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I had a bit of trouble reading my poems at Wild About Wivenhoe yesterday because of the background noise. I got chatting about it to a fellow dyslexic friend in the Black Buoy last night, and he set me the challenge of writing a poem about my dyslexia. So here is a quick attempt!


A Short Film about Dyslexia


What is the sharpest thing that you can imagine?

an eagle eye?

lightning flash?

surgical implements?

broken glass?


I can see you here or not

with pinhead precision.

Your face, your thoughts

the sky blue around you,

your heart –

even in the dark.


From my lab of rainbows

pictures flicker like movies.

Every street I have ever seen,

all my moments sweet and sour

colours without a name.


I try to match words

to the kaleidoscope

but they let me down –

scarce in their neatness,

a limited abstract palette.


In poetry everything slows

I tend my words with a gold brush –


look at this teenage girl holding a bone shell

fingers rubbing the chalk ridges –

tiny vibrations on her soft tips,

a still moment in the summer movement

lips salty from an illicit kiss.


Really there are no words for this

they’re just postage stamps –

not the holiday snaps

not the metallic envelope taste

or the punch of heartbreak.


I tolerate this blandness.

Grey oceans of moving pages

words lurching around me

your expectation of speech.

But mainly I stay in my cinema

in between my words, in between yours.