This is what a nuclear weapon does to flesh

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2020 by antonyowen

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Cast our Disney-eyed wonderment away to truth
for this is what a nuclear weapon will do to flesh.
Give me a photograph of your lover, thank you for the gift, I shall begin.

I’ll save your lover from the fire by choosing an Iranian new-born,
already we feel relieved and consider escaping
this is your last chance; will you save yourself?

The insignificant Iranian baby was born near perfect –
apart from a birthmark which shall offend a star
but perfect he is and made from love and human oils.

The baby will split like atoms seen only by puking Gods.
Give me photograph of that apple you are peeling
that baby is that apple now boil it to 5000 degrees for seconds.

We are not done! The baby cannot crawl from flames.
Am I being unreasonable? Shall l turn the fire down lower?
Butane-blue is not a colour to attract crowds at the Atomic Motel.

Check in to the Atomic Motel and let us see the deaths,
how the colour of hair paints into inferno reds and browns.
Look, I just trod into a chandelier of a ribcage, its red lamps.

Shall we move on to other examples or leave it at infanticide?
Genocide? Humanicide? God will decide, or maybe not.
It is time for me to go I outstayed my welcome at the title.

Have you gone? Go away, I am fanning atoms of babes into jars.
I shall present them to God and tell her I was once innocent,
Hell is nothing to fear, we hold it in our very hands willingly.

New Iranian Proverbs

Posted in Uncategorized on January 5, 2020 by antonyowen
person holding a burning news paper close up photography

Photo by Connor Danylenko on

The first oil was a baby in birth scarlets
Taking a mother’s breath away is no theft
That shall come later in the thieving winter
A house of five generations will grey tongues of unmapped towns.

The second oil was two black circles as her breasts wept into linen
No one will fight for this oil but Mothers.
The fathers curse useless hands and yell
Each moon without babe’s stone them pale.

Breathe, let us change the form of this poem like forcibly changed lives
let us allow the human to address itself in us,
a firefly does not burn it is a trick of nature
a human does not drown in liquid Androids.

The last oil was not yet crude, was made up of fish souls and shells
I can hear a baby whisper in its blackness
I can see a billion fireflies emerge like stars
Hiroshima zombies with skin hanging from fingernails.

The judgement of affluent war criminals we elected

Posted in Uncategorized on December 8, 2019 by antonyowen
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Photo by Pixabay on

God in her mercy took you in

dangled a robin to pulse from your chest

to show you the songs you never gave the world.


God in her disgust threw your teeth to barren soil

and told you they would smash the rising raggedy sea

to show you Aphrodite’s clothes is seaweed on dead refugees.


God will play you the ice chimes of a grieving piano

She will tie white people on the black keys and vice versa

You shall listen how black and white work together as you weep.


If I were God, I would not take you in,

I would paint dusk with the Robin’s breast

and the song would be silence as I drop you to fire.


I f were God; I would denounce myself unworthy

I would rip out your heart like a grandfather clocks pendulum

wait at the shore for refugees in kelp coats to wash you in their limbo.


If I were God, I would stare upon earths autopsy and weep

but I am not God, I drift like white snow into the listing nothingness

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.



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Photo by May Guo on

Seven scenes of Father’s Day

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2019 by antonyowen
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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
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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.