Costa Brava

Spelled out by a foreign tongue, in a foreign land,

They call it the wild, rough coast.

A full moon rising, an early June dawning,

Hanging open and white, they expand

And the night sky rinses us clean again.

Then after, like nails down black backs,

We chalk up our doubts.

Love is a waiting game

Un poco poc, tic toc


Stamping our feet into damp, forgiving earth,

Dancing by a fire that gulps down new air

And offers up communion.

A mass of fresh kindling and old cones

Burning to fuel our union.

Inhale the good, exhale the bad.

Clapping brava brava,

Like the pacemaker of a beating heart.

Hard wood, soft ash,

The ground soaked with salty pleasure.

I say that too much salt is bad for you.

You say everything tastes better this way.


Draped in sea and shells and joy,

Shaped by inky folds of navy blue

Night-swimming.

Dripping with all the promise of a new day to come

Again, heavy is the price we will pay.

You say you will sleep like a child.

I say more like a wolf

That will bury my heart and keep it for later.

Love is a waiting game

Un poco poc, tic toc


Now with only time on my hands

Slipping through silver rings, my stones,

That have rusted like your wet kisses

While nature mocks how I wait.

Her pine tree roots pulsing sap through the veins of the Costa.

You say you like the smell

I say the needles prick my skin.

Inhale the good, exhale the bad


And all the while, I lie awake

Stacking memories high

Atop shaky hopes that you will forsake.

A human tower for us to build

Solid foundations, but

You say that this is dangerous.

I say that pride comes before a fall

So take good care


As you forage for strips of kelp to embalm my heart

Then test its tender weight in your hands.

Burying deep into the same damp sands

Like a howling creature with a fleshy bone,

Thinking that you’ll return to it later.

Keep it safe. Keep me safe.

Keep it yours. Keep me yours.

You say you’re slow,

I say you’re quick like the sand.


But you forget that my sea is tidal.

It’s the North Sea. A true north. True grit.

Pushed and pulled by our dark side of the moon.

And the tide comes in and takes back the buried heart.

Dragging the bloodied, glossy sinews from beneath

Your layers of driftwood, doubt and dilemma.

Still, it beats.

Inhale the good, exhale the bad


Now I carry the bundle of muscle and membrane under my arm,

Like a crazed Dali, all contortion and charm

Striding out across the shore, winking back at a crescent luna

To stalk your sweet dreams.

I wear a moustache of charcoal from the ashes

Smudged by my hand

That first you caught

Me by surprise.

Love is a waiting game

Un poco poc, tic toc


The Catalan to English translation of ‘un poco poc’ is ‘a little by little’.  ‘Love is a Waiting Game’ references the Amy Winehouse song ‘Love is a Loosing Game’ from her album ‘Back to Black’.  The image of ‘kisses rusting’ is borrowed from the Kate Tempest book, Hold Your Own.

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