Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet


moonbeam (2014)

wrapped up like a furry danish pastry
then she snores
a harmonium sigh through a bellows

then out with the clawed pistons
and a yawn, back arched
in a pelted sine wave

the tiny tongue curves
in harmony as my love rises
like a stop motion loaf


Preparing for the onset (2014)

I should make a list
of the people I despise
in case I forget;

start being pleasant.
It’s a side effect of this
I never thought of.

But if i forget
where the list is, or that there
was a list. What then?

Learning (2014)

I learnt to write to you in happier days
I forgot to write to you in later days
I learnt to forget you in more recent times
I learnt to remember you in the dark
I learnt to love you in earlier days
I meant to tell you some time one day
I meant to write to you to tell you
I learnt to hold you as a memory
I forgot to hold you some time later
I meant to remember to remember
I meant to write this down at the time
I meant to stop forgetting before it was too late


Rising Fog (2014)

Must go in, the fog is rising.
Things are becoming indistinct
blending into each other

like love and indifference.


Found Woman (2014)

She’s the kind of woman that will bring you down, man. Bring you down…
What perfume is she wearing? It’s called Febreze.
She can’t stand ginger people.
She doesn’t mind Leslie, but she’s an exception.
She knows what she is.
She’s an alpha female and she likes it.
She sellotaped her face to a dog.
It’s quite cool using her car… because she’s got one of those disabled stickers
She’s a size 12, but she can be a size 8 any time she likes.
She calls her dad Wallet and her mum Laundry.
She was also on the 43 bus when that thing happened
and she’s teaching me
how to use ugly men for money and shoes.

This was published in Magma 57 a couple of years ago. It’s called ‘Found Woman’ because each line is taken from verbatim speech reportedly overheard on the London Underground. For a while these small out-takes from random conversations were published on a website called ‘The Man Who Fell Asleep’ (as I recall. I may be wrong)
Going through the archives I selected excerpts that either began with the word ‘She’ or contained ‘she’ within the reported speech.
The result has become an amalgam of around a dozen talked-about women, a Bride of Frankenstein character with whom, despite her flaws, I really would like to go out on the town.