George Michael: literary giant?

Well, the title might have got you here anyway.

I was watching the video of ‘Last Christmas’ a few days ago and although I have seen it many times before and heard the song many times before for some reason the opening two lines stuck in my mind on this occasion.

‘Last Christmas I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away’

That first line, there’s a whole story waiting to be told to explain those simple words. Had the two people just met? Had they known each other for months, years? What happened to make one of them give the other their heart? Did the other appear to feel the same way on that day? Were they only pretending? There’s a novel there.

And the second line, what made the person give the heart/love away? Did they meet someone else and suddenly realise they had made a mistake? Had they been pretending all along to reciprocate the love offered to them? Again, a story waits to be written.

So in just two lines of writing the author has presented us with a myriad of alternatives.

George Michael: literary giant?





Train of thought

(a long time away – moving house, unpacking boxes, cleaning kitchens and bathroom, changing addresses, registering doctors and dentists. Maybe nearly settled now…)

Train of Thought

The first carriage; heart-stopping, alcohol-hazed, dry lips mouth-mouthing words of double-dutched ineptitude, he opened the gambit with her. Her. The blonde lobbed hair, wild-hanging calculated cut, wrapping a face denuded of make-up, diffidently demanding adoration.

The second carriage; the dinner diary-dated in heavy pencil, circled and gouged in disbelief, with time counted down in seconds over hours. Clothes mirror-stared in multi-coloured disarrangements, mismatched for a perfect match. The awkward answerings across a table plastic flower posed and house-wined, wished-for lives exchanged in nervous narrations, deciphering the content for half-truths disguised within, eyes mind-reading the true intentions concealed. Goodbye smiles slipped between glad glances at a door marked Exit and Freedom, a tentative talk of texts and calls okayed with half-convicted conviction.

The third carriage; inhibitions uninhibited, clothes unclothed, all bared except the soul secret-suspicious, bodies tango-tangled around duvets shredded in unpaced passion with minds conjuring the unshared images of lovers wished for and out of reach. A hand-held touch, relief equal mixed in indecision with window-stared thoughts glass-rebounded, until palms sweat-swipe apart and fumble-find clothes to disguise the cold unpassioned skins before glances can photo-pick flaws smooth-shopped by earlier desperate desires.

The third carriage; families familiarised, glimpses of her in future years, fuller, wrinkle-creased, heavy-thighed. The parents’ ordered house of ordered years, generations frame-ranked, and invisible future frames floating for filling by you and her. The father’s strong-handed handshake challenging control, the old order’s last stand to protect their eternal child; the cool light weak touch of the mother resisting a touch tendering ownership of the family’s human shares.

The fourth carriage; aisle-ambled, stained glass streaming, he waits for her, heart tight-folded. ‘I do’s echo-sound, murmured by ghosts of long dust-ground lovers; ‘I don’t’s whisper up cracked stone slabs from heart-broken ethereal voices. Glasses later raised like spirits, clink saluting speeches rewritten till fiction becomes almost truth and drunken cheers drown behind hand-hid gossiped slights.

The fifth carriage; he caught a floating wisp-waft of aftershave unknown, a fleeting flicker lying air-cushioned on her blouse collar and neck skin. The eyes leaving contact scarce seconds early but half-noted in a black-doored corner conscience, the lost distance stare mid conversation self-corrected too late and logged alongside late homecomings flushed and febrile, and the semi-smile lip-lingering with kisses shallow and slight.

The sixth carriage; he waits dark enshrouded, hoodied-hidden, watching and watchful, hands deep pocketed next to sharp-edged retribution. She passes alone, thoughts deep-woven of another, heart beat-beating in recaught teenage angst, sees not him, shadow stood, nor when he enters full light lit at home as she follows a routine daydream dreamt.

The seventh carriage; as he slides a knife blade, sleek and vengeful, skin splitting open like a guilt-weighted soul, and she slides spit-splutter down the door, her eyes unsurprised in understanding.

The eighth carriage; as he turns the blade, wet washed with her blood, and slices himself; their bloods mingling as the train of thought stops in sympathy.



