The Poems

"Those that don't believe in magic will never find it" Roald Dahl

I started writing poems in earnest during 2020 as a reaction to the pandemic. Poetry gave me the opportunity to break the rules, to use murderous language if I felt like it, and to vent at the page.

I have been lucky to live in a number of wonderful places and they have all worked their magic on me in different ways, often finding their way into my poetry. If you are ever offered the opportunity to live in another country grasp it with both hands. As one of the first poets I ever knew said,

"The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings"-Robert Louis Stevenson

Here are some of the things that make me happy

Image by Marcus Woodbridge
Image by Marcus Woodbridge

press to zoom
5D9DF1CF-E5BC-42E1-99DE-79F0DCFB48DA.jpeg
5D9DF1CF-E5BC-42E1-99DE-79F0DCFB48DA.jpeg

press to zoom
28F29AF4-3148-4A58-8595-F19240A0176C.jpeg
28F29AF4-3148-4A58-8595-F19240A0176C.jpeg

press to zoom
Image by Marcus Woodbridge
Image by Marcus Woodbridge

press to zoom
 

Poems

Image by Luke Stackpoole

Skewwiff

Skewwiff

I woke up yellow—decrepid
Something not quite right
People born by the sea are older
Yet this weathering surprised me
The compression of the thing settled in my gut
Rigmaroling me round the room like a drunk
But I still couldn’t fill up the empty spaces 
Time once felt slippery in patches
Skidding past—a flibberty-jibbit
Now it hangs like a promise—each day a small fable 
I dig out abeyant words
But use them in all the wrong places
Washing them with my breath
So they can exist for a short time--
Caper about creating their own mild breeze
They are flashes of wit contrary to the sun’s course
Amorphous—they float away on a riptide
and I am too gutless to call them back

First published In Winter 2021 bee house Journal

Image by Ashleigh Joy Photography

Passive: Aggressive

The sea roses glob up on the foot of the slab

And the driftwood about us has piled in irregular rhythms

Remains of not so ancient quarrels are buried on dirty sighs

We poured ourselves in measures—rationing the twists

But still when we lay down it felt like climbing and we couldn’t breath

Our house confronts the sea—once it was a comfort to battle it together

Still the salt air is a constant foe—sand silts up each opening

So I prize myself out with care—without you

Now knowing what things seem I embed in the crumbling cliffs

An ammonite curled in on myself—elemental

Waiting to be hacked out of the milky slice

And weighed in hands so others can feel the gravity of the thing

They will hang me on a shelf and write out a label or a warning

She never fought back but her substance made others wild—


When I was young I asked my mother why she put up with my father’s drinking She looked stunned—she never knew she had a choice

I still think about this all the time

First published by Sad Girls Club

Image by Joshua Hoehne

Gifts To A Young Lady

in the bathroom you with your cracked skin (call it marbling) and pulsating mound are offered gifts that you bundle in hands and mouths to taunt the brittle beauty promised but better down the stairs the stuffing of apples into pink plastic so with the grace of tearing out comes a reliquary smell found in forgotten books and ruddy leaf piles moldering rusty cumbersomely heavy as you crunch bird bones beneath a white robe to hide from the divine—too divine—breaking a witch-hazel rod you secretly divine a sewer to baptize and generously mold wild things to make a wooden bowl where you can stack the bruised apples before the fall and know that nobody no matter how lovely ever had all the answers

First published by Tofu Ink Press

Untitled

Mulling Over First Love

Dark short inside days served chilled to the bone

--air heavy with cinnamon and citrus


and longing. Running from chapel trailing midwinter carols

--hacked on smoky, white, breath


under a dropped pearl necklace of stars

--that first, rough, green, mistletoe kiss


Much later on a colder day as sleet fell like confetti

--laying a cold fleece over everything


I thought I knew. The broken branches clutched decay

—but still managed to wave on high


as I walked away. Instead of blood and bandages

— the snow covered Fire Thorn tree


makes me think of berries and ice-cream

--and this is how I have survived.

