Balcony Scene


Trust me, this isn’t my doing

You can choose any friend

But family? That’s the bitter end


I could be anything you want

Say the word, we’ll elope

Run from convention’s rope


I come to you cap in hand

profess my love for you on bended knee

don’t worry about disputative families


Yes, he’s my father

I, his loving son

But he couldn’t stop us with a loaded gun


Here I am in plain sight

I fear nothing, have nothing to hide

Take my hand, let's live


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Eighteen prompt revisted: Give five answers to one question, without explicitly identifying the question.

Last Chants Saloon

Here we go, here we go, here we go1
Danny’s at the wheel2
We’re here, we’re there… 3

Is this a library? 4
My garden shed is bigger than this
It’s got a door and a window
My garden shed it bigger than this 5

We forgot that you were here 6
It’s nice to know you’re here… 7
You must have come in a taxi 8

You don’t know what you’re doing 9

He fell over 10
You’re going home in a Pompey ambulance 11
It’s a miracle! It’s a miracle! 12

Is there a fire drill? 13
We can see you sneaking out 14
You’ll never make the station 15

Taxi for Carter 16
Bye-bye, bye-bye 18

Who ate all the pies? 19
You...! 20

n.b. NaPoWriMo April 2022 Day Thirty prompt: Lines from other poets. Well artistic licence applied here – feeling de-mob happy, tbh!

Sources: 1. Crewe Alexandra, Gresty Road, 2022 2. Fratton Park, 1980s 3. Various 4. Sheffield Wednesday, Hillsborough, 2022 5. Shrewsbury Town, The New Meadow, 2018 6. Plymouth Argyle, Fratton Park, 2016 7. Luton Town, Fratton Park, 2017 8. Accrington Stanley, Fratton Park, 2015 9. Cheltenham Town, Whaddon Road, 2022 10. Wycombe Wanderers, (Too many times to mention). 11. S*********n, Fratton Park, 1984 12. Most match days. 13. Tottenham Hotspurs, Wembley, 2010 14. Peterborough United, London Road, 2018 15. Brighton & Hove Albion, Fratton Park, 1976 16. Sunderland AFC, Roker Park, 1995 18. Tottenham Hotspurs, Wembley, 2010 19. S*********n, St Mary’s, 2010 20. For Graham Poll, Referee playing as the 12th man for Arsenal in his last match at Fratton Park, April 2007.

CLP 01/05/2022

Collateral Damage

 what would

as we
we'd know
it's all

would we make up
where we 
could offer
necessary apologies
long overdue 
balance our
play music 
say one 
final I


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Twenty-eight prompt; Concrete poem. I have to admit to having had such thoughts lately. Day twenty-eight of NaPoWriMo 2022, but day Sixty Three in Ukraine.

CLP 28/04/2022


It started with a kiss
it was uncalled for

you called me out
who was I to dare lean in?

how dare I presume intimacy
your anger gave you voice

your voice at last had found you
you had plenty that you had to say

plenty more to come when that was said
generations of mothers spoke through you

what these mothers spoke was truth
previously subdued, suppressed

the suppressed at last free to express
it started with a kiss


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Twenty-seven prompt: write a duplex.

This poem has a history, it is a history in a poem. I am ever grateful for what this kiss taught me, the voice it brought forth.

I hope that it is not too obscure for the general reader.

CLP 27/04/2022


This feather floating on the lake
Its hollow shaft so strong, so light
Barbs and barbules do combine
To form the vane of shining white

Is this us so gently curled
Rachis perfectly holding shape
Barely touching the water's skin
Like your lips that kiss my nape

Causing shivers of the spine
This feather came from heaven above
Lifting my spirit from lockdowns' pain
This feather you, elegant love


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Twenty-six prompt: extended simile. I live in hope, obvs!

