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There are stains on the bottom sheet.
I never think now about their source,
just the residue of people I never meet.

I fret over the Do Not Disturb signs,
it will all need doing eventually,
beds, bins, towels, everythingís mine

to arrange properly, tidy their mess
line up the sachets of shower gel,
clean the toilet, dust the trouser press.

They leave me clues from what remains,
what they do, what books they read,
whether they chew gum, those grains

of fine sand caught between their toes,
which I can identify from near the pier
or sand dunes by their texture. I know

more than they think. The wet patch
of tears on the pillow, the stale smell
of sex, the blonde hairs that match

those left by the woman in Room Ten,
in her hairbrush, beside the photograph
of a tall man and two smiling children.

When he checks out he may leave a tip,
a fiver on the bedside table, Iíll pocket it,
check the mirror for the seal on my lips.
Keeping mum


and you must never,
ever tell anyone
we had sex,
he said.
We had sex,
bad sex,
boring sex
technically sex.
I didnít tell anyone.
Nothing
to boast about.
Nothing
to write home about.
Nothing
except the above.
Hot


This is a day for stillness,
sitting quietly, conserving.
Opening the wash basket,
pouring out skimmed milk,
all too energetic,demanding
time spent in cold showers.

Page turning is manageable,
I will read about Amundsen.
The trick is to keep cool,
have glaciers and blizzards
available so when I look up
and see you, I will not burn.
Fresh Meat


She said he was good enough to eat,

so she did.

For days everything tasted of his sweet aftershave,
she had to floss his charm from between her molars,
belch small gaseous pockets of sincerity.

Later she coughed up his bones in one neat pellet,
picking over it she found the St Christopher, the one
she had given him for their three month anniversary.

She dropped it into an old Colemanís mustard tin,
behind the vanilla pods and nutmeg.

She thought to save it for the next tender boy
who had the good taste to smile across a room.

She always had a big appetite for love.
Tale of one city



It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times.
A Radford flat in winter,
Nottingham in December.

Sweating over a two bar fire
watching Match of the Day.
A red electric bill on the sofa
we didnít know how to pay.

The buzzing street light outside
merry-go rounded by the snow.
Drunks hurling frosted bricks
at Mr Fazelís boarded window.

Your brown eyes burning fierce
with lust and a 101 degree fever
from sinusitis, me in wynciette
with the biggest cold sore ever.

Cheap vinegar scouring throats
as we ate greasy fish and chips,
tasting it again and again, licking
it from the others cracked lips.

It was the murmur of adenoidal
longings, that only made us laugh
and throw caution, the risk of
cross infection to the draughts.

It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times.
It was embracing all the worst,
it was being frozen at our best.
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