Featured Publication – This Poem Here by Rob Walton

Our featured publication for April is This Poem Here by Rob Walton, published by Arachne Press.

When Rob Walton went into lockdown, he didn’t know that he would also go into
mourning.  Here he writes about the life and death of his dad, and how sadness seeped
into various aspects of his life. He also manages to find cheap laughs, digs at the government, celebrations of the young and old, unashamed sentimentality and suddenly disarming moments of
tenderness.

Walton is a master of musical, looping, refrains as he gets closer and closer to the troubled heart of
things.
” Deborah Alma

This unusual collection, is, in its well-crafted way, a parcel of the sad, funny, unfair and beautiful
aspects of ordinary life… as irreverent as it is poignant, this is the ideal collection for you if you want
your deepest forebodings about the state of the UK confirmed, with a side helping of big belly
laughs.
” Kate Foley

Walton’s lines are expressed neatly and sparely, yet hold such purity and poignancy beneath them
that they stop you in your tracks.
” Jane Burn

this poem here

Christ, if I went through all the regrets
I have about my dad and the things
I could and should have done
I’d write poem after poem after book
and it would be a full collection
dissected in some online journal
or some blog and recommended
to someone’s 167 twitter followers.

God, if I went through all the regrets
I had about my dad when I was a full-grown adult
it would make an award-avoiding pamphlet
that one person would ask me to sign
and I’d spell their name wrong
even after I’d carefully asked them.

Jesus, if I were to write about the fact
my dad saw me in some strange pantomimes
and acting the goat on other stages
and even telling so-called jokes on the boards
of Kinsley Labour Club and how I regret
he never saw me reading poetry
never saw me reading poems
in celebration of him and my mum
well that

That would be a poem.
That would be this poem here.
That he’d never read.
That he’d never hear.

and in lockdown

and in lockdown
it seems perfectly reasonable
to get tearful
over the Jersey Royals
untouched and forgotten about
in the cupboard under the sink

and now the girls
have gone back to their mum’s
you’ll have the Jersey Royals
on your own
on their own
or with a bit of butter
but snide Lurpak
won’t help them pass
the lump in your throat

June 1 st

What did you do on your first day back, darling?

Lick Yusuf.

Oh, right, and what did Yusuf do?

Nothing. Him on top of Shira.

Mmm. And did Ms Key do anything about this?

Couldn’t. Twins stuck on her legs.

The Alton twins?

No, them in helper’s hair,
play with him mask.

And how do you feel about going back tomorrow?

Stay home. Watch stupid men on telly.

Prime Minister’s Questions

Are there any other countries you’d like to break?
If you grow it out a bit, would you like me to cut it into a bob?
Do you miss the good old days of racist newspaper columns?
Is the dandruff cultivated to evoke sympathy?
Will you answer the question about the inflatable Cummings?
Do you understand the difference between a million and a billion?
Who’s your favourite bully?
How about a nice lie-down?
Who’s spaffing now?
Could you tell the House which of his houses your dad is in at the moment?
Is it the Ready Brek that makes you glow inside?
Have you got Brexit done?
Do you miss the good old days of the zip wire and the flags?
Are there any other countries you’d like to break?

like in the olden days

I want my daughters’ friends to come for tea
I want to serve them uninteresting pasta
with a jar of Aldi tomato sauce
and some veggie parmesan
and maybe
I don’t know
a coke float
or an ice cream
or pretty much anything really
I just want my daughters’ friends
to come for tea

like in the olden days
you know
like in the olden days

Scunthorpe-born Rob Walton lives with his daughters in Whitley Bay.  His poetry is published by The Emma Press, Strix, Butcher’s Dog, Culture Matters, Atrium and others.  His short fiction is published in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada and New Zealand.  He collated the New Hartley Memorial Pathway text.  Twitter: @anicelad.  

This Poem Here is available to purchase from the Arachne Press website.

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