Lens Flare

Looking through the shutter of my mind,
I am the statue in the time-lapse.
The cars blur past me.
The panic rises.
I freeze.

The timer counts down the seconds
of every moment ever precious.
The flashbulb blazes bright
then fades to black.
Say cheese.

Can we call a timeout?
I want to exist in this snapshot a while longer.
Could I be doing more?
Nothing feels like the best thing to do.
Life is full to the brim but it’s passing me by.

How many shots do we get
until we have to admit that it’s over,
that we’ll never get the perfect picture?
Every moment grows ever heavier
as I try to buy more time.

The darkroom down below
prints stills of the regrets
that will adorn the gallery walls
when the shutter closes for the final time,
warning of my future failures.

And in my mind’s eye,
paparazzi cameras point at me:
portals to another reality.
They write my biography
and I read it, I believe it.

With his lens, I imagine
the photographer condemns.
I tell him to stand aside:
I felt what I felt
and nothing has to be justified.

Can we avoid their angles?
I see my image in their mirror.
Can we stand apart but not alone?
I resent the rules of the game they play.
I cut off my nose to spite my face.

Filter set on sepia,
we live in a photo collage
on a timeline in this
thin slice of history
we’ve been apportioned.

All the photographs never taken
for fear of their reception
are burned onto my retina
but still, my finger freezes:
the light is never quite right.

The ticking of the timer
is louder every passing year,
the hourglass emptier,
and I’m still out of frame,
trying to pick a pose.

Will we ever learn our lesson?
The photographer is doomed
and so redeemed
by every scar and mote of dust,
the patina on the bronze bezel,
every sunbeam scattered
across the lens.


Take the spaceship round the corner
to the stars;
smoking interstellar got us taking off.
Blowing clouds apart,
we levitate
up into the emptiness,
breaking the backbone of night:
a technological blackbird
in flight.

Pull up to the kerb
and up into the stratosphere, rising
high above the diorama city
down below.
Pixel people igniting,
shot red
in brake lights,
can’t hear us over the fumes;
burning interstellar

Put the rocket boosters on blast
and roam higher,
time dilating like pupils
behind shades.
Find us wrapped up
in our interstellar cabin,
waiting till the last set
and stealing back our

Take off in the tunnels:
chemical taste in the grooves
like vibrations
in the spaceship speakers,
dripping interstellar dust.
We terraform the skies,
recklessly in love
with the view
from above.


Phantom, I
drift through the silence and the city,
charcoal outposts of the fallout,
crumbling black and
on shirt starched white.
Mind over matter:
memories spilling burgundy
torrents from ruptured cranium,
burst pipework
gushing black onto curved concrete
and sliding into storm

The brain and fuzz:
I thought dust storms in that
barely ventilated;
all of a sudden
the moment expanded for an extended second,
the monologue quietened,
the present re-emerged,
the atmosphere emptied
its contents
and I could breathe.

The flame and flicker:
smiling soft across the table,
slender like satin,
your fingers grasped blindly
after nervous words
from apartment people
trapped in TV sets
that look through to solitary bedlam,
and the words trailed off
on another
for my thoughts.

Now, vacant is my chamber
but for the breeze that lets itself in
and clears the
in empty day
after empty night
after empty lullabies.
And anaesthetic are the images
that evaporate into
the ether of my imagination
as her spectre
shrinks from sight
in the floater in my eye.

Phantom, I
walk amongst the wreckage,
taking care and aim at onlookers
encased in impenetrable shells:
a million universes floating in quiet oblivion.
But there’s hope
for new futures to be forged
in the fire of our failures,
there’s hope in destruction,
promise in the new,
we martyrs to the dream,
searching for an


Fallen alien
wanders through my
stepping on twigs
in the dark.
I let your sound
guide me to your

Foreign ghost
drifts across my
floating formlessly
into my arms.
you cease to exist
when you fall out of

Looking away for a second
could shatter the illusion,
break the fourth wall,
wake me up from
the dream.
You resonate
like tones in the tibetan,
raindrops boring holes in my brain,
water accumulating
in a tin can,
to me.


