Fate’s Catalyst

You were Fate’s catalyst and the moon roars
Out your name. The ground has shifted
With tectonic life-changes.

The autumn leaves fall like guillotines.
Nothing here can move quickly.
Constant rain; perpetual drizzle.

Tonight is the climax of brooding sky:
A world in an arthritic cast.
I sink deeper into my chair

And into nowhere, remembering
How our epoch opened like an atrium.
I sit alone. Separating

The night’s black veil to watch
A rabble of stars slowly appear.
Submerged and drunk and melancholy

While you roll behind the darkness.
I think of you as though in séance
And our last night rises up from the air.

I have never heard a more
Honest and open cry
Than the rising howl you made that night:

I held your hand in the rain
And you held not just mine back,
But everything together –

And I never even realised,
All that time while I held you,
You were the heart of a moment

That I let fall into nothingness.
You were the planet’s core, you were magma-glue,
And that’s why the happiness stuck to us.

If it was raining then the sky did not bother your tears.

The Ballet

The light collapsed with the weight of dusk
As we went to watch the ballet.
We only ever went that one time.
A special performance. In fact,
I had never seen ballet before
Or since – it wasn’t me. But you,
You had. You loved it, lived it
Regularly. It was a childhood dream.
However you had missed your chance,
Apparently; “You have to start when you’re young”.
The opportunity had departed
Like a missed train. No second chances.

I remember that night because
It was the first time I found a bad evening
After weeks emulating honeymoons.
We had left the bedroom overturned,
Littered with arguments over nothing
That I can remember now,
But your barbs were like arrows
Craving the sight of strung-up martyrs.

Suddenly, you didn’t seem like you –
Or at least, not one that I recognised.
It wasn’t. The first of many.
A temporary distance between worlds.
Your face clamped shut to barricade you in;
Your voice hidden as a pearl.
You used to describe it as your mind
Becoming untrustworthy.

We arrived and entered the theatre
Quietly. It echoed like a church
Lacking crosses. Hushed voices.
It was already not going well.
We were always late and lost.
We searched for our places in the dark,
Repeating our seat numbers
Like the combination to a safe,
Relaying up and down the aisle
As though hunting for lost keys,
Until the right row finally appeared –
Somehow we had lost a letter
From the alphabet. We sat down.

The ballet teetered on the precipice.
The curtains quivered like lips
Of the Red Sea. We awaited Moses.
I tried to pry open the silence
But every time I spoke, I saw you
Shrugging off my words like air.
The lights dimmed further,
Then the music opened floodgates.

Dancers poured out from the wings,
Spilling onto the stage in a torrent
Of song-spun pirouettes and soaring jumps
As they blurred into more than humans.
Their black feathered costumes combining
As they undulated like returning birds;
Synchronised as though grown together
In the one womb. Each leap said words.

The room rumbled with awe.
The air swelled with approval.
The audience reinforced the grace.
Meanwhile, I didn’t understand a step –
Nothing more than childlike-mesmerised;
Open mouthed, as though held
By a magician’s watch.
Occasionally, I tried to whisper
Something meaningful, non-elevator.
No luck. Mostly, I blinked forwards.

Yet, you understood like it was home.
Awakening gradually,
With eyes like sparked coals.
The dancers pulled you out from the depths
Of you, and lifted you up
To the surface on a tide of red velvet.
Your face beamed. Sunflower joy;
Turning to find the warm sun
Just as you couldn’t imagine
That it would ever reappear.

Eventually, the curtains closed
And I found your smile, resuscitated
Inside of some clothes
That you didn’t usually wear.

Hawk

Nothing owns the air like this hawk
Before this kill. He commands the air
Like a sovereign would a subject.
The cloud hunter, outstretched

Feathered fingers holding back rotations
As he waits for the guillotine moment –
No thunderclap; an ominous cloud
Of silhouette congealing above.

Carefully hung from the sky,
Blowing in the breeze like washing.
This is his birthright,
Honed by a million egg-cracks.

A hovering executioner.
A sprawling of God.
Steady as a surgeon’s hand
And shadowing death like a drone.

He surveys his surroundings,
Flexes his eye like a strongman’s muscle,
And prepares to conclude nature
And roll away the world in revolutions.

Now he rehearses the perfect kill.
The evening alive with anticipation.
Heavens breathe in.
Seconds pass like tremors

While he toys with the memory of old murders
Between his toes, bobbing and brooding
On the sky’s surface like oil:
A black buoy.

He holds my gaze like prey,
Ricocheting against the wind
With the swing of a hammer,
And then plummets only to make skylines fall.


This poem recently arose after travelling through France when, during a petrol pit-stop, I saw a bird of prey (I believe it was a hawk, although I’m not completely sure) seemingly levitating out above a field in the near-distance while on a hunt. It was quite something; motionless, hung from the clouds. It was probably quite an ordinary sight, however the image of that bird, stuck on the sky, also stuck with me; following me over the next few days like a predatory animal.

Consequently, in this poem I tried to capture the suspense in that moment, the tension in that air of sky, the metaphors that lurked within, and the power of that hawk as it controlled the air like a sovereign would a subject.

Enjoy the poetry, and don’t forget to like and follow for more new poetry every Friday.

