I’m not posting a Poem O’ The Week this week, and I don’t even care. Why? Because this Friday, I will attempt to write 100 Poems In A Day. Yep, my annual run for the ton is happening a week early this year, on account of my having gigs all next week. Click on the … Read more

Some strange, sucker-barnacled club slams into the deck while all around the starboard lee, more rise, white cobras in a mist lit by distress flares. The purser smokes his pipe and watches, impassive as a clay idol. Arms slop over the gunwale and shirtless deckhands slap them back with shuffleboard tangs and boathooks; grooved suckers … Read more

Since the Poets’ Graves tour, a lot of the poems I’ve been working on have been about death. This one is no exception. Like all my Wednesday poems, it’s a work in progress. 3 Ideas For Modern Funerals 1. The crematorium is made up like a courtroom The coffin propped in the dock A judge … Read more

I grew up in a little coastal West Country town you’ve probably heard of, called Portishead. To be fair, as a child, I was quite happy there. It was only when I moved away then came back that I became aware of how crazily right-wing the place is. Our local MP is the Conservative Dr … Read more

The last grave we visited on our tour of poets’ graves didn’t belong to a poet at all. After paying our respects to William McGonagall in Edinburgh, we went and took our pictures at the monument to Greyfriars Bobby, the dog who supposedly stood vigil at his master’s grave for over a decade. The story … Read more

Everything Hangs In The Balance The gilt-edged sombrero, the walnut-nosed little gentleman running his pea and shells game on a paisley rug beside the steps to the opera, the bitch stoat mounting a rabbit and needling at its throat crease, the rabbit beneath, squealing, its hot, lean flanks and the hedgerow a fading murk against … Read more

Tonight is our monthly literary cabaret night, Homework. Each month we produce and perform new material around a set theme: like homework, geddit? This month’s theme is ‘Monologues’. I thought this would be much easier, you guys. We’re getting in some actors to deliver some of the pieces, and the rest we’re performing ourselves. I … Read more

You must know by now that I am embarking on a pilgrimage round poets’ graves in October, right? With Mark Grist and MC Mixy? And that we’re going to learn about the lives and work of the poets we visit, and write new poems, and ponder death and eternity and the meaning of it all? … Read more

About a month ago I visited Chester to do some poetry projects with Chester Performs. On the Saturday, I sat in the Roman amphitheatre in the middle of Chester, chatting to members of the public about their earliest memories. I wrote each memory on a big A2 sheet of paper, and we hung them up … Read more

The last of the pubs we visited on our poetry pub crawl around Chester was the Marlbororough Arms. My research material said: ‘Though it is relatively new to the list of pubs within Chester, that does not mean it is not haunted’, which is technically true. Its age is not the reason it’s not haunted. … Read more

Earlier this month I led a poetry pub crawl round ostensibly haunted pubs in Chester. I wrote a poem for each pub we visited. The Cross Keys is one of its oldest pubs set within the old Roman Walls of the City. All the pubs we visited attempted to drum up trade with bullshitty supernatural … Read more

Last Friday I led a poetry pub crawl around a series of ostensibly haunted pubs in Chester, weaving local history with ghost stories and beer. As a teetotal atheist who has been to Chester twice in his life, I was the perfect choice. I wrote a poem for each pub we visited. Over the next … Read more

Every week I force myself to write a new poem, because without deadlines I’ll just sit on my jacksie listening to podcasts and scooping M&Ms into my greasy, sodden maw. They’re all first drafts – sometimes they’re good, sometimes they are the direst of bum-fruit. I do requests! If you would like a poem written … Read more

10 Priests I shot 10 priests. I don’t know why I did it; I suppose I’d had enough of their synchronised wheedling The Luger discharged accidentally during a demonstration of German firearms. One priest had volunteered to play a rebellious POW. I was the executing officer. I did the accent. I thought the safety was … Read more

Wednesdays are when I disgorge a first draft of a poem for your perusal/monocle-popping disgust. Just doing my bit to correct the terrible shortage of underedited poetry on the internet. If you have any requests for poem topics, please let me know via the ‘Contact Me’ button on the right, or drop a message into … Read more

Rat-catching Boiling blood off gin jaws, he stirs his cauldron; witch-finder, squinting through steamy miasma. Droplets form on long whiskers. When he is done, he will bury the traps in the earth for a week, ladling black soil over gleaming teeth. The funk of man will fade, like skin retreating from a skull long sunk … Read more

So today marks a year since I quit drinking. (if I say I’ve been ‘one year sober’ it sounds a bit rock n’ roll. If I say I’ve been ‘teetotal one year’ I sound like an uptight health freak – neither feels right) Thank you to everyone who has supported me. I don’t have anything … Read more

The Escape Artists Everyone explodes in the end. That’s what they told him, scrubbing blood and supple gut hunks from the walls of the neighbouring cell. The turnkey whistled a maddening tune as he dunked his brush in the soapy bucket. Suds rolled down brickwork like a beard. You’ll feel it first in your fingertips, … Read more

I do workshops in schools from time to time and I love ’em. The students come up with such great material. I think every poet who works in schools has had the thought: I wonder if I can nick that line and pass it off as my own? And of course, the answer is always: … Read more

The Catch It was midnight. He pulled fish from the river with a bright slapping sound, held them bucking in the light of his fog lamps while the engine steamed and snorted. When he called me over I hid my notepad. He said that now was the best time and dipped his hands into the … Read more

In an interview with Time magazine, Woody Allen justified his relationship with Soon-Yi, his partner Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, by saying: ‘The heart wants what it wants.’ And I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t hear that and recognise it as a romantic, totally unsociopathic philosophy for living. What Woody Allen’s Heart Wants I arrive … Read more

Two for the price of one today! Some of you may know that I present a show on Future Radio every Tuesday morning, 9:30-12, with John Osborne. John wasn’t in yesterday, so I offered to write poems for the listeners on any subject they liked. I got more requests than I could handle (I find … Read more

Automata In a doorway littered with the shells of dead fireworks, he unpacks his haversack of automata: a tin peacock, a magician, a monkey in evening dress. He winds each with a key from his necklace, sets them down amongst cigarette ends and pearls of phlegm. Across the street, the fishmonger lifts his shutters with … Read more

Every Wednesday I post a new poem – a first draft, a response to something in the news, or a commission. If you’d like to request a poem on any subject, pop a message in the comments box below or email me via the ‘Contact Me’ link on the right, giving me a title, or … Read more

Three Old Men Playing Cards DuBois dealt cards with the slow, pyroclastic menace of a burning pirate: ‘the knave of spades – a forthcoming chateaubriand will prove substandard; the knave of diamonds – dumb crambo culminates in a switchblade grapple; the two of clubs – you win a set of tuning forks in a raffle; … Read more