Map Gazing – John Short

Map Gazing

In the stone age of paper maps
I gazed all day,
found a dot marked Chapel-St-Leonards
and decided I must go.
Now I’m sitting on a bench
outside Tesco,
a can of lager by the sea.
I cycled two hundred miles to get here,
to hit the coast or rather
a wall of wind hit me
shifting sand
into beach huts and a derelict hotel,
making shapes in corners
just like the abandoned Arabian palace
in a comic book when I was six
that fired dreams
of travel, but ultimately
dots on maps are disappointing,
no mystery in arrival
only in staying.


After spending some years in Europe, John now lives in Liverpool and is a member of The Dead Good Poets. Recent appearances include The Blue Nib, Stepaway and Allegro. Work also forthcoming in The High Window, Envoi, Picaroon and Sarasvati.

Bent Over Geography – John Short

Bent Over Geography

When off school sick,
dad would bring me toast
before he went to work
then leave me crumbed up
in a world of dreams,
ear stuck to a transistor
as the day went on its way
beyond closed curtains
in the blind distance
of car horns and shouting
over garden fences.
I’d suck mints if boredom
and loneliness crept in
or season permitting
pop downstairs barefoot
to catch the horse racing
with an inner happiness
that pals were pushing
pens, bent over geography
or maths, just aching
for the bell’s release.


John Short lives in Merseyside after some years in Spain and Greece. He writes stories and poems and reads at venues around Liverpool. Work has appeared in magazines including Obsessed with Pipework, Ink Sweat and Tears, Frogmore Papers and Barcelona Ink.