Altered States

Altered States has at its heart two sequences, one about an amnesiac’s quest for his lost identity – or a new one – and Estuary Poems, dealing with the journey of the poet’s ancestors from Ireland to Wales and their assimilation into a new life.

Publisher’s details
Seren, 1st & 2nd Floors, 38-40 Nolton Street, Bridgend CF31 3BN, tel 01656-663018 or email

Cat Lane

Fog lives here. It slinks against walls,
lithe, muscled, never heard.
A drainpipe ticks in the yard,
each drop wobbling as it falls

No one in the dark nights of November
comes down here to the overflowing bins.
Wet posters peel softly from palings;
even the rain has claws.

Slot between houses, dark, star-hung,
where the fog prowls for passers-by,
rubs against their hearts, gives a sly
cold reminder of its tongue.

The moon’s echoes down there shine
like the eyes of ghosts.
A place where memories are lost;
where emptiness comes padding up behind.

Vampire Ballet
The dancer’s squirming back. He’s on his knees.
Music is a heartbeat, fascination.
The whole theatre’s tense. No-one breathes.

It’s that other one our eyes are on,
the dark one. Relentless he stalks
us all across the stage. As the music’s torn

to pieces see him slither into smoke.
We feed off him, just as he feeds off us;
counting the scenes till he’s back,

the wingflap from the crypt, the hiss,
his twisted sort of love straight through our hearts.
What is it about evil with panache

that infects, brings hot blood to the face,
makes the sullen eager, the heated crowd
all down the stairs avoid each other’s eyes?