These poems came about because I was introduced to the genius of Jackson C. Frank, so I spent half the night writing a cycle of nine hopefully bluesy love poems, while listening to him on loop.





dusty time of night

dusty time of night
between dusk
and not sleeping
in your arms,

lonely walks the street
he’s a blues song
looking for a home
rain-dirty love, all gone,

sunset slipped him a slow beer
steered him to a whisky-warm dive
bought him another round,
an empty bottle

is still full of memories.




fublin’ with midnight

dirty street-light-nights, new cross
a smokey pub
and last orders,

stumblin’ home
in arm bound love
kissing in the rain
tastes clearer,

midnight fublin’ trips us to the bed
instead of trying to move
just lie there, waiting for dawn
and for love, to never end.




1am ghost

i hear the late bars chucking out
drunken shouts and a police siren
i could not love this town more
if it were made of gold,

cat window scratches
i move slowly, not to wake her
a thankful purr to be rain-safe
and settles,

awake now
i set the sound to low
crackle-needle finds tom waits
in growling-soft saturday tones,

sit back and gently watch her,
breathe my hopes
like whisper-wishes
to the ghosts of night.




sunday morning blues

the words won’t come
on a sunday morning
never know what to say
the day after…

a bottle of jack
still sat on the table
the quiet morning,

she dresses quickly
says she has work
we kiss

silence is my blues
it follows my heart
in dark shadows
and unsaid words.




dirty streets

crisp-packet, gutter-blows
under a grey london sky
and the left-overs
of rain,

new cross train station
on a sunday morning
is a noisy whore
all naked and unashamed,

the clack of the carriages
as they carry me town-bound
sooth my mood
un-silence my smile,

window gazing,
south london
all dirty in its beauty
all dirty, in its love.




love song in echo

i see the lovers
walking hand in hand
the unslept streets,

i see the lovers
the undreamt years,

i see the lovers
it aches my soul.




the tender blues

it’s the gentle-soft
that wear away
the first,

love is in the detail
not loud gestures
noisy flowers
and sex,

the tender blues
painted our silence
into ordinary days

no one notices
where you are
or what song is playing,
until you get there.




last train home

tom waits
sings a jersey-girl lullabye
through tinny headphones,

train stops
ten minutes short of home
half hour delay
ain’t that always the way,

smiles at raindrops
down dirty windows,

knows he is happy
just here, just now,
and that
is a quiet sadness.



a new coat of paint

dust covers
placed with love
over the scratched old gramophone

colour-faded walls
of the old home

a paint-peeled kiss
lingers in the room

the rain-tears
echo louder
in the empty room,
some things can’t be fixed,

just painted


Filed under Poems 2011 - 2012, Poetry


My favourite poets

Kenneth Wolstenholme,
for me it begins with him, that undimmed line
you know the one,
I was not yet one when he spoke it,

Martin Tyler,
always eloquent, an Aresenal fan but
I listened to him find joy, give joy,
in that Giggs goal, in that semi-final,

Clive Tyldesley,
always under-rated
cup replays at Doncaster, who does those,
and then Istanbul, he believed and his words made me believe,

Brain Moore,
never “Motty” but nearly,
to be the next best poet of your generation must be cruel,
Arsenal ’89 was his though and that was something,

Alan Green,
never seen but heard through crackling radios of youth
truth is his currency, and how,
and I love him for it,

Barry Davies,
his unwavering love of beauty holds him high
he saw it in that second Maradona goal
and to lose to such beauty is not such defeat,

And then…
John Motson,
poet of his generation, poet of our time,
my time, he grew me up with words
absurdly wrong sometimes but so perfect
he gave me Owen’s goal
and Pearce’s penalty
and he gave me Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
winning it for Manchester
winning it for me
that second corner,

These are my poets
without them it is twenty two men
kicking a bag of air
who would care?





Kenny was a mate of mine
We used to go and watch Millwall together
Managed to blag a couple of season tickets
On account of his disability
I went along as his carer
Too fucking funny.

Kenny had Down’s Syndrome
He didn’t worry about it
He had some trouble speaking
And the most evil sense of humour I ever knew
I can still hear his laugh
Worse than Mutley.

Kenny swore a lot
“Fuck off” came out “Fug all”
He was proud that he could say his own name,
He’d tap his chest and say
“Kenny Evans” when introduced.

I didn’t know better when I first met him
So I tapped my chest and said…”Philbrook, Simon Philbrook…”
He roared with laughter
And ever after when I arrived he’d tap me on the chest saying..
“Fug-all, Fug-all, Smime”
Then fall about laughing.
I miss that.

Kenny loved football
He loved the cheering and the chants,
and anyone who scored…..them or us!
Upper tier behind the goal
Whenever “the referee’s a wanker” could be heard
You knew that Kenny would be standing up conducting
Like it was last night of the proms.

At home to some crap nobody’s in the cup
Thatcher steps up to head away a corner
Perfect own goal
Visitors end was always empty then,
Kenny stands up
Shouts “GOAL” in perfect diction,
I couldn’t look.
Then from a couple of rows behind the chant began
“Stand up if you love Kenny…..Stand up if you love Kenny”
He conducted
I cried.

This is why I fucking love football.




Pele’s Dummy

I had this girlfriend once
Loved her to bits
Gorgeous tits, nasty temper,
She went away, Cambridge,
Rainy days waiting for trains,
She studied law
Bored the arse off me
so I spent my time
admiring hers,

I met her at the bar one night
She greeted me with a kiss,
Soft, and just lingering enough
to make me think I hadn’t seen
the subtle brush against the hand
of some bloke stood next to her,
No point rowing
When you’re not sure.

