the heliostat

>n A device where a mirror is used to reflect a beam of sunlight in a fixed direction, either for studying the Sun or for signalling purposes.


Fox Weather

“Dreams go by contraries,” said Mr Fox, “But tell us your dream…”
– English fairy tale.

In elliptical eyes, luminescence needs no light, radiance dances more than twice
while in the places we see, places we don’t, ghosts patrol and count out the elements,
the species gone to earth. For us, retinas mirror bliss at the peak of the universe,
a tail ablaze in spray paint fades around us: the laurel-flanked, orbited us.
Us. In a centrifuge of snake’s breath.

For when white robes mask a spitfire core, an unrolled risk is brazen. It’s merciless.
It’s fox-gloved fierce as it writhes from the grave up taunting men who gasp and grasp,
who bawl medicine for their frostbite.
They told me: kitsune-no-yomeiri was a veiled bride who never was,
and where I saw a furnished earth, an octopus dog,
the kiln-breath from his copper mouth
turned grandmother cogs, made haunted folk chew twigs, swallow insects.

“…because, yes, we are… mercurial.”
So, I hacked my hair to stop you – wrapping it round your fingers;
to stop it feeding from the dried earth’s blood like roots I always wanted. Never wanted,
radiant but unreachable, the sky mouths secrets at me ‘til –
“We waltz at twilight, all to glimpse the rainbow,
all to place our backs to the round, red sun…”

But still, spheres glow; scarlet shows when eyes close
and, as a maestro turns all glare from the aura, it’s there:
under the fingernails, burrowed between –

All day and night I breathe, but – trust – I refuse, refuse to live because
fox spirit is not part of us and my heart, a shade of arctic storm,
might die from you the way that skulka means to lurk, to twist.
To untwist this twitch-whiskered game is the fox in my eyes
and from here, the vista is a cartwheel on a roof
while your returning gaze is just some lost place.

Those sprites who jostle, tail-chase in the cool belly of a flame:
they can see you – fine, celestial thief who stashed
my fading orange pelts in boxes, hid snares inside your flame-retardant baskets…

In all the ways a secret can disperse, please, and now – deploy the decoys.

Head of the Table

She sits at a table of long runs, bare of fruit or flowers.
Her fingers rub the grain, twitch wooden hangnails,
tip those grooves that play games of perspective with thought bugs.
All her crawlers: deft, and built to grapple up and over trenches,
to swim breached dams of drink
and travel lengthy silences which stretch and seal, hold fresh
the sieved acres of story.

Hausfrau hands on table-cloth desert,
disquieted by pungent amber puddles,
by lonely, heavy splashes of late summer rain.
Drops at the end of humidity, the loose storms and hauntings
that rattle out story, trundle back, then, forth – a kid on a trike, she thinks
travelling, absorbed and relentless, not willing to sit.
Not willing to sip up foul yellow syrup and sediment from gourds.
She counts: one seat, two seats; one bowl, two bowls.

And behind her eyes her time rolls backwards,
re-folds itself in concave solace. This is not a crystal skull.
This is tale of trucks which jangle as perfectly as they persevere;
how they traverse and traverse a landscape.

Fresh but familiar, each moon is a shift of a soul’s seasons.
It is sundry reflections of one magician who, to tarnish silence,
needles imprints of static around the knots and the daubs
in the wood of the table where narrative pauses and
your Hausfrau – borne and forced to drift alone as astronaut, boatman,
survivor alone and pioneer of the fluid corpus of time –
puts her goggles on but leaves her 1930s flying suit undone.

She says, “Were I a witch and not Hausfrau,
I would summon storms. I would call. Querulous,
venom-filled, I would howl until all my corners
were stutters you smoothed and, story, you would let me find you.
You would let your faces show – a child on a trike,
chub-legged and damp, absorbed and inexorable.
I am unwilling to settle: instead, I partition and
whisper until we are winged and wood-fuelled,
curled in our leaf-dens, bare skins dusted in egg-timer sand.”

