No Sleep ‘Til Mid-June

I don’t wanna sleep tonight,

Walking with the yellow street lights,

And nobody’s here to say it isn’t right.


I don’t wanna sleep tonight,

Talking with the hyenas and the howler monkeys,

That stumble and shuffle, singing, down the cobbled streets.


I don’t wanna sleep tonight,

Because the sun will be up soon anyway,

And the lavender outside the door still smells good.


I don’t wanna sleep tonight,

Because my street is quiet except for the birds,

And the birds are singing a love song chorus.


I don’t wanna sleep tonight,

Because the truth is I sleep too much,

And life doesn’t wait for dreaming.


I don’t wanna sleep tonight,

So I won’t.


The Carpenter

The carpenter works from dawn until dusk

Rising with the golden light,

he carves until the air is cedar, mahogany, Brazilian walnut and pine

Each breathe is thick with the smell of resin

The carpenter uses these tiny specs of magic to reflect light all around him

At the centre of his workshop he keeps a birdcage

The carpenter has a pet sparrow

At night he lets the sparrow out to dance with its lover the moon

When it returns, the sparrow always brings a golden marble sun

The carpenter has 13 jars of golden marbles

He drinks amber whisky mixed with the sawdust magic specs of air

By now the carpenter is part tree

His roots go as deep as his leather work boots

He gets his energy from the morning chill

He lives near a forest

Before going to sleep he looks out of his window and recites prayers to the trees

He has named each one of them after a different family member, friend and God, he is waiting to put his faith in the last one standing

On a good day the carpenter takes walks through the tree trunk cathedral that has assembled itself around his home

This monk of wood and bone, this tree-man, he feels like the tallest hill

2 inches away from being a mountain

But the carpenter knows his soul is still growing.

These are the good days,

When he can work to the music of birds, carving living things from the dead

Like a fisherman he pulls his labour out of the ocean of dust

Breathes into it the breathe of life given to craftsmen

and sets it on a table like a new born baby

At night he thanks every tree for his calloused hands.

The carpenter wonders if they can hear him


We all wanted to be the carpenter

All wanted to pull life out of the dead things every morning

So we went searching

We poets and writers

we went searching for a voice sharp enough to cut through all thought

And on the good days we pulled from a dictionary of diction the perfect expressions of our innermost souls

On the good days we didn’t wait for our gods to fall we simply walked with them

Accepting their existence rather than cutting them down

Those were the good days and the best days when we could lift our prayers up like open hands to a father

But we all had our bad days

The days when open hands became clenched fists shaking in defiance

I want to hear you father

The days we turned our eloquence into hatchets and knives so we could cut down, cut out the roots of our faith

I want to hear you father

The days when we tore apart every word because it was getting hard to breathe with all the deforestation

Can you hear me father?

And sometimes our gods answered

And sometimes they spoke in the silence

We monks of ink and bone shards waiting to explode

Sometimes the silence was the only thing we could comprehend

We soldiers of the spoken word

Aimed our questions like rifles

Spoke our magazines empty

Punctuated our bullets into God’s chest

Because we knew he could take it

And when the wars were done

We raised our cracked lips up to every bullet hole

Kissed them healed

Wrote our words like bandages

For every injury we had a simile to rebuild it again

We were carpenters of our image of God

Stripping back everything until we were left with his face

We are still carving.

Hiroshima Soul

She has a Hiroshima soul.

That may not sound like a good intro to a love poem

But let me explain.

When the bomb hit Hiroshima it was devastating

The girl I fall in love with will be just as absolute

She’ll weep cities aside like blades of grass,

Feeling the lives of buildings as she runs her fingertips along their walls

The girl I fall in love with will break down walls

Whether of gender or race, she will level everyone,

Forcing them to rethink the word ‘normal’.


When we talk of passion

We’ll talk of nuclear reactions

We’ll be like two atoms colliding

The world will mean nothing to us

And the little things will have the biggest effects

We’ll be like two atoms colliding

That rock and the hard place when they finally met and said

“Hey, can I take you to dinner?”

We’ll be like two atoms colliding

Exploding to a level beyond microscopic

They say we’re all made of cosmic dust

And ours is gonna make a second big bang

Make of that what you will


But the world will be ours.

Our rooftop the night sky, vaulted, with the cosmic chandeliers of stars.

And they’ll say we created this mansion planet

Even though it just happened to fit perfectly to the curves and perfect imperfections

Of us

Because you have a Hiroshima soul

and I’ve heard even reactors can’t keep in the powers they were built to contain

In the same way, the girl I fall in love with will make entire cities her home

And some people will say

Nuclear things can never create

But I said she had a Hiroshima soul not a Manhattan one

The girl I love will rebuild, after every heartache and pain

Pick up the broken pieces and jigsaw them back together

Because she’ll see the unbreakable resilience of shattered things.


And like that fallen city Hiroshima she will be naked to the world

And they will call her birth a miracle

Because everything she does will be inconceivable

As she builds a new city from the dust

I wanna shake this cosmic dust

Rework myself into a star again,

if only for a second,

so like that Hiroshima bomb girl

I can radiate like a man made solar flare

Stretch out my interstellar arms to radiate into hers

Create a micro-universe of us

And in our bones…

in our bones…

We will shine.