Poems bys Jim Conwell (UK)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 36.
Natural History Museum
Before the dinosaurs returned,
A huge whale skeleton hung,
suspended from the ceiling.
Mounting the wide stairs in that stony space
You would pass the whale’s bones,
like walking alongside the wall of a ship.
Big enough to feel yourself lost inside
that vast emptiness.
Surrounded by huge, ribbed cathedrals of space
and stray barrels from the ghostly wrecks of ships.
Inside a creature that does not know you.
I want to be a cyberman
full only with circuits and gears,
carefully designed for specific tasks,
within limited parameters.
I want a secure future.
Nothing which might tolerate growth.
My sister was full of growth
in the end.
Huge fucking balls of it
That stuck out her back
and colonised her inner spaces.
But I am not a cyberman
and my only consolation
is imagining their dismay
when they killed her.
We the Living
I am sixty years old.
I have just lost my youngest sister,
“NO!” she said, vehement and outraged
when I suggested that I might leave
before she had been downstairs for a fag.
It was obvious, that evening,
that it would be impossible
to get her down. But I was a warm
promise that what lay ahead
might not happen.
We left her then.
She had to go there on her own.
Because we were the living
And we would go no further.
Jim Conwell lives and works in London. With an original background in Fine Art, he has worked for nearly 30 years in the mental health field. He has had poems published in The Journal, The Lampeter Review, Poetry Cornwall, South Poetry, Orbis, The Ofi Press, The English Chicago Review, The SHOp, Uneven Floor, Turbulence and The Seventh Quarry.