The Blackberry

The Blackberry

We had to get into the blackberry by hand

after the council gave it a number 1 clippering, 

a charity haircut for show along with a

government salt-lick and promise.

Soon the wet roadside armpits sprouted hairs

then twined a chaotic helix

peppered with berries and knives.


There was almost no way to gouge the root of it.

Our arms jerked back, striped like boiled lollies,

scratchblood muddled with black juice, 

wound-up muscles grown bramble-weary.

New green stems didn’t snap away, 

they bent soft like a baby's arms

and the berries bruised out tears.

You can't just cut it to ground, youd said.

"I told you it would come back."


I could not get the dirt from under my nails.

Hands up by my head to sleep,

nostrils filled with reek of earth and dried sap.

Dreams tangled us like fruiting Rapunzel towers,

roots down my voiceless throat,

thorns and brambles pressed down 

through the back of my dressing gown

until suddenly they


the dark shiny skin.


Dark and the sheets were damp under my back.

Dim shoots of your sharp hands

tore at me like a wall of blackberry

"I told you it would come back." 

At dawn I cut it back to ground

where only stumps showed then

hacked and hacked til the dirt flew


Where We Came From

Where We Came From

The River Runs Dry

The River Runs Dry