The Neighbours' Child villanelle was long listed (last 125 of 16,000 entries) in the 2019 The National Poetry Competition.

The Neighbours’ Child

The neighbours had a child we used to know,

Shot into the world, Brasso bright shining;

Now another dead boy in Walthamstow.

He marked his territory in pink dayglow,

Taunting passers-by with swagger and sass;

The neighbours had a child we used to know.

His handful of stones broke our front window.

We fixed the broken glass with sticky tape;

Now another dead boy in Walthamstow.

Cast in gangster black from hoody to toe,

Knocking over bins, owning the street;

The neighbours had a child we used to know.

Ripped from the page of Edgar Allan Poe,

Spliff-smoking, swearing, staring youth/slash/man;

Now another dead boy in Walthamstow.

Knife in his pocket, it’s only for show.

Til 1053 on a Friday night,

The neighbours had a child we used to know;

Now another dead boy in Walthamstow.


An Old Friend was long listed for the 2016 Canberra University VC Poetry Prize.

An Old Friend

I remember Rachel Carrington

Large-breasted in her school blazer

Blonde hair resting on her shoulders

Skirt turned over at the waistband

Engineered to expose nylon thighs;

All the boys knew they would.

They say she had one breast reconstructed;

You say they don’t match

As you fall off your stool in the bar.

Concerned drinkers jump down to haul you up.

Bewildered and wide-eyed

Your blotched face

Under its cropped white hair

Sits back on its seat.

‘You must come round for brunch’

You slur through missing teeth.

We leave.

Your glasses fall in the road;

You follow them.

I help you up.

Your house is scented with damp and joss sticks

Yesterday’s takeaway overflows the lidless bin

Cigarette butts gather outside the back door,

Cancerous crew.

‘You and me’ you say

‘We used to dance together. Do you remember?’


Cycle was long listed from 13,000 entries to 2015 The National Poetry Competition.


A small white dog

Who was once a Hindu boy

Crawled inside a washing machine and fell asleep.

It tossed and rotated him

Filling his ears with suddy soap

And as the water whirled,

The dog became the boy again.

He stepped from the machine

And gave a little shake

No dust on his feet, no grit in his eye

Minus the burden of his clothes.