Issue 18: Iain Britton
(Tom Raworth Memorial)


weathered | like wood | he wants what i’ve got |


stands in the doorway & asks for chopped-up apple |


every room i go into | i meet him | he occupies


rectangles | feels for shadows | tampers with


my curiosity | outside everything is too bright |


there’s this girl giving poppies to survivors


to refugees | the last full-blooded sons


of a midday summer’s shoot-out | the forest |


 is a good place to hide | to switch off the glow-worms |


to loll about on the grass | to lie in gardens


with no naked distractions | we argue about


living off the smell of compost | because it’s useful |


a matter of convenience | my mouth is wet


with orchard saliva | it’s that time of the year


to offer no regrets | no excuses | i bend the rules to


perfect a collage of commemorative events | the months


flip over & seasons zigzag across worn paths | we appear


joined at the tips of words | conversations wrap around us


like hoops | we sit | unified by coloured hats | he


conjures up bizarre thoughts | he’s emphatic | lying flat


on his back | urban-sprawled | gnawed at by too much


exposure | a make-believe horizon evaporates | &


i stand between him | & the rain | & afterwards |


the sun milks thistles | the soft glands of new growth |


white dust is tapped | he thrusts out an arm | snatches


at birds at flying chunks of landscape at clouds


out of control | he hoists himself to his feet | & we meet


head on | ready-made to burn | an endlessness


peeling back rejuvenated faces

Since 2008, Iain Britton has had five collections of poems published, mainly in the UK. Recently, poems have been published or are forthcoming in the Poetry NZ Yearbook, Landfall, Brief (NZ) Meniscus, foam.e (Aust) Harvard Review, Mantis, POETRY (US) STAND, Stride Magazine, Clinic, The Literateur, The Black Market Re-View, The Fortnightly Review, M58, The High Window, Agenda and Poetry Wales (UK). A full collection of new poetry THE INTAGLIO POEMS will be published soon by Hesterglock Press (UK).