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James McConachie



the poet

James McConachie was born in the UK but has lived for the past 17 years in a remote farmhouse in Spain’s coldest, emptiest inland province. He's turned his hand to more jobs than he feels are worthy of mention, and is never happier than when finding himself lost at high altitude on horseback with only the wind, vultures and music of Hildegard Von Bingen for company. Aside from poetry, James has written prose for the Dark Mountain project, and has more in the pipeline.

the poems

first post

00:00 / 01:03

                        dry heave, I ball my fists

                        or bang my head off the table,

                        I might weep into the dark corner

                        of our stupored soul

                        for knowing and forgetting

                        all those moments

                        of nothing grace

                        a mother wets a tissue,

                        wipes a streak of blood

                        from her child’s face

                        yet swept into the fire

                        the eternal touch of honeyed hand

                        Iskander scores the sky to the east

                        and for what? small fears

                        the language or the naming

                        of the land, or some fucking flags

                        always the same shit

                        reasons, always forgotten

                        but sorrow filths up the crescent

                        beneath the nails forever

                        and it will be written

                        we should. have done. better.

                        dry heave, I ball my fists

                        bang my head off the table,

                        and weep again, this morning

                        it seems there’s always time

                        for another cold horror,

                        another mother’s letter


00:00 / 01:00

                        three days of gales and

                        I’m meshed into a tousled briar,

                        clearing the corral, all thorns

                        the handstain fruit

                        long wintered away

                        oil can chimes giving it the full four clangs

                        slices and scratches

                        of maybes and should’ves

                        the blood the wind and the want

                        give life, their constant

                        brutal diligence, the letters laid

                        in winter’s bright book of hours

                        the garden, knee deep

                        in my dereliction,

                        sees the sun as it lands

                        but doesn’t stick somehow

                        the sky, a haze of headaches and icy hostilities

                        bustling up over the tops and away

                        out on the campo, a hare flickers

                        under the cloud shadow, shrieking

                        across the field, almost dark

                        I gather logs, the stars show again

                        so heaven’s veil is torn

                        just a little, at the hem


00:00 / 01:30

            oneday, imma dance like a dervish out of the dark

            scoop gold pennies from the sky

            scatter quinces at your feet, found at last

            your cool hand in the bright bower, oneday

            oneday, imma song the things I shoulda said

            to the silence of the windless glade

            and if unheard, it will only hope

            to summon the breeze, to the daylong quiet shade, oneday

            oneday, imma shine the nightingale’s silver lyre

            pluck such tunes

            as only a god might whisper to a bird,

            all sighs and secrets, to leaven the unhurried word, oneday

            oneday, imma speak the mark and measure of this time

            the sneaking sand, the simple sorrows, the

            the supermarket savagery

            of war’s fire and lime, oneday

            oneday, imma swim all the way over the ocean

            to the very rim of the world, the paper cowl

            will shrink and shrivel, just as it should

            the forgotten face, the skin uncurled, that was my own, oneday

            oneday, imma find the boy who startled the stars, who shares my smile

            then inks together these battered bars

            drinks deep the rushing sap, beneath the ragged bark

            oneday, imma dance like a dervish, out of the dark

Publishing credits

All poems: exclusive first publication by iamb


S h a r e

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