Poems and Poetry

avoidance poems

The Brother | A Poem by Gareth Culshaw

He is one of the lads,
all ciggies and beer.
Debit cards in a line on a
windowsill in a pub lavatory.
He goes on holidays
and days out with the lads.
One of the names you have
on your mobile. If you see
him, he comes over to chat.
There’s a quietness though,
like his life is paused.
People like him, listen
to his words. He keeps
his hands in his pockets
so his body doesn’t fall apart.

But I know a family member.
They say he never turns up
when needed. How his
brother has been in hospital
for hours. While his sisters
tend to him, bring him home.
Sometimes they see him
at Christmas. He drinks
beer rather than their words.
I know she is upset with him.
Using the term ‘Our’ before
his name. As if it is best
to mention him in third person.
Ignoring the other two sides
of who he is.


Thou Art Opiates | A Poem by Nyashadzashe Chikumbu

Drowning, an oblivious stupor.
Mary Jane hanging on black-toasted lips.
Mentally intoxicating like a spoiled dipper.
Anodyne pot, we smoke the sorrows of yesterday, barbeque ashes of tomorrow.
In that drunken cloud, puffing
on broken bridges.
Supplanting flowers of rue with weeded grass.
That mental manacling opiate, a ticking asylum bomb.