“in the head” with illustrations

Here is a complete chapbook I’ve called “in the head”. It provides the backbone to a larger piece that is called  “Word Hoard Calendar”. Hope you discover something within it to enjoy.

 It is in four parts:

1. Firegob and Flametongue

2. Woodbrains, woodbrides, woodwives

3. Rivermind, wavebrides, waterwives

4. Gustmind, breezebrides, galewives


1. Firegob and Flametongue




summer mornings
 my fire
 is snuffed

I have no flaming voice
only a word in your head

 dream of the spelt and salt
 cake I will fire for you

 and before you can seek
 the future
 from the way I burn

 clean my fireplace, clear your head
 old ash and cinders block gust
 makes for poor-burning,
 makes for poor-thinking

prepare my gob
for my tongues
my gob is packed with ash

 piled ash in my grate
 piled ash in my head
 crumbles like walls
 from incendiaried homes

stop wandering off
when I’m talking to you!
 ash up against my fire-bars
 makes them overheat
 makes you overthink

 so they sag and “burn through”
 make me virginal
 something to focus on
something for focus

 recall collecting ears
 of spelt in reaper’s baskets

I said stop wandering!

 rake remains of my last fire
 the last fire between my temples
 so ash falls through my grate
 train steam in your nostrils

 pick-off the cinders for re-use.

 my lightweight dark lumps,
 not my powdery un-burnable
 pieces of roasted shale
my exhausted voice

 clear my fire-bars of small cinders,
 clear all my ash, clear all the dead,
 dry bones out of my head

 recall the crush, grind then roast the ears of spelt, yeasty
 like a pint of beer

Concentrate! You are lighting me

fill my gob
 with dry, unfinished paper
 cheap-newsprint not glossy magazine-print. screw sheets into rough balls,
 packed into this brain space
 not too tight, but not too loose.

 keep the paper open & crinkly
 don’t pack paper into hard nuggets,
 make them roughly spherical.

 should cover my grate,
 with plenty of space to allow gust
 to blow away focus these eyes

 only one layer, as my tongues
lick paper down

everything on top will drop,
 roof falling in around my ears
 leave it at a couple of inches

 recall preparing the salt,
 pound crystals from the brine
 from a salt pan in a mortar,
 pack and inhale seafret
 cut the lump with an iron saw

I’ll not tell you again!

 paper is to ignite the wood (next),
 the next thought
 only enough,
 too much will clog fire-bars
 cause stack-collapse

 as your paper doesn’t burn well,
 stuff a loose sheet under my grate
 under my thoughts
 light it let my little tongues loose
 stuff sheets underneath
 burn them

 recall forbidden
 reading, books in flame,
 memories of things not spoken
 discarded ideas

I can be dangerous!

 break up my ash with a poker

 recall stir of salt and spelt
 into carried spring water pure
 never touched the ground
 into meal that must be rested

 my pulped treeflesh
I will lick away
 a support for my woodflesh
I will lick away
 a flicker of an idea
 a first layer of contemplation


my thought needs substance
 crouched supplicant
 to our hearthmind
layer my gob

 can’t light my coal with paper
 my wood layer is for coal
 as my paper is for wood

 layer on my paper
 small pieces of wood (kindling)
 watch for splinters embedding
 in your fingers for pain all day
 or a heated steel pin to remove.
 with care
 make a wooden-pallet
 a raft of images
 on balled up paperwaves
 to support my coal
 so my imagination flares
 as I burn to speak

 You pray the raft will hold
 criss-cross the wood
 a cohesive structure
 your making of my fireplace,
 my head is layered
my gob is layered
 geology reversed

 as paper from trees
 dead trees made coal
 graduations of image,
 thought and idea

 When my paper is gone
 the raftprayer to hold stays
 a mixture of thick and thin
 thin ideas burn easily produce heat,
 thick sustains in depth
 delights my imaginations coal


like wood is my imagination solidified
 sunblaze trapped
 voices, stories trapped
 build a pile of imagination
 on top of my wood-raft
stuffed into my gob
 have a nice pile in the middle.


