Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet

Posts tagged “love

i fell in love with a newsagent (2008)

quite by chance
in the act of purchasing a snickers
in the pivotal seconds between lifting it
from the wire rack
and handing over sixty-five pence.

this is what smitten is. i was smitted
in the blinking of a darklashed eye
as i held the bar like a cheap torch.
the world slowed for me to live the seconds;
cars slid headlong down the streets.
a cyclist was catapulted into the grounds
of the baptist church.
the building shook and half the remaining
snickers shuddered to the floor.
‘sixty-five pence please… thank you.’
there was no way to say… anything,
not in the midst of such desolation.

and i left
to face the accusing car-alarms
the rubble, the angry cyclist
the chaos
the distant mocking sirens whooping
‘unrequited! unrequited! unrequited!’

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The Last Two Nine Five (2006)

As I begin this
the last Two Nine Five slips by like an opportunity,
marking its passing with a diesel sigh.
My guilty windows shudder a reply,
a morse goodbye which the bus ferries
off as an extra passenger
all the way to the terminus.

I recall my last trip to the stop
before the river, clutching clanking beers.
Your windows on the left like mine
their triffid-rattled welcomes to a strange wind,
the motor rolling away like the end
of a seventies single
into the general hiss of the world.

If you ever read this
the engine’s farewell may not ring a bell.
A thousand journeys have rattled your windows
with cargoes of stories since then.
I am melted into the white noise
of the end of the cassette tape
that braked the wheels to a stop.


dream monkey (2009)

i’ve painted a mandril behind your head
glaring out from your dream
watching your eyelids tremble

i’ve tasked him to guard your thoughts
when you’re not awake
his pupils bleed oiled orange

sits soft in a jungle, moonlit
half-dissolved in shadow
so not to frighten other dreamers

rough paw clutches silk pillow
long mask face tilts like a threat
balanced. it could fall either way

but behind that, miles beyond his warpaint
there’s a calm wilderness where nothing
uses words or mobiles


clouds (2013)

about six pm
near the end of july
and the hammersmith and city line

the clouds will be perfect
simpsons clouds
flat bottomed baguettes of
crisp fluff

i will be on a train
on my way home to you

at the same time
early september
the clouds start looking dirty
like old fridge ice
that’s discovered it can fly

but i will still be etc. etc.


The Love Repository (2010)

Everyone waiting here was once in love
They’ve been through this experience, survived,
and all have come to have the time preserved
like rich binary jam in this, the love machine.

It will rip their love to digital bits
then convert it to a small dot love file.
Users can log in to experience
the passion and the pain, the sublime bliss,

the agony of loss, red betrayal
staining the curtains, the rapture of sex
and the ubiquitous raging madness.
All can be rescued for posterity.

The queue is long, but they wait patiently.
Their love will now be truly eternal.


Barberstalking (2007)

He told me he’s stalking a barber today.
He hangs round outside when the boss is away,
round about closing time
hoping he’ll speak to him,
spark up some chat about clippers or foam.
Then he’ll invent an excuse and go home.

He’s the girl in that song, what’s her name? Delta Dawn.
‘Prettiest woman you’ve ever laid eyes on’
It’s all in his head.
He’s the Lady in Red
and Chris de Burgh’s in there, doing a trim,
maybe singing a song, but it’s not about him.


Bat Out Of Hell (2010)

Whispering Bob Harris is still around,
still whispering, but in a good way.
He had Meat Loaf on live in Nineteen Seventy-Eight
doing ‘Bat Out of Hell’
which they showed on tv tonight
and it drove me back on a harley to that time
I broke up with a man called Aiden
who cried out loud
so I got very drunk at home
put the album on full blast

sang along, then cried myself.

Mr Patel, who ran the newsagent next door
quizzed me diplomatically when I went in
for milk and cigarettes next morning.
‘There was a lot of terrible noise,’ he said.
‘Last night. Much terrible noise.’
‘I’m so sorry,’ I whispered, bob hoarse. ‘I know.
It’s the man upstairs. He drinks.
It’s such a shame.’


my love in negative space (2007)

light comes in through my eyes
and works my thoughts;
data entry from the skies
goes down my arm
to give you this,
my love in negative space.

you see the white around the words.
letters are small black holes;
suck in the light
give nothing back
but this,
my love in negative space.

these words are an absence of light
and can only be seen
and understood
in contrast with the
solar brilliance of the page,
the power of it,
transmitting this now,
my love in negative space.


Rising Fog (2014)

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

like love and indifference.


sorry (2007)

‘sorry,’ you said, ‘for not ringing you back,
not letting you know i wouldn’t be there.
it was family.’ it was the same track

repeated, record scratched beyond repair
skipping back to the same point in my life
when your accent first cracked my jaded air

to let the warm in like a cosy knife.
you told me of your world, strange northern ways,
your children, other lover and your wife.

there have been other visits, other days.
they come like music, bloom and fade to black.
i press ‘repeat’ again, and voicemail plays

your dated, short and disappointing track.
‘sorry,’ you said, ‘for not ringing you back.’