You showed us how to prove love was true
even in wintertime by holding a snow drop
to your wrist so it would glow like a pearl.
The bloom now lies just under your skin,
roots tapped into losses and shared mercies,
budding violet and petalled under the eye,
a rash of rose and fuschia asters threading
down the cheek, matching slurred lipstick,
the daisy stare after your sundowner meds,
a general tendency to magnolia in all things.
The scent teeters between pee and lillies
as your hands flutter like cabbage whites,
lavender veins so close to flowering again.
Finalist, Wenlock Poetry Prize
My first Elvis was Chinese,
Jade Palace, Old Kent Road.
He made a hen party of us all,
his joylucky thrusting, sideburning
the joint in a white hot jump suit.
Only a microphone kept him alive
above the faraway tide of
“Are you lonesome tonight?”
as hollow as a fortune cookie.
Welsh Elvis was the real deal.
He sneered out “Hound Dog”
prop forward lips burst as crackling
at a wedding in Aberystwyth
where knickers flew in thanks.
Later at a howling bus stop
we found him feeding pigeons
with sausage rolls and vol au vents
he’d sneaked out in his wig.
There’s only one Munich Elvis.
He does “Wooden Heart” online
with hand actions like a marionette
varnished with Hawaiian Tropic.
The bio says he works for BMW
and loves to water ski with friends.
He’s married to Priscilla who runs
the Malibu Nail Bar off Karlsplatz.
He takes all major credit cards.
Homeless Elvis is Mr Showbiz.
He sleeps around Charing Cross
but comes from Govan via Basra.
Every evening his masterquiff rises
beyond the reach of mortal comb,
whorled and tapered like a unicorn,
dazzling with Brylcreem and starlight.
He never sings but his cardboard sign
says Viva Las Vegas.
Commended in the 2016 Bristol Poetry Prize