 choose pieces too small
 air-flow round my head
 restrict visuals
I cannot breathe

 choose pieces too big
 don’t get enough licking heat
 from the wood to
 ignite my images

 ensure fire-front is removed
 for maximum air-flow,
 ignite the paper from underneath
 ignite heads images underneath


 in multiple places –
 get as much litlick
 quickly as possible,
 heat will feed between
 ignition points

if you will not put your mind on me
I’ll burn your house down
 my water in the wood
 coal makes sulphuric acid
  lick surface off your
brick funnel

 images can sear

 my imagination needs time,
 the fire blaze, cornfield stubble
 while wood and paper left,
 this cellulose-fuel
 heats imagination -fire
 to self-sustain

 your hard images are buried deep
 pressured become harder, blacker
 used in locomotives and steam ships
 pitsweat minehacked proppedimages

 your soft images are nearer the surface
 browner nostalgic soft focus
 biscuit tin tender

 your Imagination produces smoke
 and tar
 when heated only
 when it’s “dried out”
 you get the red-hot
 carbon fire that makes
 imagination so hot.

 Recall tar melting on roads
 in sunblaze, sticks to soles
 coal tar soap photosynthesizes
 calls back its days as a plant

I can be dangerous!

 once my fire is lit poke it gently
 to release ash and break-up images
 that may have stuck together
 through tar production
 sticky mind coagulates

 arrange cinders around
 the edge, add more images
 around fires periphery
 around minds periphery

 do not throw a bucket
 of imagination
 on my flametongue
 always put a
 bit at the edges
 or in the middle.

 the images are poked
poke my licking
 so ash falls through the firebars
 so ash fall through the head

 lift my burning images
 ensure ash is removed
 from under the fire bars

 imagination needs time to warm up,
 don’t smother me with cold-images
 these will kill the lovely heat,
 take longer to burn up.

 pile it up around the edges,
 when it starts burning:
 poke and rake it
 into the centre gradually.

 when lit you give me a voice
a gob and tongues
 listen to my stories
 record my voices

 divine futures from the way
 food thrown on me decays

 how virgin cakes of salt
 and spelt bake
 towards decay in heat
 tongueflicked wild
 jig of ideas

 before I ashreturn
lose my tongues

2. Woodbrains, woodbrides, woodwives


Grovemind, groovemind

 synaptic branches
 neuron tipped limbs
 sacred grove recovery

 oakbrain opens doors in my head
 ashbrain spears my ideas
 elmbrain plays the fey

 electric gust moves limbs
 inside my head

 barkskin neural net
 circumnavigates damage
 fruited hemispheres
 replenish, restore, reimagine

 senses water roots
 grove in my head
 grooves in my head

between oaklimbs
 between ashlimbs

 her flaps of the wood
 bride of the barkskin
 her inner lips of the forest
 fermented honey drip
 not butterfly laced stained glass

 lamina mulch make out

 fragile doors into lust

 tongue kindly these guardians


 grew from blossoming blood
 of Sky’s balls and prick
 hacked off by jagged edged
 adamantine sickle wielded
 by his son, Time,
 goaded on by his mam, Earth,
 distraught at Sky exiling
 her one eyed bairns in hell


 Blaze is agog at Oakface
 funking it up in her dance.
 Her dad is a river,
 her body writhes,
 as if under rocks,
 tumbles o’er ravines.
 Her mam is called ‘Many Gifts’.
 She hums her mam’s sweet songs
 as she dances.

 Oakface wants nowt
 of leering Blaze.

 ‘Oh, how cute!’ Oakface
 is flushed when her friends
 find a lost tortoise outside.

 She sits down with her mates,
 puts tortoise on her lap.
 Tortoise writhes into a snake,
 her friends scarper.

 Snake becomes Blaze
 who screws her
 agin her will.

 pulled art an afeard
 she runs to her dad,
 River, and mam, Many Gifts.

