Series Editor - Jim Bennett

Introduction by Jim Bennett


Hello.  Welcome to the next in the series of CITN featured poets.  We will be looking at the work of a different poet in each edition and I hope it will help our readers to discover some new and exciting writing.  This series is open to all to submit and I am now keen to read new work for this series.


You can join the CITN mailing list at - http://www.poetrykit.org/pkl/index.htm and following the links for Caught in the Net.




During the day my shaver

plants bristles in my chin

and my teeth produce foam

which I remove perfectly with a brush

after backcombing my hair into disarray.


                 from;  Rewind  by Ken Champion





Mooskanawaganag N7



Café Slavia

Afternoon Movie


Relative Objects


Period Piece


Deco Fair Junkie




Ken Champion is an internationally published poet whose work has appeared in over a hundred magazines and anthologies, including Rialto, Smiths Knoll, Magma, African American Review and Iodine Poetry Journal. He has two pamphlets, African Time (2002) and Cameo Poly (2004) published by Tall Lighthouse and a full collection, But Black And White Is Better (2008) (available from  www.tall-lighthouse.co.uk ).
. He has also had fiction published in literary journals in the UK and USA. Ken reads in London and elsewhere and hosts More Poetry at Borough Market. He runs poetry workshops and is Reviews Editor for Tall Lighthouse. A selection of his poems can be found at The Poetry Library and at www.kenchampion.org.uk


Born in London’s east end, Ken lectures in sociology and philosophy, and has worked as a decorator, sign writer, mural painter and commercial artist. He lives in London and has three sons.








Mooskanawaganag N7


Through the window a stall, apples-a-puhnd-pears

drills the ear, tattooed arms sorting the fruit, building

it up in pyramids, Sikhs, Somalians, deftly touching


 textures, softness, tastes; order another coffee

because you’re not yet here, your pride, slimness,

Creole hair, but your fingers are, can feel them still,

stroking, coaxing, their matronising squeeze


when you returned from safari, your bathing

in a hut, compound full of men admiring your

buttocks, the women everything, feeding your

narcissism, your adventure remembered


in red, the heat, birds, earth, the trees, the fruit.


     Mooskanawaganag: Zambian for ‘beautiful woman’







The eyes in the solipsistic mirror, the widening gaze

to brush the lashes, mascara, underlining, narrowing

for the rouge, the lipstick gloss, glimpse of bleached


teeth, comb tweaking a fringe, the unbuttoning, bra

dropped on the next seat, the bared breast, practised

pencil dotting underneath, Stanley knife making an


arced incision, the jelly-like mould pushed into the

cut by her palm, threaded needle, sutures, scissors

to finish; the other breast, the gentle fastening, deftly


gathered tools, mirror, the copy of Hello! walks out

the opening doors; I look at the floor, the forgotten

knife, want to rush it to her for the cut behind the ear,


the tucked skin, a scarf to hide the bruise, but stare

at the rolling lipstick half risen from its holder,

splash of blood, a tear.






At dawn I draw the curtains and roll into bed

where I dream till the previous evening

of old trains sucking smoke from the sky

and stopping when the man

lowers his green flag.


During the day my shaver

plants bristles in my chin

and my teeth produce foam

which I remove perfectly with a brush

after backcombing my hair into disarray.


Looking at where I’ve come from

I ease into a classroom

where students ask answers

before I give questions

and make notes before I speak.


And I feel the pain before I see you

silently pass along the corridor

and remember that soon

I will bump out of you again.






 Café Slavia


In the painting on the end wall, opposite Most Leggi and

the trams, sits a bearded man, head in hands, financial

pages spread, glancing up at a transparent woman, naked,


her arse on the table cloth, arm bent, splayed fingers

taking her weight, foot lightly touching the floor. Her

shoulder’s towards him, profile, bobbed hair, quietly


insisting he doesn’t have to stay with a spiritually

corseted wife, has only to sweep the papers and his

life onto the parquet and she’ll be flesh again, his


hand resting on the inside of her thigh, a chair, baroque

lamp no longer seen through her waist; but it could all

be a businessman’s reverie, something to think about


till the waiter arrives bottle in hand, and at the edge

of the picture there he is, foot slightly raised, and

you wonder whether the shoe’s going to descend or


rise and whether the girl will disappear as he comes

nearer or if he’ll casually ask after pan’s wife while

looking past him at the Art Deco clock outside.






Afternoon Movie


You go in knowing it’s already started;

there’s a close-up of a girl staring across

a stretch of water, profile, tear on her cheek -

this time you don’t look for the camera’s

reflection - then the static shot, full face


looking sad as she drives along a road,

not even the upward, arcing angle of tree tops

to lessen the intensity, and you wonder what’s

happened to her, a father dying, a crushed child,

and you know that soon the scene will end,


she’ll get out, technicians take the camera

off the bonnet, unit director smile and pinch

her arse as the chief grip laughingly drives the

car away, she’ll light a cigarette, yawn, tell

a stunt man jokingly to piss off; all the time


that first shot of her is flooding your mind,

and you want to be with her, just with her,

looking across the water.








