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The Goose the Ghost and the Man       (From Rented )                                                                      


The Clink was my manor where I still reside with the whores

(The Winchester Geese), the paupers, the dispossessed.

In the still of a twenty first century Sunday to the rattling of trains,

in the shadow of The Shard, through the countless

skulls and syphilitic bones, it is as goose I rise.


Not a bird fattened in the cloisters destined

for a Christmas plate, I am heroin chic,

super model thin as I slip through The Red Gates.

I caress its ribbons, poems, its tiny bears, a shrine

to the ‘working girls’ homespun and trafficked.


From my sisters of the past to those

who trade on the pavements of London,

Birmingham, Nottingham. Snuffed out

like the candles nestling in the weeds they

will burn again as the stones are turned to beating organs.                                                                                                                                       


I honk and glide over the rooftops the narrow

streets no longer running with stinking waste,

over the Bishop’s ruins whose coffers

held the rent from the lodgings

where I spread my legs.


Where people make a game of history

at the Golden Hinde gift shop and gloat

at the gory prison where my mother fell to jail fever.

Over The Cathedral where I whispered

my unanswered prayers to St Mary Overie.


Over the market where I sold myself

at Southwark Fair. The wharfs that knew

mob rule, that rocked to music

and pleasures of the flesh, now

sterile boxes to seal the wealthy off.


Hissing over the singing Thames

to the seats of government, law, and finance -

the old haunts of the father I never knew.

I seek a certain type of gentleman.

I enter the safe sleep of lawyer, judge, stockbroker, priest.


In dreams they wrestle me in my room

at The Anchor their portly bodies

enfolded in my wings. With a scratching in their groins

they awake perspiring on feather pillows

beside their cold and tidy wives,


dress to face an innocent morning, soap

me from their shiny skins. In hangman tight

ties, mildly harassed by the half-digested grass

upon their stairs they pause in doorways,

prepare to stride their importance into the light.


Before I launch, take flight to Crossbones,

their feet embed themselves in my excrement,

with a final twist of my elegant white neck

I rip through expensive shoe leather

and peck at their adulterous heels.



Crossbones Cemetery is the sight of a medieval burial ground in Southwark, London. Originally created for prostitutes known as The Winchester Geese, after The Bishop of Winchester whose title  permitted prostitution on the South bank, for 400 years, in return for rent from the brothels.



Branch Line  (from Track Record)



Awroight Fabian pack it in, this isn’t Wolverhampton 

says the mother, who looks far too young 

to have four, soon to be five, children,  

as her family piles onto the train at St Erth. 

Someone, almost to themselves, says 

He might have a problem with that name  

where he comes from. Fabian, mid rampage, tells me  

Cornwall’s posh. Someone, not as quietly as they think, 

says Tell that to the Cornish.  


Tiny noses press against the glass on 

‘Probably the most scenic rail journey in the country’. 

Which barely disturbs the herons in the estuary  

as we sweep past the dunes and golden sands 

of Hayle and Carbis Bay. Fabian cries to his sister 

Look there’s a basking shark, there’s a dolphin look 

but it’s only white horses. The younger child says 

Fabian stop, it eess’nt  yow making things up.  

But following his finger they both want to believe it. 


We head down to the town, that draws in the artists, 

with its unique light. Don’t worry about a thing 

Fabian’s baby sister sings ‘Three Little Birds’ word perfect.  

Mouths are open but nobody speaks. 

As the little train unloads its tourist hoards 

(All born here are banished to the outskirts)  

I realise these children have never seen the sea. 




Religion            (published in The Ver Prize Anthology 2022)


the only faith you need

is the faith your dog would

go for 


if you had a dog


that if it leapt into the mud

you would not deliver tough love




you would not fear the sound of

your dog’s breath

fear it panting hot on your neck


                                                                        having recognised


your dog is not merely a dog

but mud is just mud


                                                                       let’s add an aside


the sun is shining

the sky is I don’t know


                                                                       fucking amethyst


for the love of Christ


                                                                       if there was a Christ


get in the mud with your dog

look it in the eye

enjoy the surprise


                                                                       and then lie


on the grass   

with your dog to dry


                                                                      there is no God                              




Cupboard Love       (published in The Alchemy Spoon)


She is clever, though

we don’t know what to do with her,

arms folded stubbornly under the chest, 

just so demanding!  There must be a remedy for nylon

housecoats,  immobilised by the weight of perms.

To the sound of vegetables, boiling, boiling,

a group of  women discuss me

as if I wasn’t there.  As if I had no opinion,

I am engraving a pan of solidified lard.

As I cancel my final date with optimism

I will carve the word NO,

there is a drawer full of knives. I am sharper than

their answer, it is always Yes, because I said so.


Their answer?  It is always Yes because I said. So?

There is a drawer full of knives I am sharper than.

I will carve the word NO,

as I cancel my final date with optimism.

I am engraving a pan of solidified lard,

as if I wasn’t there. As if I had no opinion,

a group of women discuss me,

to the sound of vegetables boiling. Boiling

housecoats,  immobilised by the weight of perms,

just so! Demanding  There must be a remedy for nylon,

arms folded  stubbornly under the chest,

We don’t know what to do with her,

she is clever though.