Who knew that the child, screwing up his face
at that first sip, would find this a necessity;
the aroma suffusing mornings where a radio plays
extracts of bombing runs, gunshots outside a café
as he stands by the humming machine’s twin streams,
flicking the switch when the last drops pock the crema.
He might down it on the spot, or sit on the step to watch
sparrows dust-bathe. Often, he’ll carry the cup to the room
where he pours memories into a book, looking up to find
his reflection floating in a black sky. Maybe if all the cups
he’d drunk were stood in line they’d stretch to Ethiopia
where the kaffa plant grew among the first humans.
His heart, once as easily excited by this dark syrup
as by a lover’s touch, has grown steady, accustomed.


From  The Great Animator,  Shoestring Press, March 2017.

The great Animator, Uncategorized

Last night I couldn’t sleep for excitment

I attach the document to the e-mail. It consists of a title page, acknowledgements page, contents page, fifty-eight poems and a ‘notes’ page, this last being mostly white but for three small paragraphs. I check the attachment has loaded properly, scan the document to make sure nothing has altered.  Take a deep breath. My pulse is slightly elevated. In contrast, the book is serenity
itself.  It adjusts its seat and headrest, flips down the visor on its helmet, tightens belt buckle and shoulder straps, hits play on the music system. The speakers are off on the monitor but I know the book well enough to guess that it has chosen either ‘Gimme Shelter’ by the Stones or ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin.  We both know there is no turning back. Only one of us will ever be resigned to this fact. I can delay no longer. We’ll see each other on the other side.  Click.

From my hand to the printer’s inbox at a speed of approximately three hundred and six million miles per hour; a lot less than the blink of an eye.  There the book will be helped out of its capsule and set into its final format before being printed onto paper.  Bound between covers and packed in a bubble wrap envelope, it will return to earth through the letterbox of my front door. I don’t tend to get excited in advance. The day before will do. But it hits me now.  Another book, five years on from the last one. Five years.  That’s all it took.