Hung words


My sword thrusted, point piercing mid-way the word ‘TRUST’ which hung taunting across the path. The ‘u’ mewed, tears seeping onto dry ground parched by years of the antonym. Each drop reformed, reared and roared a date, a time, a lover. Sounds pierced the outer coating of my shield, stuck darted on layered wood and leather, each forcing a back step in the slow stride of my denial.

Slashed right and left, letters tumbled without meaning across the musty air, voices escaping from nicked sides and surfaces, each whispering accusations and Siren symphonies of desire and deceit. Names cascaded across years, places, times, excuses, all timetabled in linear formation, each stabbing through armour to draw my guilt in coughed confessions.

The path steepened, with fogbanked slopes treacherously entreating mis-steps. Five letters swung back and forth, hide and seeking through the gloom, ‘BLAME’ pendulumed with teasing tautness, red flames of embarrassment letter licking. Shield raised to block the blaze of an accusing sun I pressed on, a single manned phalanx. Heat seared through, burning black my faults. But remember, she did not talk, she did not give time, she did not make the efforts demanded of a shared life. I pierced the ‘B’, shredding the double curves, leaving ‘lame’ a mocking commentary on my own excuses.

A soft glancing blow, a caressing killer rested on my shoulders heavyweighted with weary worries self-inflicted, ‘TOUCH’ featherlight alighted, wrapped around a body shivering to loosen itself from feared intimacy after the bed-bounced closeness of another forbidden love. I parried open-bladed, countered these tease touching accusations: for she had stepped back too, withdrew skin from contact, lips miss-kissing half hearted offered cheeks, back turned on a bed once consummated with the passion of the innocent. Who stands now in the glasshouse with stone in hand? My stab caused ‘TOUCH’ to convulse. No one-sided defeat here.

Forward stepped I deflected and bounced harsh truths into the gutters of regret, found my way blocked by ‘SELFISHNESS’, long strewn as a Cheshire cat with grinning teeth foul fetid dripping tales of familial dates ignored, commitments uncommitted to, evenings long consumed in matey orgies of alcohol and unbrave bravado. Late long working hours stretched to incredulity as slipping masks for backslapping heartiness and raucous chauvinism, chasing skirt-clad victims across glass-lined tables.

Hacked letters fell, ‘fish’ causing a rueful smile under cheekguards which chaffed with swivelled wariness. ‘S’s snaked my legs, hot forked tongues nipping infected bites into veins long since dead to empathy and sympathy. I stamped, hobnailing the vicious barbs into powdered pleas.

And lastly LOVE dangled gloss shred and abused. It flickered images thought lost in memories stored behind cold-hearted locks. The true love of first meeting, recognition of soulmated possibilities, tingles of eternity surfacing when touch touched more than skin, eye contact finding depths impossible to measure. LOVE hung, shaming my defence, drinking dry a moat of liquid lies, crumbling paper-thin walls of self deception, undermining a castellated keep of rusted excuses.

And I fell, in a final act of reconciliation and recognition, upon my upturned sword.


My Cold Heart

(a poem written back in 2010, one of my ‘dark’ poems)

My Cold Heart


My cold heart

Calls for you,

Speared by the icicle

So eagerly thrust there,

Torn apart fervently

With glee by your hatred,

Flayed repeatedly with

Spiteful decaying words.


My cold heart

Shivers me,

Fearful and excited

By your touch and aura,

Soulless tears frozen still

In icy meander,

Torments scattered nightly

By cruelly wicked mouth.


My cold heart

Seeks reheating,

Your kisses to renew

Its bright bloody red flow,

Your dark eyes to long gaze,

Endearingly revive,

Your arms to encompass

My blizzard-blown winter.


My cold heart

Slides away,

Alone in its death,

Old, strong, wild beat stilled

By bitter sweet reply,

The last spasm convulsing with fear,

The deafening pulse of my life strangled,

The searing hot lifeblood chilled alive.



Bar Affair

(something I wrote in 2016 when I was experimenting with phrases but not yet the hyphenated words)


Lured onto the whiskey rocks was I.

