Here, Hear / Finger Pick

Stephen Kingsnorth

Here, Hear

Each pocket holds wee notebook, pen,

for fear of being taken short;

here, as I walk, or drift to dream

the rhythms of my breathing stir -

hear phrases, lines I must record,

for fear the man from Porlock comes.


A soothing cream might paint the rash,

but do I want to stop the scratch?

I guess its tinnitus intact,

that constant noise, insistent flow.

Once noted, in my treasure box,

I can relax and do as told,

though, often, surreptitiously,

the guilty pleasure, stolen space.


I feel as lovers found in bed,

or slimmer at the door of fridge,

a form bulimia indeed,

as gorge on words then spew on page.

I blame the heart, the blood, my lungs,

iambic pulse that forces breath,

a peristalsis in my mind,

instinctive force, genetic sound.


It’s not pot-boilers, income bound,

or even share, weak smiles, applause,

but can no other, tap the key,

a resolution, harmony.

A secret diary, in type,

biography of auto sort,

the couch revealed, descendants site,

my rite of life, note book again.

Finger Pick

I’m picky when it comes to scratch,

or torn nail, quick, to pull the tear,

a hidden itch, fingertip search,

secret addiction to the flesh;

impelled to search, create if bare,

construe a need, uncover tweed,

as if to knit and purl calf, shin,

my grandma, stocking seam, set straight.


When fallen boy, from mother’s knee,

another scrape, that blossom flow,

stick plaster curl when told to wash -

it needs to breathe, exposure air;

dried blood, a soak in water, bath,

for finger picking like guitar,

while strings attached to stance, adapt,

a private part, that boil to lance.


For shamed face scar from birth clear marked,

a haematoma, red wine stain

I used to scrub, the nailbrush thick,

so cross that patch became a tick;

four digit tines at back, on call,

to carve a swathe through downy hair -

with surreptitious, hangdog look,

attention claim when seek escape.

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had over 250 pieces published by on-line poetry sites, including The Parliament Literary Magazine, printed journals and anthologies.


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John Johnson

Compulsive Dieting