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Chris McCabe was born in Liverpool in 1977. He has published poems in a number of places including Poetry Salzburg Review; Angel Exhaust, Great Works and Shearsman. He has read at the Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry 2004 and at the Crossing the Line series in London. He has also read and discussed his work on Resonance FM. He currently works as Assistant Librarian at the Poetry Library, London. His first book, The Hutton Inquiry, has just been published by Salt Publishing.






And sang Ave Maria with the class,

air expelled from a line of allotment carriers.

And shut my eyes: each gold clasp of corn

in a field, closed, in anticipation of red.

They told me this was harvest.


Tonight a fox followed me home (19 May).

For the first time thought of Iran as next inglot

in the cocked hat of a triumvirate of ‘I’s’.

A place of binliners & gates & dust called Endland

a summer banjo in Dagenham, no pulse moves

for a tragedy involving British soldiers

& an aircraft called Hercules.


Fox feigns still, follows. Through private paths,

under hubcaps. A Blaupunkt in a Mercedes-Benz

severs him off. Complete loss of red:

gasless flame gives no ignition to privets.





Do you think there’s some ill-omen that you didn’t get a cherry in your muesli? I mean, are you going to die or

something? So he creates an on-screen identity of panic, of lack, then gets others to play it out with various degrees of

authenticity. Established name as replicated, a face-ready facsimile. Like collecting baseball cards for fun when you’re

the player on every one of them. Or bear-baiting yourself when you’re not a bear. Branagh my favourite: you disagreed.

The combination of the moving train & the cemetery to the left - sunlight dealt each stone like a keyring torchlight

across a particularly efficient index system - turned my thoughts to Freud. His influence on the great man. To drive

towards death & have sex in the circumstances of your own choosing. To satisfy though, that’s different. But still you

maintained, everyone’s got a Woody in them.







Robert, creel-

like it weaves


bobs –


all seas

begin where

they end


text as





becomes a

real thing

by necessity

of each word


starts with


& ends

with “echo”



a beginning







like what they say is it

when out, you never own


like your reflection in a mirror

you do not own


you only say “shit”

when it leaves the hole


*          *          *


you would pay


if you could not


*          *          *


the cistern talks

it talks, the cistern


movement in the water below


it could be a rat

it could be related


*          *          *


I need to go


*          *          *


I want to stay





black & grey discs

     of a curtain


coloured by day)


       in the white

block of the frozen


             at stool


the scene is an

cient & new

cats & shadows

through frosted




such momentous

instants, each one

as much as this

narrative creaks

as the edge of what



ribs of garden

fence & wooden

slats try to plume

like sails only to

break the pencil








copyright © Chris McCabe