The summer 2018 issue of Sleet Magazine is now live, and I’m honoured to have four of my poems appearing there. You can check out “Airport Run”, “Coming Back”, “Harry” and “Caprice” by following this here link.
I’m grateful to Susan Solomon and the rest of the editorial team at Sleet for finding a space for my work in this very fine issue.
Thoughts from an early morning train
Strange how certain things – whilst falling apart –
take on shapes that almost seem deliberate,
as though planned that way, as though this
were merely a truer angle to see them from.
A reassembly of ideas. A reversal of mirrors.
So you become the terrified hare cowering in
the tractor wheel ruts as the carriage spears by,
not the owner of the jaded eyes witnessing it.
You always have been. You see holes now
where once there were pegs, an illusion of
opportunity created by yourself, by your own
shadow sweeping across the picture as you pass.
first published in Across The Margin, 2017
I’m very pleased to have three of my poems featuring at Soft Cartel just now (and I particularly like this image they’ve used to accompany them. How soon can I move to Pie Town?). You can find “Exit strategy”, “Your second head” and “Nothing much at all” here.
My thanks to Toom Bucksaw, editor at SC, for giving these poems a home.
Niggling away amongst the thoughts and notes I collected recently up at the Solway estuary – in addition to those about careful observation, and where poetry comes from – have been some insights into what I choose to write about. And what I’ve realised is that no matter where I am, whatever I’m looking at, the thing I’m interested in is people.
This might seem like an obvious conclusion to reach, but wouldn’t always have been. I can recall a time – back when I first began writing “seriously” – when I was more interested in reflecting on what I would’ve considered “nature”, meaning land- and seascape where human beings were either absent, ignored or unwanted. I was always trying to look beyond people and lose myself in these places, or feel inspired by them with my ego at arm’s length, if possible (reliably not).
I find people and what we do far too fascinating now. I’m one of those irritating creatures you see in art galleries who – after about twenty minutes of wandering around – occupies the most advantageous seat in the biggest room and spends their time looking at what everyone else is doing. It’s not that I don’t like art. It’s just that I find our interactions with art and public spaces more intriguing. Admittedly, art is a human business anyway, but the ways people interact with and imprint themselves into landscape is of equal interest to me.
I live in a relatively crowded country, where it’s pretty much impossible to find yourself in a landscape that hasn’t been engineered to some degree by humans. The Solway estuary is a beautiful place, but people have been living here for thousands of years – farming, fishing, mining, extracting whatever we need – and helping to shape it, for better or for worse. These days I’m far more likely to be drawn by traces and consequences of these activities, and find inspiration for writing there.
Anthony Brown, editor of Stickman Review, has been kind enough to include three of my poems – “Driving around town, 2 a.m.”, “Eddie’s” and “In which you are still leaving” – in Volume 17, Number 1, which has just been released online.
Big thanks to Anthony for finding space for these three amongst some very fine poems indeed. I’d particularly recommend checking out David Lohrey’s “Saturday, the 19th or the 20th”.
Last view of the island
The ferry banks, only five minutes out
beyond the stone corral of harbour wall
and into the channel, the broad crescent
of its wake painting plumes across the
glass of the ocean, engines humming a
rhythmless vibrato. Smoke funnels skywards.
Cars hunch like crated eggs on the lower deck.
Over the tannoy, our cheery captain announces
a bottlenose pod, surfing in the bow-waves.
My eyes lock over the stern, watching as
those grey mountains begin to melt on
the horizon, taking a lifetime to disappear.
first published in Red River Review, 2018
They say it doesn’t rain here much, often, but
when it does, canopies of merciless cloud snuff out
every last square of the sky, hanging about the fields
like a quarrel, forgotten without ever being resolved,
and empty themselves in angled swipes that paste
both barley and nettles to the red earth, bleeding into
the leather boots and loafers of commuters on trains,
who steam coolly in their seats all the way into Waverley.
first published in Southlight Magazine, 2017
I’m really pleased to have had two of my poems published in the latest issue of Otoliths, which is – as usual – full of intriguing things. You can check out “Living next door to a man who keeps pigeons” and “I want to kill your dog” here.
Many thanks to Otoliths editor Mark Young for choosing to include these two pieces.
Sometimes it’s as though we’re cradling it,
nurturing it gently, nomads with a flame,
carrying it with us, between us, wherever we go.
How carefully we feed it when necessary:
a dry fist of kindling to make the sore,
red embers burst back into life again;
a brooding log to see us through the night;
the quick volleys of our breathing, spat as words,
the oxygen it would perish without.
first published in Shot Glass Journal, issue #22, 2017
I’m very pleased to have had one of my poems published in The Magnolia Review. My thanks to editor Suzanna Anderson for choosing the poem, and for putting together such a great collection of art, poetry and prose – the largest issue of TMR to date.
You can read the whole issue here, and will find “Little Grey Cloud” hogging the horizon about a fifth of the way in.