Tag Archives: Poem

The Bus

14 Dec

The bus seats are a riot

of eighties brown-and-orange;

gum-flecked and grease-stained.


Wet coats steam a little.

No-one speaks

as is always the case,

though their shoulders,

and even thighs

gently rub,

cramped together on the benches.


And the bus chunters on, through





Droplets condense on smeared window glass,

as outside grey skies

and neon raincoats pass.


Newspapers rustle

and the headphone hi-hats rattle

as we all ride the bus,


into work again.



Isn’t public transport in wet weather a drab experience? In fact it’s fairly un-fun in pretty much any weather, as each person shuts the imaginary curtains around their personal world, and puts on a blank expression as they strenuously avoid any sort of human contact with everybody around them. It would be nice to chat to each other on buses and trains, and sometimes it will happen, but the fact is that if someone strikes up conversation with you on public transport there is a fair to good chance they will be a nutter. I guess that’s why everyone shuts themselves off in their own world.

Your Red Sock

11 Aug

This morning when I awoke

the first thing I set eyes on

was your red sock.

The free airline sock

you dried your eyes on

(not having a handkerchief on the plane)

the first time we parted.


You mailed it to me afterwards

as a memento,

and sometimes I smell it

hoping to catch some lingering trace

of your deep soul in the tears

soaked into it.


Now your head/your heart/your God

tells you what we have is wrong

and I will have you never;

nothing more of you than

this little red sock,



I could use it myself now

to dry my own tears,

but my pride tells me

that would be absurd.


This is a draft version, which I might tighten up and change at some point. I wrote it in March this year after I was dumped by a girl I had been having a transatlantic relationship with. I guess it is just one of those lost love poems that get written by a lot of people –  there is no experience like lost love to inspire poetic musings! I have since got back with the girl though (hurrah! In fact I am in America with her now) so perhaps I will write a cheerful ‘love regained’ one at some point.

All comments appreciated, especially as I’m looking to rework this one a little.

Anonymity in the City

11 Aug

Sometimes I like to

make the anonymous

passing faces



picture them smiling in a

kitchen on an autumn night,

chopping carrots and

drinking wine


see them looking at themselves

critically in a bathroom

mirror, before

a night out.


I try to climb inside them

to see through their eyes;

make them the first person,

myself the third


fleetingly, as I walk by,

unknown and meaningless,

as our lifepaths cross.

And uncross.


And I wonder where they go to,

perhaps home to a husband,

and a house of

smiling children,


or back to a lonely flat and

a sad dinner for one,

or maybe to the bedside of an

fading aged parent.


And sometimes it overwhelms me:

all the ‘I’s in the world,

with our multitude of lives lived

separately and together,


and though I’ve heard it said that

“no man is an island”, I often feel

like we’re adrift and floating

through the world.


This is something I like to do on occasion: try and transport myself into the psyche of a random passerby, and picture the world from their eyes. There is nothing psychic about it, there is no way I could even begin to imagine what they are thinking, but it is interesting to create fictional characters from them, giving them a story and a life, instead of just ignoring them. Sometimes I might base this story on what they look like, and the facial expression they are wearing – just why does that poor man on the underground look so world-weary? And what just happened to that woman that has brought that subtle half-smile to her face as she walks along a busy street?

I think it is nice to look at each and every person and recognise their humanity and importance. Sometimes the bustle of modern life and big cities makes us write one another off, and view each other as just more meaningless fragments of the enormous body of humanity. In fact we are all in this together, and there is no telling what each and every random person on every bus and in every supermarket aisle would do for you if you needed help and they knew you, or even if they didn’t know you.

In the doldrums – trying to catch a breeze

29 Jul

Body is slow

Every action a battle

By a weakened will

That’s swallowed in sluggishness

First tiring….then flagging

And finally failing

at first sign of setback.


No wind in my sails

No lead in my pencil

Nothing but the doldrums

On my shortened horizon

Of unemployed, unenjoyed

Hours and days,

At dead end after dead end

In my self-made maze.

Dead Ends, Ocksblog 2009

I wrote this poem today about how I have been feeling. I am a 23-year-old failed journalist (yes, it didn’t take me long) trying to find a way to fulfilling my literary dreams. Unfortunately I steadily realising that literary greatness, and even literary mediocrity, doesn’t just happen to a person. No matter how much they like reading books.

I have to pull my finger out, put some effort in, and direct the thoughts and feelings I have on a daily basis towards a creative end. I do this already, by writing the odd poem, attempting the odd article, but not with enough gusto and determination. My poem, Dead Ends, is a realisation of this. It was also the tipping point that made me finally overcome all self-doubt and begin a blog.

“You do have interesting things to say,” I told myself, “Think of all the conversations with others where you have jabbered on about this or that, rambling on philosophy, cultures, sense of being, and people seem absorbed. Or at least not bored. All the little observations on life and existence you sometimes share with others, who often find them witty.”  

The grinding, aching self-doubt remained to a degree. The lethargy that has been gripping me every morning for the last 10 weeks since I lost my job as a local newspaper reporter. Then I played a few trump cards on myself: the “You have nothing to lose” card, and the “sort you fucking life out” card.

And I started my blog.

More to come later on who I am, where I am, and what I am doing with myself (if I have worked that bit out by then).