Three Poems

Posted on March 18, 2009


By Miles J. Bell

Reaching for stars; catching flies

At last
it is long-trouser weather.

We’re not far from
the glockenspiel chill
of winter.

The air-raid sirens that signal
shift-change at the refinery slide
into inland whalesong.

Today is world
“break a world record day.”

I would have settled for
getting through a poem
without mentioning myself
or writing poems.

I set my sights
too high.

Half-full for me despite my protestations to the contrary

So if as it seems
the wages of hope
are disappointment
and cynicism’s
just not worth it
how then to pull off
the balancing act
on a thin wire
6 feet from
nothing at all?

Modern life
some sage said
is rubbish
the world compels us
to find fault with ourselves
the things we fill the gaps with
are never enough
and reaching is dangerous
fingernails removed by satellites
beaming advertisements
into our illusive emptiness

not to be carried away
by excesses of happiness
or misery
we’re told
is the only safe path

but all I want in this
blink-of-an-eye life
is to not reach the end
fighting for
thinking only
life was everything
I expected



19 years old
on a London night bus
between a riotous gig and
what passed for home.

I had a Messiah complex
14 hole Dr. Martens
and was still
a virgin.

The top deck was mine alone
until a well-scrubbed couple
came up the stairs and sat
directly in front of me
and introduced themselves as Chris and Sally.

They were late 20s, both blonde, well turned out
but with the slightly-too-wide eyes
of the recently born-again.

They asked me questions
which I answered politely
with a nervousness they probably tasted;
where I was from, if I had a girlfriend or boyfriend, that sort
of thing.

Do you think Sally is attractive?
Chris said at last
with the relish of a collector pinning a moth
to his display.

Well, I can’t remember my answer
but they invited me to their house
and made it clear I would be finding out
for definite.

I’m guessing only 5 years later
I would have gone; fucked his girl
and if he’d made a move on me
put out his front teeth
but I was young and not nearly as fearless
as I led the world to believe.

Life differs from fiction
in that most plot or meaning
is absent or impossible to follow
and that night was
no exception.

Like most things
it was just something else
that nearly happened.


Miles J. Bell is 36 and lives and loves in the North East of England. His father was a boxer; his mother was a Cocker Spaniel. He can juggle but can’t whistle, which he suspects has held him back all these years. His latest rantings at the blank, uncaring cosmos can be found in the chap Let’s get visible, available from Blackheath Books.

Posted in: Poetry