Into My Arms – by Mark Connors

 

These days I can touch
what I can’t really afford

thanks to technology
and flexible credit terms.

Fifteen grand’s a steal;
I’m in no rush for a new car.

You are wired to console me
and on the whole, do a cracking job.

I chose well: your hair coloured
how she sometimes chose

when she went to Mel’s
every six weeks or so,

sixty quid a pop I tried
not to resent her for:

deep burgundy
broken up by midnight blue.

But it’s only when you’re out of charge
that you really nail her look,

your eyes fixed on the woodchip
of our bedroom ceiling,

that look when something bothered her
but she didn’t want to share it

that screams don’t dare fucking touch me.

 

 

 

Mark Connors comperes the lively Leeds Word Club monthly poetry event, and has been widely published in magazines and anthologies. His collection Nothing is Meant to be Broken is published by Stairwell Books.

Six months – by Mark Connors

 

Cartoonists were massacred in Paris.
I was diagnosed with athlete’s foot
but suffer from psoriasis.

A co-pilot snuffed out a plane of futures.
I started smoking again,
stopped training for a marathon.

Greece is still fucked.
The two of us were born
to struggle with economies.

The exit poll was right.
We were in different countries
and could not console each other.

Dolly wasn’t at Glastonbury this year.
I will always love you
but I can love someone else.

A man beheaded his great grandmother.
Even gods can’t change the past
so what chance do I have?

 

 

Mark is a Leeds based poet and author, and is the compère of the lively Word Club monthly poetry event. His poems have been widely published in magazines (Envoi, Dreamcatcher, Prole, Sarasvati, among others) and anthologies. His first pamphlet, Life is a Long Song was published by Otley Word Feast Press in 2015, with a second full collection due out in 2017 from Stairwell BooksHis novel Stickleback is published by Armley Press, available on Amazon.

 

Battleborn – by Mark Connors

 

I was ready from the off.
I let the midwife know
she’d only get one free
and a second slap would cost her.
A punctured can of pop,
I seethed with six others born that week,
one of whom would father his own child
with my first love in the small world we’d inherit.

Despite the Rockwool insulation of amniotic fluid
that spared my family my debut album,
I heard all that went on: brothers fighting to the death
over crisps, Fig Rolls, and Jaffa Cakes,
my mother raging from the loss
of her husband’s younger brother,
her monologues, how she liked to break things,
and my father’s deafening silence
through her swift descent to madness.

I have to say, I wasn’t sure I’d make it out alive,
and, even if I did, what hope I’d have with this lot.
But out I came, sharing my birthday
with Jimmy White and Catherine The Great.
It was clear Mum couldn’t cope;
she was soon shipped off to High Royds.
I was farmed out to a woman
who’d find it hard to give me back.
But she did and Mum got better,
dragged me up amid their chaos:
all that conflict, all that laughter.

 

 

 

Mark is a Leeds based poet and author, and is the compère of the lively Word Club monthly poetry event. His poems have been widely published in magazines (Envoi, Dreamcatcher, Prole, Sarasvati, among others) and anthologies. His first pamphlet, Life is a Long Song was published by Otley Word Feast Press in 2015, with a second full collection due out in 2017 from Stairwell Books. His novel Stickleback is published by Armley Press, available on Amazon.

One step beyond – by Mark Connors

 

I didn’t know you until I was in my thirties
but by the end of the decade we were on

first name terms. I remember our first words
in a cold room at the chapel of rest;

I knew you were a bit bloody weird then,
beaming with pride at a job well done.

You even said: “It looks like him, dun’t it?”
referring to my scrubbed up dad, on your slab.

It was Yorkshire empathy at its best.
I wanted to say you’d been inappropriate

but what could possibly be appropriate
in the presence of the dead?

Since then, you’ve done neighbours and my mum,
and each time I see you, the closer we become.

I’ve even dreamt about you in your black suit
and a bowler hat, playing the trumpet for Madness

to One Step Beyond, like some Cockney grim reaper.
But you’ve never ventured down the M1 –

you’ve been far too busy
burying those I’ve lost and loved.

One day, you waved at me from your hearse –
I waved back. We were like bus drivers

who’d known each other for years.
Listen: don’t take this wrong mate

but can you pretend you just don’t know me?
No offence, but please, just look the other way.

 

 

 

Mark is a Leeds based poet and author, regularly performs his work and is the compère of the lively Word Club monthly open mic poetry event. His poems have been widely published both in magazines (Envoi, Dream Catcher, Prole, Sarasvati, Dawntreader, The Alarmist and The Word) and anthologies. His first collection, Life is a Long Song was published by Otley Word Feast Press in 2015.

This year his debut novel Stickleback was published by Armley Press, available on Amazon

More information and poetry may be found on his website