Jonathan Butcher has been writing poetry for around ten years.
He has had work appear in various print and online publications,
most recently at Odd Ball Magazine, Mad Swirl, Dead Snakes,
Your One Phone Call and The Transnational. His second chapbook
'Broken Slates' has been published by Flutter Press.
These old streets, almost like tunnels,
The excitement these walls and buildings
projected still simmers under this depleting
afternoon. The abandoned car parks laden
with tags and broken glass still offers a slight
breeze of calm.
Those canals, that blend of tranquil fauna
with corroding steel still fail to offer any balance.
Their waters like blackened mirrors; to dip
even a toe would entice a fear far deeper
than the surrounding, soot stained walls.
The cold air retains its mobility, our blood
slowly warms like neglected mud in summer,
we see the waters pollutants slowly rise
to the surface releasing a filth ridden mosaic
of everything they never intended to be seen.
And those dim windows still offer up secrets
we never had the courage to accept, let alone
keep. A freshness, however, still remains,
if only on our heads, that warmth only a mile
away each side, if we allow this to collapse.
That blood passes through our archways;
a pulse impossible to count. The slow,
blanket of light of passes through the
cracked windows and bare, vandalised
trees allow us vision, if not clarity.
The bottles around us stand dry,
the stale smoke settles on our sleeves
and carpet. The cold, tiled kitchen floor
awakens the dormant responsibilities
that creep upon us like rotten ivy.
We stand little chance against this
backlash, that we kept at bay for so
long, and packed away into dust filled
boxes like the broken plastics of our
childhood, but never truly forgot.
That slow sinking, with that bitterness
that has now sweetened and ripened
with age, and now calm perspires from
these walls, that still manage to over
shadow our crimes once more.
We stand on that verge once again,
hanging by limp, depleting threads.
Our mouths stuffed with masticated
words that we spit out like blunted
bullets, their targets now lost in the
These same roads surround us,
unmarked, yet cracked. The concrete
reaching each corner, with obsessive
perfection, their surfaces like over used
notice boards, with messages tragically
out of date.
A certain smugness hangs in the air,
like ash-filled cobwebs, the shallow
intents not spoken, but suggested
through broken teeth, but never powerful
enough for us to change direction, as we
remain again on that same, broken path.
Just a Myth
Arriving early afternoon, this city seems
less cleaner than I remember, the tinted
glasses of yore, now as cracked as these
bustling pavements in which my feet sink.
We then reside inn that make-shift beer
garden, a converted, shut off back street
the barbwire over head like a crucifixion
crown, forged with the intention of discomfort.
Those bars, each one a mile apart, their
insides seem carved with the same rotten
timber as the last, the blank faces stare
with fear from behind blue bottles of poison.
And those supposed legends that forged
the reputation of this place are long gone,
and only mention its name in whispers,
when they finally feel their fame is waning.