The Old Place



Ordinarily, the sun swerves the time across,

Slowly. A change of light may move the shadows.

Here, shadows turned the light:


The living room – in her absence, a strange epithet –

In which we filled in silent conversations

Like crossword blanks,


Where once she sat, she drew with a cigarette

The grey area: that my strength always lied

On the further side of frailness.


And from her, I only inherited cheekbones,

An empty decanter, and a tremendous

Love of weakness.





“When a Palestinian child draws a sky nowadays, he will not draw it without a helicopter.”




A single blob of sun, round as a thumbprint,

Yellow like headache against the blue.

Maybe a tree, a cloud of green, caught

By a thick brown arm, held like a fruit.

Overhead, a bird, perhaps, drones by

As innocent and commonplace as death.


And that thumb of sun, that yellow disc:

Its rays are propellers.




The title is a quote from Avi Dichter, former Israeli Minister of Internal Security. It is perhaps the most unsettling sentence I have read during my Masters degree in Security and Justice, thus far. 




Syrian Jewels



We thought that we’d found diamonds, in the sand:

Fragments without colour in the hand.


Only to discover, in the hard

White face of it, the daggers of a shard,


The blasted sand turned glass, its broken sift;

The firestorm leaving fractals of a gift.


The crater scorched the desert into mirror,

Death’s diamonds, mere reflections of their terror.



Shame in the Blood


Shame: shame in the blood.

The ghost in my veins of

The man before you, and

The man before him, and

The death in between.

Ghosts: shame in the blood.


Rich with impurity,

Lead in the pipes that

Drove an empire mad.

Madness: shame in the blood.


Rot in the thick, ripe

Root, is the coppery

Taste as I say it.

Rot: shame in the blood.


By a curse afflicted,

By the itch that hands can

No longer scratch:

Itch: shame in the blood.


Leper without bells. Pariah

Without town walls. Dark red

Mark in the veins, of the

Man before you, and the

Man before him: the death in between.

Shame: shame, in the blood.