I started college thinking I would be an artist when I left. After college I never wanted to put pencil to paper again. Two years later when my mother died the creative outpouring happened in the form of writing.

I started with number 1 and continued, I am still writing the list today. These are from the catalogue and because I once read that it was the height of laziness not to give your poems a title I refer to those that I just can't name by number.


In the Aquarium

Awful Sights
Poems of London
Phone Message Prose Poems



All content (words and images)
Harriet Duncan
(unless explicitly quoted or credited)
Please link if you quote and ask permission to use images.

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The Love and
Death Poems



An overwhelming sense of sadness
Bears down
A shroud of loss hanging around my shoulders.

Two tears seep out from beneath eyelids.
After making love
Lover mentally slips away.
The trace on my face is salty
Dries taught.

One day I wake - face calcified
Hardened stoneware
Unable to react.

Breaking up

The pain
Drips from my heart
Bleeds into my chest cavity
Filling the emptiness
With viscous liquid
That slows me down
Enveloping me.

Open heart surgery
Cut savagely
At the flesh
Tear back the flaps
Rip out the organ
That rots inside
Sew the skin
Over the gaping hole
Patched not mended.

No heart.
No hurt.

Promises, promises

Broken promises
wadded up into a ball
tossed into the wind
roll down the street
changing direction
at the slightest gust.
Or, released
from lips to drift
in the air
sprinkled confetti ending up
pavement soiled
brushed up against the wall.
Each flake a reminder of
pretty words nicely spoken
until they disintegrate.

Japanese Porn circa 1423

Fat white bodied men
Flushed pink cheeks
Black hair, ornate
Formal kimonos
Gold dragon on red

Women to serve
Every sexual need
Porcelain skin
Loosing an ornamental garmet
Off the shoulder
Revealing a breast

Large penises
Dipped into pink
Mouths or lips
Crouched behind
Craned over
Beneath above
One at each end
Hands, feet, tongues
Genteel hardcore erotica.


I turn to my lover
Passionately grip his face
In my hand
Draw him to me
Our warm soft mouths
meet parting
Revealing the
Explorative parts.
I pull away.
What I wouldn't give
For my mother
To know this man
Of mine

Video taped dreams
Me and him
Walking arm in arm
Bump into a woman
In the street
Near Regent's Park
Turns out to be her
Chat like distant relatives
Not knowing when
We will meet again,
But leave with that warm glow
Isn't it amazing
When you meet people you know
In this enormous city


Misty rain glow
From lights
Hides tears falling
Drops on spectacles' lenses
Obscure vision further
Ice drops needle cheeks
Strangely burning glow
Outer skin veils
Inner turmoil
That feels the same.


People come and go
I have known some
And lost many.
Looking through the lens
Slowly turning the focus ring
they drift into your life
Make some kind of impression
Drift out again.
An experimental film
Where the focus shifts from
Foreground to distance
Hard to maintain
Concentration on one point.
And when it ends you
Contemplate the whole.

Shadows of the neighbours in their lit
windows christmas trees twinkling in the post
new year dark.

Salt stains dried on pavements the remains
of shortly melted city snow, black and slushy,
lumpy ice.

Deary evenings out in half empty pubs,
subdued good times scratched out from
recoveries of over-indulgence.

Bleak months before the break of spring,
nothing to look forward to except slowly
lengthening days.

Human hibernation cannot fend off the
infections of winter health, literal and mental.


In the gloom of the carriage
A flame haired woman,
the only spark of colour
In a monotone world,
Presses her body
Against her lover.
He's attentive
She's clingy
They kiss in the midst of commuters
As is the custom with young love
Then he gets off sprightly
And as she turns she ages
Hideously from youthful
To middle age
A witch
After the potion wears off
And in the gloom
Of the early morning train
She stands baring
The reality of herself
And disappears into the greyness.


Listening to music
Moves my body
Makes me want to come
And drops keep pounding
A rhythm to my brain
la di da di da
Oh yeah


Couples dating,
Half my pair
Is never there.


Sit alone
Drinking gin and tonic
In a noisy bar
Winding down from
The terror of the day.


Rivulets of water
Run down my alabaster skin
Pour off around my feet
Hide the tears from my eyes
Wish it could wash away
The damaged softness inside
And the depths of despair


Inside my clothes I am naked.
Walking around with my
Body rubbing against them
I feel sexy
Feel the throb of your penis
Deep within me
Gasp at the pleasure
This brings me.
Inside my clothes I am naked.