Edited in Lumia Selfie
Your Very Own(ed) Cliché

at airports
off the
all would
in thoughts,
(splitting, travelling),
traces of
which make
seem placid
any care
for what
is loved.

On knees among the scalped dolls and the car wrecks, where cobra books sputter crumple-rhyme wound round and around their backbones (writhers), Revelation shears itself from a snared breath, buys itself a choker.

Mental Maths

Could absence count seconds,
partition each minute’s Dolly Mix plumage,
all would be consecutive
but punctured by one kingfisher-blue swoop.

Still, absence is number blind.
It is a hawk’s shadow on a rough path,
sepia recall and the pivot
which carves the circumference.

Absence is that grip of fist on fingers
as on a bough now carved and varnished.
Time that can be turned on a catgut line
walks us nimble-foot on an unsteady gin.

Holy Fuck

Without etiquette, too late to convince, we feign interest, rustle smiles,
confirm numbers which generate chance scenarios and, perhaps, some sounds.

We tried silence, but it recalled epithets such as:
‘Best not always most obvious’.

‘Yes. In less than a minute,’ was the official reply.
A response necessary, extensive and detailed.

I have been toothy; you, connived. And this?
So incendiary it might summon some psychic adepts
then black its own questions and answers in censorship.

We lacked punctuation; we self-destructed
just so we may
send ourselves again another day.


Each woman will select a message from the red net:

(a device for hauling victims in in Biblical proportions
((an old hag’s shopping bag of

(((which is sounds from other sources,)))
((((which are unbidden, destructive, unenticing.))))

The thoughts, wrapped in bright cord,
will squirm – too full of their potential to damage –
but must never be loosed as

they wreak such lobster-pot mischief,
whilst seeming so harmless.

(That net seems to snag ever more of itself:
more than all the baker’s dozens
which swim in our sky of small fish.)

Edited in Lumia Selfie

Like a Book
This devil shirks contact.
He runs a white pebble
right to left
under his tongue,
a click on his teeth
which is totem,
a summoning of flight.

This devil is red, of course. Candy-cane tapped,
powdered and glacial
with cinders in his toes, emeralds in his soles,
his touch is the key to reality
divvied in slices of greed.

This devil is a body, bombarded and barefoot,
which, keen to reconvene,
runs corners two at a time.

With his horns hidden in his bowler,
his hooves are grins in the silver heels
which chip where our glances clip-clop.
Able to conjure wantonness and nonchalance,
able to feel his way blindfold,

this devil reads the whole wide world through the taste of a tongue,
through the dots and the dashes of skin under an open hand.


Recall is a string of plastic beads. They bulge under the hood of a pram
in the sometime Seventies; in a world so round nothing could hurt,
where the horror dwindles, lochia-like.

So round as to be lewd, so cheap as to be weightless,

so gross as to be acidic,
she wails and she rises –
her hands at her throat –
her face reflected
in the bend of a spoon.

And I think to myself
that, on the lifeline in a child’s mind,
time must seem smeared
in powder paint. It must carry
the cloy of varnish
from the deep, dark bellyful of nature.

Because time is all of our science at odds
with all of how we are weighted
in metronomic opposition
then waited upon to


Her wail is one of Pavlov’s paternal smiles
line-dried and shrivelled
into dour sailors’ knots,
now to be tended into jibe-tight plaits

and then to be picked like the oakum of those red raw sobs
stitched religiously into the humped spines of armchairs.

Ducking Stool

Crush leaves for juice and for bitterness hot and harsh as sibyls’ words –
words which stalk and circle,
fly reckless brooms in the closest spaces.

You disbelieve? Yes please, but I may have this yet.
It depends on such phenomena as
power, susceptibility, skill,

a cauldron,
a crone,
a girl who was dressed in the clouds
by her mother with the fangs
and the bangs,
the kohl eyes
and the sable soles.

“This tart gore cleaves. That antidote repels in thirds,”
it’s a hiss you hear, you misunderstand but still concur.
It depends on us all,
and all of our
spiteful green hallucinogens.

