The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

2 Poems Published

By John Challis, UK (Published in Issue 18)


For Residents Only


When we are finally forced to pack

the trailer with our withered things

and join the steady traffic south

towards the city whose entrance reads,

for residents only.

      We will pull over

at a petrol station outside Luton.

And under the purgatorial light

of the English motorway system,

I will help your pregnant body,

out of the car and into the lorry,

where the other undernourished

hopefuls make a tiny space for us.




John Challis was born in London in 1984. He is currently working towards a PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University looking at film noir and contemporary poetry. He directs the poetry and music night Trashed Organ. In 2010 he was awarded AHRC funding to study for an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. His poems have previously appeared in The Rialto, Clinic II, Lung Jazz: Young British Poets For Oxfam (Cinnamon Press, 2012) and are forthcoming in Iota.



The courtyard had arranged itself today

for a photo with a row of skirts and knees

in front of the great hall, between the trees

that frame this delicately poised soiree.

Though take a closer look. It’s such a shame.

A man pulls out his penknife and beheads

the high-necked tulips in the flowerbed

then turns and hands them to some pretty dame.


Here in the bath the grey chemical clouds

touch the white of every ankle and thigh,

as the red flowers illumine the dark light;

the picture emerges beneath the shroud.

When it is over, I peel back the sky,

then slide the picture out from its night.