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Now, further up the road, the
crackle of bluebottles warm and stinking 
around black bins, who have warm tongues
and are dirty, filled to lid with lettuce and 
wet salty meat


                 from The lice in St. Giles of Reading by Chris Manley






Light from on top of the hill

The lice in St. Giles of Reading

A foreword about the sacking of Bracknell

Done One

Alight here

Coughing whilst asleep

A very famous problem

The young snap twigs

Instructions for a sinner

Execrable men






Trained as a photographer, Chris is interested in documenting in his writing the images at work in the moment. He is aware that each moment documented in his writing should be and is full to brimming with many alternative narratives. Not all of these make it into his writing, but perhaps he might offer the glimpse of the many-sided image in his writings on the moment. Chris' work is inspired by his walk to work and other places.




Light from on top of the hill


Buddleia  knows the
ins and outs of
the bricks and mortar
of Reading.

And of all the unsettled 
sugar smacked lipped pavements
here we find the sticking footprints
of the south
of England.


The lice in St Giles of Reading


The tin cans are having a meeting at the church today,
They are marked with a recycling motif and lie
crumpled by the hands of drunkards, who like spiders
at the foot of autumn wait for the vicar to come
and be pleasant
for all the world to see.

Now, further up the road, the
crackle of bluebottles warm and stinking 
around black bins, who have warm tongues
and are dirty, filled to lid with lettuce and 
wet salty meat.

put your tongues back in your beak boys, I hear
the cry of the  pigeon master who is,
would you believe it cold and in a winter coat in 

I imagine the legs on this man, sucking green juices
that would flow down Southampton street
and into the mouth of the Oracle where
I go to look at knives and drink from the river.


A foreword about the sacking of Bracknell


A portrait of an upturned car,
Scorched by the wind
houses a nest of migrating starlings,
The press officer tells us the car was engulfed 
In flames.

The ages of both children are set down in print
And at a circulation of three hundred,
all gasps are sucked back in behind net curtains.

It was a savage day squelches the ex-something
at the back of the bus, whose loins
are now intertwined with stale
government fumes.

Some carry sandbags, I chose to watch.


Done one


Up the aisle,
Where men scrape
Algae from the brickwork
And platform boots
get lucky, one foot in front of the other,
We are sipping, waiting, distressed.

When she looks back on her
she tells us,
she was in love,


Alight here


The most pleasant sound
You can ever hear
whilst pouring coffee
down the sink.

He thought he
heard a string quartet
on platform one
but it turned out to be cats,

Such a horrible racket,
the coriander dieing on 
the windowsill.
Put the bins out,
turn the lights off,
blow your nose.


coughing whilst asleep


This morning strangled birdsong and
The harmonious two egg drop,
Is a cumbersome middling woman with a cigarette
between her lips,
sitting on the door step,
watching over her shoulder.

Those mice.
Wet to touch paws,
annihilated in the snow,
with breathing knives 
because they have tiny lungs.

Seated, and fed,
I dream of spandex,
a language coded by touching
mouths and a sickness so sweet
that no one will take the pill.


A very famous problem


We learn by experience,
it, the smell of lavender,
does not turn the wheel,
the sensation, the colour of red.

We cannot conceive of round,
the mortal, the motion
and fundamental repulsion of forces
are here explained:

A summer breezes happens
under a budleja, blowing with
kind lunchtime fingers
pages of the famous Germinal.

Bees, butterflies, flies all drink
from pink flutes
and the saliva dries quickly against their cheeks.


The young snap twigs


But I am the alarm.
It shocked through
the unopen window
unfurling black
and yellow tape,
pointless, she says.
They took the contents 
of the fruit machine.

The rabbits are here
on the promise of
a bowl of nacho's
that are placed at our table
by a tattooed arm,
Celtic I think.
A war symbol with


Instructions for a sinner


When Im
On the afternoon 
Piled high on nail
Clippings, and the worst of the stomach,
The utter stench of
New, foul
Unkind words
Worth no more than
A train station
Cup of tea.

Gather my horde
Of millipedes.
Their unmatched
Armour and deadly
Will do each bidding
Like warriors,
Fed on priceless

Now I look upon
Thick bleach,
And rid the bath
of its most
Loyal sins.


Execrable Men

Climb up the bell tower,
You men of honour,
Your tongues are red.




3 - Afterword

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We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org

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