December musings

entry picture

Dear friends,

Can it really be autumn already?

Time flies they say and I guess it's true. The endless work of revision and preparation of the back catalogue has continued apace. At least when spare time is scarce there's always something I can do! It's a good and sometimes sobering exercise when one returns to old work. Having been writing for over eight years now I've learned to distance myself from a poem emotionally and analyse the work in the cold light of experience. I don't see this as a negative process at all, being able to disengage has enabled me to deconstruct and improve work that I have previously parked. One learns a trick or two. It is often what you take out that makes a poem.

Where is the punchline? Is it hiding partway through an earlier draft. Will changing the order of the poem improve its impact? Read your work out loud to yourself. Check the flow. Does it work as a performance piece? You are going to take some criticism in life and much can be learned. Be open to what others have to say. Sometimes they will be right, sometimes stick to your guns. Know which is appropriate. I have seen work reach publication and it is clear the poet has not had wise counsel. Sometimes the king has no clothes and needs to be gently told. If any of this gives pause for thought then this post has done its work. The result for both you and your reader will be a much more rewarding and satisfying experience in the long run.

Now for a few poems. Feel free to feed back, I may be able to improve them as a result!


Kind regards




Goddess forgive my human frailty

As I kneel before the feet

That once graced a marble plinth.


I accept responsibility for placing you here

Beyond the soiling fingerprints

Of mere supplicant desire.


Worshipping until you outshone

The feeble midday sun

You failed to bless me with increase

Instead visiting my base soul

With a secular disease

And I ceased to be a believer.


Now I return to the shell

My shallowness has left

And cry out your name.


I bring no gifts or sacrifice

Knowing the bridges have been burned

That your immortal back is forever turned.


Amid fading memories of your face

With a new reverence for the divine

I venerate this sad and ruined place.


Mictecacchuatl's Children

Across a bridge of skulls

The song of lead

A harvest gathered in.


Our altar sags with gifts

A mother agitates

Her rosary of suffering.


The dead feast on marigolds

Cast toothless smiles

On sweets from honeybees.


We dance beneath the stars

As saguaros point the way

Thorns stitch our hearts to memories.


Revenant from the soil

A gila monster

Emerges hissing from its lair


A sidewinder’s tongue

Tastes darkness

In search of sustenance.


Paths of love and loss

Enfold the dead

Mute spines pierce our hands


Thoughts of vengeance take flight

Beating bullet riddled wings

Swirl above a roadside shrine.


Flowers for the disappeared

Sag in the midday sun

Stoop to kiss a bleaching photograph.


While the unscrupulous feed

Filling their ribs with angel dust

Hungry for a few dollars more.


Pompeii Cast

Screaming hollow empty person

Twisted, gifted, curséd cast

Blistered skin, Vesuvius victim

Pyroclastic iconoclast.


Crawling lover, ash bound body

Eaten by the mountain’s fire

Concrete lungs, gasping, airless

Frozen in time’s tesserae.



I heard your voice

A disembodied plea

Pregnant with the past

Calling out to me.


Across the tides of time

The realm where beggars chant

For some kind of release

From all the things they aren’t.


I pen these codes lines

Like spiders on a page

Like voices on a breeze

Like all the games we played.


All I have is this

A mirror soul I seek

Loving what you were

Plugging holes in me.


Things can’t be the same

Now you’ve been and gone

Leaving memories

I recall at evensong.


If I believed in God

But half of how I should

He’d open up your heart

Like any lover would.


He’d whisper in your ear

Why you should be with me

Smear mud across your eyes

Until at last, you’d see.


The Salting of Carthage

I understand, the light has dawned

Cracking across my furrowed brow.

See through it all,

Like your empty glass sat next to mine.


I understand the subtle ins and outs,

The beguiling voice you used

In calculated thanks for favours rendered

When love was in full bloom.


I understand the meaning of those days

When hope shone bright and new

And desire seemed weatherproofed

Against the coming storm.


I understand, post thunder, as tears evaporate

And neurons weave saddened thoughts to memories.

I understand why the puzzle’s incomplete;

You don’t want the final piece.


Realisation pricks my heart as I ponder wasted years

Understanding is a sharp and two edged sword

Leaving wounds your studied absence daily salts.


Mark Harris has asserted his right under section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.



Big Sal

Tue 4th Dec 2018 11:49

The titles, the substance, the wordplay, you have some fucking excellent work on this.

Great job, it really is something else.?

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