Forward Poems 2016

Showing 1 to 20 of 30 poems.


My mother lays the table with chopsticks & ceramic spoons, expects you to fail at dinner. To the Chinese, you and I are chopsticks: lovers with the same anatomies. My mother tells you that chopsticks in Cantonese sounds like the swift arrival of sons. My mother tongue rejoices in its dumbness before you as expletives detonate: [two women] [two men] […]

1. Of those from the ships

Ptolemaeus the king of Egypt was so eager to collect a library, that he ordered the books of everyone who sailed there to be brought to him. The books were then copied into new manuscripts. He gave the new copy to the owners… but he put the original copy in the library with the inscription […]


Today the turquoise view swoops faster, swirls like lime juice in a cold glass, the bay flashes, tumescent, a noon-time joy, steep to the side. The early moon a pale slice in blue. Scent of manure and hay blow, sheep wink, coastline trees like brown twiggy hair blowing sideways. My David’s a pebble of strength […]

Altar Call

The first time the man left her he walked down the aisle,
his face blank with hopelessness or with hope.

Angel Hill

Someone must be looking after the headstones. It might be you with your easel and brushes And your big sheets and charcoal for drawing Snowdrop cumulus and lichen lettering. Someone must be looking after the railings And closing the rusty gate behind her.


Listen to me                               little water I called you up            believing something would arise                         in me believing I could make         […]

Bridled Vows

I will be faithful to you, I do vow,
but not until the seas have all run dry
et cetera.

From ‘Salt’

He cleared snow from the path and laid down salt.
He was conscious of oxygen, then: the word, also the way
his breath came back at him as mist

Ghazal of Guyana

Do you see? The bones of stars are falling, crashing to the earth like trees, like greyed spears again I find myself amidst a frieze of bodies lost in our commune of ritual sweat a hurricane is spinning Saharan winds through the constellation of islands they whisper my name from the muddy rows of cane, […]

i am very precious

I see all the black marks on the page, the lines
hallucinations falling off the edge of the world – my tongue
we haven’t talked about desperation,

My Life According to You

So I was born and was small for ages and then suddenly a cardboard box appeared with two furry black ears sticking out of it it made me nervous but I was brave and gave it a bell to play with and then out it jumped and loved me it was my cat I called […]

Nightfall, Jane Ash Corner, St. Thomas

Ice splits those millennia of canes. They stand by the coppice in ready patience and danger when I pass by the barracks. A mongrel pack, in their heat, vanishes into a lane. Cane and silence. ____ Ash-frosts glimmer houses sleeping by the factory. I pause to breathe deep the molasses vat. Progress is back, but […]

Nine Nights

The Set Up If you did see people that first night. People for so. Who come from town, from far like St David, from near like St Mark to this little St John parish. It had the makings of a good funeral. Pure bus park up by Gouyave roadside like ants. Them mourners arrived, shuffling […]

Prayers for Exiled Poets

Were you to ask me where I’ve been… I would have to tell how dirt mottles rocks. How the river, running, runs out of itself. Pablo Neruda, ‘There is No Forgetting (Sonata)’ Translated by Forrest Gander Prayers no longer hold up these walls in my absence. My own country rebukes me. I hold the world […]