Thursday, June 30, 2016



Two poems from Sublunar


Lancelot got lost amongst the brambles
Percival got lost amongst the brambles
gallant Sir Galahad got lost amongst the brambles

it is time to sort the little stones
and place the little stones in bottles.

Henry I got lost amongst the brambles
Henry II got lost amongst the brambles
Henry III got lost amongst the brambles

the tiny birds of Gloucestershire
alight once more in Toblerone
amongst the brambles, the brambles
amongst the brambles.

my liege, your divine, infallible shellfish
bewitch the barbers of the northern towns
and there in the field of the cloth of gold
they come to lay down their silver combs

amongst the brambles, the brambles
amongst the brambles

Pitt the Elder got lost amongst the brambles
Pitt the Younger got lost amongst the brambles
William of Orange got lost amongst the brambles

beware mad John with his sword of flame,
his sprites laying waste the celery

amongst the brambles, the brambles
amongst the brambles.

aromatic, there, amongst the brambles
and all the benighted hectares of rhubarb


the rails, then the poppies, then the dandelions

calling the office by sousaphone
the birds disassemble, reconvene
within the watermill an aquarium

I’ve got these glasses with cones and rods
I’ve got this tunic with a silver lining

I put some oak leaves in an envelope
and hid then amongst the fun-size bananas

the poppies, then the poppies, then the dandelions

the ripples on the canal a code
horses where it turns into night
and when they came to make them into zebras
they dropped the paint and sunk the well

the dandelions, then the dandelions, then the dandelions
the poppies and a haze of heather

when I am king I will get a warehouse
and fill it with the things you like

white clouds; high white clouds

all the willowherb and saxifrage

and yellow cream from Lourdes or wherever


Three Poems from Spruce

balustrades and coloured panels
a rift in time near the anchovies
glowing after a night of fun

rain and every drop of silver
her long face and interminable autumn
at the open day with a skinny mocha

the chatter of apes in a carpeted cellar
like a dog he sickens without meat
pressed tongue and then pastrami on a shovel

back at the ranch for a peer review
a collection of antique drinking straws
for his fealty a tribute of almond milk

withdraw to the north and a fortress of rain
a siege economy of crispy pancakes
sausage casserole and early dark

I cherish the crumbs of my erstwhile mistress
her face in profile at the salad bar
at the sneeze guard where the ravens gather

there are golden goblets in the privet
there are longships on the boating lake
I filled a yogurt pot with foaming rain

I lost the ring on the upper deck
like a proud horse through the baby change
pale shadow on the oven housing

when it was written it was written on vellum
on a menu in the gated village
golden moon above the contemplation zone

(Spruce was released by Blart Books, London, 2015)


Tom Jenks latest book is An Anatomy of Melancholy, a Twitter re-write of a seventeenth century self-help book, out soon on Sad Press. He has published ten others, including Spruce, a sequence of ninety nine-line poems (Blart Books), The Tome of Commencement, a spreadsheet translation of the Book of Genesis (Stranger Press), On Liberty, Repressed, a minimalist database treatment of Victorian political philosopher John Stuart Mill (Knives Forks and Spoons) and Items, a one-thousand fragment verbivocovisual sequence (if p then q). He co-organises The Other Room reading series and website in Manchester, UK, administers the avant objects imprint zimZalla and is a Ph.D. student at Edge Hill University.

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