This is what happens to poetry after years of under-investment – Tim Love

This is what happens to poetry after years of under-investment

Depression’s a shadow that doesn’t fade
when you turn the light off in this cheap hotel.
Extras are paid more here if they speak,
so they go “Uh Uh Uh” in the next room.

At least it rhymes. Unable to sleep, you take a walk
in the snow where the cable-cars keep going all night.
You’ve never seen stray dogs with such expressive eyes,
or roads so bright with moonlight.

If you could hold back the tears
you could write about how you’re not always
like this – it’s just that some reactions
bypass the mind. You don’t know why.

You’d prefer to sway between cafe tables
singing about how sad love is, your
heirloom accordion keys yellowed except
for one you got a grant to mend, brilliantly white.

Back at your hotel they’re still at it next door.
You sit on your bed, your boots dripping, wondering
why you wrote a poem instead of a prayer, though
you’ve always been confused about the difference.


Tim Love’s publications are Moving Parts (HappenStance) and a story collection By all means (Nine Arches Press). He lives in Cambridge, UK. His poetry and prose have appeared in Stand, Rialto, Magma, Unthology, etc. He blogs at

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