Lady in the letter room, ink upon your sleeves,
Would you consent to tell us how to do ‘I’?
Under graphite watchmen you wile away your time,
Caring for each capital as if it were your chick.


Don’t vomit on your date, there really is no good way
To go about this. Avoid walking to a bush, easily interpretable
As a desire to get away:
Try not to vomit on your date, no matter what they say.



A pumpkin is glowering down at me
At the Kreuzberg Bürgeramt.
It’s threat a bureaucratic wrangle, an unpitying tangle,
For the right to stand beneath the pumpkin at the Berlin Bürgeramt.

Bürgeramt: Literally citizen’s office, an office dealing with housing, financial and identification issues for German residents.

The Violet Hums


The ska band in the graveyard are still blazing away
Getting even tighter and closer to the stone.
The mourners have all gone home, the priest left for the day,
The ska band growing ever closer in their velvet drone.

‘His band was too loud and his voice is too thin.
Now he can’t sing, if he ever could.
He didn’t play the hits, and when you did, you couldn’t tell what they were;
Joan Baez, who came last year, was much better.’

Flashback now


Crips packets
Autumn leaves
On days
Like these.

Cat eyes


A cat is an excellent aid to thinking.
Exudes clarity, moves in time to thought.
How many love affairs have cats disabused me of –
When I look in your eyes, I see the occuring core of it all.

The sincere actor


‘Anyone who likes performing must like relationships,
Stepping out onto the podium of love.
I have always been ‘on’ with you, darling,
And the act has been running as long as we have.’

His best piece


Ben Jonson with his son in his hand
A long time ago. A long time between us, Ben:
You dead, I alive,
And your son gone before us both.

In tribute to Ben Jonson’s ‘On my first Sonne.’



Their marriage scandalized Europe,
Those parts of it that could still read.
The calm prince and the career woman
Who wore black boots and red lipstick.