Key Sticking In

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2021

She felt for the lock in the dark,
coming home late, key sticking in
at the plate,
leaving a mark and a scuff,
click click stuck stuck fuck ugh
– flipped her fist to a strain,
and then
– just –
cold
air through the threshold, through her and then
sense in the skin, not the head.
She got in
good, rest at the bedposts.
Stood on lead pins.
With a tick of the clock she stopped –
she dropped in the dark and got off.

The Giraffe-Necked Woman

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2020

Pretty sure no-one else can see
the giraffe-necked woman.
She only sees me:
she looks no-where else,
waits for me motionless behind blinds,
walls, trees, the dark, closed eyes,

her lids are relaxed, always as if amused,
lazily leaned into laughter lines
and her open mouth smile
so distended, her jaw
must be long broken, lips long gaped to
sticking that way, fastened, aching
long open, cartilege stiff,
the look never breaking,

Sometimes I meet her eyes,
stare her down, scrabble for the magic words.
Her reaction is resting there ready,
on me before I speak.

The neck is so I can’t forget, I guess:
she’s never explained any of it.
I get the impression I wouldn’t get it.
Or it’s funnier if I don’t know.

Big Red Dog

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2018

It’s dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog

up there and the last dog is massive,
pained with the weight of it, outstrained
and bleeding out, impassive.
Red seeping through and thickening the mane,
a Clifford of sin,
breathing breaths so deep to tear the skein,
stretch the skin.

One day blood will pour down redwood bark,
tons of it,
pour through the scratches and rain down thin

’til the ground is filth and the skies are clean
and the seas are filmed, filtered red
like the backs of breeching sharks
and the wings’ll be all too heavy to reascend –
unsolemn silence will smother the holes we open up –
and when no-one comes to help
no-one will cry again.

Me Manifesto

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2017

Here’s a manifesto for the crowd
who’ve come to clap it –
and the rest of you can clock it
between laugh tracks and ad traps
and bulletins and sleep and shifts
in re-tweets and clips –

I’m a strong leader-

That’s basically it. I’m strong, like a bull
and full to the brim with it –
fit and trim, heavy with lustre so
big up my bluster and sing with it –
trust me –

Love me and I will love democracy –
stick with me and maybe
I’ll do something new –
lasso the moon and bring back the past –
lower your taxes too – maybe
whatever it is that you want –

You’ll see –

The Boy from the Badlands

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2017

Rob McFadden, he’s a bad un –
he’s a nasty, gone-off pasty
full of sweaty brawn and internet porn.
Steer clear of his beery back streets
and his alt-right tweets.

He’s a bad lad
an his dad said he’s a mad ed.
I’ve seen him eatin cod and chips
with skeevy teeth and rotten lips.
He dun’t have salt and vinegar –
he just has crack and poppers –
and his eyes are bleedin beadier
than Roy fuckin Cropper’s.

Rub McFadden’s lamp an he’ll chew you
in his greasy gums –
do you in the slack of the black eye
and keep the good un for your mum.

Gumshield

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2015

The Kingston Crab Fighter was
a real contender, they said,
but I killed him on the sand.

The beach, they said, was what he had done
to shells, cliffs, cartilage,
maybe all beaches
with his hard, constant-curved
glaze cherry red
Everlasts –

he smashed the rocks, ground them
every time he chose not
to lift the fists above the land – –
imagine, they said:
every time he let his flex down,
beneath his heels,
sand in his wake.

I saw he was all glass jaw, I called him out of the
salt-grit water, sweating from somewhere soft.
I just roped a dope and
cracked him with a clench,
took my money and went.

Brush

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2015

He stood rangy, stretched,
fur lining climbing from suede sleeves –
pale, rained clean.
He tilted his long head.

I’d been with better-looking guys,
he’d been with prettier-looking voles,
but this is to certify
that what I did with him was presentable.

The badger-man dug us up a jug, no cups
and an abandoned shed
and we did enough
to get four posts up.
We drew moonshine after dark and I drank
from his hairy back.