Stay in the loop and register for email updates about events, competitions and all things poetry.
sign up now
Open Tue 12 – 6pm, Wed – Sun 12 – 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday 12 noon - 6 pm, Wednesday to Sunday 12 noon – 8 pm
A shotgun in her parlour, Amazon says Enter.
A barefoot wedding. She gestures like treacle,
a guttering of purple in a dugout canoe on the
dream banks of the living room carpet. A diva, she
demands more body. Her want is citrus scented.
She waits in silence, a pulsating black
widow's abdomen. A calling. When you finally
wade into the first-sex smell of nectarines, she
tells you a night-time scare story : of alien
autopsy, the power of the drum, and the psychic
potential of humankind. Designed to send your
blood into the web. "Relinquish" she mouths into
the spaces between your outstretched fingers. Give
way to the sinking vibration of a temple bell. Let
her drop you, head first into the green with
nothing more to cling to than the ozone, ivy and
After dark I call you up,
just to hear the weather report,
that the nights are drawing in now,
and how much you paid
for your latest pair of trousers.
You’ll tell me the one about
PLUTO, the giant pipeline rolling out
under the Channel on a steel drum,
how it kept the tanks fed
for our boys on the continent,
how the ice cream hut along the bay
was really a pump in disguise,
like those Ruperts that kept the Führer
guessing. And the Kamikaze who’d blaze
unswerving to the end, the enemy
you couldn’t help but admire. And I’ll
sing you American Pie again,
like that last night in the hospital,
however many times you try to die.