Brian Johnstone: Two poems


Where we stopped the car was close enough to see
menace implicit in the raised palm of the fence,
its upper case commands that we go

no farther, take no photographs even of the view
we drove up this obscure road to see – the valley
from angles we’d never taken in before;

angles we suspect those busy in this block,
bland as it’s anonymous, guess at in the merest blip
of radar, what some static might conceal; angles

as illicit as the view the man in uniform advancing
as we turn will do his damnedest to obscure
behind the gates of this out-station we don’t wait

to be informed is out of bounds, but gun the throttle,
turn the blind eye of the tailgate on the place,
its guard a cipher in the mirror, logging our retreat.

Wake Up Call

The radio is on in the house next door
and from this distance the staccato Greek
echoing from the concrete walls

sounds as alien as a spaceship
transmitting to Earth news
of our impending doom – a wake up call

as threatening as the thunder
still bilious in the peaks, lingering
from last night’s storm.  We’d woken then

to rain pounding the leaves,
torrents in the lane, the insistent banging
of shutters and doors as the wind

whipped them to life – a warning
we’d heeded long enough
to shoot the bolts, stumble feverish

back to bed, cursing the dreams
that plagued our sleep
and woke us to the white noise of dawn.

Copyright © Brian Johnstone 2014

Brian Johnstone’s sixth collection Dry Stone Work will be published byArc in May 2014. His poems have been translated into over 10 different languages and have appeared in the UK, America and Europe.


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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7 Responses to Brian Johnstone: Two poems

  1. Two stellar poems to start the day. Thank you.

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  3. Laurie Keim says:

    The syntax and phrasing of “Out-station” builds graceful drama and personifies “angles” to a cultural imperative.
    Cheers, Laurie Keim.

    • Thank you very much for your comments here. Happy that my work has connected so well. Do take a look at my website – link below – for lots more poems (audio, video & text). And do connect with me on Facebook for news of readings & publications – I’m at BrianJohnstone.poet there.

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