[Poetry] — Nick Power

Reverse-Charge Phonecall

Faint singing in the wire
and I know that it’s you

electrical conversation in
the hiss and whimper
of near silence

there’s a breath, then a
and a dog barking from some
faraway backyard

the untearing of lips
from each other
before you speak

that half-second, that eternity
says everything

of the oncoming

our minds in chrysalis, ready
to fly


Internal Mambo

In the witching hour-

if someone stood atop those
corrugated garage rooftops
holding a megaphone, sleeves rolled
past their elbows, reflected starlight
in their dangling
and cyanide breathmint
vapour in the old 37 bus route

a pack of dogs orbit a cluster of
dustbins, apparitions on white wall
render- taxis rolling by but people
are distracted-

then I might be stirred from
openwindow slumber

Trinity Lodge overlooking the
waterworks, he’s stood on
a table, preaching. We were thirsty
then- me, a blood relative and
the simpleton.
He was jabbering, spilling
that they’d shut a whole club down
once because of him
and his ‘twisted internal

if the man on the roof had a
not unlike the one that night
in the hostel-

a crowd has gathered
and someone’s saying “what’s he
a policeman spits

“just a bunch of nonsense”

-if his sermon was mining
from that same vein

then I’d listen- be sure that I’d
be there in my

with my ears

revolving like
static satellites

that have woken up.


Waste Disposal

          Kev just text me and said he can’t make the play. Said he’s got too much to clear up after work. Spraying the bar down, emptying the drip trays. He might meet us later for a drink though, if we’re still out.
          The train has stopped on the bend between the Birkenhead stations, where the track splits. To the left, I can see the huge swollen belly of Bidston tip. They’ve recently developed it in to this sprawling new nature reserve with all sorts of trees and wildlife that were shipped in like plastic furniture to a crumbling Hollywood mansion. The trees look fake. The grass looks like Astro Turf. Every year or so they find a dead body in there. That’s how it’s viewed by the people round here, I think. A place to hide things.
          I don’t mind these unexplained delays. They only happen say, one in twenty journeys. Breaks things up a little. Puts off the inevitable, I suppose. The play we’re meant to be seeing is ‘The Crucible’. I’ll meet her there, and Natalie, and her friend that needs consoling after her Dad’s recent passing. I’ll leave that to Natalie. We’re going for cocktails beforehand, apparently. That’s why I’m wearing these stupid shoes. I was told to dress up, and not drink too much, else I’ll fall asleep through the witch trials.

          I’m daydreaming now, as the train hums into life. I picture myself at the heart of the tip, camouflaged. Methane escaping all around me. I’m barefoot with a fumigation mask around my face. I’m holding a long, carved wooden stick with a pointed metal tip. My job is to root out the rotting cadavers from the undergrowth and lay them side by side at the entrance. There’s hundreds of them, all in various stages of decomposition. I’m laying them out so they can be identified by their families. That’s my only job. That’s all I have to do.


A Break in the Clouds

Easy sleep, and life is
good for once. Life

clicks into that  scene
where the music happens

and you see burnished fields
of maize in slow prayer

passing by from the asphalt.
The sun falling to the distant sea.

Then your eyes are closed
quite suddenly, and you realise

that the car is moving and
nobody is even steering;

but that’s no problem
because the road is

straight for another hundred
miles or so at least. And the

cliff at the end of it isn’t
nearly as tall as they said it

was. In fact it isn’t anything
more than a gentle slope down

into an azure rock pool. There’s
other cars there too, under

the water. They’re gleaming,
untouched by rust,

tail-fins immaculate.
Just sitting there.


Nick Power is a poet and short story writer. Small Town Chase, Holy Nowhere, and Caravan are published by Erbacce Press.

All work is the rightful property of the author and is distributed with their permission.


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