First published in Réapparition Journal

Image by Lavi Perchik

Splash-A Retrospective


It was always there—lurking at the edges

And I wonder if knowing the situation would have been enough

In the movies mermaids are touchingly naïve

A sweet affectation to reel us in

But real women have always worked with fish

Traveling on land to gut herrings

Mending nets in living rooms

And no matter where the work there’s always a smell

And sometimes the sneaking of the relentless minds

That couldn't leap from sitcom to a great idea

Brings us a popular movie that stinks

And—splash—you fell in love with mermaids

The story of being saved from drowning—

A metamorphosis from human to something fishy

Like walking naked onto Ellis Island

Then you always wanted to grow a tail

But later you loved to show your legs

Shimmering in the waves of wind

Iridescent blues and purples and reds

Hard pretty scales—a mermaid at last

You told me – you’d a shell and all

So you wouldn’t end up like me

Instead you went over the wall

Knowing the importance

Of looking directly into the camera

As you got into the water—without a splash

That sweet touch a meaningless rotation



That left the page as empty as possible

First published in Sparked Lit Mag

Image by Mathilde Langevin

Choosing Chocolates In A Pandemic

I watch the eyelid petals of the last poppy—waiting for them to drop

Missing mornings when you would wash me with your breath—

You always offered a different sort of danger—like eating chocolates without reading the list

—never knowing if I would get a caramel or a hard nut to swell my throat shut


Rain falls in threads and I hear the ascending notes of my phone—

my nerves swoop in forgotten patterns to remind me I already know what falling feels like

After—I unwrap your favorite purple one and think about eating it for the longest time

—but I have always done my best to stay away from bridges and other high places

First published by Shot Glass Journal

Untitled

In Lieu of Flowers

In Lieu of Flowers


Last poppies;

Petals like eyelids—

Seeds like holes—gone in a blink!


Dear Mam,

Tomorrow at pallid dawn we go up to repair the lines. I am waiting with Dai and Thomas, jam-packed like your lamb faggots but steeped in the grubby gravy of our sweat. Duw Mam, I try to forget for just a minute now and think of you darning socks by the comfy fire. I want to unpack my troubles, sit by the sea and make salt or else climb Pen-y-Fan to fill my laverbread lungs with daffodilly air. This place blisters me with remembrance; it lashes me to the last post under this perishing sky. I am so very weary. Here even the summer scent of flowers unravels me as we scramble to fit the masks every time we catch a whiff of chapel lilacs. We watch as a flare flies so the black mounds of exploded graves silhouette against the violent red of hell and cloddish ghosts roam looking for reason. This muck of war is like an oil slick on the souls of men and I think we can never scrub off its tangles. No, not even in a hundred years.

God willing I will write you again, if not and my misery is ended, we will meet again in a better place. Give my best love to everyone.

Your loving son,

Geraint

First published by Rainbow Poems

Image by Matt Briney

brink

The corpse bird waits for the last leaf

I once could stroll home no matter the hour

Now my asking sounds like begging

And I am worse off than a widower

As your corpse is still here to remind me

I try to stretch resolve and splinter clouds

But my body is lumpy—like a badger in a bag

Instead I make lists of favorite foods

—last comfort to be served by the woman in white

It is what it isn’t—part of a thing I know now

Like taking you to Starbucks because I didn’t know your name

I remember instead when the boats delivered milk and butter

Mam making pancakes as thick as her stockings

And the skipping forecast rattling through the radio

Sheep in the meadow, cows in the corn…..

What was the month that I was born?

The cat layered on my lap like a gravity blanket

Her indifference has the insistence of arthritis

I think I am a dog person—you say no

I am bothered by your smell—sweet like subterfuge

‘No pissing in the alley’ you shout, but I’m desperate

Am I waning? Waning after waxing. Mooning as I piss

All things bright and gone


When I fall I try not to scream and disturb the robin

That death bird might take my corpse

And refashion it into a rope as round as a puddle

Don’t grieve—you can’t weep for someone you never knew

Tell it all to the paper doves or the last poppies

Petals like eyelids, seeds like black holes—gone in a blink

I wonder—am I going to heaven or hell or to the Vegan Kitchen?

