of sunlight, i thought it was a large moustache, bristles trimmed neat and tight, like the might of the military.

with the lights out avocado

with the lights out avocado i love avocado enough, to get married to it. here comes the bride, short, brown and wide, and beneath that shy, goosebump skin, a creamy, green yellow

how the sun brings the mad out

how the sun brings the mad out the heat hits like a tyre iron to the back of my neck. i sag early. people who have not washed their hair before, talk to their hands. around me,

father, son and white lightning

father, son and white lightning a summer evening, time spent together in the front garden, as the sun slips down the back of the settee. together you rifle through a bin bag.
Poem of the week

i know it's stupid, but i fell for a mannequin

i know it’s stupid, but I fell for a mannequin there was something in the way you held yourself: your delicate hands on those immovable hips. it gave you a window impudence

the same deep water as me

the same deep water as me I am struggling to find my mermaid in a city locked out far from the sea. I have prised open long legged lakes, pooled deep in ponds and puddles,


foolproof the bar has closed. and three drinks wait to be finished. they have left the lights on just for me. and they burn brighter than i can take. illuminating

you know, whatshisname who had the desk by the watercooler

you know, whatshisname who had the desk by the watercooler 'stop being careful' was the last thing he wrote. as a note, to himself, on the blank back page of a diary.

The Blood Tree

The Blood Tree

One by One

One by One

the birds know everything we've forgotten

the birds know everything we’ve forgotten they wake each morning, every morning with joyous song, the whole day ahead of them. they do not queue in sad, exhausted lines,

the fountain

the fountain trapped through the night, the water rattles in the pipes sobbing for release. the moon glimpsed on high, from deep in the belly of the earth. sun up,

reasons why it's unsafe to run for a bus

reasons why it’s unsafe to run for a bus running, pits you bumper to bumper with the snarl and snap of traffic. running, brings trousers from their hip home, down to the ankles.

why people in Range Rovers always look terrified

why people in Range Rovers always look terrified sweltering in your metal hell, white knuckles cling to the wheel like a dirty uncle fingering clothes on a washing line.
Gold cherry

the wedding list

the wedding list you have a crate of vodka, you plan to hide in the bridal suite, ‘just for the family’. Dad’s been to France, and filled a Vauxhall estate

lesson of the birds (part ii)

lesson of the birds (part ii) i watch two sparrows, sparring over the dog end of a pasty, grabbing with heads bent low. flapping over ground, the victor makes it to the safety,


overbite they sent you out on the bus, to fetch a fluorescent tube. they’d paid for it over the phone, so they didn’t have to trust you with petty cash. they didn’t know


stir-fry i am more alive sat on a bench listening to two girls, talking about survival and stir fry, than i ever will be inside an office.

what would Biggins do?

what would Biggins do? when I find myself in times of trouble… it isn’t actually Mother Mary that comes to me, for in the horns of a dilemma, or brought up sharp at a crossroads,

memory bisque

memory bisque the hot glow of metal, running loose beyond the window, brings back holidays: a kaleidoscopic L.A. freeway, glinting sun gold and teeth white. mine to visit,

the 71 Haight-Noriega brings a simple truth home

the 71 Haight-Noriega brings a simple truth home today, there is singing on the bus. it seems like an imagination, but it is very real. and beautiful in its innocence.

nightfall over Whitby

nightfall over Whitby night strung in shining jet, the outline of extinguished boats glimmering, in the moment, where the tide, graceful necked and headless, pours out into the more.

the nine ladies

the nine ladies you are sleeping now. slumbering stones warmed by the sun, your mossed flanks tickled by the kiss of a fragile breeze. late with the dance of purpled night,

faces in the felled tree

faces in the felled tree what was once a mighty oak, is now no more, than a mighty sadness, slashed and bleeding on the woodland floor. some weeks ago, a man in overalls

how Richard Brautigan gave us the words for all the artificial voices in the world

how Richard Brautigan gave us the words for all the artificial voices in the world 1969 wrapped up as sounds. a last will and testament fifteen years too soon. smiling words,

owl for the morning

owl for the morning whilst the twilight still sleeps in shivering dreams, the beat of wings flutters through the cold trees, branches at slumber. and you call from just beneath

how spiders make the most of our world

how spiders make the most of our world as a strawberry red sky pours into one of the seven hills, the air is strung with the ghost wail of a bus at daybreak. lit with the white

kyi po tang

kyi po tang sometimes, all you need is a roaring river sunset, and a new Neil Young & Crazy Horse album.

