top of page


Some light verse, some descriptive, some personal.

Shoe laces

‘Practically-challenged’ they said. 


Couldn't even tie my own laces, I remember well

my father roughly knotting them

tight with shame, how

undignified it all was.

How embarrassing.


I was ten.


All practical tasks were beyond me

(many still are)

But autistic meant

'doomed' in those days,

don't even think it.


So I tried.


Others would watch me, 

this ungainly, cow-eyed kid

flop around, push daintily, pull 

half-heartedly, helplessly, then

"Give it here!"

snatch it away, do the 

deed themselves and I 

so pitifully grateful.


But my father decided. 

A boy must 

tie his own laces.


It took a long

long time


and the sheer patience,

the control not to scream and 

slap this pathetic, limp-wristed

mooncalf staring dumbly at the

laces like they were indecipherable 

hieroglyphics, staring

at his own hands like they

were not his own, unfathomable. 


But my father taught me 

to knot

my laces, my tie. 


I still don't know how he did it.


One of my 

greatest achievements.


He may not know it 

but it's

one of his



I look out at the sea. 

The smooth, shimmering wall of the wave

curves into a giant’s half rib, 

cracks; collapses in on itself. 

Foam fizzes and spits

like reacting magnesium. 


Sharp, transparent stalactites

spike the shore, 

hang for a second, 

then sucked

back into the mass

like roots shriveling 

back to the stem.


Rising and falling hiss

of sheet-water racing onto shore, 

like breathing

through clenched teeth, 

or rush of sand

from holes in a sack. 


Incoming waves growl, 

smack rock, 

subside; growl again: 

relentless war cries 

against the shore.

Patter of showering foam

follows each attack

like the spilling of rice grains. 


Reaching the shore, 

stench of dry, dead crab

and stale seaweed competes with

sharply cold, clean freshness

of air over the water’s surface. 


I dive in. A wave smacks me. 


Choking, my palate



forcing a grimace.

Salt parches, roughens

my tongue, 

sharp and stinging. 


I move my hand:

smooth, liquid brush

slows motion, 

like running in a dream.

Pressed tightly on all sides:

body heavy, hair light, 


cold aches my head, 

makes veins bulge.

I feel each pulse. 

Tea Ball

That chain, that round shell,

those holes in the casing

like the breathing holes of knights' visors.

Could be half a chain mace,

or a squashed egg from

a robot chicken

shot through with

tiny laser beams.

I put them in the same class as


or knuckle-dusters.

Nasty little things.

Sitting Room and You

Magpie-like, dragon-like,

you collect, you hoard

your thoughts into desks and trinkets

so that by breaking them

I broke a piece of you.

Scarring your cherished room:

my childhood vestiges of destruction.

The shiny copper cap of your tiniest

cut-glass perfume bottle,

crushed, cracked and

dented by my

ravenous milk teeth.

I saw it done in a film with pirates.

The patch where I burnt the carpet:

the bristles hardened and

melded into bumps like the

lumps of a crusted scab.

Now older, I am ashamed.


your pensive melancholy in

watercolour scenes:

darkening, sultry skies cast over

dull river-water

and long, damp grass whipped

by a cold wind.

The room is peopled.

A monochrome of your young


half ethereal-pale,

half ensconced in shadow,

like the moon at first quarter.

Nonchalant, sulky,

limply holding pearls to pose

she resents the task:

fierce, Oil-black eyes flare

defiantly past the frame.

You wish you were strong, like her.

On the piano sits

your Father,

your Daddy.

Young there, baby-faced, awkward

in tie and uniform with

cheeky, half-cocked smile.

You told me he was

an electrician,

nothing more.

In conversation, intoning


you pout girlishly, whisper softly,

head down, reflexively read the ground

to smother a grief borne alone,

never shared.

Like the things in the room,

it is mummy's:

we musn't touch.

Trolley Pusher

I am a Trolley Pusher.

Laden with boxes bursting with files

I push this trolley through miles and miles

of NHS corridor and plastic barrier.

It ain't fun to be a carrier,

an automaton.

You're less than nothing, it's like you're see-through,

a whale-sized trolley yet nobody heeds you.

They get in the way, pretend you're a snail

as they let their offspring frolic and wail and

dodge past your trolley, so you almost squish them.

But if I did, I don't think I'd miss them.


Grey expanse.

Wide and broken by the sprawling veins of trees,

Diversifying into the sky

over the rooftops.

Lonely majesty of those trees.

Solemn stillness.

Lone sentinels of a forbidding sky.

Silent as death.

A fly on the wall.

It crawls stealthily,

up and up,

and out of sight.

Bones lie buried in the garden.

They lie in the

dull, spiked earth.

Flesh of a form that was,

and is no more.

The gloom is descending.

Shitty Air

Head choked with

night-thought I

stagger from bed to

toilet, sit and 

open a poetry book,

reading of waking to 

nightingales and

cool woodland 

air and I think 

"I smell cigarette smoke

that neighbour is 

killing us does she

sit and blow it 

through the 

fucking vent 

while we sleep?"


We get the second-hand 

shitty air, smoked in

and coughed out 

in tightly-stacked

lego apartments.


W.H. Davies never

had this problem he

could breathe easy

under the stars 

(although I don't 

fancy being a

hobo with no

money I'm not 

brave enough 

for that)


A language

regurgitated by 

faux-american throats,

Neutralized, neutered and

patched plain like the

beige fabric flowers 

In Ikea.

bottom of page