He always comes late so as not to help move the desks,

we’ve got the room ready, new model tonight, black,

seems ordinary, flowered dress, velvet hat, flat shoes,


she strips behind the curtain, enters, lies on a duvet,

a glistening athlete, frizzy hair part hidden by curled

fingers, silver nails, the curve of her back, African arse,


everything; lines, angles, roundness, her shoulders,

breasts, an insane perfection, I try charcoal, pen, acrylic

- she doesn’t move - crayon, biro, chalk, tape more paper


to the easel, she sits up, smiles, I look away, she rests

on her back, I settle for a 4B, scratch, shade, rub a curve

with a finger till the paper’s worn through; she dresses,


 signs for her fee, leaves, he sneaks out with her,

so as not to help with the desks.





 Relative Objects


A wall photo of fin de seicle Paris like a black and

white Utrillo, winter trees edging the boulevard

narrowing to a  fog of branches, a grey pulls a cab,

a man crosses in front, jacket swirling, a fedora’d


poseur stands in the kerb, but it’s the foreground

that fascinates; a top-hatted roué part-hidden by

a woman’s pale face, crinoline hanging below

her coat, their smudged reflections on the wet road,


I wonder if she knows he’s there, or the driver, or

M’sieur jacket, and if she were to turn to the man

would her perspective be the true one, the best one.

Half way to the counter I drop my cup, the girl has


a broom in her hand before the pieces settle;

to her I’m the man who’s dropped a cup, to me

she’s the provider of food, to the owner I’m

the one that bids him gule gule when leaving


and as I do the cab remains stationary,

it is still cold. I try to imagine

the colour of the woman’s eyes.








She walks into the bar

but it’s eight years and the

spitting eyes are quieter,

fragmented souls seem gently whole

and long legs now stretch her jeans.


She talks of her mother, brother, things.

I listen, practised half-smile,

raised eyebrow, quizzical glance

trowelling maturity all over her

as I ask the bouncer

to turn the music down.


She gives me a lift and as we stop

I mention the million memories

we haven’t mentioned

and getting out remember to ask

what she’s doing these days.

I’m a therapist now she says.


As she drives away

her hair is fair and long again

waist sweet and small

and the night is dense, dark,

hard, like a wall.




Period Piece


They’re looking at a house, arguing whether

it’s Victorian or Edwardian - one points out the

former’s yellow stocks, slate roof, cannon head

chimneys, the other, the latter’s multi-paned sashes,

veranda, fish scale hanging tiles 


as if there is a moment when a house must change

from one style to another, that the foreman, learning

of a Queen’s death, would carry on helping a mason

lift a gargoyle, tell labourers to continue mixing

cement or shout for them to cease


a carpenter to lay down his saw, bricklayers their

trowels, carry them home, bossing mallets, hammers,

ask them to wait till a decision be made, perhaps

to start again, the blueprints, young architect,

cravatted, elegant, foreman calling at cottages

rounding up his men


They walk on, laughing at their pedantry,

leaving a charge hand long gone,

a house in confusion.






Gaps in wardrobes

spaces in cupboards

he knows she’s gone

but ornaments remain;

Wedgwood, Lladro figurines

Regency beaux, flower sellers

a girl with a cake teasing a dog

two children in a nursery fight

one holding a pillow above her head

like a murderous leg of lamb.



He places them on the floor

a sheep standing in a saucer

an owl upside down in a bowl

lovers in an armless embrace

the new stumps strangely aged

gathers handfuls, armfuls, sackfuls

lays them in a line in the hall

treads on the protruding spout

of an elephant teapot.





Deco Fair Junkie


There’s a shallow cliff, storm-blurred palms,

at the edge of the print an American Bar neon,

a Bugatti silhouetted in front, and you  wonder

if a man with a belted mac is standing inside the


door, fedora  dripping, a bottle-blonde and slicked

hair charmer at the bar, dismay as she turns her

head, No, Johnny - the explosion sharp, alien,

wise guy tilts to the floor, she screams, hands


 cupping her cheeks, the man walks out,

pulls up his collar, car splashes away

along Mulholland towards the valley,

trees sway wildly, fascia sign spluttering…


On the centre stand a stepped lamp seeming

higher than the others, its translucent blue like

a tower above a gold-studded Chicago night,

theatres, ballrooms – a club, Lempicka mural


lit from the side, sharp suits tense at a table,

one nods, another leaves, sidewalk shadows lead

him up back-stairs, an open door, a body across

a bed, hanging auburn hair from a bloodied head


 rests on a Valmier rug, a Diomode light triple-

reflected on a dressing table, outside, a chaotic

city, its rackets, two-timers, white-walled tires,

figured walnut, lalique glass, fedoras




3 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think.  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

Thank you for taking the time to read Caught in the Net.  Our other magazine s are Transparent Words ands Poetry Kit Magazine, which are webzines on the Poetry Kit site and this can be found at -