Zaragoza Dusk

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2019 by antonyowen

For Reuben Woolley


We last spoke of wrens singing moments after Armistice

dotting sky like a blue egg they returned from the baroque earth

and made globe shaped nests with splays of khaki and hardy gorse.


You told me that you always preferred brutalist sculptures

how Coventry rose from the ashes not as a phoenix but as man

he came from Krakow, County Armagh to build the great grey bird.


You told me that in Zaragoza the oranges are dull as they should be,

that they are full of pips and grow like stanzas in the silt of a dreamer’s mind

you dropped a C-bomb on an unsuspected crowd and a poem exploded meaning.


Upon hearing of your death, I saw twenty-two children chasing a white ball,

they reminded me how words looked scattered in your poems

one of the boys never celebrated his goal and I felt you there.


Tonight, in Zaragoza the sky looks nothing special and you would like that.

Tonight, on the Ebro are fireflies knitting light into the neon unnoticed

they are of the dark, of the other world. They emit your lights.

photo of man standing against city buildings

Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on

How to live in America

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2019 by antonyowen


How to live in America

For Viv


A Mexican boy in the barbed wire sky

twisted sun like a faulty bulb and

little did he know he made dusk

Guantanamo orange for the free.


Nobody is free but the eagle with mange

it tears out her feathers for the stars

flies into the wall to break both wings,

a Mexican will bury it with prayers.


A native American scalped the hirsute sun

“it is the last star of the lost tribe” he said,

all of the birds lost the will to migrate,

Eagle, Hawk, shit-birds of the soffits.


A white American guard is guarding the dream,

have you seen the pelts of fog across Savannah?

It is as if all the ghosts of America came to pass

it is as if the mists of dead natives left there oils.


God bless the Eagle, god bless the journey of dreams,

a black man dragged from his heels by a mustang

the lie on every lip that is a gibbet for the truths.

God bless America, the stars are beads of sweat from slaves.


God bless the fake tan president, god bless the pilgrim tide

and god bless the stone faced presidents eyeless on the mountainside.



architecture daylight famous landmark geology

Photo by May Guo on

Seven scenes of Father’s Day

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2019 by antonyowen
silhouette of man holding camera taking photo

Photo by edwin josé vega ramos on


In Mayfair a daughter Skype’s her Father in Dubai

he apologises he isn’t there then his phone rings and he isn’t there

she has all the things she could want in the world and she is his world

but he isn’t there, he is in the moment of closing a deal with men, no women.



In Grenfell tower ruins a watch from Portobello market is frozen in time

its face has two hands sweeping across a burnt-out face that is still

the person who wore this watch was the son of an immigrant

someone disturbs his bedsheets and his ashes go home to?



Far from Grenfell tower, The Shard shines like a brand-new pin

a widowed Father explains to his son that life is like London

that his Mother is in the doves of Big Ben when it chimes

spraying out like a lily among the cold grey vastness



In a youth detention centre a young Dad is finding himself for his son

tomorrow he will post a letter littered with spelling mistakes

his grammar is all over the place like his head was that night

when his son read his letter there was no judgement, none.



In Afghanistan the average age of a person is now nineteen and ancient

everyone is a child and as you read Afghanistan what did you see?

did you see the mountains shaking in the heat?

or did you see a person shaken, a soldier?



In Uganda, a miner is pulled from the grounds eye covered in lime

they lay his body on the dirt and ask permission for water

they ask again for permission for water, they ask again

they carry the miner in cotton to a designated plot.



At the council cemetery a Father washes his daughters stone face

he wants to leave working class druids, the princess from Frozen,

an owl with solar-eyes but these items are strictly prohibited

he leaves them anyway, they are removed so soon, like his child.

Our parents grow old in secret

Posted in Uncategorized on June 4, 2019 by antonyowen
arizona asphalt automobile automotive

Photo by Quintin Gellar on


Sometimes in my Father’s frown lines I see lines of a poem written in secret

and I think of pulling a drowned boy from his eyes as he tells me his regrets.

Our parents grow old in secret and kiss their grandchildren like safe ghosts.

I remember my Nan’s smile was never the same in water than on Sundays.

Our parents grow old in secret and I have seen so many things that undo me,

The way my Mother licked her hair black at beautiful spreads at dead weddings

Where instant cameras spat out the eighties like doleites out of Talbot gates.

Our parents grow old in secret and I have felt my Fathers lingering embrace

He is telling me without telling me all the things he wished he had told me.

Our parents grow old in secret and I have heard my Mother singing on her own

And she can hit all the high notes to songs she wrote herself before children.

Sometimes in my Mother’s dreams she skips back to her Mammy and is scolded

By sandals that never stop skipping back to her Mammy, getting smaller and smaller until she stops growing.

If Yemen was Westeros

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3, 2019 by antonyowen
abandoned alone blond building

Photo by Rene Asmussen on

If Yemen was Westeros

we’d all grieve for Kit Harrington’s clean-shaven face,

and comment threads on yahoo would stretch from Winterfell to the Brexit-lands.


Theresa May would sell wildfire to be unleashed on a place that does not exist,

on children that do not exist, on a mother fanning fish-smoke to deter plump flies.


I cried at Kit Harrington’s uglier face –

when Gillette slayed him on a sponsored ad,

the best a man can get is mach-twelve with yet another blade to give the closest shave yet.
Another close shave was a house in mythical Yemen where wildfire missed an evil school,

it landed on a tree that Romans once picked olives from on their way to kill Visigoths.

The river dogs

Posted in Uncategorized on May 30, 2019 by antonyowen
black wooden door frame

Photo by ramy Kabalan on


I went to watch the mountain breathe over your crumbling house

to smell oregano and sulphur in the pollen spotted air

and watch the river dogs wrinkle water as they drink.


I went to visit the room where your Wednesday daughter slept

they supervised your fairy-tales and scrawled ticks and crosses

on Friday they would take her back and you’d sit by the river.


I went to the river and pictured that river dog approach you all nervous.

I remember how you said it was a mistake to let a wild thing into a home

that night it laid a hen by your bed like a gift from the wild at heart.


I remember the bond you had, how the dog slept by the door protecting her.

I remember that Friday when it went to the river to drink with its kin

they turned on it and you realised as the gun cocked what love truly is.

Poet Laureate, by Antony Owen

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2019 by antonyowen

via Poet Laureate, by Antony Owen