What if Poetry was a Virus?

What if poetry was a virus?
Imagine contagious words
spread through the air,
so as I breathe
the rhyme is drawn in to me
bringing with it fever.
Then line by line by line
poetry multiplies through my cells,
verse by verse by verse
my nerve endings are set aflame
and poem by poem by poem
I burn all night.

Early next morning my fever broke,
I snapped awake covered
in a sheen of sweat like morning dew.
Shaking myself like a dog
my fever now a dying ember
my hands scrambled for poetry.
Reading deeply
breathing deeply,
hoping to catch
poetry again.


Under the strobe like flicker
of failing street lights,
two lovers keep their date
as they keep their distance.
Masks are slid down to reveal shy smiles
while remaining beyond arms reach,
so only their cigarette smoke entwines.
Both are lost for words
both are lost in this new world,
fingers that want to lock
now only grip phones
to exchange digital kisses
and like and share each other’s posts.
All to soon it’s time for whispered farewells
don masks for separate bus journeys home,
tag their partners in posts about the virus
that might go viral?

Lockdown Birthday

Lockdown birthday
meet friends on your driveway,
unsure to stay how far away
they throw a card your way.

I got out of bed late again today
I shaved my head again today,
I organised the shed again today
I washed my hands until they bled again today.

I might phone my mum today
I might ignore everyone today,
I might just stare at the sun today
I might just let my brain go numb today.

Lockdown Birthday
ignore the news today,
crack open the gin at midday
pray everyone I can’t see is OK.


I was self-isolating long before the virus
barricading myself away from my latest crisis.
Voluntary lock down that’s how my life is,
friends they say bring riches but solitude is priceless.
So I perch precariously on my toilet paper throne,
ruler of all I see, yet all alone.
My pasta shapes crown barely conceals my frown
caused by the persistent ringing of my phone.
I hide behind a Facebook photo that I think makes me look slick
posting sarcastic comments while I’m binge watching Netflix.
But TV can’t teach this tired old dog any new tricks
think I’ll phone work again and lie that I’m sick.
Noting left to do but smoke a roll up and wait
contemplate learning to blow smoke rings while I self-isolate.
Trying to ignore my brain that’s locked in its usual eternal debate,
where self-respect gets its usual kicking from self-hate.
It’s time to lock all the doors, I don’t deserve to be free,
lock all the windows, swallow the key.
I’m nothing more than a mental health refugee,
adrift in his own turbulent sea.

Found dead one day clutching his pen
waiting for the fever of words that didn’t come.
So this poem is over
before it’s begun.

Keeping Six Feet Apart

Even though we wanted to be together it just didn’t last,
we wanted to move forward but strayed into the past
a trial separation that became permanent too fast.
So now we’re living six feet apart.

I leave you kisses on a post-it note
remember your perfume by hugging your old coat
as we no longer touch and that’s what hurts the most.
As now we’re always six feet apart.

Today I walk under the sun to where you lie under the ground
knowing that if I met you again on a crazy rebound,
that we’d still mess it up a second time around.
And that we were always destined to be six feet apart.

Sleepless Nights

Sometimes on sleepless nights I
let my fingers trace the
roadmap of scars that
circumnavigate my body.
And just like that I’m hurtling
down roads I thought were no more,
journeying to long forgotten places
I hoped never to visit again.
My mind is at a crossroads
of indecision.
No way is the best way
all ways lead the wrong way.

Sometimes on sleepless nights I
find my fingers desperate to trace
the roadmap of scars that
circumnavigate my body.
I close my eyes, clench my fists
and do my best to
resist temptation.