"Is This Poetry?" and "Writing a Staccato Blast for My Own God-Damn Mind"

Is This Poetry?

I thought it a bit off when
Out of the blue I
Got a message through from
Someone I thought was long
Gone, never to be heard from
Ever again but what they
Wrote me filled me with
Curiosity and the thoughts of
Some extra pounds
They requested that I proof-read
Some poetry that they were
Planning on publishing and
As a poet I always write by
The rule that one should never
Edit, let alone re-write,
Convinced of my own
Genius with every passing
Word, couplet and line
But this book was full of
Words I didn't know, high-brow
I guess they call it, and some
That don't even feature in
My little dictionary, only three
Thousand pages thick so
Clearly not completely exhaustive
But the thought of that
Extra money, all in a bid to escape
This town, this life made
Me endure page after page
Of the most incredibly painful
Poetry I've ever had the
Displeasure of reading
But there was always the
Thought that I was going to
Get paid until, at last it
Was finished and I called them
There was no answer and
That was over forty-eight hours
Ago now and I should have
Known that this would happen
As I walked in my local bar
Desperate to drown all those
Words, all those damnable
Lines, to get them out of my
Mind which simply couldn't handle
The rum flowed freely and
Beer went down quickly and
Not long after my wallet
Was empty and it was time to
Go home knowing in the morning
I would still be drunk and
Writing up my report, not
Holding back and telling them
That if this is poetry then maybe
After all these years, put simply,
Maybe I ain't a poet at all.



Writing a Staccato Blast for My Own God-Damn Mind

I sit here tonight and the words
Struggle on out,
A story I started earlier with promise
Of immortal lines
Now lays dormant in my dreaded
Work-in-progress folder
As tonight I’ve lost myself to wine
Smoke, pizza & the most
Celebrated 0-0 we’ve seen
This year pre-empting this bout
Of dear old Tom and his lucky
Day overture and the writing
Of these words.
Now if I can only sit down tomorrow
And remember the flow
And how it’s meant to go
Because right now it just ain’t working
It’s like a staccato blast to my poor
Ravaged brain leaving me dizzy as
I drop yet another thread and lose
Another sentence to the throb
Inside my god-damn head that
Just plain won’t go away as
Tonight, hell today, it seems is
A day when all those perfect words
Have got away.



Bradford Middleton lives in Brighton, UK.  Recent poems have featured at Mad SwirlFixator PressStink Eye MagazineBeatnik Cowboy and in the ‘Rebel Anthology’ from Back Room Poetry.  His most recent chapbook, ‘The Whiskey Stings Good Tonight…’ was published early 2023 by the Alien Buddha Press.  


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 - 21:01