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Attention Deficit Disorder

There’s lots of shops in Selly Oak

and I’m writing down their names


to show the wife when I get home

that I’m trying hard to change

New Look

I’m on the number 61 bus

after visiting a therapist

Barking Mad

I’m on the 61 bus because

I’ve got an Attention Deficit


I discovered it last Saturday -

well, my missus found it really

The Treasure Trove...

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Adopting At Our Age

This poem went places that it shouldn’t have gone

in the beer tent listening to a jazz ensemble,

who came on after the dance band

and are suffering by comparison.

I’m trying to examine the difference between

flute solos and close harmonies,

between thrown together and tightly knit,

being here for themselves or the audience.

I’m with two of my grown-up daughters


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A Day Unresolved

So un-asleep, the sheet’s

a beach of footprints

waiting for the tide.


Her shape question-marked,

crucified, an inquisition

scales her eyes.


Wincing at infinities,

she stares a spot

and picks at it.


Each star a prick,

a javelin

thrown across the centuries


makes waves

just deep enough to swim

before light breaks


 her open skin.

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A Clockwise Direction

I found that old wedding photo we lost behind a doll in our daughter’s room. Russian, as it happens, the doll that is - I can read some significance in that: so full of themselves, they miss the bleeding obvious. I wiped the dust from off its surface, made you 21 again and placed us on the bookshelf where P meets Q. I’d have liked it before your favourite author but her sh...

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Like Benjamin Zephaniah

Well, I’m not black, and I haven’t dreadlocks,

but I grew up in Birmingham

and I am a poet of sorts, a vegan,

and of course, I support Aston Villa.


And if someone told me I’d but weeks

to live. my only regret would be the same

as his, that I wouldn’t see Villa

win the Premier League.


But here is where I differ from him -

Benjamin couldn’t produce any k...

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Summat and Nuffin

Summat and Nuffin


Heard before seeing approaching train station;

bubbles of sound that he blows for beguiling

the purposive hordes in their panting impatience –

his smile isn’t worn by the faces that file in.


Sat cross-legged, upturned hat on the pavement,

he strives against platform announcements and sirens 

which torment the ears and evoke imprecations,


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Study Day on Attachment

Bad families are coloured red;

to discover what’s above their heads,

take the northbound carriageway

and exit any junction that you like.

First left and on until the rain begins,

the rooftops blink through yellow fog

and for fuck’s sake is the common form of prayer.

We’re there.

Where drug dealing, phone stealing bandits on benefits

are having it large on stolen p...

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Some days I imagine it might really happen:

an orifice oozing with ectoplasm,

Dorises with messages that we can’t fathom;

transmigration’s been the fashion since ages ago

when Buddhists could make it to the sixth Bardo

or lose their many selves in Limbo.

You don’t think so?

Of course, it’s never on the news, YouTube or Skype,

not the kind of repeats you see on both sid...

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Fixated Threats

We’ve journeyed down to short-sleeved Chertsey

for my sister-in-law’s 60th birthday.

Get there early, 7.30, suitably thirsty,

knowing few of these middle-class, middle-aged bodies,  

I’m wondering how I shall get my jollies,

take a leap of faith, and I’m exchanging volleys

with this bald-headed guy, big scar on his forehead.

We’ve talked of favourite bands and beers,

now we...

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Fake News

Inside the bars are tuned in

to the Holy Radio Station,

broadcasting the Bible 

from Genesis right up to

the Book of Revelation,

interrupted only

by life insurance adverts.


On the street, a woman’s tempted

by the babble of an Apple.

Wind, rain and fire

are bringing down the temples.

Men bearing crosses

disembowel the prophets.

The dead are being brought ...

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Doctor Death and the New Faces

Elizabeth Woodville is my first nursing placement,

a spot where a man might be put and forgotten.

Sister Wesson’s routine with every new student

is to introduce the bed corners and curtains

then leave them to chat with some random person.


And so I’m conversing with one Howard Sargent;

he’s sharing a fag with a fellow patient,

who’s called Doctor Death - we’re already acqu...

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If The Heavens Were Fair

It’s nearly time for your medication.

I’m drinking my seventh cup of tea

and thinking how much better you’ve been

since the start of the new regime.

That sounds like you’re sick,

or a political beast,  not merely slow

and easily distracted; the worst

combination of tortoise and hare.

If the heavens were fair

your sister wouldn’t grasp

the lion’s share of love and loom...

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I Live Over There

Past houses where spouses are spitting at children

and satellite dishes are marks of distinction;

where villainous vermin shadow-box curtains

and takeaway cartons bespatter the gardens;

where nobody bothers to pick up the dog shit

while stood on the pavement twittering gossip

and stubbing their ciggies on steps without polish,

deploring the darkies and ordering curries

and ...

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I’ve dug too deep and a reckless fork

has struck guts and gore

with a piercing hiss:

the smothering stink of dog remains.

I quickly cover a forgotten cadaver

but memory fastens upon the odour

and tugs me along again:

a guide-dog for the blind rejected

for showing fear when near traffic,

and a discomposing habit

of staring at the heavens. 

Neither trai...

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Learning Difficulties

Learning Difficulties


She always wants the same thing as her sister

for breakfast, and when I read a book,

she opens hers, turns a page, marks her place


as if she were spooning every sentence.

Her birth mother says she doesn’t want her

to go to the school for dummies.


Her class teacher claims she’s fearless

and a real trouper; he doesn’t fathom

her ignoran...

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