12: Insomnia

Wounded but not falling,

Time insists on crawling,

Across the shattered wasteland of my mind,

I find I’m reaching for my phone,

And, prone, I activate the screen,

And seen in that electric glow,

A blow to any hopes of rest,

At best snatched moments of repose.

Sleep constantly escapes me,

And sanity I chase thee,

Around this wicked place,

A race I’m running on my own,

I’ve blown my covers and

I’m thrown out of my bed,

And so Instead I rise and seek escape,

And traipse into another darkened room.

The T.V can’t distract from,

The fact there’s nothing on,

This place is such a mess,

And yes I really I have tried reading,

But conceding to a bored defeat,

Retreat in weary shame,

To tame the bed I once rejected,

When ejected from those sheets.

These covers are confining,

Restrictive and entwining,

And, whining, tossing to and fro,

I throw the fuckers clear,

Oh dear my naked body shakes,

It takes so short a time to feel,

This real and biting cold,

All told I wish I wasn’t here.

My bed a sullen stranger,

My kingdom for a manger,

To rest my tired bones,

Alone or with another soul,

The toll this night is bound to take,

Will make the morning feel a foe,

Though slow the seconds drag me on,

Anon unto that despised dawn.

Only one thing can placate me,

Oh sandman come and take me,

Lately you’ve ignored my pleas,

You tease with glimpses of respite,

Tonight but fuck it’s not enough,

This rough treatment won’t abate,

As fate steals me from my dreams,

It seems I’ll never sleep again.

Insomnia is one of the most frustrating things you can endure.  Too awake to sleep but not awake enough to do anything useful or distracting.  I started this poem off during one sleepless night and, as you’d expect, it was exactly the kind of unintelligible nonsense you can only write at 3a.m.  But the idea of somehow making that unintelligibility (is that even a word?) a part of the poem appealed to me so in subsequent drafts I kept the stream of consciousness aspect firmly in place.  I wanted the whole piece to feel like it should be reeled off in one long manic outpouring of words, preferably delivered by a shambling, wild eyed, confused, sleep deprived zombie – which is pretty much how I felt when I first started writing it.



11: Sleeper Wake

Dried sins like cracked skin on your lips,

Lost promises of a kiss,

One moment of bliss forever missed,

But beckoning.

Soft flesh yearning for an absent caress,

Fickle fingers linger a moment longer than they should,

A call stronger than blood,

But resisted.

You sigh so slow as if to sow desire,

Rekindling a once oft stoked fire,

A surrender to that seductive pyre,

But left unsaid.

You’ve drifted long on that lake of calm,

Far away from all hurt and harm,

But sleeper wake,

A gift it pains me now to take, but sleeper wake,

But sleeper wake.



My ku: 7

We’re still in Japan and I’ve gone for a more philosophical selection this week, which is to say I’m trying not to sound like a life coach and probably not succeeding…


Except this one, which relates to our stay at a Buddhist temple that was only reachable via funicular railway.


10: One day I’ll make you cry

There will always be promises that I can’t keep,

Covers I steal while you are asleep,

I’ll forget that I said I’d be there,

And play Xbox in my underwear,

And one day I will make you cry.

There will always be things that I can’t give you,

And problems I don’t know the answers to,

I’ll be distant sometimes or feel down,

And not someone you want to be around,

And one day I will make you cry.

They say that one day your prince will come,

A fantasy still held on to by some,

A fairy tale ending the ultimate prize,

I can’t compete with lies of that size,

And one day I will make you cry.

I’m no prince and my steed is a cat,

My palace a second floor flat,

But I’m real, I’m here and I’m yours,

The sum of my virtues and flaws,

And one day I will make you cry.

But I’ll also wipe those tears away,

And do all I can to make it okay,

Because try as I might not to hurt you,

I can’t guarantee that I won’t do,

And one day I will make you cry.


This is one of those poems that started out as one thing but turned out to be something else entirely.  My original vision was to try and document a painfully honest decline of a relationship where you end up hurting each other as often as you make each other feel loved.

Somewhere along the line I cheered up a bit, the tone changed completely and it became…whatever the hell it ended up being.  Fairly quirky and light hearted for the most part but with hints at darker elements it’s kind of a patchwork of tone and imagery that I nevertheless actually quite like.

