Thursday, 27 October 2011



It's been rather quiet on the blog/news front lately, but followers of the previous books might like to know that I'll be doing a reading this evening at Preston's 'Word Soup' which is held at 'The Continental' from 8pm. It's quite an exciting one for me: not only is it my first time reading poetry live for over a year-and-a-half, it's also a great opportunity for me to debut some new material from my forthcoming collection. I like to think this as-yet-untitled project ties up the loose threads of 'Sunrise and Shorelines' and 'In Memory of Real Trees' nicely. So it seems fitting that it will be my last collection of poetry for quite a long time. I will also be donating the entire proceeds to Christie Hospital for reasons that may be clear in 'White Pyjamas', a new poem included at the end of this message.

Also this week, myself and Chris Newton will be reading an extract from our Doctor Who inspired comedy, 'Life Begins at 40' (the sequel of which is currently in the works), at Ansdell library, this Friday, starting 10.30am. If any of you are local to the area and want to call in, it would be great to see you there.

As ever, anyone who wants to drop me a line is welcome to send me a message on, with any comments or just to say hi.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this new excerpt:

White Pyjamas

I am having a recurring dream,
wandering through the hallways of my past,
seeing, at best, situations I was blessed,
at worst, occasions we were together cursed,
seeing childhood memories played as melodramas,
seeing the ghosts of you and me,
dressed in white pyjamas.

Our kitchens are repopulated
by the cast of old productions,
living rooms filled with laughter, tears,
neighbours from an avenue seeming so big,
their houses could simply disappear,
a flick-show of December twenty-fifths,
fast-forwarding through time around a sole constant:
teletext, Eastenders, white noise, mist,
a body immoveable, asleep on the sofa,
remote control limply in wrist.

Out of sight, uninvited, unseen,
treading the boards of places I've been
– but no longer belong –
I find myself at a summer garden party,
watching relatives from distant counties
tend skewers on a buffet,
a somersaulting girl with freckles and pigtails.

A boy who looks the spit of me
rises from the table.
He holds his mother's hand,
inclines his head.
The pair of them, wearing backless gowns,
walk me to a photo of a hospital bed.

In a wall-mounted gallery
of carefully-selected memories,
it seems an odd choice.
Family portraits chime with edited harmony.
Sorrow doesn't get a voice.

Our eyes meet with a knowing smile,
and I understand.
I've waited, for years, to tell myself
– a child of twelve with the cares of a man –
that everything will be okay,
to look at my mother, with clear hindsight,
and say that I love her.

Now, somehow, we're above that,
just being here is enough.
Some words are conveyed
without ever being spoken,
it's time to stir nostalgia
without sad ghosts being woken,
time to shake off the white pyjamas,
put the turmoil and dramas of the past to bed.

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