Our trouble, my love, is all tall goblets,
is sullied visions. Afloat in a punchbowl of carp,
our trouble is crayoned seaweed, just.
Just thoughts encrusted with fairy dust.

But my trouble, mine, is quite unique,
quite singular. A malaise
I might share with Nobody,
called proficiency,
called the snickering last of the lust,

is sometimes branded ‘a tendency to witchcraft’, duck.


He said, “Power is a cloak of unstitched rages,” but all I could offer was rags.
Like water birds which spear fish from a river’s scars and trenches
our troubles are our own stirred silt.
Two ghosts on their own planes,
dragged into the light as meagre, curmudgeonly corpses:
dried to dust, riddled with critters, seethed through with reluctance.
There’s no hope for us in this realists’ world.
Our life is a torpid fishing trip and truth is dull;
dumb enough to scratch its skin raw
in scatological trial and fall.
So, like the skull and the priest,
the sudden stop between the words
and silver-plated charity is our only consolation;
patience rolled in the platinum dust.
Don’t breathe too deep – gilt lungs seize –
opt, instead, for silence.
I answered, “Let your no-sound swoop.” My core, lighter than my presence, is
a blue glow – of supple bones and whitened teeth, each of which
we grin across. We wrap so tight around.


The Yeti Collector
A drowning subconscious might haunt yet hide,
might prophesy, rebel, reminisce one last time
compelled by inter-planetary shifts:
like this, any piece might fit where water channels our voices.
From the ceiling – I’m here, I’m circuiting the lamp wire –
I watch us bicker. We make the unseen ripple, lights twitter.
Gazes scuttle for our shady places.
Inscrutable as it is final, consumed by its full-stops,
my understanding merges slowly left,
indicators splendid and volatile red.
To navigate each cosmic shift, seismic or subtle, seems
so female a thing:
a fundamental and resourceful drive primed to adapt.
It employs eponymous device…
From the ceiling – yes, I’m here and yes: insidious, defiant –
you seem vivid yet you’re disconnected:
a weft of fact on fleeting screens
roared suddenly microscope-close.
And where communication unpicks its seams we back-tracking beasts
stay nose to road, at a loss with the confines of physical space.
Our poems are hybrid birds, in a paradise of fascinations with the languid,
with the long, once too often controlled.
So, to pit the page against love’s esoteric places –
as if these could be the same –
I’m here, on the ceiling. Excised; looping and arcing.
“Back-tracking beasts!” You’re smiling.
You’re laughing. But I’m not because
I’m sure that we are Yeti collections:
first colonising then corrupting –
captive and passive,
we’re Stockholmed;
disrobed as only a very tall tale.

light 4

White Birds and Briars

A long-distance smile dries fast.

It is shelter which is light fall which shatters itself;
an old bulb upon tiles.
It’s the crackle of nylon weave rubbing shoulders
in the cold
while all we want drips its deceptions on the doorstep.

Do you perceive the melody of light too?
How the sun moulds itself into a sphere,
sings in the cupped palms,
fades upon contact with pupils?

The harmony of cloud and a bass line of earth between toes,
a slime-crush of snail shells –
finger print grooves armoured and gummed –
shrivel to shrink-wrapped black

pin pricks, on a path from flower-bed to conversion to tardy dawn.
A hide-go-seek revelation, a tap dance on retina,
a stipple-then-melt in green purple…

Oh yes. It was.
Spontaneous combustion,
the leafed stalk of decadence,
a sky to scorch dry white nets brown
and to sanctify the dead and dusted panes –

call what you may but day does not glow.
Day is chill. Sun comes, sun goes,
nothing changes. But dreams bake grey as architects’ drawings.
They clamour to touch you, to make your skin warm as when

sun finally centres, emerges from long asanas into an impermanence of shade,
its palm prints ripe and metallic
its blood on the earth as it bears itself,
sloughs skin, breathes in… stretches a new sky.