I lean towards you
Your lips seek mine out
Close my eyes
As the taste of passion
Seeps from your mouth


I look at you
An overpowering urge to kiss
Every inch of your body
Manifests itself in my brain
Stroke you
Smooth you
Lick you
Taste you
I want to
But I don't think you will let me.


He got on
Stood by the open window
Head nearly reached the ceiling.
He wore a black three piece suit
With a black teeshirt.
The sharpest suit.
I looked at him in his sharp suit
Close cut hair
Pencil mustache
Chewing gum quietly.
He looked at me looking at him
I caught his eye
He didn't look away
I was embarrassed, I looked away.
I looked back.
An extremely tall man in a sharp suit.
A suit that hung beautifully from his body
Cloth which had drape but not sag.
He caught my eye again
My breath intook
He was sexy
Tall, sharp, sexy
Twenty years older than me
My lips flickered into a smile
I gave myself away.


You speak in a soft voice
I don't always hear
What you are saying.
I listen to the undulations
Flow and lilt.
Voice like velvet.
It strokes my ear.
I feel it in my brain and in my body.


Smooth, hard body
Lying next to me.
Hand gently stroking
Lengthy thigh cooled by air.
Long leg
Wraps around my hip
Pulls me close
Arm slides across my back.
Eye to eye, smiling.
Leaning together to kiss.


I look at the grey day
Green leaves on the trees
Hear the cars passing in the street
Listen to the silence in the house
Her face appears in my minds eye
And is gone
Every day is like this
A thought fleeting through the monotony.


Dark smooth chocolate lustre
Enveloping pale ivory.
Large black hands twice
The size of white hands
Touching palm to palm
Fingers slowly intertwine
Clasping strongly.


The alone feeling
Coming down on me
Like a mist over a hill.
Cold in my back
Creeping into my feet.
Burning blood
Is chilled
Passion killed.


I ache
With desire for you.
I lay belly up
You penetrated me.
I moved against you
Wth you, on you.
My eyes rolled back
My insides in flames
I roused you.
I excited you.
I wanted you.
Again and again and again.
You kissed me
I kissed you back.
There was tenderness.
There was passion.
There was lust.
There was everything.
I feel the trace of you now.
A faint hint of the feeling
That was there.
I long for it again.
My inner body screams for it.
I ache with desire for you.


You look dishevelled
You said
I am having a bad day
I said
Oh, there there,
You said, totally straight
Without a hint of sarcasm
You put your arm around my shoulder
To comfort me
I snuggled into your jacket
This is nice
I said
I'm glad you like it
You said
Sometimes it catches the snow
On the collar and makes your face cold
I listened to your explanation
I thought it was a nice coat
But that wasn't what I meant.


I close my eyes.
A film of you
Plays inside my eyelids.
I sigh to let out the anxiety.
I am smiling.
My finger traces
The edge of my mouth
I imagine the taste
Of you on it.

The Ever Present

I look over my shoulder and I see her.
I overhear a stranger and I hear her.
I walk down the street, I feel her.
I feel alone and I need her.
I eat and I taste her.
But she is no more.


My face is caked in plaster
If I smile it will crack
And fall to pieces.
Behind my eyes
My soul feels heavy.
I listen to myself breathe
To remember that I am alive.
In my head my brain is racing
Outside I walk through treacle.


She was ill
I thought
She could get better
But she didn't.

She died
I tried not
To think that she would
But she did.

She is gone
I try to
Remember how she was
But I can't.

Remember, remember

I remember the wound
I remember her confusion
I remember her lying dying in bed
I remember the blood pressure line sinking
I remember her dead
I remember her body with the blood settling
I remember the coffin with roses
I wish I could remember her.


I am alone
I am lonely.

I am silent
But screaming inside.

I am frustrated
There is a knot in my chest.

My eyes are dry
My heart is weeping.

I am sighing
My head is heavy.

I laugh
But do not mean it.


I am waiting
Waiting for you to return.
I wait for you to
Open the front door
And this dead time
Will disappear.
The truth is hard to bear.
I can't believe
You won't come back.
I am waiting
For you to return.
Even though
I have your ashes.


never to see
never to speak to
never to laugh with
never to touch
never again


I watch her breathe her last breath
And life slips away
The effort of the struggle to live
Shows on the waxy mask of death
That her face has become
There is a hole in my heart
That nothing will heal.


I walk around under a bus stop
With a man with one-length hair
And beautiful wide eyebrows.
I am pacing, heart pumping
Unable to calm down.
Why do we refrain from kissing strangers?
I could screw him
Just for the curve of his eyebrows.

Harriet Duncan 1995 - 2004