was neatly ordered
with negligible negatives on the right
and overwhelming positives piled behind and to the left.

it ever be clear why
some struggle significantly whilst others are able
to classify feelings so that life seems to makes perfect sense?

sure this cadaver
had overcome his negative aspect
to such a degree that he was permanently joyful.

All right
Not a perfect ending.
Rubber gloves and a twisting device
revealed envy to be the undoing of this unfortunate.



Some would say the woman with long red hair merely sells reclaimed clothes; she doesn’t call out her wares; doesn’t lean on people to buy unwanted goods; doesn’t exclaim ‘beautiful’ when someone tries something on; doesn’t cluck, smile or pamper. She sits quiet, still and reading outside her stall, waiting for people to find her and buy her merchandise.

But to those touched by the butterfly’s wings, clothes are jewels. And when I sat at her feet for the seventh year, she may have recognised my aura and, I am almost certain, told me a tale.

“I dig these clothes from gold mines, I steal these beauties from the washing lines of kings, in my cave I keep silver spiders aweaving silken webs, I sweep dew drops from fresh smelling early morning grass and stitch them on as sequins, I snip vivid rainbows with scissors as sharp as words and hang them upon angels to ascertain the fit.

“And more than this,” she said; “my buttons are the imaginations of wise men mistaken for fools, my wool is wound by storytellers, my pockets are filled deep with the rich promise of new life and my sleeves are as long as the breath of wind. My shoes have travelled the loaded road of dreamers and collected the heavy dust of prayer.”

I went to the rail where the clothes were hanging – cerise, rose, pitch, scarlet, emerald and indigo. With new eyes I saw each crease was a quest for answers, every seam was a river, decorations were celebrations, slips and tears were crags and ravines and hats were mountain peaks.

As I paid for my chosen garment with a poem, the woman with long red hair raised her eyes in slight acknowledgement and turned back to her book as though she had not uttered a word.


Ding dong the bell for crying out
loud but don’t hear reprimands half cocked
corridors run white socks falling to catch
imaginations lit like tapers ready to

come hail or shine grass cuttings or
snow girls flew out to archeologically
dig this unspoken urgency bending our
bodies into new shapes but never

did we build igloos are for boys for us no
kiss and tell you what no silly games fizzy
sweets like answers lay beneath twenty
serious minutes of comradeship and green


Ivy’s Shelf

As her life was how she kept it.
As she liked it so she left it.
A labyrinth of nicky nacks
a hoard of unboxed bric-a-brac
untold low cost collectables
in brimming bright receptacles
gorgeous gift shop ditherings
things to fill and filling things
trifling trinkets bits and tat
and stuff to stare and wonder at
ornamental incidentals
adornments kitsch and sentimentals
treasured presents and particles
of interesting articles
tinkered tampered touched and fiddled
souvenirs curios higgledy piggled
art bought abroad and much admired
paraphernalia acquired
memories from bygone days
precious keeps and here to stays.
As her life was how she kept it.
As she liked it so she left it.