Two poems in morphrog18

I’m delighted to have two of my poems – “Snow falling on the ocean” and “Recovery Position” included in morphrog18.

My thanks to Jeremy Page and Peter Stewart, editors at morphrog.

Advertisements

Final poem at Eunoia Review

My prolonged period of hogging the stage at Eunoia Review has come to an end today, and it feels appropriate that it ends as it began – a poem set in a bar, with musical references. This is actually a complete coincidence, one that I wasn’t aware of when I submitted the poems, which were sent – and have appeared on the site – in alphabetical order.

You’ll find “Walking into a bar, midway through Blue Trainhere. My thanks again to Ian Chung for granting me such an extended tenure.

Eunoia Review

It’s something of an early Christmas present to see my poem “At Nemo’s Bar” appearing at Eunoia Review today.

This is the first of ten of my poems that ER‘s editor, Ian Chung, has selected for publication over the coming days (I’m still a little taken aback by this, to be honest) and I’m incredibly grateful to Ian for giving so much time and space to my writing. Another of my poems, “Settlement”, appeared here in 2016.

Best wishes for anything you may be celebrating over the coming period.

 

So how did YOU vote?

Fish

 

So how did YOU vote?

 

Gripping his daughter’s fragile hand,

and mangling the worms of her fingers

fiercely into his own, he spat the words

out into the humiliated air between us.

 

Because I need to know,” he said.

It’s important.” All the other parents –

mostly mothers – were marshalling their

creatively-fed boys and girls back

 

home from school to peel campaign stickers

from their windows and wheelie bins,

weigh up the final reckoning of promises

and lies. I looked first into her puzzled eyes,

 

then his, the seething milk of his eye-whites

coming to the boil before brimming over

onto his turnip skin, and abandoned all

those careful words I’d been preparing

 

in anticipation of this very question.

The same way I always do,” I said.

With a tiny little kiss,” before turning

and ushering myself furtively away.

 

 

first published in Snakeskin No. 243, 2017

Pushcart Nomination

Black MariahIt’s a tremendous honour to have had my poem “Harry” nominated for this year’s Pushcart Prize by the lovely folks at Sleet Magazine.

I’m very grateful to Susan Solomon, Todd Pederson, Jamie Buehner and everyone else at Sleet for their support. The Harry in question in this poem was one of the kindest, gentlest people I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet, so this nomination is particularly touching, and feels – for me, at least – like the perfect tribute to him.

(If you click on the link to the poem, please be aware that there are five stanzas, not just the three that initially appear. You’ll need to do a little scrolling down!)

Image: Black Mariah by FM.

Under The Radar

UTR FrontThis morning I took delivery of a copy of Issue Twenty-Two of Under The Radar magazine, published by Nine Arches Press, which contains my poem “Hypnotherapy”.

It’s a beautiful publication full of excellent writing. I’m honoured to be a part of it, and looking forward to reading it from cover to cover

I’m very grateful to Jane Commane, editor and director of Nine Arches Press, for choosing to include this poem.

 
UTR Back

Flood #2

20181007_114317

I came home one evening recently to discover that one of the pipes in my bathroom had ruptured, causing hot water to come raining through the ceiling and into the living room.

The consequences were not good. Sofa, carpets, desk – all pretty much soaked and ruined. So it goes.

More poignant is that taking the full impact of the deluge was my modest library of poetry books – including signed collections by Billy Collins and Ben Banyard – and gratis copies of all the print publications that have been generous enough to include my poems over the last few years.

So it goes.

I’m not looking for sympathy. This is first world stuff, and I have insurance (I forgot to ask my insurers whether they could fly Mr Collins over to sign another copy, now I think about it). And it’s kind of funny, really. I’m a great believer that there’s poetry in everything if you bother to look for it, so I’m hopeful that this episode will have sown the seed for something creative further down the line. Maybe it will do the same and provide a prompt for someone reading this? That would please me.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to repost a poem I put on here a few months back. It’s about a completely different type of flood, admittedly, but perhaps with a little imagination (and heat. And books) you’ll get there?!

 

Flood

 

We did not see the swollen river

overtop its banks, failed by the

modest bow of its channel, its

traffic doubled by the bludgeon

of three consecutive moonrises

under rain, waters earth-brown.

 

Instead, we passed a day later,

taken by the bleached streamers

of torn-up grass, stretched like

comet-tails from the lowest boughs

of thornbushes, calm swirls of sand

making fish-loops across our path.

Missing the point

Missing The Point

 

Missing the point

 

Cooing through the ether in your nursery-rhyme voice,

you describe the view from the upstairs window of

your new apartment; tell them how on certain days

when the pollution levels allow, you can make out

– across the water – strange, impossible mountains

smeared with snow, so distant-looking to you that the

slow parabola of the Earth ought to prevent it somehow.

 

But not every day. What it means is that, as usual, you

won’t be noticing what’s at your feet, tripping you up.

That the knives and forks of sea air are guzzling on

the fatted steel of your car, turning it to useless pumice.

Your front door will need painting. You haven’t managed

to ignore away the flat, crushing ache in your lower back.

And you miss them. And they wish you would come home.

 

 

first published in Verdad Magazine, 2017