That long distance smile?
It trudges, it drags torpid fingertips on the slate.
It vows and vows to quit and fetch wonder but –

Did you know, I saw your aura as an orange grove,
never as the other sick seep of you, soiled by the road and old, gritty rain?

Me? I’m a feather stain blindfold in a bodice of white birds,
a skirt sewn of briars and a laugh like scuffed marbles
rolled in a dint in the dirt.

Love, we only can just reach –
tree trunk to tree we are chased by the beak-nosed light,
a nest of poor picture-book rooks at our lips
and the long-limbed wastage of us
billowing behind,
crisp, ever crisp, as a July day’s washed sheets.



Heaven came to town, stared through the windows.

It croaked ‘pretties, pretties…’ as folk froze, caught.
Bluish, it left frost-flower tread, ice hair on fat, unplayed lawns,
so for a moment a heartbeat might think itself immutable.

Heaven took up scissors, cut shadows from the trash,
turned people into theatre under streetlights
where – before – they were just teeter-totter stars,
fixed to wrestle,
to click against each other.

Now only thrum remains:
thrum and crepe paper –
the echo of that silence a duck’s quack betrays.
A stammer in the vinyl, or a repeat
in the treacle of a static shrug.

Poor painted Heaven came to town, turned cul-de-sacs to ice caves
and seeped up through the soil while –
tacking hard, frantic in the clouds,
the small folk fought to report themselves lost.


Body of Water

Older now than my father was then,
I pour slowly.

A stubbed, brown bottle, a disposable cup;
cream lid is a pie crust
but date embossed, thumb crushed,
and the sturdy, long-faced taste of tar
is a swig of  rich, peaty bog water.

I peered up from below surface one frigid day –
no jewel beetle,
no myrtle.
I am not consolation in a cosy beer smell.

Nasty and sultry,
monochrome false,
hot enough to suppurate:
such is threat, measured to its meek, sleek brim.

I am all my father taught.

The aftershock of coffee with Scotch –
not whiskey – because life,
it bubbles meconium and blood
not hieroglyphs.
We don’t announce it like a butler with guests,
wrap it pristine as a firstborn

and this viscous shield
the shape of a spoon’s back
may be a bridal veil,
one spun ghost,
the pour of fresh paint
or cream onto dark boiled cake.

Its white might settle, distinct, on its liquorice back.

It might.
But alchemy is wicked work.



Older now than my father was then.
His inscrutable sea, black and begrudged,
is a beast to nurse Baby.
Back and forth, she, dirty as weed,
wet white feet shrinking,
paddling and peeling,
is a stiff, bird’s bob to a stranger who’s plummeting.

Older now, and ships grind the teeth they stash in their bellies.
Perhaps I was a sudden turn;
a glimpse of land in grey appraisal,
filed too quietly.



She’s an old girl; she crouches low,
wide hips behind her knees, behind the wire and the briars.
She scatters us in clusters
as food for the grimed hens
we skitter from her dirty pockets into dark
and where we land, we stay.

It is the ghost of myself I see.
A wraith of haste and too turned tides,
nylon sleeves in fists across the thumbs.

I am a strange place, a vinyl scratch,
a half-inch space on a faded pink map.
I elude me. Back and forth, forth and back,
tipping oil, topping water – balances nothing
but settles in spirit level mutiny,
flaunts an assured plasticity.

For I pour slowly:
blown from glass,
breath should fill the spaces
yet somehow I bloat,
and seep and I persist –
fool’s gold, the mistake of an alchemist,

fluttered lash of a
somnambulant tourist.



