This Belfast, finally met / And so the people on the streets … / Just see

And you listen to good music,

And the people on the streets walk on by,

And the lyric rhymes nicely with the side of supper

You might have chosen once – but had to let go, sly.

And the stealthy ones are them; or so you suspect.

But it’s OK, because 

If what you wrote is any good, in any way,

At least when you’re dead 

Your kids will be proud of you.

And it doesn’t matter if you hurt whilst it happens

Because if there is worth,

There is reward –

Even if the reward is only for them,

That time, I mean, when you’re dead.

And the people on the street walk on by,

And the younger folk clasp hands and love, 

And later probably sigh,

In the evening of basking Belfast:

The Belfast you finally met.

And so maybe you’re a fool,

And maybe you were a tad ill, after all –

Some time after the walls you built,

And they built,

And more particularly she built,

And – truly! – we all built;

But that time is no longer.

And the wrongs you survived

Have revived your truths,

And made you the man that becomes 

The futures you will be.

Just see.

poetry, trails of thought

#Pride [in] #BelfastPride, #Belfast

I repeat myself and

find myself and

see myself so happy.

And as I successively saw

on the streets of the city of today

the generations and recreations,

and genial joes and

junior gals, and

toes and legs and smiles and eggings

on, with nothing lost and nothing

gone, I realise now

why life itself I find in the

wondrous of


of all its land

and once sorely banned.

Above all else, I see at last how true

will be

the sexuality of any gender cool,

conceived as it should be in utter liberty:

and how such an inception must necessary

lead for

thee and me

and you and we, and

such as now,

to wisdoms of all our realities.

For the freedom of the few

never is freedom for the few;

for the only freedoms worth fighting for

are the core humanities

of liberties for all.

And only when we each may fuck

the duck we cherish

and love in luck

will heaven on earth replace

the hell they asserted – so

bald and crude and

lewd, you know! –

as future punishment

and awful threat;

and yet, in truth, reserved

quite wilful for current

hell and spell.

No surprise they wish

to impose

regime as hasty as they deny:

when all is done and seen, the love they reclaim

only maims and resigns

the kindest of moments for the bitter

and the broad of hurtful guilty read;

of all that terrible instead,

in fact.

And when all is been and dreadful said,

and time it is for head – yessir! –

and evening sex

and morning told

and afternoon romp at office desks

sustain our desires

to pursue so grand the wisdom of those fires

so fab

which drive us all this




remember this thing and remember it fine:

I prefer to admit how I covet your ass

than be an ass myself!



poetry, trails of thought

Life [re]born[e]

Life born[e] on wings of 

wingdings, galore –

curiously either/or;

never worn nor carried out,

nor sorried with,

nor – any

more – curried unkind, in any way 

at all.

And the rhymes of observation,

also strangely squared,

circle around me like vultured 

cultures of rare ingenuity:

I no longer care to live alon[e] this way;

I no longer care to bear –

all by myself –

the grizzly consequence

of insubstantial existing.

Instead, let me tend to you

as I tend to myself;

let my love – for your 

beautiful weird – 


right my life as entire as could be.

Let me see your body

as tender skin; as 


as cunt fine and deep:

no hunting,

no longer, 

for that solace cruel,

in ever so empty bed.

short short story

Spe[aking] (on the purpose of writing)

By speaking he realised he could live, after all, without the physical affection he still would have clearly flourished round; even so, despite all, what hurt him the most was to talk about futures and find himself with people who found it so hard to do anything but look to the past that had haunted the ghosts of their ghosts.

It hurt him to think he could have another life, and maybe that life would not be just different but actually, objectively, better than now: but he had to limit himself to living in the real world where dreams cannot always fly as we’d like, and perhaps it was as well that this be the case: he had, in any case, hurt as much as he had been hurt, and the balance and credit of life could not be any other than this might indicate.