CLP 26/04/2022

Aisling of the millpond

unseasonable warmth
petite clouds
white buds pinned to infinite blue
fine grass blades grass by the millpond
prick my pale winter skin
my flat weight crumples daisies
in cool shade
of the willow’s weeping

tumble of the waterwheel
low hum of bumble bees




with eyes closed I see all
the birds I hear
from within this sonorous wall
soft notes
a woman’s song

so tired
so tired
so tired

my head so heavy it cannot turn
my eyelids stuck down by pinks and blues
my arms so heavy they will not move
my legs feel bound they cannot run
my voice clasped tight within my throat
I hear her singing

she sings of lilac
yet to bloom

she sings of lambs
not yet sprung

she sings of hedgerows
nestlings yet to fledge

she sings of the stream
yet to flood

she sings of oak
still to leaf

she sings of the summer
yet to burn

she sings of two lovers
yet to meet

she sings of harvest
we’ve yet to reap

she sings of apples
we’ll collect

she sings of mists
that will rise from dew

she sings of the plough
that will tear the earth

she sings of crows
that will draw in the night

she sings of frost
that will veil the soil

she sings of the fireplace
as autumn leaves

so tired
so tired
so tired

slowly I wake
how far I must go
before I finally reach
my home


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Twenty-five prompt: write an aisling.

CLP 25/04/2022

Svetlana Polkadotova

Smart, like a slap to the face.

She suffered fools the way a cat strips feathers from a blackbird hauled indoors through the cat-flap.

When she spoke she held a man's attention, like a foot soldier's attention holds when the Field Marshall approaches down the line.

We'd met by chance, the kind of chance you'd have crossing Interstate 495 in rush hour wearing a blindfold.

It had to be a set-up, the kind of set-up Kasparov would only use on a fellow Grand Master.

I was suspicious obviously, the kind of suspicious a cop gets seeing a rucksack left on the subway.

But there was something about the dame I liked, something akin to the strawberry jam you find on top of Devon clotted cream on a warm scone that you hear about from Limeys.

Maybe it was the blue in her eyes, a blue you would normally only see in a mural when touring the Sistine Chapel?

Or was it that laugh that disarmed me like a Muhammad Ali left jab to my jaw?

Underneath I sensed a heart, albeit hidden the way an eye lens dropped in the Great Plains is hidden.

I managed to hold my nerve, the way a catcher holds a fastball from a Hall of Fame pitcher.

But inside I was shaking; palm trees in hurricane season shake less.

I was putty in her hands that day, putty moulded by a glazier after a bomb-blast.

She held me, not unlike ransomeware holds a bank database.

I knew if I stayed I would end up paying a price, a price only an Atlantic City loser would ever understand.


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Twenty-Four prompt: Raymond Chandler similes.

CLP 24/04/2022


Coops balanced
against each other
defying gravity
along the embankment
like sentry boxes
facing south
marking the entrance
to Sunderland
its beach
in April offered
a slice of
Roker Park
the taste of bitter


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Twenty-three prompt: a poem in the style of Kay Ryan. My kind of poem. I love April, when spring is vibrant, the weather cruel and football reaches its season end. This brief poem is based on a grim day out on 11th April, 1993, but hey, Sunderland stayed up that year, which was nice, for them.


Pillow Talk

Where were we when you said
It is okay for me to say "tu"?

I could not reciprocate, there is nothing
in English to convey such subtle change

That step from formal to familiar
From mannered speech to intimate

It exposed the Anglo-Saxon in me too
My lack of ease dealing in grey

My lack of language to express
Emotions too layered for me to grasp

Our travelling to and fro
Became too much

From me to you and you to me
To be apart meant to ache

To be together meant knowing
We two would soon have to part

When we reached where the way divides
We knew we'd take two different paths


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Twenty-Two prompt: Repetition.

CLP 22/04/2022


One of the darker months
The phone rarely rang
Her typewrite ribbon fresh
The keys unimpressed
Cartridge paper laid in the tray
Gathering a carbon copy of dust
Once the post was checked
Orders filed and queries placed in pending
She'd roll the chair under its desk
Lie on the floor
And sleep

Next door, under neon I sat each day
Writing out lists of prospects
From Kelly's Directory and Kompass
Industrial estate after industrial estate
Postcode by postcode
For the territory salesmen
Occasionally compiling a report
about small electrical domestic appliances
Or drafting the blurb that would sell
Slow cookers, steam irons, sandwich toasters
I turned up most days
Before the news of Lennon
I couldn't imagine

She and I spoke so rarely
I forgot her name, she mine
The thin-windowed false wall
Partitioned us
Her with perpetual weariness
Me with accumulating grief
I wonder still
What brought us together?


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Twenty-One prompt: person / job / art / unanswerable question.

CLP 21/04/2022