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Mark Antony Owen

the poet

Syllabic poet Mark Antony Owen writes exclusively in nine original, self-created forms. His work centres on that world where the rural bleeds into the suburban: a world he calls ‘subrural’. Mark is the author of digital-only poetry project Subruria, as well as the creator, curator and publisher of online poetry journals iamb and After...

  • Subruria
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the poems

Tom & Jerry & me & you

00:00 / 00:57

I wish you had known your great-grandfather,
my granddad, stubbed out by thirty years
of smoking and lying about it.
Anyway, he loved Tom & Jerry.

I remember his cigarette wheeze;
how he’d laugh at the pair and fold in two
whenever Tom got smashed in the face.
He fought in a war (Granddad, not Tom).

Actually, Tom did fight a war:
your great-grandfather’s name was Thomas –
‘TOM!’, as your great-grandmother reduced him.
Jerry did terrible things to Tom.

There are war stories of him, punching
through doors to escape the memories
of men he served with, men he saw killed.
Yet the Tom I knew was a pussycat.

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00:00 / 00:36

A dog escaped from its yard,

straying from the bounded woods,

you drop like a ripened fruit –


slip from your disguise of fog

to reveal the awkward wedge

of you, disrobed and alert.


The sprung trap of your leaping;

desperate kick at the wire

wall that separates our worlds.


You are willing me to freeze,

be you, and instinctively,

my muscles seize with your fear.

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A designated public place

00:00 / 01:03

You are in a designated public place,

watching a thin stegosaurus of bunting

get battered by the wind. The Jubilee beds,

crowned by grey roses; the never-ending rain.

This time of year there would normally be stalls,


bouncy castles, young mothers wiping picnics

from the faces of toddlers. Look up and you

might see swifts, winding invisible maypole

streamers round the shifting contrail of a jet.

Today, swings unswung, slick, unclimbable frames.


You are in a designated public place,

yet you’ve never felt more private in your life.

Come again when the bins are dizzy with wasps

and the bandstand buzzes with hits you can hum –

before that old gaoler winter chains the gates.

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Somehow a honey bee

00:00 / 00:24

Somehow a honey bee
made it into the house.
All the windows locked, doors shut.
Found it could pass through panes

with the ease of birdsong;
knew no structure would bar
the way to one so vital.
Or had been here, all night.

Publishing credits

All poems: Subruria (Release Two)

Tom & Jerry & me & you / Somehow a honey bee:

  exclusive first publication by iamb

Muntjac / A designated public place: Places of Poetry

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