• John Paul Davies

Selected Poetry by John Paul Davies

Rio de Janiero

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons


I see you from the airplane window,

waving across pitch plain,

stranded in some blank desert

I could cross and leave no sunken shape.

Where you’ve been hiding–

above the clouds,

just this side of darkness,

roused by the steady

blink of a wing light,

disappearing into the

burgeoning horizon.

Rio Instances

The shock of continents.

Film over the eye, the steam

of Rio De Janeiro.

Airport tannoy drips slow evil.

Currency on short loan.

Gringo in each clenched fist.

Cristo Redentor,

arms deadlocked scales-

good and evil in equal weight.

Copacabana crawls.

Carioca boy of eight

opens taxi doors,

heavy with the twisted

spire of his head;


limbs lopped trunks.

I offer Five Reals and no answer.

Eyes in a doorway,

his father had hoped higher.

After the Samba, carnival streets

black as gunpowder,

burning beef and rain-damp rice.

Carnival burns late.

The undead kiss in

back-room bars;

fog like tongues finds Botafogan graves.

The Skol-sellers coil in their shells,

hammock their bones on

Two Real notes.

Dream of coconut skinned green.

River washes its mountain dregs,

shanty bulbs pop like poor Christmas lights,

eyes put out one by one.

Rushed Neon

If you look hard enough

you find them,

in puddles and in headlights

you see the city

replaying its scenes.

It is years before we meet

before you let hair drape

like idle strands of sun sauntering

into lived in, life-full

looking-in rooms.

It is years before

so we pass cold-eyed,

each needing nothing from the other.

Or it is the thought of us harboured

in the red of the window.

The new people in our seats

may feel the air different,

a strange slant of light

if for a second

they pause in their pulse.

We are held in glass

like a river that never

broke into pieces,

like a river that never

broke its back in places.

In rushed neon,

a drawing down of lids to tears,

the city relives us.

On the park seat

between those worthy of

bronze words

and a dash between

two certain years–

where we never leave off,

watch our voices torture the air,

invent our own continuous season.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Accountant

Poised like an unsprung briefcase

deep in his figures room,

occasional tea the

only human contact.

Let's talk of logarithms, Maths

and of grey never

being the new black.

Tidy order, all red-ticked

and accounted for.

Stationery aligned, the battle set.

Pen unsheathed- but no

spectator sport this.

No drumroll greeting the

whir of his till-roll.

No audience to enrapture

with the speed of his calculator.

Day drips as the ink dries

on each non-wavering column.

Eraser crackles in its cellophane,

white as new fallen snow

on a new unaccounted for day.

The Vanished Room

Walled-in disquiet, the window painted white

on the inside.

Overlooking the high street

like a malignant eye.

The room a hate-furnace:

inside a brandy barrel,

liquid dark divides,

begins to curdle.

No matter how often

the corridor paced,

where the room

should be is vanished.

What made the girl’s eyes roll white

threatens to seep out of the bilge,

the barrel to explode in shards

each time you gaze

up at the window,

looking back sightless.

Born in Birkenhead, UK, I've had work published in Rosebud, The Pedestal, Southword, Orbis, Footnote, QU Literary Magazine and Maine Review. Winner of the 2018 Letheon Prize, I've also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times.I co-run The Bull's Arse Writers Group based in Navan, Ireland (Twitter: @Bulls_Arse).

If you are interested in learning more about John Paul Davies, you can find him on Twitter at @johndavies1978