Poems: Iain Britton

Illo for Iain Britton's poems.




the fog clears the jacaranda | it
scratches for more space
pushes books into the body of a memoir |
time’s transparency
feels tampered with | this morning
lives in panes of tinted glass


undressed | this room
holds its breath | a light bulb
swings imperceptibly
shadows pad their fingers
behind old curtains | no one
moves | the door closes


the result is a philosophy for sparrows |
a born earth-watcher who
keeps past thoughts locked in a child’s toy car |
who holds it tightly / too tightly | the sun
colours a path amongst trees
a dilated stare picks up only the fallen leaves


heads on plates
decorate the park | a camera
follows a camera | flash shots
snap | & a missing person
is located | someone becomes
someone else’s untidy travelogue


eating one’s confession
is a trespasser’s act |
the stem of a crucifix
emerges from a woman’s throat |
she holds it there
as spectators’ coins collide in the rain


where the arm drapes
suggests intimacy | a caring
possessive notion | argued property rights
who’s trafficking what | constant
companionship builds walls | &
a hair-line crack for sustenance appears


from the bus window departure is smudged |
a mother waves at the rain | at a small boy
running | the picture repeats itself | the picture
is an artefact without anniversaries |
the boy stops at the end of the road |
the mother is already fiction


call it a gift | the star pinned
to a wall’s lapel | this Xmas banquet
under lights | now off limits |
a forgotten festival of celebrations |
nobody walks the carpet | or occupies
this altar’s pandered preparation


summer insinuates bucolic ease
white bodies lying amongst tents
worshipping sunburnt deities |
frazzled by intensity
a girl dashes after the graven image
of a blackbird’s song


after the performance | the comedian exits
the toffee-apple eater exits | the singer
of Schubert | a mask painted eyeless |
an orator in purple robes | exit | the audience
leaves on silence | only the mime artist
remains curled up like a small memento


kitted out in triplicate | the men pause |
gannets plunge into the sea | the sea
spits them out | a Piscean trick is to breathe
underwater | observe nature’s impact |
birds snatching at fish | the men
hooking up ossified offcuts of islands


balloons of air choke epiphanies
from happening | a woman smokes
she doesn’t acknowledge | doesn’t
flicker any emotion | she sits in seismic
stillness smoking | sipping at thoughts |
at used-by date prophecies
Iain Britton has published five collections of poems since 2008. Hauled Head First into a Leviathan (Cinnamon Press) was nominated for Best First Collection in the 2008 Forward Poetry Prizes. Further books have followed, with work also included in Sea Pie: A Shearsman Anthology of Oystercatcher Poetry, published by Shearsman Books in 2012. His latest collection of poems, photosynthesis, was published in 2014 by Kilmog Press in New Zealand. His poems have recently been published or are forthcoming in The Interpreter’s House, Long Poem Magazine, Stand, Clinic, Card Alpha, Litter Magazine, Free Verse, Harvard Review, Cyphers, Upstairs at Duroc, and Meniscus.

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