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Here one learns a new vocabulary

tinwash, tray off, mobcap,

swiping in and stacking down.


Some of us arrived for a month

one spring and stayed forever

like jaded nomads finding pasture,

needs met, horizons ending here.


In ghost-infested rooms

the newcomer gets lost, disorientated

by the sprawling tangle and pulse

of peculiar machinery


whose failings have produced

a grim, resilient folklore

and we endure its unexpected power

to mess with natural instincts


until we finally grow indifferent

while paying lip service

to the gods of health and safety.



Published in Algebra of Owls, September 2017













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john short

Thu 7th Dec 2017 06:32

Cheers Suki, David and Ray.

Thanks for your comments and feedback. It's always useful to see how people react to poems. This one took a while to get right, since its first incarnation which was rejected by a couple of magazines. I must say though, I was pleased I could manage a poem out of such a mundane situation.

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suki spangles

Thu 7th Dec 2017 05:18

Hi John,

I really like this - especially some of the vivid descriptions around fate and boredom:

like vivid nomads finding pasture,
needs met, horizons ending here..

Poignant too.


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Wolfgar Miere

Wed 6th Dec 2017 07:45

Hello John,

for me this captures how the repetitive mundanity of life can suck the soul out of us (if we succumb). Like sharks, its better to not stay still for too long.

Nice one,


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Tue 5th Dec 2017 22:15

This is what I would call muscular John. A sort of no nonsense approach ; very interesting for me and quite unusual in that it does not duck too much into self absorbtion - which I always like. It reflects much of initiation and how it affects us en masse. Lovely stuff, keep em coming.


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