Posted in Love


We were all so young
rootless and selfish
booze, sex … and lies – about both.
Picking fruit, marking time
waiting at the bus stop of career –
reading the timetable, not sure
whether to board the one coming, the one after, or…..

First names only at first
surnames later – quite a bit later
Greg, Keith, Don,Tom, Shelly, Angela ….
and Conor – Irish, travelling the world –
caricaturally Irish – brogue, auburn hair
stumbling into humour and adventure – unplanned and unaware
liked a drink, a party and to sing.

We shared a room – employer’s directive
but not secrets…..
until the night alcohol returned him loosened
and lucid.
He spoke of his time backpacking Asia and Australia
cheap, dirt cheap
doss houses
market food
reverse charge phone calls for birthdays
and other special occasions.
On one, his mother in hospital – surgery – no urgency –
minor – nothing important – one of those women’s things.

Hearing of her death was brutal,
clear sky lightening
left field.
She asked her husband and children to withhold
to withhold the verdict –
Conor had saved hard for this – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
she didn’t want him coming home on her behalf.

For explanation of title click Backstage



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.