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Friday, 14 February 2020


Here is a poem for my darling wife Carrie on Valentine's Day 2020. The poem comes from my book 'Advice To A Young Skydiver', published by Burning Eye Books (note: this is an adults' book; it is not for kids!)

Monday, 27 January 2020


I kept losing the children. The windows
had been blown inwards in tiny, piercing grains,
some of which lodged in the back of my
throat. The children were complaining: some
were coughing on the pieces of glass; others
were running round as though in some
kind of drugged-up stupor. I didn't
want to shout at the children, but I
had to. "Walk! Don't run! Hold
on to the edges!" But I kept losing them.
My own mother was laughing, as though to say
"I never lost you
when you were a child."

I was conscious of several eyes and several
smiling, mocking sets of lips. Each
child that fell over the edge and landed
broken at the bottom of the fire-escape
felt like one of their victories. I had
to get angry at the children; it was
for their own good. "I said WALK!
Hold on to the EDGES!" Some
of them listened. Most didn't.

I realised that some of the eyes and lips
watching me belonged to school
inspectors, who became more and more
gleeful with every child that I lost. Oops!
There goes another one, that's one black mark.
And he raised his voice unnecessarily, that's two.
I had to grab them to keep them away
from the edge, but I could feel the inspectors
smirking at this: here he goes
touching the children now! More and more
children kept falling.
Some of the good little girls
listened to me, and got scared as my shouting
became more and more pained. "I SAID FUCKING WALK!
of the children laughed. Some even jumped
off the edge voluntarily. Everything was metal.
The sky was pink.

Later on a man with a face made of sand
told me that this
is what Jesus had to go through.

(originally published in Under The Radar (Nine Arches Press, 2009)

Saturday, 25 January 2020


I'm a smart poem.
In fact you might say I'm a 
High-IQ haiku

Monday, 20 January 2020



Never lick a cactus
Never hug a skunk
Never munch a mattress
Never mug a monk

Never kick a canteloupe
Never wreck a rock
Never axe an antelope
Never slurp a sock

Never swim in lava
Never tickle frogs
Never poke your father
Never pickle dogs

Never nudge a garden gnome
Never bark at Miss
Never read a poem
As ridiculous as this

writing idea: what else should one never do? Your list could rhyme, or not!

Sunday, 12 January 2020


This poem isn’t funny. 
It involves no comedy,
even if you read it
while you’re hanging from a tree. 

It has no funny elements.
It will not make you laugh,
even were a monkey
to declaim it in the bath. 

This poem has no giggles
and contains no funny words,
like ‘bippy’, ‘blimp’ or ‘blabbermouth’
or ‘nincompoop’ or ‘nerd’. 

It’s really not amusing
and won’t make you feel happy. 
You’re likelier to get your jollies
from a dirty nappy. 

Yes if you want a chuckle
then you’d best consult a clown. 
This poem isn’t funny;
it will only bring you down.

Friday, 13 December 2019


I don't know who is going to read this, but I am writing in a fleeting moment of clarity in what has been one of the most difficult few months of my life. Since September I have been struggling badly with my mental health. This has been having an understandably negative effect on my marriage, and lately it has also been having a detrimental impact on my work as a performance poet. I have been finding it very difficult to pick up a pen and to garner any kind of inspiration, but harder still have been the school visits that I undertake as a crucial element of my job. I am an introvert at the best of times, and I have been finding these increasingly difficult. I am unbelievably privileged to be able to do this as my job, and when I am feeling well doing school visits is an honour that I am extremely grateful for, but to stand up in front of groups of children for several hours a day, when my mind is doing everything it can to play havoc with me, is hugely stressful. For the first time in several years I have had to cancel or postpone school visits because of my mental illness. This is having a detrimental effect on my confidence and my finances. My wife is the kindest person in the world, but it is impacting her deeply too.

I write this in the hope of encouraging greater openness and transparency with regards to mental health, and the effect it can have on the work of otherwise creative and lively people. If you are struggling too then the best I can do is express some kind of solidarity. I also express immense gratitude for everyone who has and continues to be supportive of the work I do.

Peace and love,

Monday, 18 November 2019


I'm delighted to share these group poems, written by Year 4 classes on the back of my recent visit to Twyford School. It is easy to write a poem like this: think of a special person, and describe them using metaphors. Enjoy!