Years later
Waiting for a bus in New Cross,
Lazily shop window gazing
HD ready TV’s,
……..Brazil 1970….Team of the Century
On loop,
Pele’s dummy on the Italian keeper
used his body, the way he ran,
to send the poor sod the wrong way,

Skill and speed of thought
Beyond the imagination of the ordinary,

You have to admire that,
And her arse.




bad news
“bad news always reminds me of you”
danny, (one shit short of a brickhouse)
but you didn’t mess with him,
he knew my brother,

“we always lose when i fucking see you”
danny again, (and technically true)
and i didn’t want to argue,
pre-season games don’t count,

“if we lose today you’re fucking dead”
danny, (you have to love him)
wasn’t subtle, brutal but fair,
I left before the half-time whistle, 3-0.





1. A violent uproar; a tumult.
2. A reversal.
[French, from Old French bouleverser, to overturn : boule, ball (from Latin bulla) + verser, to overturn (from Old French, from Latin vers–re, frequentative of vertere, to turn).]
and spotty,
wore a sweat shirt
naff then
cool now,
retro makes no sense to me,
sat down with flat lemonade
and soggy crisps
to watch
in my little,
we started well (Smith 1-0)
then fell behind (Stapleton and Wilkins 2-1)
then stevens (there’s only one Gary Stevens 2-2)
then smith….
there’s seconds left
he’s through on goal
one kick and Brighton win the FA CUP,
“and smith must score”….the commentator roars,
we scream at the TV
like it can hear us
like we make the difference
like it is our glory, our moment,
it finishes 2-2
we lose the replay
four nil
“and smith must score”,
a violent uproar; a tumult,
a reversal,





a dodgy poem about frank worthington

awake again
these unslept nights
slip quietly by,

distraction calls me to
and thoughts
of football,

some time in the seventies
watching match of the day
with my uncle
a perfect memory,
dare I spoil it,

THAT worthington goal,
anyone who saw it


do we?

or are memories special
only because
of place
and moment,
and perhaps

i dare myself to find out
and just this once,

just this once,

i am left


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mexican Red Sunsets


Whisper my beating heart silent
-my footsteps cross the border
Rio Brava del Norte,

America, that open whore
wants cheap life
and cheaper beer,

Fourteen hour days
for half minimum wage
and no health cover,

Soon the whites will all be obese
eating McDonalds with extra fries
served with a Spanish accent,

Give me back
my soul-torn sunsets
Mexican red steppes,

Ashe juniper, White-tail deer,
this is where my heart lies
this life, this beauty-whispered life.

1 Comment

Filed under Poems 2011 - 2012, Poetry



you had to be there,
pat had a yankee flag
draped across his wall,
halls of residence,
wharfdale speakers,
U2, building slowly,
bitter love songs
are always the best,

you had to be there,
me & debs
holding hands
eyes touching
like we were more in love
than anyone had ever been,
like we invented sex,

you had to be there,
thatcher’s 1987
the UK full of hate & money
funny how somethings
never change,
how some things
always, remain the same.


Filed under Poems 2011 - 2012, Poetry



We ache in our bones
calcified love that dares not whisper
its old songs,

our unsung lives, lie small and helpless,
twisting in a sirocco wind,
and still, and


and still we remember
just those moments

that falling leaf
that touch,
that kiss.


Filed under Poems 2011 - 2012, Poetry

These Days

These days

“These are the burnt out ends of smokey days,”
we are lillac-blind, cruel-blinded by our
give-up, press-reset, fifteen-minute ways,
this life through un-acquired tastes, seems sour,

These are the stubbed-out butts of dreams, of love,
each night we kiss our kids with whisky-breath
with our stale words and lies, it’s not enough….
our bitter gift…a legacy of death,

These are, the cancer-ridden days of tears;
of drugs and dust and drought and forest fires,
in blind, cold pity we make real our fears,
look away with me as we light the pyres,

These are the fag-end days, the tipping point,
we’re done, put out the light, lock up the joint.


Filed under Poems 2007-2009, Sonnets

london road (brighton)

london road

the pogues
dirty old town
cowley club PA system
london road

my friend vanessa
scores some gear
back of richer sounds
she’ll be dead soon

out back in the bystander
latte and a fag
the last place in brighton
you can smoke

tommy’s on the street again
can of special brew
and his three legged dog
both stink of piss

steve says you can get a blow job
in the toilets on the level
for the price of a ten bag
if you’re not fussy

sirens break the cold
november night
crack house above the subway
closes early

some drunk got kicked to death
gutter left
back of the old wollworth building
something to do with a girl

it’s always something to do with a girl.

Leave a comment

Filed under Poems 2011 - 2012

old box

old box

love letters
tied up neatly
parcel stringed,

black & white photos
during the war,

subbuteo figure
brighon away strip

simon armitage
first edition,

swimming certificate

paperclip heart
daniela sauter
first kiss,

all this boxed

Leave a comment

Filed under Poems 2011 - 2012



This is a long time ago.
I am trying to sleep at my grandparents’ house.
I hear his gurgled cough all night.
I don’t worry.

This is now.
I am caressing the sweat off my daughter’s headcold.
I am the one they quietly cuddle up to.
I worry.

This is later.
I am visiting my brother in hospital.
I heard the words on the news, now I feel them, dirty bomb.
I listen to his cough, and remember my grandfather.


Filed under Poems 2007-2009

what will survive of us…

what will survive of us…

the old brickwork
shivvered away
the remains of painted love,

“jezz does helen”

rained and blistered, faded,
years after they forgot
those clumsy moments,

the school wall crumbles,
slowly arthritic joints
need repointing,
but are lost
on some crumpled list,

the last scratching,
etched and chiselled
by metal ruler,
and adolescent earnest,

what will survive of us
is ciggy stubs
and half remembered
blow jobs.

1 Comment

Filed under Poems 2007-2009