A bar, air carrying voices like oxygen, sucked me in one winterous night. Warmth, seeping from old style radiators slung sculpturally on scraped back brickwork, and escaping from alcohol massaged mouths manipulated by untongue-tied lips, wrapped around my body and dragged me to its bosom. Lighting, lowly bright, snaked sinister around shaped silhouettes, lightening the dark and darkening the light.

I felt eyes flickering sideways, assessing the tenderfoot, a future guessed in seconds, no second chance sanctioned. Bodies walled my approach, daring a siege or assault, my choice of advance another reckoning of personality and persuasion. Walking straight, unnerved by contact, unshamed by silent excuse, marked intruders as distrustful ones. I meandered crooked, avoiding of touch, and sought the bar end, refugee-simulating. Backs turned and drinks lifted, the silent baying hordes returned to role.

The bartender’s welcome came with decades of unknown familiarity, eyes weighed down with a thousand stories, lips creased by a thousand sips. Assimilating into the scene, I bounced coins on counter, watching the watchers, listening the listeners. A drink appeared, in a glass smeared with lost hopes, placed by fingers stained with lives desiccated. I sipped nectar from fallen gods, felt the liquid slide like a saw over a throat parched by the city, and her who walked away one night.

Words crept inside my ears, half spoken, half cried, from mouths spilling lies faster than truths, snatches of histories conjured up to please their audience, old and new. Wives fled, husbands fooled, mistresses abandoned, dreams cracked. No jury could pass judgement on so many words of illusory untruths. Bodies jostled, closing space, opening offers, silent spoken. Eyes conversed while lies filled the air, an air heavy with deceiving deception.

My vision half blocked, you entered my island of insanity. Perfumery in advance of body warmth, a vanguard of passion, unstoppable. You seated alongside, a foot carelessly on purpose grazing my tired shoe. A minute smile explaining as you adjusted and preened, blue dress frame hugging a manikin from Venus, brown-ginger curls circled and back circled, coiffured unto faultlessness, floating on shoulders created to cry on. A long finger unbent, the bartender commanded, a cocktail of colours mixed glided next my golden syrup, a partnership foretold.

You turned, half appearing, long leg escaping dress split, opening gambit played and won, my heart-beat beaten. I voiced introduction, you deemed to reply, a voice silkily dirty, misleading me on. Your accent defeated me, somewhere downstate in a far off state, lilts hiding rasps, clipped letters concealing lisps, yet seducing with half sentences.

Dialogue danced, distanced and discrete, waltzing in slow motion as backstories were told and edited, your spiel seducing as you congaed me into your existence. I held firm, fearing mis-steps and pre-empted elimination, entranced by eyes iced with life and lips like worn books, retelling eon-old untruths. Drinks consummated, we drifted our ways, the neon whispering streets leading me home, alone in body, entwined in mind.

Tenfold times we met, the bar end our restaurant, our bookshop, our promenade, our bedroom. Each night verbal became physical, the touch of words translating tantalisingly with the touch of skin. Our feet spelt sentences of desire under cold-hearted steel of stools, massaging ids to teasing heights, subterranean erotica never designed to surface. I watched sleek fingers slither and stroke wet flute and polished teak, dragging me ecstatic into depthless Charybdis, drowning deliriously.

Each night you dressed anew, sparkles spitting light in night black bar corners. I watched your body, encased sleek and seductive, leading eyes, jealous jaded or lecherous lewd, from entrance to stool, each sway choreographed with careless precision, each step stilettoing my heart. A back flick of hair, an ear revealed with dangling diamonds dancing, like a stripper stripped to skin, an opening gambit invincible, you sung me hypnotic, a Siren seductress, and I never saw the wrecking rocks below.

Long nights opened my wallowing wallet, sugardaddied silly, funding a career careering uncontrolled, stage lights studding an illusory skyline, a body half-talented un-self judged, and flaunting thespian screen tests before couch-tired directors. As money flow ebbed, conversation congealed with mascara-curtained eyes wandering and smiles stimulating seduction moving on, until only your glass, half empty, spilt, sat derelict. Across hazy no man’s land, glimpsed between lips and rye, at a bar counter distant, a silhouette stilled as you sat, sirening another, duping the dupe.

And I drank deep from the bottle of experience, exiting extinguished.