Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet



flock wallpaper (2016)



This Charming Man (2019)


October 2011

april 2008

april is the month of crazy people
late march hares confused by global warming
creeping out like buds from the cracked paving.
they must have let them all go home for easter
without first checking if there was a home
to go home to. they follow me around
through thunder, rain and the scent of new leaves
and by the way, have i got some spare change?
they ask for spare cigarettes too, sometimes.
on a toilet wall today I found written
read this carefully. i’m going to kill.
yes. that means you. with a black marker pen.
does it mean me? if so, i hope it’s for
a good reason, not just because you’re mad.

Things To Do To Stop You Worrying About Brexit (2017)

Shine like the glisten of chip fat on fingers.
Laugh like you’re Oliver Hardy at dawn
beaming exuberance over the border.
Dance like you’ve just got a postal order.
Plagiarise Betjeman, write out the bible
in comical couplets, do one each day.
Tell all your friends that your head ran away
and you’re just off to find it. You may be some time.
Whip up a seventies vodka and lime.
Shag all the most inappropriate people
outside on the sunbeds right there on the lawn.
Take lots of photos of ordinary people;
old women, butchers, gay postmen and whores.
Batten the windows. Lock all the doors.

June 2015

I know it’s hot. I can not quench the sun
despite your plaintive mows and furflat stretch;
one small carpet on the floor’s Norfolk shine.
Today I summoned cloud. You’re not impressed,
just grumble, an aggrieved Danish pastry
iced with grump and swirled into a strop.
I have my right to comfort and to food.

The heat is like a presence. He attends,
licks sweat onto our faces with his cow tongue.
You can see him, hide behind the sofa
where he can’t get. Cool drains you gently.
Carol with the weather tells us all that
today is now the hottest day ever.
He stands, a proud pose. You are not looking.

February 2009

I’m classifying galaxies online
with half a million other watchers now
identifying features of these vast
plates of light, held in macro on my screen.

Are they round, cigar-shaped or inbetween?
Are there spiral arms? Is there something odd?
Yes. Is there something odd? That barbed question
fills me with unease as if there might be.

I have to check each starry starfish shape.
They’re mostly blurred like killers on Crimewatch,
surveillance tapes or telephoto snaps
of strange figures in a grainy forest.

Light from aeons back. Each birthed around
four hundred billion stars. Yes. Very odd.

In a bad place (2015)

Have you called him?
He is in a bad place right now.
I know how bad the place is.
I have no need to call.
I’m in the next room
with the big light on

the big door locked.

Where is this place
so bad yet with a phone? I can’t
call, no. I am
busy bleeding, well lit.
I’ve been juggling
with worry razors.

They’ve cut the line.

November 2009

This was published in 2011 in issue 8 of the much missed magazine ‘Anon’. I like writing sonnets. I have no idea whether I write them properly or not. I tend to head for fourteen lines and stop when I get there. They seem to get published though so I must be doing something right.

my new hat (2011)

i’ve bought a new hat
wide and black as the night
with a coat to help anchor
the brim to the head.

i can see it from here
broad and felt as an ironed crow
bred to perch on my brow
and croak omens to kings.

it’s not what i’m used to
this hat thing. this hat thing
is loaded with time.
it’s an antique device

that will sepia my head
to the past, not let go.