Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet


May 2013

Racing like sperm for the welcoming bus doors,
old random act of desperate access,
we are somehow united in one aim.

Lost in this unnatural press of strangers
throwing instincts into a gene panic.
Though still we sit in pairs like chromosomes.

The oyster island stare is then deployed,
eyes glazing past the ears of those on board
these barrels of dodgy DNA.

They’re not accepted. Faces draw a blank
against those lists we’ve captured in our heads;
the tallied loved and hated, lost, betrayed.

These passengers could be first class but they
are just untested genes, at least today.

In The Victory II (2013)

Crisp packets
reimagining a lost waltz round a bollard
under the cold scrutiny
of the sky and I.

Now a tango
can joins them
bringing the thought that
everything has a history.

Not so long ago their frocks
were full and waiting strictly like
for the approach.

Now here they are
after a grand adventure
free of baggage by
dint of randomness
and quantum physics.

Dancing. While it lasts.

Pink (2013)

you are the cheapest crayon in the box
you gaudy, milkblood deadly shitshade
you are the colour of a young girl’s scream
so loud, so piercing of the day
it dies, fades to night
leaving you to bleed across the clouds

you are what one wears
when in mourning for good taste
if they vomited in disney films
this is the colour they would paint it
diluted red
like rosé for the blind
and the culturally dead.

summer (2013)

summer got up late
dozing under cloud’s duvet
missed his first morning

now sun, no warning
squeezing our heads for sweat drops
fat yellow bully

even in the night
the heat thief stalks us stealing
dreams at hot knifepoint

in evening’s relief
redeemed becomes an artist
stripes streets with long gold

multicultural day (2013)

chubby indian
your ipod headphones are pants
that leak shit music

plain english training
makes english so plain no one
wants to marry it

the new woman brought
tunisian sweeties in
to bribe us to love

chinese takeaway
not took away, delivered
they brought the wrong things

the emissary (2013)

god brought us together
so i can explain slowly
that he doesn’t exist

it’s a paradox i know
but the truest things are opposites
they’re strange attractors

believers and the godless
yearn to warp the needles
of the others’ knitting

my money’s on me
to be making the jumper
with the strongest wool

on the bus (2013)

it’s that awkward moment
when you find yourself
on the bus looking at
someone with whom you’ve had shenanigans

two magnet faces
you clutch your respective poles
apart now

knowing it was
an attraction which one
or both of you
had been terminated
and reversed
back to the depot

In The Victory IV (2013)

‘It’s not so cold today,’ he said.
‘Yesterday was lovely also.’
Of course, he did not mean to mean
these words. They’re just a hammer meme
to break the distance with a sign.
‘You’re right,’ I said. ‘Not bad today,’
and thus approved his presence there.

A boundary had been dissolved
by hard hat men in word disguise
sneaking past the conscious process.

tracking back (2013)

I wind myself up too tight
scratching my past absently
where time was wasted
in the first place
going round in circles

a hiss
as the point hits home

a sharp flame
of a name
under sticks
snapping at me
trying to break my bones

a clock ticks
over a useless lump

the gouging barbs of a stuck record

welsh breakfast (2013)

tomorrow i will shave to face the day
i bought a brand new razor for this moment
i will shave with a welsh accent
and walk the way i should do
welshly to the cafe with my mother

i’m hoping that the gorse will bloom in welsh
along the banks to light our way
because the sun is english and
the welsh clouds shut him out.

then we’ll have a full welsh breakfast
in this cafe where the steelworks was.
they knocked the steelworks down and built a cafe
which is handy, i’ll have shaved
and i’ll be hungry.
so i’ll have it with my mother.
we can both be welsh together.

published in Dream Catcher magazine May 2013