Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet


sausage sandwich (2011)

the first corner bite
is like a sudden postcard from home
scribbled in grease and crust

spreading the handwriting
out into my mouth. the taste
is almost the same

my tongue probes blind for
that missing element. the signature.
the sausage rosebud.


air (2013)

they tell me there’s an exoplanet there
at terminant 729.

for now I can only dwell
in this stream of tachyons
narrowed into the
past’s bottleneck
on the cost of our shared breath.

a nebula’s long gestation
collapses to beget a sun child
in a gravity well
during which
our stretched lives
are a slice of an eyeblink.

your fast atoms have been
recycled as trees and birds
since the second day.

how much air
did we waste
and time when it ran slow
as a star
creeping across the night?

station to station (2006)

you talk like a train,
railed in from another day’s platform,
choochooing your words to a slow boil
and rattling the hood of your head. then
there’s no braking your steam driven
tongue. once you are in flight
you strew bright jewels on the line that
melt like wax in the heat of your passing
over the tracks, over the tracks, over the tracks.

we think it’s because you rattle about
at home like a lone hornby rail inside a suitcase
in the lost and found
of a quiet cold neighbourhood siding.
your thoughts set like beeswax candles of trapped chatter
stacked neatly,
ready to light the carriage;
waiting for the whistle or a
knock at the door, knock at the door, knock at the door.

Sister Sarstedt (2013)

I thought I’d put this out again.

My Life in The Bush of Shepherds

This is an excerpt from my book ‘Nuns’, written and illustrated by my good self and available here

and which will make a marvellous Christmas present for any Catholics you may number among your friends and family (and anyone else for that matter). Order now to avoid disappointment.

This should be read aloud in a Welsh accent, preferably accompanied by a friend on the accordion. The ‘Ha ha ha ha’ is particularly important and should be announced in a slightly sarcastic and cynical manner as Peter Sarstedt did on the original ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely?’

Sister Sarstedt

You talk like there’s bread in your dentures
You dance like there’s bats in your hair
And you sing like the thing with a string in its back
that you won in the Oswestry fair…
for chucking hoops… la la la la

Where do you go to my sister

View original post 221 more words

The Welsh Grump (2014)

I was grumpy today

grumped by some tickler squatting in my throat
lobbing coughs into the street
that he thought I had no use for.

I wasn’t finished with them.

If I was a scouser I’d be bitter.
Gay scousers do bitter better
than any other city in the UK
studies have shown.

But I’m Welsh.
The grump is subtle
like Anthony Hopkins doing vexed
with the slight teeth grit

the half-lowered eyelid.

Crewe to Wrexham (2011)

Beyond the border stand the fortresses
grown from each mountain perch with granite seed.
The weather’s worn them to extensions, rough
Constable sketches of their firstborn youth.
Today they clampsleep, molared to the mount,
sugarsoaped of neighbours’ blood and warpaint.
Below, trees yearn to draw some truth or leaves;
pencil fingers scrabbling at the grey.
Now ranges rise embossed to see who’s here,
mist-toned into a page of Dulux shades.
This sunset over fatherland rouses
as we rattle on deeper into dusk,
farther than the Romans ever came
to hills of ‘Bongo Jazz’ and ‘Desert Peach’.

the banana (2016)

a man from iraq
on the sixteen to cricklewood
smiled at me
beamed in fact
gave me a banana

I refused but he proffered
with grinning insistence
until I accepted

he smiled
sat back
watched wide-eyed as I slid it
safe into my bag
a yellow secret between us

stupid (2016)

it’s wrong to use the stupid card
they’ve told me this. they’re right of course
it’s ignorance. that’s what it is.
they know no better though they could
have looked things up. there’s google now.
there’s no excuse to not google.
it is becoming very clear
we just don’t teach things anymore
or so I believed.

no one questions anything.
it’s in the papers. it’s a fact.
there was a woman on tv
american, she had to be.
she thought buzz aldrin was
from toy story. she’s not stupid.
she knows kanye west-kardashisface
all the rest. just not the good stuff.
that’s not just not knowing anything.
that’s not being taught shit.
it’s not learning the good shit.
that’s what that is.

first world problems (2016)

our unruly pupils keep magnetting
like those of unmet neighbours on the street
in the awkward area
the hinterland
between acquaintance and strangership

had we been alone on an empty road
we might have docked our vision
separate sets of rules would slide in place
out of range of the embarrassers
those other eyes
that would convert video
to tongue
to tell of this
precipitating rain and shame

edgware road (2016)

robertsons pawnshop, a&h brass
devonshire pharmacy, marble arch eyes
maplin and specsaver
holland and barrett
arabs debating
with semaphore ballet

cardboard box mountains
erupt from the flagstones
the homeless embellish
the doorways at night
with colours distressed
by the grime of a street artist
bake & cake, sainsburys
frowning police station

in the panini cafe
I am waiting
for something, for something
the football is on
there is scoring and roaring
it passes me by, rushes out
to the street through the patio doors

mexican wave, but it passes me by
it passes me by
in a swerve of avoidance
heads off for boots and the