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James Roome

the poet

James Roome has an MA in Poetry from Manchester Metropolitan University. His poems have appeared in Magma, Tears in the Fence, Anthropocene and Ink, Sweat & Tears. James' chapbook, Bull, is published by The Red Ceilings Press, and was a summer 2019 Poetry Book Society selection.

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the poems


00:00 / 00:44

We took a trip down to the fairground.
I could smell all the fairground smells,

the hot diggery dogs, the sweat-smell,
see the ferris wheel turning like a walrus.

We ran there. All of us laughing.
My dad smiling for what seemed like

the first time in ages, since he topped himself.
Like nothing was happening in the world.

In the belly of the fair we found the candyfloss stall
and the man behind the counter had no teeth.

‘Don’t let this happen to you, young laddie,’ he said
and grinned at me, and I said, ‘No I won’t’. Then

we all held hands together and walked into a furnace.

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00:00 / 00:44

It was summer and the rain
was falling on the old
green leaves
when she came the first time,
bear in hand,
to ask for a cup of milk or
sugar or something.

And I said, What’s this
a pet bear? And
she looked at me,
quizzically, as if to say,
Of course it is,
are you blind?

I reached down
to touch its soft brown
breathing fur
and it growled, showing me its teeth
and said, Careful

for I have cracked bone
and torn the flesh
from leaping tabbies.
Where I come from, you
wouldn’t last five minutes.

And where is that? I asked.
And the bear said, Next door.

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A Burning Hotel

00:00 / 00:38

The first thing I did was run past the flames
and jump on the bed.

Testing the mattress,

Then the toilet flushed.
Mike was standing there, topless.

He nodded and I grimaced 
as if I’d been punched in the gut,

then threw myself out of the window.
Outside the hotel a fire engine was parking up.

I watched it from my last good eye
before it all went black.

Anyway, Mike called it.
The next day the world really did end.

Publishing credits

Fairground: placed second in the University of Hertfordshire

  Single Poem Prize

Neighbours: Magma Issue 61

A Burning Hotel: exclusive first publication by iamb

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