I think I eat bacon—a woman who says her name is Ruth says not

As she spoons bile between my lips or maybe it is just Jell-O

First published by High Shelf






734C837D-B643-4443-88F2-7ED6BAA98ADF.jpeg

Doppelgänger



I know all this has changed the insides of me
But you claim you don’t recognize me anymore
Don’t feel the familiar tug of my grooved expressions on your sleeve
I am just an apparition to you when once I was solid 
So you can pass right through me and go too 
There is no fanfare of machines to herald your exit
It is such a quiet leaving—the air does not even notice your absence 
Yet for me—knowing you still walk in this new world— it is like another death
And I have no one left to remind me who I am.

And I have no one left to remind me who I am
Yet for me—knowing you still walk in this new world—it is like another death

It is such a quiet leaving—the air does not even notice your absence
There is no fanfare of machines to herald your exit
So you can pass right through me and go too
I am an apparition to you when once I was solid
Don’t feel the familiar tug of my grooved expressions on your sleeve
But you claim you don’t recognize me any more
I know all this has changed the insides of me

First published by The Ekphrastic Review

1648C420-E9E1-4D47-BC15-2DADA26D4EC4.jpeg

Men-Oh-Pause-There!

As I belly-flop into the twilight

I am no longer basted

In oestrogenic liquor

So I dry out

Unmoist

Like a flouted turkey

On a Christmas slag heap

The proverbial tough old bird

But please don’t gird me

In a corset of my glorious past

And ignore my mature bouquet

I may no longer fly but might still glide

Through an autumnal dreaming

Feathering my heels

And dribbling pink gin schemes


Tipping into the grey

We Calibans adorned in patches, crouch

Baffled by the lastingness of our bladders

The need for a clip-clopping dash

And the hot wetness in our gussets

From a sneeze or belly-laugh

So what if our menstrual cups are drained?

We can still swallow and slurp

With the best of them

We are merely paused--no period just a comma,

The climax of our sentence yet to come


So pucker up and kiss me quick

As I slowly squeeze my pelvic floor

With no bull and barely a bush

The world can still be my oyster

But I have no time to spare.

So go on and put it THERE!

First published by Hags On Fire

Image by Erica Magugliani

March 1933

Even in that curved time I thought it wondrous to see
the rusted eye of the bird
a code etched on its bronze wing of faded numbers
—was this so it could find its way home?
in the grey foreshadowing of a darker day I smiled at the absurdity of its beak
long and sharp as scissors—it might easily cut through buttons or bones
soon the stripy shadows slid—laying a cold carpet on the yard
and it was time for me to go
a hundred, hundred eyes were blinking at my back
but as I did not turn I did not see
I only heard a song—as old as the robin

First published by Shot Glass Journal

Image by Bruce Christianson

Why Doesn't The Mermaid Float Away When She Sleeps?

Maybe she weights her tail with starfish—
a dusting of saffron sea stars
that ripple across her sandy scales
like the watery reflection of The Milky Way.

Maybe she wraps her body with seaweed—
a gentle cover of olive fronds
that rock her like a lover's kiss
or sooth her like sheets spun from promises.

Maybe she coaxes oysters to pinch her hair—
a cluster of silvery shells
that grip like delicate pearl barrettes
and filter all her cares and sorrows.

Or maybe she piles pebbles upon her heart
and these are heavy enough—
since she still dreams of walking in the world
—with him  

First published by Shot Glass Journal

Image by . liane .

Lines


I used the lines on my face as a loom—fabricating long strings to tie me to the tragic minutiae of our everyday life in this forever house

(Please don’t call them wrinkles; call them life lines)

I can let you read me –-line by line

And still I won’t make sense

I used to hang our washing on a clothesline

The sun would bleach away the dirt of us

Now we have a dryer so our sheets look the same

But they have the tang of something unpleasant


I would gnaw at the oblong box—scared to get out—terrified to stay


So each time I moved my red lines

Until the only place I could find them was on my ‘going out’ lips

A scarlet gloss—your pseudo-wife—fault lines covered by powder


It turns out I could only ever be seen by the deities roaming the skies—and you with your basic geometry only saw me from the foothills

So you never realized you had come to the end of the line