Luca

Our Winter

That winter looked too good on you.
It adored you, like a mother –
Birth certificate confusion.

The summer was almost obvious.
Winter was better. Lurking.
You could camouflage in the cold.

But it was also something more profound:
Months followed you, mirroring.
The skies seemed to shiver.

A world hiding in hibernation
While I watched your cheeks blister;
Dimpled red apples, licked by frost.

The tarmac crunched like rubble underfoot
As you spun away, plucking out the air
With the premonition of blossom

Concealed somewhere deep in your smile.
You knew the eventuality of change
And I opened each day like a gift.

God. You were gut-punch beautiful.
In the devotion of those short, dark days
Nothing could stop you.

But like the snow, tumbling
Down altitude’s umbilical cord,
It all soon would be fallen.

You Sleep Between the Sighs and the Sunrise

You sleep between the sighs and the sunrise.
Scratch marks running down your back like train tracks,
Chasing the curvature of your pale spine
And the memories of moans in the black.
You wake each day with fresh finger traces;
Repeatedly healed in the night until new.
Different, distant. Slowly, you are time-changed –
A concertina of hands holding you.

But not mine. Meanwhile I stitch the remnants
Of what is left in the depths of my dreams;
Wearing your aftershocks as a pendent,
Oscillating wildly between extremes.
The doctors would call my love a crisis.
My lips condense heartbreak into silence.

Voices

I want dull, full-fat vowels
And words like blunt fucking hammers.
I want to hit you about the eyes
With a broad Yorkshire birth-twang
And let it resound like a flat vow
Around the inside of your head.

Nothing refined or polished.
I want real. I want earthy.
Not planned hendecasyllables
Or genome-mapped love sonnets –
Give me shaman-muttered rituals
And a world with a periphery.

But the acid-wash of BBC RP
Modernity clings to me like wet denim.
I hear myself slowly moulded
By the coca-colonisation
That restrains my conversation
And supresses a guttural tongue;
The inexorable magnet-pull
Of the next wet rung of the ladder.

So I grasp for my Northern drawl
And find my voice airlocked
Dolled-up, maimed and cut-glass
When I want simple and cut grass.
My identity drummed down, beaten back
Vague, beige, imprecise, unmoored;
A guiding, heavy hand on my shoulder
Like a touch of gentrifying plague.

However, the child-sounds are still there
Like hidden birthmarks.
A lurking bloodline moor-wolf
Waiting to be found, nurtured
And finally drag me back down
To the autochthonous, muddy roots;

To urban grey, cultural downplay
The howling wail of a sectioned city
Sanguine heather, tobacco grass
Crumpled-paper hills buckled at the knees,
Sighing ice-white vein streams.
But now, this is all at my feet in a mongrel heap
Of decaying Viking grunts and growls. Fuck,

Inject them back in, give me origins
In my throat, thudding like a jugular
And caustic verbs of errant sparks
To burn down poems like dry wooden shacks
With my pyromaniac pen and knuckle cracks.

Love, love, love
Come, let’s step back together –
Just to look, watch, bask
With our charcoaled hands like iconoclasts
As the house we built is engulfed
With licks of tongue-fire.
Let it all burn in a bonfire
Until there is nothing left but sulphur
And the stone heart on the pyre.

Smell the smoke. Hear the wet dirt vocals.
Feel the charred, ancestral gasps of locals
And the low groan of forgotten gods.
Here I am. Hear – I am
With you, too. I didn’t do it alone.
You are with me like an accomplice;
It falls only because you give it sound.

You see, we need to strip it down
Until we have flayed the flesh pink
And hit granite.
Each page a flint, rocky outcrop
And each poem rediscovered bones,
Architectural bones,
Ajar like a skull’s open-mouth jaw.

This is a reclamation.
And then, when the fire-fallowed lines
Have plunged down like mines
Reaching for something pure,
In the flickering of ash and cinders
We can at last gaze at the smouldering
Words, ripe with original sin and true-raw.

Underwater

I caught you once, trying to dissolve.
The water cupping you with candlelight
And the flames flickering incantations.
You punctured a quiet ring of shadows
As a dwindling in the dark.

You had sunk yourself in the bathtub
Trying to escape; kicking below the surface
And shaping the sinless fluid around you
As your last compromise: an urban night-lake.
You bathed between the porcelain lips
And bubbled for rebirth.

The surface tightened above
Until your lid on the world was taut
And you were sealed away.
And then you pushed, towards breath’s edge.
Immersed in a warm vat of underworld;
Disappearing into pale ripples
With your eyes closed.
I watched your hair wave goodbyes

While the tiles echoed like sirens.
And I stood there, almost alone
In that airlock of cascading waterdrops,
Scrutinised by splintering futures
As condensation dripped down the walls,
Like freely abseiling wet spiders
With refracted hyena eyes;
Each enclosing droplet, a tear
Brimming with imperatives.

You needed me to embody saviours
With my trembling hands –
But you were womb-smothered,
Submerged, dulling heartbeats, lost
Weeping naked-open from your wrists
And my body was a still purgatory,
Hearing the muted thuds reverberating upwards

While you waited; underwater, urging
For me to become the same shade of void
So I could join you in the below
And we could dissolve and emerge together.