A Crow Named Heart



A friend and follower sent me the attached artwork, his own creation, and challenged me to write a poem. When asked whether there was a particular structure he had in mind, he suggested a limerick. That was not, however, going to be the end of the story for me. 



There once was a crow, named Heart,

Who was trapped in a painting of art.

He attempted to flee,

But was only 2D,

Which is hardly a promising start.


Black Heart lived in twilight so blue,

From which there could be no adieu.

And he cried, and he flapped,

And he cried, and he cried,

And there was only twilight.


He pecked, gouged streams

Of black ink from himself, night-black,

Trailing like the branches of withered trees,

Tendrils, veins, capillaries:

And he cried and he cried,

And he flapped and he cried,

Adieu, adieu, adieu.


The Merman, the Vampire and the Boy

Mont St Michel


I was asked by a friend and follower to write a particular poem, a sonnet of two creatures who love the same boy but cannot find happiness. It was great fun to write, particularly adopting marine themes to describe the vampire’s anguish and vampiric devices for the merman’s.

The image is of Mont-Saint-Michel, a place which I return to in dreams: gothic and maritime.



Shipwrecked: destitute upon the strand,

Proud merman, drowning in a night of cares,

Watches the boy who only loves on land.

The vampire, shrouded in a sea of fears,


Meanwhile drinks deep a ruby glass of rue,

That cruelest wine: for, haunted in his tower,

He tastes the hunger for that same lad, too.

But the boy delights in every daylight hour,


A bright child of the sun: no deathlike shroud

Should hide his honeyed skin and petal smile.

No grave-like water holds his body, drowned.

So from the tower, and from the ocean’s hold


The pale duke cries salt tears, all the while;

The sea king wails a savage stream of blood.








A violet flower, in its palest

Phase, as its most ghostly white.

Imprisoned in her own rose palace,

Deathlike, and inviolate.



For Charlotte. 



The Twins Turn 25


James and Edward young pic.jpg

For Edward. My brother and I turn 25 today. 



I held the glass, looked heavenward,

And toasted to the sun.


We are no longer young, you said.

We are no longer young.


Your lips are paused before the glass,

Smiling as you say


That we shall die this way. Three cheers,

That we shall die this way.








One can unlearn a fear of heights and darkness,

The dread of unknown sights and pitch-black falls.

One can unlearn the taste of cigarettes,

The patterns smoke describes in gorgeous curls.

One can unlearn the company of bourbon,

The way a whiskey can caress a voice.

One can unlearn the very art of learning,

Forget a habit, decade, lifetime’s vice.

One can unlearn a word, unlearn a way

Of killing oneself slowly with a thought.

And so I shall unlearn that loveless day

You left, and all this learning fell apart.



“This Lovesong Isn’t Mine”


I was recently commissioned to write a lovesong. No other stipulations or requirements: just a lovesong. So I did: 


Verse 1


Those crystal eyes.

Up close, they have sky-wide span.

So I’m under azure skies,

Swearing I’m the only man

Who thinks perfectly of you.

And I’m sure he thinks so too.




Because this lovesong isn’t mine.

It’s about the happy couple.

You and he, so perfectly, entwined.


This lovesong isn’t mine.

It’s dedicated to the double

Lovers, and this lovesong, just ain’t mine.





That loving smile.

Up close, it must taste ruby-red.

But from the camera zoom of the waiting room

It’s pretty hard to tell,

Ready to sing for your first dance,

Just an act you hired for the wedding band,




And this lovesong isn’t mine.

It’s about the happy couple.

You and he, now legally entwined.


This lovesong isn’t mine.

I wrote it for you, on a crumpled

Invite for a night that isn’t mine.




I’ll wish you every best tomorrow,

And while the old bells ring the new,

Someone borrowed someone’s sorrow,

And someone sings the blues.





And this lovesong isn’t mine.

It’s yours, so take it for my troubles,

You and he deserve to be so fine.


But this lovesong isn’t mine,

So take it off my hands, and wear it

Like the gold band on the hand that can’t be mine.