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Poem 3 - Whatever you've come here to get...

I'll be busy tomorrow, so here's the third draft poem for Matthew Sweeney's Guardian Unlimited workshop, which I've written in advance (this line was the one that first grabbed me):



Whatever you’ve come here to get
you’ll not find it in the slow turn and
reflect of the moon’s gunshot wound,

in the maplewood glow of the streets
after hours of trance, dripping with sweat,
when you try and pick me out from a crowd
pouring towards minicabs and kebab meat,

tired and sallow-faced and sparking up
in the flickering omnipresence of traffic lights.
You’ll not glimpse me making my way back home,

either, dragging the sack of myself to the front door
where, as the old gag goes, I piss gloriously against it
before pulling the keys out and opening up. Unseen,
and you’ll not even spot me as the last to leave,

led slowly out by the bouncers like a victim,
but just in desperate need of sleep. I won’t be
anywhere you might think, in fact, as you lie

in bed in the morning’s first light: catching a train
as the clocks strike midnight, so far from you now
and I sit, feet like tower blocks on the opposite seat,
the windows’ blur shrouding where land and sky meet.

Comments

Matt Merritt said…
I've not had chance to read the others yet, but I really like this, Ben.
Ben Wilkinson said…
Thanks, Matt, glad you enjoyed it: I think I'm most pleased with this effort so far, it fell into place quite naturally.
Rob said…
Yes, this is very good. I think the last line isn't as strong as the rest of the poem.

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About the Author

Welcome to the website of the English poet and critic, Ben Wilkinson.
Ben was born in Staffordshire and now lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He received his first degree from the University of Sheffield, and holds an MA and PhD from Sheffield Hallam University. He has won numerous awards for his poetry, including the Poetry Business Competition and a 2014 Northern Writers' Award
His debut full collection of poems, Way More Than Luck, appeared from Seren Books in February 2018.
He is a keen distance runner, lifelong Liverpool Football Club fan, and among other things he works as poetry critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. You can find many of his reviews on this site.
To contact Ben about readings, workshops, or for any other enquiries, you can drop him a line at benwilko(at sign)gmail.com. Unfortunately, I am not able to consider unsolicited requests from authors for book reviews.

You can follow Ben on Twitter - @BenWilko85 - and on Facebook.

You can find B…

Way More Than Luck (Seren Books, 2018)

From the thumping heartbeat of the distance runner to the roar of football terraces across the decades, Ben Wilkinson’s debut confronts the struggles and passions that come to shape a life. Beginning with an interrogation of experiences of clinical depression and the redemptive power of art and running, the collection centres on a series of vivid character portraits, giving life to some of football's legends. By turns frank, comic, sinister and meditative – ‘the trouble with you, son, is that all your brains are in your head’ – these poems uncover the beautiful game’s magic and absurdity, hopes and disappointments, as striking metaphors for our everyday dramas. Elsewhere there are tender love poems, political satire and strange dream worlds, in an urgently lyrical book of poems that take many forms and modes of address: pantoum, sonnet, sestina; epistle, confession, dramatic monologue. All are united by a desire to speak with searching clarity about matters of the heart. Way More …