White feathers
on a snowy plain,
on a blinding
streak of lightning.
Too precious,
matchstick idol
painted in crimson,
glow and
black moonlight
shroud serene
in perfect darkness.
Wrap your
icky thump
arms around me
melt into the

Rain patter
blurs streetlight
cracked and dull,
tarry darkness
into starry sky,
straining eyes
to see
the path ahead,
picking furtive steps
trying not to

From nothing to something,
gods of our own universe,
evading gravity,
stepping into space,
dancing in the


Every night alone
it comes,
every seed sown
spilt over cold ideas,
over nothing:
ghost lovers.

Sleep urges me to
start anew,
wait until the waves
lap at my consciousness,
lull me into ignorance,
wipe the slate clean,
until the residue

How soon is now?
I never believed I could
empathise with Morrissey,
but the pressure,
seconds steady ticking,
is hard to comprehend
when you don’t know
where the
end is,
when you don’t know
how much time
is left.

So in silence I sit over skyline,
pristine and gleaming in
black and light,
sip a green tea and
but the glass wore out its reflection
and there’s nothing much left
worth dredging up from
no steps worth retracing,
no more mileage that
meditation can
make up,
so the only way forward
is through no man’s land.

Every night alone
it comes,
the pressure
breaks the surface,
ghostly fingers
of imaginary lovers.


Frothing heavens
snapping plastic,
house collapsing;
rowdy weather:
wrinkled enema
sky prolapsing.

spleen scuppered,
splattered on the brow;
wind wrapping
wobbly wonton rivulets
across the bow.

Dark dripping
flippers rippling,
flapping inwards;
waves washing
seaweed over soggy
origami innards.

Zigzag zip,
wrestling giant
gothic manta ray;
escape sloppily
and scamper,
slosh away.

Tottering totem
humming a humdrum
staggering stupefied:
sparkling wayward
action figurine.

Blocky beams
and jellied muscle
buckle and judder,
stamp spasmodic
slo-mo hoofprints
on the rudder.

Melting mucus
globules dribble
from pecked-out eyes;
pointillistic priestess,
pornographic pixels
point inside.

Mind muddled,
fully befuddled,
thoughts scrambled;
brain boggled,
speech garbled,
marbles gambled.


I am the world on a stick,
nose a fuzzy
blot on the landscape,
an emptiness where the neck stops,
filled with everything there is to fill it.
No guillotine
but the lack of a head
puts a crack in the mirror
and eventually, the reflection

I am the spotlight on the stage
and the stage spot-lit,
illuminating the
No bullet, no blood,
but a hole
where I used to point to myself,
a wormhole in a birdbath
sank by a sinking

I am a wave on laniakea,
once the trench is dug
experience rushes in, torrents
flooding the mind,
currents crumbling the sides.
No amount of reason
can save you

Not Quite

Our canvas haven,
candlelit by screens
in the electric blackness,
betrayal on your lips,
lust dripping
from your eyes,
not quite.

As vibrations
spaced so as to
discern as sound
tinnily into the inky night,
you burrow through
my topsoil,
coming close
not enough.

My voice sends you
away, red hands
in your gauze
as other voices approach,
come clearer as the
zip cuts
and my icy exhalations
entertain an

and warm
and tattooed in shadows,
I feel a form against my own;
your mirage shimmers,
stares into me,
breathes, comes
closer than the others,
at least.

And later,
left alone, I speak the
in the eye of the
storm, weeping,
made by magnet pull;
marionette strings held taut,
dancing by default,
I almost
believed in fate.

Our canvas coven,
lit by screens
light on tortured features
barely registered in the
regret on your lips,
desire dripping
from your eyes,
not quite.

How Long Will It Be?

How long will it be?
The problem is not knowing:
it could be any moment
but it could be never.
Too much time alone
leads to loops,
leads to questions

How long will it be?
When I travel forward in time
I see the past recede and shrink
into something so small
it barely exists.
It makes things easier,
but when I lose faith
I ask:

How long will it be?
and for whom do I build this
if not only for myself?
I had imagined
the foundations strong enough to let
someone share this castle
with me.

how long will it be?
I stand amongst the debris
and try to fit the pieces together;
shake a fist at the sky;
and still the hope
of an unearned happy ending,
bought by a miracle,