Oh bum …

311You know that feeling, when you’ve been waiting for an e-mail from a poetry competition organiser telling you your poem has been shortlisted … and it doesn’t turn up, so you assume it hasn’t made the grade. Then you decide to get it “out there” anyway, only to discover there’s been a glitch in the e-mail system and there’s an infinitesimal possibility that it still has a chance of success (be it smaller than a very small thing on a small day in Tiny Town) … but you’ve just flouted the competition rules in your impulsive “getting it out there” reaction … #THAT #RUDEWORDS

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Grown wild, unclaimed and loose in lanes,Gemito,_Vincenzo_(1852-1929)_-_Monello_(1875)_-_Disegno_-_p._52
he peed higher, spat further, swore louder
than any other latchkey street weed.

Green acolytes, summoned with strangled
banshee howls, drawn to worship as he spoke
to us in bloodied tongues for a dare.

Envied for knowledge of hidden pathways
by the railway, and his dead bat in a matchbox,
which some could see for tuppence.

Pursuing the lost, always the first over fences,
through unknown undergrowth, into rank canals,
all consequences ignored in a rush for wheels.

Admired as risk taker, hands free on old bikes,
the world upsidedown in the canopies of trees,
a body confident in the friction of bare skin.

Solemnly, we’d gift him our bruised fruit,
liberated from the floor of the Saturday market,
consumed when the rhythms of real life paused.

No quarter sought or given, games played for keeps,
committed to blood and rain and wind and sun.
And though at twelve, his spark burned fierce,

it burned short from dying embers; snuffed out
in a consumptive breeze, warranting five perfunctory
lines of local news and a cheap cremation urn.


Published Riggwelter October 2017
Picture Credit Vincenzo Gemito (wikicommons)

Posted in Kendal Mountain Festival 2017, Poem, Poetry | 2 Comments

Lifted by Jo Bell

Lifted from The Poetry Society on Vimeo.

Wonderful stuff 🙂 JH

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Then It Rains …

You ask on my behalf to rise and leave,
to dress without the hindrance
of bootlace worms returning at our feet.

In vain we anticipate permission from spiders
who watch in shadows, spinning webs
that constrain all action.

Standing, squatting, sitting, we are opposed,
resisted. We are tangled marionettes,
linked with quantum string, each responding
with confused counter movement.

Blink my dears; so many eyes feel the tension
of our unseen bonds. These rainmaker thoughts,
connected across a web of reverberating nonsense
and countless coils, speak to me with jaded explanations;

there are no options again today. So you tell me
that we have to stay and wait.
And I have to listen. So I listen.
Then it rains.


First Published May 2017 Clear Poetry

Pending Publication February 2018
Eye Flash Poetry Journal Issue#2

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Somewhere Else

If I close my eyes, in this head space
I’ll be able to concentrate on breathing.

The silver fish and woodlice can have
the corners underneath this bed;

I’ll not care. I’ll ignore the mustiness of
the orange nylon carpet, the dust on

the flock wallpaper, the pounding in
my neck. It won’t be three in the morning,

with only a two bar electric fire and
The World Service for company.

These high walls with their empty picture
rail will disappear. The Victorian cornices

in which shadowy faces look down on me
will have to refocus, for I won’t be here;

I’ll be elsewhere.


Publication pending … MIND poetry project February 2018

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Review 2017

Soooo, this year is coming to an end. It was the year I’d decided to send out more serious writing to publications in addition to the lighter iambic stuff that I’ve been doing since 2011 when The Big Issue published half a dozen poems out of the blue. I think it’s gone quite well, with poems appearing in six anthologies (Curlew Calling, Milestones, Three Drops Press, Clear Poetry, Fair Acre Press and MIND Poetry Project) as well as stuff accepted by Obsessed With Pipework, Clear Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Atrium, Riggwelter, Zoomorphic, Amaryllis, Eye Flash and at least one other which I’m not yet allowed to mention.

I’ve sent out a pamphlet proposal (holds breath) and have two poems still out in competitions. There have also been some misses and disappointments (sits and sobs about Butcher’s Dog, Prole and The North), as well as a couple where publications couldn’t be arsed to reply with rejections (#Bastards #YouKnowWhoYouAre).

I’ve still had silly stuff making its way up and out into the daylight, but less than usual given the reduced time spent on promoting it (sorry TMB).

I have had encouragement along the way from poets and editors whom I respect and admire greatly (Holly,Claire,Amy,Kate,Karen,Simon,Luke,Ann and all at WriteOutLoud xxxxx). I’ve also read at a number of events: the open mic at the Kendal Poetry Festival and Verbalise, an invitation to read at the Kendal Mountain Festival with Helen Mort (#woohoo) and the Spotlight at Lancaster (with other readings in the pipeline in the new year) …

All in all, a good year I think.

Thank you 2017 … here’s to next year (and whatever that brings).


Jonathan 🙂 x

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The Copenhagen Interpretation of E-mails (after Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg)

I read somewhere, at sometime,
that everything and nothing exists
outside the space you’re placed.

Closed doors are quantum barriers
separating the countless possibilities
of constantly branching parallel universes.

Facts on the outsides of rooms are blurred,
until they are moved into, amongst and beyond
and created through observation.

So, ignoring Newtonian classical notions,
where time, space and rejection are absolute,
with eyes shut, many hands over multiple ears,

imagining one liquid crystal screen,
focusing on one mouse click outside this head,
what I hope to see are these words:

Thank you for your poetry submission.
We enjoyed The Copenhagen Interpretation
and would like to publish it in the next issue of

*** insert name of publication here ***


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