port towns

I was struggling to gain traction

my heels could not dig in anywhere

& thankfully Alex the Viking offered me

a blanket & sofa place to lay my head late nights

give me an address to look out from

& I turned up four nights out of seven

not wanting to queer the pitch

his girl was ok about it this older woman

who didn’t seem to mind the motorcycles

drinking doping trips to sea out trawl fishing

gone for days back flush with money & thirst

he asked me to stay over while he was away

look after her

around night two late I woke found her arm of the sofa

nightgown short slightly askew is there anything I can get

do for you?

I mumbled from under the blanket I’m ok thank you

& turned over knowing my time there was closing

when Alex came back

he took me for a drink all smiles thank you for looking after her

gave me a wink when I said

I’ll find another place to stay

ok man whatever you say


I took my white handled athame

down to the beach start of the day

& as the sun caught tip of the waves

I threw it & the last I had of you in

I’d returned the photos records

books clothes intimates of will

but for my last precious part of you

tied to my athame flung far as I could

& as I saw it arc then sink into the sea

I chanted a spell cutting the cord

that bound you to me me to you

the ocean took all of that in away

our bond was cut now not to be again

I sat on a sun burnt bench for a while

watching waiting whether for hope or fail

in case the tide brought us back again

& then for a brief moment bare waving arms

of dead sailors accepting my gift with wishes

it was then I knew the hex had taken hold

walked away with words echoing my head

I’m going to miss that pearl white handle

my faithful athame in my hand my heart

over & over now never helping spells

incantations rituals until I will get old


looking down

from the mountain above

on Bilbao

the river snaking through

in from the sea

the docks are going now

when I first came

thirty years ago

these were dark dangerous places

herri batasuna graffiti on all walls

where you went only

if you were on a mission

for a score

a whore

for blood

& now

they are building apartments

housing for rich people

where warehouses once stood

Atlantic coast

the kind of campsite

where if you don’t hear the roar

of the trees the pines

you hear the surf night & day

the season was closing fast

everybody local had gone away

when I found him in the shadows

he told me he was travelling

with jesus

hoping to find his way

between here & Santiago

& those I asked are your plans?

more for fear for him

with winter closing in

as I noticed jesus had not provided shoes

a tent winter coat or map

& he sighed long & low

like this question was raised by everybody

by fools who did not know

the lord is here with us now

he said smiling again

who needs shoes on holy ground?

& all I could see were shadows

stones & sand

a scruffy dirty traveller

standing alone

questioning just who

was the mad one


walking by the river

thinking in shades

when I walked here with you

a little romance

some sweet summer loving

on a warm afternoon

& I wanted to keep you

but you were afraid to give

& that holding inside

scared of being alone

left me nothing but lonely

oh the irony of sweetness

what one keeps hidden

gets you overthrown

& the water slides by

I can see gin clear

the sand & stone on a rocky bed

that was us then

& I wonder

hope you have grown

found your way

to the sea

rule of surfing


you must stand on the beach

or viewpoint over

in board shorts

wet suit rolled halfway down

while holding your board

staring at the waves

to signify intent

doing your best to look all


& interesting

for some time

& only then

can you throw yourself & board

with abandon

into the waves

to paddle out to join the others

who too will wait

& wait

& wait

until the exact

right wave


On a Scottish beach

On a Scottish beach
miles from anywhere
we stayed for days
in a tiny tent
just above the shelled
& silence
we took our clothes off
& wandered
yet full world
the only time I felt
my nakedness
when you took a photo
of me
diving from rocks
into that cold blue sea
& would not
let me take a pic
of you
after that
our clothes
went back on