And speaking ameliorated in a way that ached slightly, for all his needs and the things he valued most disappeared in an understanding that people were worth more than the wants he had placed to that date at the centre of his life.  And if he could help others to realise themselves, in a sense he’d be realising himself.

And this was clear, and this was right.  And finally he realised, absolutely too, that he wasn’t half the man he had ever striven to be.

And this was clear, and this was wrong.  He still wished he could do far more than he had done.  But this wanting and then the doing traversed such an abyss that he felt to himself there was little he could do if it meant he was alone: without the support of someone, he really knew not where to turn.

And if his writing righted no wrongs at all, what was the purpose of writing anything?

trails of thought


One of the things I’ve discovered recently – discovered in the emotional sense, not intellectual – is that when, right at the start, you begin to blur the lines between what happened and what could have happened, and then again what might happen in the future – you discover a supremely powerful tool.  And like all powerful extensions of the human psyche, its power can overwhelm and terrify.

Lately (well, these past few days!), I’ve realised that whilst the job of the writer is to make absolutely credible everything they say, absolutely truthful even we might add, it’s not quite the same to go and do the latter as to be totally factual.

And the terror and horrifying nature of writing is when we immerse ourselves in the world of the author, sometimes quite despite ourselves, sometimes despite our better natures, and actually begin to believe and relate to actions we’d never – in our real lives – consider.

Now if this is possible for a reader to feel, imagine how the creator – wrapped up in the creative process for hours, weeks, months, maybe longer – gets to experience the realities slowly honed up into the credible truths I mentioned earlier (where not factualities).

So although I’ve been writing for most of my 53 years, I’m a very recent convert to the right of a writer to explore almost everything – without then feeling obliged to put it all into practice.

That is the dividing line which I always knew intellectually existed – but emotionally is only something which now I am beginning to properly appreciate.

trails of thought

My job as a writer



Had a gently strange day today, wandering around from coffee to uncoffee, and then back to coffee again.  My imagination is clearly getting the better of me: at least children and parrots seem to respond to my advances.  A lovely young man ruffled my hair near Sainsbury’s whilst he was with his family and me with my SO.  An impulse you don’t often see people expressing these days: stranger danger makes us so retiring, and occasionally rightly so; but the downside is that the physical contact and affection we’re frequently starved of continues to be absent in so many contexts.

Anyhow.  We talked of old days, mainly in Burgos; how humour did infuse quite often large swathes.  Life takes its toll, of course; of course it must and will.  But being good friends is much kinder than continuing to be a confused opposition.

I have to add something else as well.  I’ve been writing poetry and prose (mainly poetry, to be honest) for the past four months or so: quite frequently, quite persistently, quite randomly maybe too.  And this process of free and untrammelled writing has unlocked – unbolted – so many memories I was unable to access for such a long time, making me realise I’m almost like I used to be in Burgos before all that horrible shit went down.  To return to a time when life looks forward instead of looking back is so beautiful to feel, experience and transmit, that I can only give thanks to the artifices of the project – unless of course it’s happened by itself, in which case I must give thanks to the greater universe.

I’m still not out of the woods, of course: my imagination still runs away with me; and I often find it challenging to remind myself that what I think and what I see are never going to be one and the same thing.  The other grand issue relating to being a writer who draws on their personal experience in order to create is that the fusing of reality and fiction often doesn’t leave a very clearly marked frontier.  And for the imagineer, as much as the public, this may sometimes be both disconcerting as well as distressing.  But the truth of the matter is that writing which plays safe is the kind of writing which doesn’t need to be written.  And if I have ever hurt anyone with what I have written, I can only say I try to be honest and fair with what I say all the time.

I love many people in my life.  Not all of them know it, nor even that they remain in my life after so many years.  But they do, and I would never have it any other way: the things I remember from day to day, from childhood and adulthood both, have marked me, as I am sure they have marked us all.  If I can both recover my semblance of reality by describing the things which are so important to me as well as helping others understand their own, then I think my job as writer will probably be done.