Why do tigers have stripes?

Why do tigers have stripes?
Why does rain fall?
Why do I have to make my bed?
Why are you so tall?

Why does Mary laugh at me?
Why do children stare?
Why doesn’t the teacher tell her off
When she pulls my hair?

Why do I have to clean my room?
Why do you always moan?
Why do you insist on coming in?
I’m not always on my phone!

Why did I get married?
Why take a job in IT?
Where are my savings going?
On bills and broadband TV?

When did the children stop visiting?
When did I go grey?
When do we realise there isn’t a point?
Might as well call it a day.


You used to count
The number of shingles
On my roof and make
Charcoal rubbings
Of my brick walls
And in the fall you used
To watch the smoke curl
From my chimney top.

But now my bones ache
My boughs creak
My beams are caving in,
My arteries are choked
With mould and dust
Covers my skin.

‘I must remember apples’.

‘I must remember apples’
I write in biro on a post-it-note
‘Green ones, not red’.

‘I must remember to phone Louise’
I record in pencil in my diary
‘And wish her happy birthday’.

‘I must remember the doctor’s visit’
I jot in pen on the back of my hand
‘He’s coming at three ‘o’clock’.

‘I must remember to boil the kettle’
I note on the back of an envelope
‘The doctor said his tea was cold’.

‘I must remember I’ve phoned Louise’
I scrawl in the phonebook’s margin
‘She says I’ve called twice today already’.

‘I must remember apples’
I scribble in biro on a post-it-note
‘Green ones, not red’.

Can You Repeat The Question?

(Experimenting with Found Poetry)

I was biting my lips.
It wasn’t like me to ask
For anything but now,
But now, I remembered.

It wasn’t like me to ask for
Anything. I couldn’t think.
I was hiding something.
I couldn’t explain, but

Now I remembered
I was biting my lips.
But now I remembered
I couldn’t think,

I couldn’t explain, but
Now I remembered I
Couldn’t think. But now,
Somehow I forgot.

Somehow I’d forgotten
I was hiding something.
Without knowing, without
Knowing I was biting my lips.

Baby Teeth

I am the baby teeth that you keep in a box
At the back of the drawer
Of your bedside table.

I am the flecks of paint on the ceiling that
Made him laugh when you were
Decorating the bathroom.

I am the rings on the coffee table
Where the wood stained because he
Always forgot to use the coasters
You bought when you moved in
Eighteen years ago.

I am the stacks of birthday cards
You can’t bring yourself to throw away,
And keep in a cardboard box
In a corner of the loft
Where no one ever looks.

I am the moonlight creeping through
The gap in the blind
Filling the space beside you
Where he used to sleep.


You wrote your name
On the palm of my hand
In fountain pen, as we sat
Beneath the washing line on

Dew-drenched grass,
The colour of May,
Watching ants climb
Up and down the blades.

Your eyes were dark as
Thunder, as the ink
Ran down my life
Line, but I was not afraid.

Our bed sheets swayed on the line
Above, a ghost trapped in time.

Breakfast Show

Today waking up to the sound
Of the television was
A lot like waking up to you.
Except you don’t know how to
Act pleased to see me,
And I can’t turn you off
When you climb on top
Making the bed springs creak.

Tomorrow, when I wake up
To the sound of the television
Because you fell asleep on the sofa
Again and forgot to turn it off,
I’ll take this knife and thrust it
Into your back when you climb on top.


spiral staircase

count to
one hundred

now imagine
that’s the number

of stairs I
fall down

every day
on my way

to work
to the shops

to the bus stop
to my front

door now

that I
don’t bruise

on the outside
you can’t see

where I fell
but that doesn’t

mean I didn’t