Posted in Before the Rain


The success of a revolution is marked
not by loud presence of the new
but non-echoing absence of the before – Slide rule. Typewriter. Walkman.

Before Apple, before Microsoft
before the graphical user interface and computers for everybody
files were sheets of paper, bounded by thin cardboard.
No directories or folders. Hierarchical by colour.

Memory could never recall the hue of the personal file
perhaps slack should be cut for infrequency
sited just once, inverted, so the man seated opposite could read easily.

Open, self-conscious of being uncovered in public.
On the inside cover, precisely equidistant from praise and criticism
neutral to the rising hope of the first page,
the declined petition that would be the last.

Chapter one. Verse one. In the beginning
the civil service created personal information.
Name. Date of birth. Qualifications.
Day, month, year of commencement.

By the first of March.
He laughed and spoke of my luck. This is a leap year. An extra day.
Gallows symmetry. Second line. DOB : 29th of February.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.