 Gives birth to bairn
 she calls ‘Both’,
 Takes him where a lotus
 tree grows an hums her mam’s sweet songs as she picks a flower

 off of it
 for bairn to play with,
 blood trickles dahn
 her wrist an ‘both’
 feels his mam’s tit
 harden as her feet
 become roots
 her flesh become
 of a poplar tree.

 Lotus tree were woodbride
 hiding from Penis
 as were after her.

 And bastard son of Blaze
 is left pulled out
 and bawling for his mam.

Whispering forest

 walk among us, as us

 known as oakman
 known as birchwoman
 known as elmlad
 known as ashlass

 Each one gentle,
 one is strong
 one elegant
 all older than they look

 their voices not listened to
 “I talk to the tree”
 “Hug a tree”
 “I am a tree”
 seen as signs of waywardness
 to be laughed at,
 pilloried and scorned.

 later they will scream
 when cut down
 or have a limb amputated

 we ought to listen.

3. Riverminds, wavebrides, waterwives


riverbrain, rivermind

 synaptic rivulets
 neuron canals
 sacred water

 riverbrain flows in my head
 fountainbrain channels my ideas
 lakebrain plays the fey

 electric rivulets move earth
 inside my head

 waterskin neural net
 circumnavigates damage
 fruited hemispheres
 replenish, restore, reimagine

 senses water roots
 springwaters in my head
 well in my head.


 her flaps of the water
 bride of the waveskin
 her inner lips of the river,
 spring and waterfalls,
 fermented honey drip
 not dragonfly laced stained glass

 lamina moist make out

 fragile weirs into lust

 tongue kindly these guardians

a becomes a river

 One day atta work,
 a goes for a skinny dip
 in a quiet stream
 a knows

 Unbeknowns to me stream
 were a lad called Whitey or Gain
 and he falls for us.

 A flits naked from his wattas
 an he changes into a fella
 an chases atta us.

 I ran until am cryin’
 an shartin fo help

 r boss covers me in a cloud,

 but Whitey, waits watches
 where ma wet footprints

 Am so afraid break art
 in a cold sweat pouring
 off of me a becomes a river.

 Whitey changes to watta
 an mingles wi us.

Fear is brother to Fire and Gust.

 His wife, is called Theft.

 Hard Gust from the white mountains
 teases apart and weaves together
 the nine storm-happy lonely
 mariner hungry bairns of Fear:
 Pitcher, Bloody-Hair, Riser, Froth, Well, Billow, Foam-Fleck, Cool.

 Mariner, amid their cold clamour
 rides their needs, surfaces and depths,
 recalls hearth hug blaze of his land bounded wife, and land hugging bairns,
 masters Gusts warp and weft,
 refuses to be stolen.

4. Gustmind, breezebrides, galewives



synaptic breezes
 neuron vacuoles
 sacred gust

 galebrain blows in my head
 breezebrain pressures my ideas
 crossgustbrain plays the fey

 electric vacuoles move earth
 inside my head

 gustskin neural net
 circumnavigates damage
 fruited hemispheres
 replenish, restore, reimagine

 wafts electric roots
 touches in my head
 breath in my head


 her flaps of the whisper
 bride of the gustskin
 her inner lips of the breeze,
 clouds and rainbows,
 fermented honey drip
 not cirrhus laced stained glass

 lamina blown make out

 fragile wisps into lust

 tongue kindly these guardians



The Dead One,
 The Unconscious One,
 Thunder in the Ear,
 Thriving Slumber,
 who reach up
to bite at leaves
 of my woodmind
 as gusts tear at clouds

when her warm words

 her perfume in your ear
 tentative, just beyond,
 drags on your sleeve,
 that light in her eyes
 draws you towards,
 hauls you by the collar,
 heaves heaviness onward,
 jerks your lapel,
 lugs what is left in your pockets,
 rags your settled head,
 strains out your ears,
 swirls heat around your collar,
 tows out your thought,
 tugs trepidation,
 tractions flesh into fire,
 wrenches out the forgot,
 yanks back to sharp edges.

A gust in the head.

via WordPress for Phone app.

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