Saturday, 18 June 2022

dinosaurs on first street

would it have been safer
to keep on walking
to ignore that
next to the construction site
with its cranes
and its promise
of incongruous high-rise buildings
looking down
on the derelict memory
of empire
on this street
dividing the old 
and the new
on the pavement

Written on 17 June 2022. Inspired by a find on First Street, in Manchester, after dinner at HOME Mcr, after the opening of a two-day workshop and conference on Transnational Lived Citizenship Through Creative Production which took place on the 16th and 17th of June at the University of Manchester.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

The Rabbit On The Moon

You said you were learning Russian because you wanted to be an astronaut. And you laughed and apologised, remembering the friend who found such talk irritating because 47 was too old for dreams.

Once, you stood between the sun and the moon. There was a rabbit on the moon.

They said, then you can write an auto-ethnography about seeking refuge on the moon. 

You said you weren't going to the moon. You said you were going to Mars. You said you were going to be part of a manned mission to Mars.

You laughed and said you were not to be minded, you were being you, making connections where there might not be any.

You said you did not want to be a hero because bad things happen to heroes.

crow's call tears morning meadow's run
blackbird with white stripes bore news
giddy from dodging cars on Welford Road, cyclists on Putney Road, and buses on Aylestone Road,
markings on the road

You did not know if there was an age at which you have to stop dreaming, an age at which you have to pack away dreams the way some people pack away toys.

One day, in London, it was day and then it was night and then it was day again with no darkness at all in the middle.

And you stood between the sun and the moon.

The sun and the moon were like lovers pulling to each other over the rooftops because they could not bear parting.

do you remember how you got here?
why did you come?
do you remember anything?

If you let me, I could love you forever, said the sun to the moon.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Stephen Crane gets His Head Round the Hostile Environment

A migrant said to Britain:
"Do you not see the sacrifices I make?"
"How ungrateful!" Britain replied,
"Isn't it enough that every Thursday at 8pm sharp
"I clap for your right to die for this great nation?"

Monday, 17 February 2020

this city


this city
is old,
older than jesus christ

this city
is young,
is reborn every day at 9am

this city
is old enough
to let you move
the way you want to move

this city
is young enough
to let you be
what you want to be


this city is a song
a pulse
a hum and crackle
a trembling
a feeling that if you stand still for too long
straddling the roads,
feeding the city,
you will be pulled in,
pulled up
turned to ash


this city,
a place of exits
and arrivals,
welcomes you
as you leave


there's no other way of looking at it,
this city
is a Hotel California
kind of a place,
the hum and crackle you hear
is no different
from the current on fences
keeping the horses in

Earlier versions of “this city” have been published in the Leicester Mercury (27 February 2016) and in the anthology, Welcome to Leicester: Poems about The City (Dahlia Publishing, 2016).

Monday, 20 May 2019

The Politics of Friendship

On the way out,
Friendship stands at the door,
and announces to the room
what could have been said to the ear.