Fire in the Form of a Bird
Bonehunter small,
Bonehunter powerful,
fire in the form of a bird.
A hawk in planetary orbit,
phoenixed in the scrub,
starts to lift,
adrift as white noise
or a driving rain’s music.
His muse
is milk-skinned,
dressed in white,
once a cornfield girl
then a man on a peeling, painted chair,
a terrace yard.
He’s wet. He’s toothless and reeling.
A battered old stringless thing in the dark,
he is fire in the form of a bird,
a bird singing.
“When I reached inside myself,
stretched to where the snow was,
I was knee-deep in buried boulders
and very old stones.”
Outside is cavernous –
trees are cones tickling winter,
are slender brushed watercolour
made pliable by horizons where
I find I never knew
I was this cold.
To bind
you smash the mirror,
you make the box inside a crazy pave of glass
and glue that is obtuse,
is all-absorbent black
is emptiness where our cosmos ends
and badness is lost in the some-such.
And when the horrid box is fixed
you shrink – within your head – your rival,
drag him like an icon caught in panic’s thrash.
Hammer him shut.
Inside, what he is ricochets.
For, in experiment, the rat can be taught why it needs to be nice.
How it must.
A flutter swims the blood,
seeks a channel to cross.
Fire in the form of a bird
is an arpeggio of magic
is an unwinding of questions which
look like dead space when they fall.
And it’s true: if I went there now, it would be gone –
but in the way that we don’t always find what we seek
for we are not self-fulfilling prophesies.
We are not malformed, destroyed,destructive things
nor tricks of false advertising.
We should love our overgrown delusions,
our stunted dreams
so illusory, like the prickle
of nascent wings.
To kiss grey and dusty feet,
as taught by the reflection of a girl saint,
cup the space between toes to the face,
Warm bones, closed eyes
are intention tethered to a post.
“I barely believe in you these days,” the saint breathes,
“It is time for flight, the warm south.
We’ll throw evil in the air –
our laughing child,
our beachball babe in a strawberry dress –
’til all her hare’s breath
the resistance of air, is
a battle of slanders,
a chess board banquet.”
Honesty mantles and chases,
pursues us on two legs.
It is ugly, vermiculated,
and its dark grey heads are puffball fungus,
smoking spores in noxious clouds.
So, write me a song of the patience of waiting
by diverted streams and new-built dams.
I am fire in the form of that bird
which is perseverance
and roundabout sacrifice.
I am a stalking goshawk,
a demon scuttling low,
an angel hobbled,
feeding from the ground –
“You are as yet unclaimed?
Then love me. Only love me…”
A saint’s kisses or the hiss of gas?
No matter. We are sealed, for now,
in solution of sugar,
in a broach of amber.
Fixed in our squirm.




The streetlights are on in the day, a diversion the children dance over,
a demonstration of the relative nature of power.

I think of your Self as a lean on a lamppost, a head twitch, a body akimbo,
or a sneer afloat like a dandelion clock.
I think of my Self as a breeze inhaled, huffed thinner,
a drop to be stubbed with the toe of a boot.

Dolls of distance, our friends walk seawards,
are strung suicidal intents hunched in drizzle,
hidden and sparse.

I think of them slippered on shingle, of their oohs and aahs at our fraudulent stars.
I think of this time-slip as mildew, fluorescence and grimed rubber soles;
picture damp-squib collectors, their dentures a-mulch.


I think of myself as orange spotlight, a sucked sweet, finders-keepers cure
or the tapers and sticks on the floor
after the fireworks are over.


A winter parade ground is where those streetlights are portals:
are unseen loopholes and snake hair ruffled
above purple lips paused mid-thought.
They are frozen topaz pools with pinprick cores
which well, then swallow all possibility of the possible.

The streetlights are on in the day: which may be placebo or it may be a cure.
I’ll piece it together: press it to pairs clipped
as a cosmologist’s frank full stop.

Thin at the Hub

A yellow day is when a man’s approach is whistle and crunch;
ant on a sliced cake of field and fence
or a small misunderstanding stretched by distance.

It is where aperture’s goose-bumps warp like warm candy.
Notes tumble lemniscal in pockets of the breeze.

On a paint box day, colour and heat are sturdy;
full to bleeding at their edges.

Turn back
or turn around?

It is the shift of hair and the skin under ears –
that breach between sound and silence
makes manifest how he loves this place
but the love appears as a corpse pose,
is a starfish, unanchored and afloat
on a disc of blue spun counter to
the sun’s searing yellow.

