The Surface of Mercury

Here are some more poems from the collection I finished writing last summer, The Night and the Moth. I’ve been rereading all of them recently and I think they’re probably not modern or consistently high quality enough to be published, so instead I’m going to pick out some more of my favourites and post them here for anyone who’s interested. I’m currently working on another collection that I hope will be more cohesive called Pet Names for Music, in which each poem emulates the rhythm, mood and subject matter of a different album that’s been important in my life. In the meantime, here are some earlier poems about: seasons, planets, Brexit, Youtube, and having an anxiety attack. I’d love to hear any thoughts people have in the comments below.

The Surface of Mercury

Expose the cratered face of cold battery –
The weird terrain of cobbled paranoia
The shadowless plains of anhedonia
To the comet-laden sky.

Blasted at every step in silence –
Without an atmosphere to carry sound
The history of that gouged and glass-sharp ground
Can never be told.

The magma chamber is dormant.
Fireless and full of holes
With secret sheets of ice beneath the poles,
Resigned to an orbit both endless and lifeless.

A day lasts longer than a year –
The side that faces the blistering heat of the sun
Is an arid lunar desert, while the one
Opposite knows no warmth.

And all it knows for comfort
Is a blanket of airless blitzkrieg
As constellations of meteors descend
Upon the surface of Mercury.



In Spring, the stem grows tall
And gathers power
In the rain.

In Fall, a beautiful thing
Does not flower
But sustain.


The Surface of Venus

The Romans thought they had seen
The surface of Venus in the night sky.
All they had seen was the skin.
All they had seen was the toxic orange cloud
Rocking with nine-branched Protean lightning:
They named it for their God of beauty.
When Gallileo first set eyes on Venus
And saw the cloud of dust through a telescope
He dreamed of seas and rainforests beneath.
But Venus held her mystery like a wet towel
And dared us to dream.
When we finally penetrated that dark mystery
And gazed upon the surface of Venus
There was nothing but rock.


Wrong Way Time

The promise of the superhuman
Circulates inside an empty room:
A body of bleach with silky skin
In a battery-acid tomb
And prosthetic lips that part to pose
A coiled up, cobra question:
Am I looking at the screen or my reflection?

The absence of a phantom limb
Craves the itch that it can never scratch
Nerves light up in halogen
Make every sense detach
And fill the lungs with septic breath
As venomous as spores:
Does the mind go blank while the sightless eyes explore?

The image pulls me out again
On a whispering riptide of streaming video
Avalanching everything
In drifts of pixel-glow
But if I turn the monitor off
And choose to hear the chime
Can I escape the flow of wrong way time?



In the morning after the referendum
I walked through Bristol city centre
Making my way to work.
English flags were spilling from open windows
Like gargoyles, stately and foreboding.
But were they flying for exile
Or independence?
And should we call it freedom
This vote that leaves the nation
Isolated and divided in one fell swoop?
And now that unspoken histories of class and race
Have bubbled to the surface
How can we regroup?
How can we reconcile the anger and the difference between

Those who voted remain, but want to leave
A legacy of unity that’s bound
Like winding threads in a weave

And those who voted leave, but want to remain
An island of ignorant, bordered bliss
Like a child’s birthday party in the rain?

Anxiety Attack

My eyes are inside
Out whats the matter with
Me were you whispering
Saw you were whispering
My fingers scratch and
Shake don’t look at me
Saw you were looking
Can’t stop itching
Can only hear my
Fear it shakes like
Bass it bursts and
Splits my eardrums
I’m staring into
Space and I can’t see past my
Thoughts and I’m trying hard to
Breath but it just keeps
Going and I can’t stop
Twitching and you all keep
Talking I can hear you
Talking I can hear you
My mind just isn’t
Right don’t feel
Safe can we
Leave I’m sorry
Just need to be a
My mind feels like a
And it sinks beneath the waves



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