Hot Cross Buns –  From Recipes for Disaster

 Currants soaking in the triumph
of melted butter; red jam swollen
on the floral plate, charred ridges
where the knife cut:
a rough-sawn edge.
You brought it on a tray;
lay breakfast where our love had made
a mess of crumbled sheets. Still warm,
the teapot is precarious
on our knees. Your lean, wired limbs relent,
you spread and curb the molten jam and tempt
my open mouth with strawberry kisses.
I lean back. Your split fingers
dawn on my impressionable skin, your nails black
from hammering resistant metal into curving shapes,
while I tease words from other languages into extended
sentences. You give me precious metal
for this dictionary of tenderness, raise
my blushed fire stain
to the surface.

No polishing
with spinning petticoat of layered cloths;
a whirling dervish of frayed ends.
The iron grate, glossed brilliant red,
where you made a fire
while I was shopping and at night
we couldn’t sleep, is empty.
You burnt my tea towels, using them to take
your scorching silver from the oven.


I didn’t know your name.
Now I want to know the name
of every living thing,
the loop and scoop of vowels
that shape the air,
the grab and spit of consonants
that break the fall of vowels.

I didn’t know your name until
the gap you left in other people’s lives
and mine fixed it to lampposts and across the internet.
Your tilting, lounging face
knocked me off balance;
a silhouette of disbelief,
a call-back, a prayer.

You served coffee with a soft-toned, welcoming hello,
a double shot of warmth and light.
Now I want to know the name
of every living thing,
so I can search and find.

Did you fall or jump? If you jumped,
I wonder if you changed your mind mid-flight,
and stumbling hope, regret or love stepped in?
Or, falling, left a cry behind?
With you crashed a hundred other thoughts
and loves and lives.

I want to know the sounds and lullabies
of every language,
so people can fall gently into sleep
on mattresses,
not thud, or hurtle or explode
into uncanny silences.

Thoughts search for footholds,
clamber from the place you landed,

I want to learn the name
of every living thing,
string filaments of sentences
to catch the holes in words.

Di – o – go.
That double-echoing,
open ‘o’.

August 2015

In memory: Diogo Martins – Alvez – Moreira

From  Four Odes and a Sonnet to a Pain aux Raisins

You were my first foreign adventure.
Before I could pronuonce your name,
with secret x and s, I proudly ordered you
with freshly rolling r from the boulangerie.
My sister, berry-wild, and I – two undiscovered raisins,
sank our toes in pale fine sand. We ran and hid
behind the dunes and nearly lost ourselves in Belgium,
catching wind and sun. Hot grains beneath hot feet.
Salt-tongued and sticky-lipped we splashed plumb-sweet
in wrinkled costumes. My sister blond and I the plumper, darker one
circled the rounded mounds until we found a dizzy home.
Smooth crumbling coils, snail-shaped escargots –
we pulled their centres out. Unravelling is despoiling:
serious vowels. We always wanted back,
a curiosity never spent in pounds in England.
You were my currency and francs a fair exchange. My bread
and butter. The taste between your delicate, unsalted-skin is almost
unpronounceable. My first foreign adventure.