With our eyes shut, there is so little left in summer
that – but for this preternatural wail,
all the heat and all the tyranny of colour –
the fracture might heal. It might say nothing further.


Seven Seals

All we know and believe comes.
Ghost bigots bail a decapitate dilemma.
More than a smile stamped on Pegasus’ flank,
more than your snakefire halo – head sketch in the correct postage –
I am queening Geminatrix: sherbet dab counted for luck;
one quick corpus in the dust.

Apiaried and honey-bee’d, we’d write but no one listens.
See? Heaven is shut: bank holidays, Sundays, wet Wednesday week.
Most days you just need hear straight, knee-shake,
to witness Plausible unravelled in guffaw.
Poor things are shareable, challengeable, sunshone…
and we are our own salvage. Very closed.




“My star: eight points gold, seven silver, but in memory’s mirror, a monster. Jewels for eyeballs, silk lie pelt, thoughts which were baubles. A witch waved her wand, revealed herself and a reptile – barnacled, brine-cloaked. It roared apologies, sobbed sunstones…”
Fossil, crumble sewn, proves a once-worm: a dragon’s hermetic birth, puffed.
Cryogen-low, we come from where the clocks reverse, each chatter and holler nucleus octopus-squashed, unfeasibly vast; wrapped hexagonal radiance.

“Blue flame was a-slither, was a tear filmed and re-played, up – powder on a leopard nest…” There never were any birds, love.
We blaze in webbed spaces, tap violets but the tip at the top of the water steals us: No metamorphoses, no heroes. Just an elemental tale; tall, Rizla manicured,
sliced along its frown.

“Rhymes in gunpowder and goober dust were all right for a spell, but the dragon reignited, left an attic of scandal, a cold chimney, vast tree of forsaken branches…”
We are children of swept ash, strung as a milk top, raindrop chandelier; foil and wool refractions. Our salt wind songs were dried on a line: shell and rind tied to windows, 
to ward.


Catching Light

A pair. Two. Crane tranquil: a sketchbook meditation upon
beak incline, feather yield; webs pointed, poised then dipped.
A pair, tree-posed equilateral, mute, unmoved though carnival wants are
meteor shower, kaleidoscope over glacier. Sheer cliff statuesque,
the two of us venerate static grace. No one ripples here.
A pair. Two. Half-inch elegance, back to back, face to face:
arms raised for sacrifice, ballet recital, tai chi dawdled
on the desolate steppe, resolute in path of racing
horses, warrior haste. Joined at the wrist, pulled parallel across
a claustrophobic type-space: inhaled.
There is a coin. Same face on two faces
sequesters our forlorn winter mixers of radiance or slate bite;
agile flashes shrivel, wither in darkest depths
of lead crystal. A gelatinous substance, the clarity of
scorched avarice: Loosestrife smirch on mint copper disc.
There is sun, and then there is another one. Reflection
unveils shadow for any morning’s moon: optic delusions, yin-yang
landscapes tipped but re-composed swift. Languorous, even the nimbus
vindicates itself in eighths of most duplicitous lust: in hag knots,
sated serpent jive, Aurora Borealis is goldfish anaesthetised.


In ruptures, aura is a smudge of fungus spoors,
snow squalls, iced Christmas crust – brandy-washed
and the archetype of Bride, chill aisle spruce: all else is
jet in three dimensions, crouched to hoax.
Markless sights vex burrows. Moon smear
cerulean winter mornings or bold foiled cheese ball
in punctilious blue: same old joke mumbles
Dark, plain or horned?
By this blocked gutter quagmire where
trunks striate and foliage billows low cloud,
orange and rose, we gasp rivers which seem shallow
then peat brewed, bowling ice until you
hurl your curses at me: bicarbonate bombs,
psychedelic incendiaries, returning rainbows:
voodoo root who – doused, drowned, inexplicably
blessed – always emerges unexplored, nameless.

An uncharted place.


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