sleeping lines

sleeping lines the track lines of recent dreaming, are etched into your skin like yesterday’s fossils. speaking silent of the inconvenience of mornings, plucked from our own,


fade every early morning, i scrape down the last light from the constellations; stars, i feel suit my demands. sifting, rinsing them through shivering hands; sky wishes too hot to hold.

if this life is a library, we're sure quiet now

is this life is a library, we’re sure quiet now lives passing by have started to remind me, of borrowed people i no longer see. like a spill of yesterdays, leaking from a walled-up

is this thing on?

is this thing on? in the inexorable time it takes, for late night crumpets to toast, i’d all but expired. little more than a practice ghost

strangers sailing through a breakfast sea

strangers sailing through a breakfast sea the pale rooms are no doubt identical, the crisped breakfasts are served, identical. each coffee, poured from the same secret urn

the dying of the £1 wasp

the dying of the £1 wasp trapped within a cheap card shop, closed tight, for the night, a wasp nudges the window over, and over, and over, straining for first light. struggling


mantras i have so many mantras for the morning, i’m having to get up earlier, and earlier. it’s all about positive thinking. i’m positive i am thinking too much.


flutter sitting here, my memory unpacks your smile. bright eyed i push an invite in light, to the cold glass of my window. their paper arrival is softer than i can hear;


unhalf magpies pair for life. this means, if you see one – they’ve lost one. a whole sky to lose themselves in, blue for the tumbling. until the cry of night’s door,

portrait of the artist as a small man

portrait of the artist as a small man a weather bleached bench gapes onto a pale blue sky, fallen leaves, spilled over the ground as a copper blood-letting. here, is a Sunday place;

early sun over Hope Valley

early sun over Hope Valley head back, the sleeping sun pours her storm black hair over the tooth broken shale, river aglint, in the pebbled flint, spilling down in the trackside gale.

flapjack pigeons

flapjack pigeons a thin, grey lunch break inside a great, glass greenhouse: my numb fingers, break a Bakewell tart flavoured flapjack, into beak-sized bites,

not in service

not in service the time now, in my heart, is half past done. you drummed my beat irregular, from across the street. now, stacked up high with leaving intentions, i am moving,

two is such a lonely number

two is such a lonely number expectation, is like a butterfly sunning kaleidoscope wings in a sunlit woodland on the first day of spring. reality, is like waking alone

i know why the caged bird smokes

i know why the caged bird smokes a perfect square, backlit, framed in rouged, back alley neon. you exhale, from your small, open window, smoke winding itself around the shoulders,

Elvis may not have loved the Trafford Centre

Elvis may not have loved the Trafford Centre although it has countless places to buy burgers and fried chicken, and a fortune teller, pushed into an opulent box like a delicate paperweight,


care the liveried care worker smokes on the threshold, furiously spitting her own drama, into the face of an old woman who peeps fearful from...

olivia ♥ jesus

olivia ♥ jesus you approach shyly, in a pleated skirt too sensible for summer; too sensible for what crosses my mind. your perfect teeth and sky blue...

39 1/2

39 ½ i have touched the wall of the hospital where i was born – since being back here again – the unfamiliar red brick wall, cold and worn. i felt a...

when waiting was sweet

when waiting was sweet i remember when waiting was sweet; when it was about the passing of time ribboned with excitement, gilded with promise. when...

three forks

three forks summon up the boxes, it’s moving time again. i hinge my cutlery from a shared drawer, like loose teeth, i never imagined needing anymore...


blackberries too soon, trapped in the burn of a late summer there is nothing to fruit, just yet. too soon, the heat, holding autumn back, impatient...