I’m my own harshest critic and I worry that stuff like this isn’t well written enough to be included on this blog but then came my epiphany:  Balls to it, I thought – I create because, on the whole, I enjoy it and my motivation has never been audience validation.  What you read is what you get…wait, that’s probably a better name for the blog…dammit!


My ku: 6

And so we stay in Japan for now, with pictures courtesy of the highly talented future Mrs Wordsandthat.


One issue I have with the app I used to create these pics is that sometimes it’s blood hard to make the words readable!  when that happens, as it does here, I’ll just reproduce the haiku below the image like so:

Submerged currency

each one a beggar’s prayer

hope corrodes with them


9: Today

Today I awoke to find,

I was losing my mind,

Feeling ill at ease and ill defined,

I just wanted to cry.


Today I awoke to find,

I was losing my mind,

Not sharp or considered refined,

But, fuck it was mine.


Today I awoke to find,

I was losing my mind,

Lost ‘cos this road isn’t signed,

And I’m driving blind.


Today I awoke to find,

I was losing my mind,

Troubles in front and traumas behind,

With nowhere to hide.


Today I awoke to find,

I was losing my mind,

On my psyche soul carrion dine,

And leave me to die.


Today I awoke to find,

I was losing my mind,

A cranial seam that’s so over mined,

I’m empty inside.


Today I awoke to find,

I was losing my mind,

These ups and downs are so often entwined,

I wish I knew why.


Today I awoke to find,

I was losing my mind,

I am to this isolated fate resigned,

Unable to fight.


Today I awoke to find,

I was losing my mind,

A cage of shadows in which I’m confined,

The sentence is life.


Today I

Awoke to find

My mind

Losing my mind




To find


…It’s gone


I’m a big advocate of mental health issues; it’s a subject close to my heart and one I identify with on a personal level.  In other words I ain’t quite right in the head.  It’s also something I have great difficulty writing about.  Sometimes I feel I’m too close to the subject to do it justice and I’ve started poems on a number of occasions only to scrap them as I can’t capture the issues in the way I want.  This is the only one I’ve completed and that’s mainly because it’s more of a superficial look at such a broad topic.

The idea behind Today was to explore how it feels to wake up each morning when your mind can be your worst enemy and, ultimately, the fear that one day you’ll just lose yourself completely.  It’s not as personal or intimate as the poem I still long to write on the subject but, hey, it’s a start.


My ku: 5

Another set from Japan, this time somewhat wildlife themed.


Yes, the deer in Nara actually bow in thanks when you feed them – to be fair they also crowd, nudge and butt you but there’s only so much room for politeness when you’re hungry…


8: Cobbles

Old stone,

Cold stone,

Communist cobbles.

The Devil walked here once,

Riding an ideal

Across a grey sea of minds,

Their boots resonant on cowed streets,




But time defeats us all,

And their march is now nothing but echoes,

On those same old stones,





I guess Cobbles is the literary equivalent of a holiday snapshot: Capturing a moment and moving on to other things without really thinking much about it.

I was on holiday in Prague, where there are cobbled streets everywhere, and happened to learn a bit about the city’s history while I was there.  (side note: I  also stole a loose cobble and brought it home as a souvenir because it seemed like a good idea at the time)

Prague had been invaded by the Nazi’s at the start of the Second World War and had been under the control of the Soviet Union after that.  I was sitting outside a café, digesting these facts (along with my lunch) and just staring out at the ancient streets when it occurred to me that a whole history of people had walked on those stones.

I scribbled Cobbles down in about 10 minutes, finished my cup of tea and moved on.  I’ve never edited, redrafted or considered expanding it – I kinda like the fact it’s just a small reflection of a specific moment in time.  It’s more of a rough sketch than a poem but it takes me back to that small café on a sunny afternoon in Prague whenever I read it and that’s good enough for me.


My ku: 4

The future Mrs Wordsandthat and I went to Japan last year and, given that we were in the home of the haiku, I felt inspired to set myself a bit of a challenge.  Combining my love of photography and writing I decided to put words to some our photos: