From Words Take Me


Words Take Me available from:


If it would not entail
a further falling in love,
I’d write to you again.
Instead, I drive as far
as it takes, before I can
drive back, because it’s dark
or as dark as early summer
evenings allow.

All this, to put to bed
a love and loss that’s wrong
for us – wrong for the time –
with its genius for the same
or something like:
proxy, clone, replacement,
substitute. You’ll find
another me – just look.


And finally you, his lover/partner/spouse,
will grasp, too late, the essence of his technique:
to build a slender volume from a grouse
against love, his mum, that literary clique –
when all else fails, himself – just what a louse
he really is – a faithless, petty, sneak –
and the best thing you can do for him is go
because absence makes those creative juices flow.


I wish I didn’t wonder
how they were, together.
They weren’t together long
and they did nothing wrong,
so why is it that I wonder
how they were, together?

I know the details well;
There’s nothing much to tell;
no need to work out why
they gave the thing a try –
so why is it, I wonder
how they were together?

What they did then said.
What they said then did.
It’s more a matter of
chronology than love
that I wonder how they were,
together, him and her.


Cars climb the hill and stare at the sign
before the long descent.
Silhouettes, moving or still,
in cubes of yellow or blue light,
show what feeling at home looks like.
A woman working after dark

leans a coloured print
against the gallery wall
as the last, lone, nuisance
of a skateboarder
nods at this shadow of a man.
A conversation cycles out of town.

Tonight, the missing can be seen, almost.
Null and void is in season.
Traffic-lights fire blanks across the street;
the train-announcement reaches
north towards the river,
there to die as angled snow.


I look down
and as I see it,
make the city mine
since here I am
entirely unknown.

Rain, like fragile
common sense,
from a baleful sky;
trees in the park beyond.

Chalked on a wall
by the station:
Upgrade yourself –
give up work.
In the tram-window

reflection, a woman
stares through tears
at her phone;
her scented hand
settles on the rail

an inch or two
from my head
until, seeing its owner
about to leave
it takes flight and is gone.

When you have to say out loud
who and what you are,
it’s stories you’ve not heard
or same old story
told by someone else.


Words take me from where I am.
Someone I’ll never know
has unlocked the door of a house
surrounded by trees then wilderness
and painted the colour of the sea.
The fire is lit and one I’ll never meet
has left out food and drink
and a note on the windowsill that reads
Stay here for as long as you like.