‘HIGHLY FRAGILE’ It started as a joke; just something I said that made me smile. Then you came back with the :D face. But then I got to thinking...

season's beatings

season’s beatings ‘tis the loneliest time of the year, and it’s three-for-one on Christmas cheer, so roll up, and drink and drink and drink and drink...

the leaf birds of Longford

the leaf birds of Longford slow through russet diamond walkways. fringed in amber, the park, before me lolling like a mossy tongue. the leaf birds...

bruise berry

bruise berry sipping wine through bruised berry lips, teeth bared moon yellow in wincing appreciation, he exhales slow grape. the amount in the glass...

skitty kittens

skitty kittens both of us similarly alone; adrift in the ready-meal aisle. avoiding home, as we sigh out the scent of early evening cider. we could...

an open apology to Greg Cartwright

an open apology to Greg Cartwright recently, i bought your latest Reigning Sound album, Shattered; and, it’s fast become, something that really...

make the lightning believe

make the lightning believe the bright strike, crumbled my night, as i looked to your curtains, and saw, no light. and now, as you slither from sleep...

angel feathers & leak spotters

angel feathers & leak spotters single, white, and diving, willingly into a fall. tufted revolutions from broken clouds, soft fluttered shower,...


smile it’s a smile i’m giving you. not a knife, not a secluded woodland rape, not an attempt to steal from you, or cheat, or deceive. just a smile...

I’m Anxious, pleased to meet you…wanna get married?

I’m Anxious, pleased to meet you…wanna get married? i have an anxious attachment style. the result of inconsistent care-giving. apparently. i did a...

you've been to Bali, but you've never put out a cigarette on your arm

you’ve been to Bali , but you’ve never put out a cigarette on your arm your brown belt, matches your brown shoes. just like on the website. this...

first date

first date your glasses are large, and bingo smeared, despite a vigorous duster; you need to see your way home. you've gone for soft blusher and a...

and again secret

and again secret for the second time this year, i am loved, in secret. as turbines melted never made snow angels, leaving our sky sad and serrated,...

police tape

police tape the park, private cornered with the flicker tape of Monday morning murder. felled by cold hands, I see no police stood as rocks. only the...


onionskin everything is paper. delicate, and easily torn to shreds. i catch myself on the sharp edges of other people, and tear. there are rips...

black dwarf

black dwarf a fitful, fretful, dying ember of a once brilliant, radiance; a fallen universe. here is the last gasp of an entirety. a lone light...

an armful of hopes

an armful of hopes words, have coop-flown scarce this year. i catch sight of them, clustering; a sweeping murmur for the blue hour. oftentimes, a...

more wink than worn

more wink than worn it’s a good one – all polished leather and clasps, aglint in the 8am sunrise. few scuffs, only creasing, light at the corners;...


lap your gaze softens into the gym dropped ceiling as you beetle-back the lurid green stepper platform legs parted night black polyester cups you...


nomenclature gone are the days of paper money equating to a share of gold tucked away in dusty chambers be happy for now it is all just numbers on a...

dispenser in blonde

dispenser in blonde the way you swing your car across the drive in a bellow of gravel, shows you’re not staying


november upon returning there was uploading: photographs of concrete autumn leaves communism river water coffee in a conical flask bridges were...

jeer and loathing in london

jeer and loathing in London london makes me want to drink to fill my body my mind with drugs become as vapid and as numb as the hipsters the moneyed...
Gold cherry

plenty more dead fish in the sea

here we are our best smiles over-exercised our appealing angles over-photographed the isolation reflected in our eyes

rose quartz snake oil

they arrive as a rainbow of vulnerability trembling tumbles from taxis

1984 was more than just orwell

1984 was more than just orwell richard brautigan shot himself in 1984, during the rising tide of the commodore 64, lost within a wood walled world...

in guano

in guano arriving aromas of all the world paint travel onto wistful winds human nostalgia chargrilled on hot coals as tiny skyward fingers follow...

waltz with me dressed in christmas lights

waltz with me dressed in christmas lights a soft sentiment found on a screen the clever words of another immediately it formed as a wish prised out...