The jasmine flower


in the boiling water,


like an anemone. Read the rest of this entry »


He had been following me for days. I could just see his shoes at first, steps tapping at the corner of my eye, and no matter how often I blinked, each beat brought tears. In the meeting this morning, he was next to the potted plant, shifting occasionally, tapping that familiar rhythm. He was in step with me as I walked through corridor after corridor, until I found myself in unfamiliar spaces and circled back to my office. Now, in the clean stillness of the restroom, he had come to a stop in the cubicle next to me. His shoes were in full view under the partition, their worn soles against the grey tile, scuffed and covered in mud and grass, the laces frayed. The left shoe began tapping, tap tap tapping that steady rhythm, and in my chest, my heart matched it, beat by beat, until too much blood was pumping in my body. I was full up. Read the rest of this entry »

November beach near Dymchurch
On the cusp of saltwater.
Ice-crack footsteps
On black and tan dunes.
Boats breasting the spires of cooling towers.
Grey-sun sealight mounting the flanks of Dungeness.
Tar-board shinglespray shoring the walls of Prospect Cottage.
Seven ceramic seahorns in the cast of a tusk of root bole.
Gull skull in a wash of flicker grass.
Sandsprint bones
In runnels of seawater. Read the rest of this entry »

The President sits in his gilded chair surrounded by the clippings of his empire, the mighty mahogany desk divided up like provinces between the stacks of implements and papers.  He is determined that he will know his empire, that no facet or detail will escape his awareness. Read the rest of this entry »

Nana give us two pounds each for our dinners so I bought ten fizzy cherry chew bars and a can of apple tizer from the garage and saved the other 40p for afters.  It was hot and the chew bars had gone soft in me pocket and sticky and I’d got the sticky in between me fingers and round the sides of me mouth.  Our Nicholas didn’t wait for me so I was about two fields behind him down the path.  And he didn’t turn round when I shouted him as well but I wasn’t bothered because I knew the way and anyway they couldn’t do owt til I got there anyway because I was minding the ball.  I had it in a carrier bag and I did knee-ups with it while I was walking. Read the rest of this entry »

He’d read that in some Middle Eastern languages
the words for ‘grace’ and ‘rain’ are the same.
He had only a dim notion of a script, that is like
the movements of insects across muslin,
but he rearranged clouds into verses anyway
and knelt on the pavement, waiting for the sky
to melt into punctuation, wet his lips
with the relief of commas and quotation marks.

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It occurs to you sometimes that this dusty convenience store in the middle of nowhere is really the all-night mini-supermarket at the end of the universe – that people come inside and buy their tins of beans and their white sliced loaves and their two pints of semi-skimmed milk and then they go back outside and simply disappear into the void, that there’s nothing out there except dust and stars. It’s ridiculous, you know, just one lonely man’s attempt at distracting himself from his slightly pathetic existence, but it makes your job a little more bearable. It’s a welcome diversion, when you’re stacking shelves and sweeping the aisles and restocking the pile of Daily Mails by the cigarette counter.

Read the rest of this entry »

When the King died, the Queen and her ladies wove a tapestry that showed a beautiful horse riding across a dusky, mountainous landscape, a rider on its back. The rider wore a scarlet cape, a sweep of glowing red among the darkening hills, bright as the last ember in the ashes. The tapestry started small, but within days it covered much of the oak floor in the castle’s Great Hall, a pool of fabric around the edges of which the Queen and her ladies sat like silent bathers, weaving by sunshine and by candlelight. They did not stop to sleep or eat, to talk or cry, but weaved and weaved and weaved until their hands were leathery with calluses, and their fingers no longer felt the pricks of the needle. Read the rest of this entry »

Today you put on your dark jeans that cling to your figure and are stiff from the wash. Several minutes pass before you can really bend your knees. Then you choose your long, light blue shirt that makes you look skinny because of the way it settles in the hollow spaces behind your collarbones, then skims your body and buttons up tight at the wrists. You smooth your hair over your forehead with the palms of your hands, like you are stroking a cat. You drink strong coffee and check your appearance only once in the hallway mirror before leaving the house. Read the rest of this entry »

I do not remember exactly when Urania’s Mirror came into my life. I do not remember exactly when I first realised the extent of their influence. I do not remember the first day I felt the heat of their distant stars on my brow, now grown to the point where I sweat almost continuously. I do not remember the first time I felt the pull of their ever-increasing winds, their lost and lonely gravities. I do not remember when my life began to meander along the constellated paths already set before me by the cards, or at what point I lost sight of my life altogether. Read the rest of this entry »