Welcome to the home page of my website, where you can find out about my published, and soon to be published, books…. and about other projects and collaborations - working across different art forms with theatre directors, actors, visual artists, musicians, sound and lighting designers…..
She came to us on a wild night, a steel wind
shaking the house to its bones. Snow
buckled trees, filled the ditches’ throats.
We heard the door bang, found her
in the kitchen, chewing a dishcloth.
A beauty, my man said. Not local,
a black-faced Sussex yearling. She’d eyes
the colour of a drinker’s piss, pupils
black slits. She stared at us straight.
Icicles in her coat, poor love, shivering,
and a reek of linseed about her.
She was no trouble to us;
did her business outside, like a dog,
followed me from room to room, toes
clattering like nails on glass. Watched
my breast in the baby’s mouth, let him
tug her ears. She was like our own,
our creature; she smelled of herself,
her own wool, but also something of us -
our hair after rain. My milk; his sweat.
All winter she stayed close, barely bleating.
One evening as she lay by the fire, her belly
rising and sinking, her black lips smiling,
we joked she was dreaming of her own kind -
the press of bodies in the lee of a bush.
I held my cheek to her steady heart.
My man smoothed his hand over her flank.
And that night, I rode him, because he whispered
he wanted it that way; our eyes locked as he
lay under me, a tender, lovely beast.
We heard her panting before we saw her,
felt her soft, damp touch, lipping my arse,
snailing his thigh, and something in both of us
slipped its knot, broke free. He bit his tongue
so hard he bloodied his lips. Stay there,
he told me, you stay there. I watched him
drag her through the freezing night,
lift the latch on the out-house - closed
my eyes, imagining her gripped between
his knees. The neat slit in her throat,
the line of dark blood. Her dear, frantic legs.
It’s done, he said, enough meat to last us.
Though she fills us, the chewing of her flesh
feels wrong, a sin. She’s in my dreams
most nights. And my man reeks of her, still.
(From Lip, Smith/Doorstop, 2007)
‘Her scary, unsettling voice seems unexpected in poetry. It cuts her free of the crowd.’ Rachel Campbell-Johnson, The Times.
‘A fierce talent.’ Ian McMillan