November 9th 2021

At evening, at an airport, at the join

of three different national borders,

a moth along a lance of sun.

It isn’t insufficient light

prevents us seeing 

each other fully across

the streaked sphinx of the sky.

Something good and true never

lacks its defenders,

nor those who hope to destroy it,

but here, where world is open, now

through rings in ropes of snow,

don’t you go 

inventing separate yous.

November 8th 2021

Fourteen Types of Guy Just Dropped

Guy in two rooms, minds.

Guy in four portraits, “by mistake”.

Guy outside a window, looking in.

Guy who hasn’t thought this through: the horizon.

Guy on Starship Enterprise singing, “How the hell’d I get here, Scotty?”

Guy whose wine rides his larynx like slugs’ blood, toasting futures that’re rapping their knuckles on his throat.

Guy who laces tenuous snows along the eyelets of his brother’s birthday Jordans. 

Guy who’s spreading stories only time can untell, raining oceans only skies can unrain, throwing curveballs only supermassive blackholes can unswerve.

Guy across from me on tubes, three times this week, travelling sidesaddle through a mutual dark, a pipe of sound like continuous shrapnel.

Guy whose self-facing camera just revealed to him his eyes because the person who he’s calling sidled into a brighter hall. 

Guy who harbours fantasies of swimming under oilslicks, poking holes among the leathery canopy above, giving the underwater “stars”.

Guy who’s stitched together rage across the gaps in what he’d let himself not know by now.

Guy who is in other senses making the most of ‘it’.

Guy I grew up into then grew right out of, again.

November 7th 2021

Windowlag/Driving South Again

Some clouds are cold inside. The room the sky

is entering is everybody’s mouth. Closing

my fists, it’s time to reel my headlamps for the night.

Fireworks frill the road, their plumes multiplying on

my windshield, the next car’s left window, 

a passenger’s phone-screen. The future’s filling up

with past, moving oppositely. The future’s filling up

with past, oppositely moving. The future’s filling up

a passenger’s phone-screen. The future’s filling up

my windshield, the next car’s left window.

Fireworks frill the road, their plumes multiplying on

my fists. It’s time to reel my headlamps, for the night

is entering. Is everybody’s mouth closing?

Some clouds are cold inside the room, the sky.

November 6th 2021


The face of Christ appears inside my latte

art, live-fed to legions of follo-ollowers,

and everyone sings it back with one another

in one or another form, like a silent disco

where everybody’s song’s a different song

but, miraculously, at the same BPM.

Howdy, sports-star, what’s among the muck

today, you who make a music of mud?

A puddle couples canopies of planets 

with fields. Looking down, I clock the universe.

You cap a promise with a tackle (the ground

performs a version of us in waves on impact),

asking “Who is Adam Heardman, and when

is he at home? Hello? Is anybody where?”

November 5th 2021

for Gran 

I visit the ward on Tuesday, in the city’s west,

autumn exploding on trees like muted rockets.

Read me your new poems? you ask with quiet zest.

I eye the too-loud telly, hands in my pockets.

I know I can’t dodge it, or what’s the point

of having written them anyway? I grab my phone

and thumb this scroll for something the right tone,

pausing on first lines randomly, out of joint.

We didn’t learn enough to justify…

Driving north, I feel like night…

Cancel every meeting with the sky…

Because the poem can’t decide for us,

I settle on this one, the first line of which goes

Hello. It’s been a while. It’s so lovely to see us.

November 4th 2021

We didn’t learn enough to justify

the killing of a good dog. Hitting

what horizon might have closed the deal?

Laika was given a window, the earth’s first 

frame, her mission to look back in longing

at circles of silent faces, blank branched streets. 

People also ask: Did Laika suffer?

What’s Laika doing now? Did someone call

her limonchik, little curly lemon 

bug? In space, can silence turn to matter?

Did her young blood curdle with ozone?

Did a slick of cold enter the core

of her eyeteeth? Did her eye become

the earth, her nostrils dazzle into atmosphere?

November 3rd 2021

Carry On Carrion

The city’s people’s patterns looked like mortar.

I think we’re talking Wednesday, here.

The river’s water’s heaviness was looking like

a long grey sock, until it reached a deeper 

water, and began to look different.

The coming crises wore their finest cloaks,

flashing a bit of ankle, the fonts of theatre

menus. Oooooooooooooooh, Matron,

I thought, and headlonged out the coffee-shop

to shelter inside the rain. What undid

me in the end, wet entering my espadrilles,

a clutch of skeletal piano chords dribbling

from windows, was someone somewhere sighing,

We get it, man, stuff’s like other stuff.

November 2nd 2021

Driving north, I feel like night

might as well owe me a picture.

The slow, beaded rattle of the lit

parts of the A1(M) ribbons me out

until I’m like a sword of ice in space

choosing a planet to orbit. The screaming, alien

boredom of my lonely engine hums, and

I’m speaking aloud with the dark before I know it.

I see an oval of road / nor the trees which don’t abut it.

The mountain is vast / see how easily I eat it.

The morning is coming / like a residue I leave it.

Somewhere an ocean begins to sink

beneath a blooming rug of oil.

At the edge of the bowl of my headlamps

the florid tares of night beckon me home.

November 1st 2021

Last night you dreamed to me about someone

who gave birth to only an eyeball. It seemed to

have a sentience, a pulse within the pupil,

an expressive turn, nudging itself along

with a tail of cramping muscle and ocular nerve.

After the usual fight between the scalpel of science

and the balloon of love was won, like a Spielberg film,

the eye’s capacity for total vision unim-

paired by flesh or thought brought the droves

of faithful, seeking the cease of seeking in

the absolute centre of sight. My turn came.

I spoke to the fluted iris. Am I lucid

dreaming, or dreaming of lucid dreaming?

It coiled beneath itself, rose a little, and appeared to nod, yes.

October 31st 2021

Lines Supposedly Written Avril 14th

As the day’s edges appear

to slope outward or away, 

we’re beginning to talk past each other.

“The only difference between ‘jet suit’

and ‘Jesuit’ is a question of technique

on how best to ascend”, you say.

In lofty beams, infidel bunches

of boysenberries are beginning to go 

ripe inside the megachurch.

Something thrown is cutting

a wake through a window.

“An orchard is quite like a brain.”

Today, for the first time, you both

‘heard of’ and ‘heard’ a peal of bells,

the terms modulate, attack, release, decay.

I follow you through: every room 

of a Bruce Nauman retrospective;

a ribcage of pews; a sheet of laser

making a canopy over our heads

at an Aphex gig near some docks;

a conversation over pianos.

We’re beginning to talk past each other,

to slope outward, or away,

as the day’s edges appear.