Three poems

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I've had a great poetry time recently: taking part in the advanced  group at the Poetry cafe run by the talented and insightful Katy Evans-Bush , reading at some fabulous places - The Cellar Bards, Shine so Hard and feature spots at Survivors poetry and for book launches of Clare Saponia's new collection 'The Oranges of Revolution'. So in the last few weeks I've had the pleasure and honour of reading in Cardigan, Brighton, Tottenham, Cardiff and Keats House, Hampstead. A long way from my bedroom mirror!

This is a bit of a toot but just to say I really am very grateful to have the chancce to do this, thanks to the amazing people who organise poetry events. I'm lucky be able to travel so much, but from now on I expect to be more based in Bristol and I'm really excited by this too.

These three poems are a mixed bag, the first is a love song to Bristol, the second is a cry from the heart, the only words I've been able to write about a subject that affects my family in a devasting way, the third is a love song to my real home town, which is tiny and almost closing down, but still resilient.

Commuting song


I’m riding in a Dad’s cab

through the city’s rag and reel

he’s got one hand on the radio

and the other on the wheel

he’s flicking through the stations

from Lover’s Rock to Grime

he’s turning through the back streets

to take me there on time.


We see the ghosts of Trip Hop

spray canned on the walls

the Bamboo club, the Dug Out

and the Black and White cafe

go past the closed down dance halls

and the shuttered doors of clubs

all the tribes of Bristol

mashed up in peeling layers.


He talks to me in patois

he talks to me in Creole

he drives across Old Market

to beat the traffic flow

says we’re not far off now

get yourself good to go

names his price ahead of time

it’s always a sweet deal

asks me if I have the change

as a note would dim his smile


Everytime I ride this cab

I love the city more

in predawn mist, the cosy swish

of wipers splashing rain

I gather up my suitcase

here with time to spare

say goodbye to Bristol

for another week or more.


The Law of Family Migration

The Venn diagram of transcultural love
has no full intersections.

A spouse is not a spouse but is a potentially
non economically active burden on the State

Hearts become coins become cherries

in a fruit machine. There are no

winning lines, nothing adds up. Love

conquers nothing, counts for nothing.

Meanwhile your child

is free to live in any country,

with nappy sack on his back

he roams the world,

untethered by parents or papers.

You knew freedom once,

but did not appreciate it.

Market town


felt like everywhere and nowhere

always and forever 

the wallpaper of our lives

ignored mostly

then watched for hyper-real details


we knew the dead wieght

of Tuesday half day closing

the smell of tarmac

in August heat haze shimmer


and the faces

wrinkled and ancient at forty-five

familiar with their

grey hair, headscarves

and flat caps


we knew the ritual crush

of jumble sales, the thrill of finding

a maroon utility jacket

or a marcassite brooch


the Monday auction on the stones

where dead rabbits were displayed 

next to living ones in cages

and pigeon breasts glowed

llike silk frocks


and the fish and chip shop

down rocky lane

where a yellowed paper clipping told

of the man who came to town

and ate everything


large haddock,  sausage and a pie

all the chips, the buttercross, the church

the chapel the grammar school 

the shops, leaving only empty spaces

for the wind to whistle through

Cellar BardsClare SaponiaKaty Evans-BushKeats HouseShine so Hard

◄ How to leave Soho

Three poems part two ►


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