Saturday, 29 September 2018



In this two-bit town
It’s once bitten twice shy
Chewing streets up and down
My tongue’s asking “Why?”

My teeth are on edge
No work and no necking
Just sucking this ledge
No future worth wrecking

Nothing to say
No reason to pray
Wish something lovely would hit me
Everybody’s got love bites but me

In the back of my mouth
There’s a taste of success
And word has it down south
You can talk oral sex

But in this dingy town
My lips are all cracked
Speechless at home
All sleepless and sacked

Nothing to say
No reason to pray
Wish something lovely would hit me
Everybody’s got love bites but me


Tuesday, 18 September 2018


Now the dust has settled on our fabulous Friday night - you should get a copy of Wallington Morning. It’s a superb collection of poems from a superb poet. Available on Amazon. Treat yourself!

(Richard Daniels, Lincoln poetry organiser)

(photo: Peter Dixon)


I fear the devilry in my poetry,
that impish urge
to home in on your fat cathedral
across all those bleak and wasted fields.
Tonight, I want
to ransack your city’s brains,
throw out pathetic gargoyles
from The Jolly Brewer,
beat up the landlord
of the Dog & Bone
with a good dose
of love poems.
I must admit
I am prone to heckle.
Bouts of doubt
infect my lines
and I am frequently inclined
to disrupt
your tedious tales;
for, unlike your buxom church,
they do not ring
with any bleeding sense of history,
just the shallow trivia
of an alien High Street,
the cloistered emptiness
of a bad poet’s soul.
Out here,
in the light of your cock spire,
I leap to twin with the Lincoln Imp
so that no choirboy
need be safe
from our wicked songs
and dodgy rhymes.
Twilight it is, and we zoom
from church to prison,
spreading our evil,
high as lords.
We set up our cheek
at terrible literary gatherings,
bloodstain the floors
of icy classrooms.
This is what imps do -
close down arts centres,
ignite recitals,
slink around alleyways
for bad girls to spank,
hurl abuse at the vicar’s cloth ears.
We imps do believe that
in Lincoln,
or any other northern dreamworld,
you might as well be totally unfeeling
as stay stone sober
in all the daytime’s lovelight.


Sunday, 16 September 2018


I am crouched over my sparkling glass
waiting for the sunshine to come through
to join me on a winter’s day in Tuebingen,
for a leaf to fly through the door
and show me its intricate patterns
in my penetrating stare,
to skip and dance
and float away

like me
in a trance
in a delicate romance,
a rush of poems,
a sudden surge of booklets
in my travelling bag,
a dream packed into a KLM briefcase;
the tightness of a blue skirt,
the glance of a flashing winged eye
heading towards me,
threatening to make love to me,
to blow away this dark news
pushing its way into my anxious face
from a complete stranger’s daily paper.

And Juergen is rocking tonight in a corner,
sharing his energy with the moon
and I have the smell of a coffee on my sleeve,
the evil taste of last night’s schnapps
on this stooped boy’s lips,
the hysterical melancholy that only Tuebingen brings me;
along the cobbled path outside the Piccolo window
prances chance
and that girl I’ll never ever know
teasing the slipping tears into my scribbles,
her picture forever in my twitching English heart


I’m never really going to leave this town.’

A delicate grip
on reality.


November 2017.

Saturday, 8 September 2018


Our Dolly

Like her sisters before her, she’s
more than a figurehead, fishwife

or a painted charm for good luck.
Our Dolly doesn’t take kindly

to being gawped at and mocked
by rowdy folk who take liberties,

pose for selfies and pocket pieces
of Dolly to take home. A different story

if you’re about to go to sea, she will
protect you, be a beacon to bring you

back home safely. Our bonny lass
Dolly watches over the beloved Tyne,

she bears our proud history, a lifetime
of industry, shipbuilding, hard graft and coal.

Catherine Graham


A Girl In Every Port Of Call

With duty done, the hammocks swing with talk of waiting girls,
A familiar name rings out in every sea salty heart:
Mine is called 'Dolly' ……. mine is called Dolly too.
I sleep with her under my pillow, I dream of her every night,… I do too.
I know she keeps me safe,….. I know that too.
Dolly will be waiting for me on the North Shields quay, even after dark…. mine will be too.
Dolly loves me, I keep her pressed close to my chest,… Dolly loves me and my chest too.
But does Dolly really yearn for all her besotted beaus?
Does she grieve alone when the Luttine bell tolls?
Or, does she cast another sweeping, mysterious spell across the wide divide?
Eagerly anticipating the cut of a keen new blade that will once more take her out to sea?
Will she mourn when the great oceans give up their many sunken souls?
Will the knife-wielding, rival suitors clash over Dolly’s unrequited love?
Will loving dissection and briny erosion completely dispel Dolly’s contagious myth?
Only the inscrutable, waiting Dollies know.
After all, this is their seafaring tale,
And they are saying nothing.


The new girl on the block

In 1958 the ghosts of past dollies

gather up their skirts and their baskets
and their warnings and rush
to Northumberland Square
to warn the newcomer
about men with knives

They stand in a cosy huddle
comparing wounds and scars
and talk of cuts here
and spelks there
and whether it did any good
and was it bloody worth it

They try to persuade the new lass
to come down to the Jungle
for a few drinks and whatever else
might arise but she says
she might join them later,
mebbes in sixty years or so.