Three poems by Len Lukowski



If it comes to it


I’ve been waiting since

The moment we first met

For the time when you will see

I’m not the person you thought

I was and decide to quietly

End all ties.


Or end them loudly in a blaze

Or in shrapnel or with a pen

Sticking through my heart,

Either way

All the nights we spent

With gin in dark corners

Dancing awkwardly

Never meeting each other’s eyes

Erased like ancient ink

As it meets light.


And I hope that moment never comes

But my friend if it does,

Let it be because of something

I could never have foreseen;

Never thought about until

It caught me totally bewildered

Like waking somewhere strange

Not something I could have prevented.



Library Therapy


Sometimes they ask me questions to which I have no answer

Hermeneutics – what does that mean? What do you know?

When will it be due back in? What happens next/after?


In a room each week she says tell me and with candour

What is it you want to achieve before you go?

Sometimes they ask me questions to which I have no answer.


What exactly is it that you’re looking for in a partner?

Next day my bibliographic knowledge sinks to a new low

Sometimes they ask me questions to which I have no answer.


And tell me about your upbringing, tell me what you remember,

Can you tell me why you chose that tattoo of a crow?

Sometimes they ask me questions to which I have no answer.


Sir, miss, will I hear exactly what I want from your manager?

I stare back blankly my mind on you

Sometimes they ask me questions to which I have no answer.


Staring at dusty shelves going nowhere

Or in her office not knowing what to do

Sometimes they ask me questions to which I have no answer

And sometimes I do but they wait like a cancer.



I give full submission in company. Walk through the city at night thinking how empty it got without you. When I’m alone I’ll mine my heart for anything that’s left and the red of the blood reminds me how happy I am.

We were lost, you can’t say we weren’t – you and your self-righteous rightness, me and my extreme insecurity, always trying to please, never knowing. Full submission in company, you give it as well: your personality has been subsumed into hers and I can’t find a home in you anymore.

Every night I dreamt of strolling to my death while you danced to the Pet Shop Boys. You were having a baby because you knew you wouldn’t be around forever and you wanted it not to have been for nothing, but I don’t want a baby so what the hell do I do? And your sister she was there as well, she’d accused me of the most terrible crime I’m pretty sure I didn’t commit, but at night still she and I would meet on the Heath and fuck so tenderly by the water as though nothing were amiss. In the morning it dawned on me the charges still stood and my heart beat fast in terror.

Every time I see you I have to drink a bottle of whiskey. Half a bottle in, Googling ‘sort my life out’. If you were erased from my consciousness it would be no bad thing.

I search the whole of the Internet for the right kind of music — some sound to make me feel OK.

I’m sorry for what happened.

Outside now, outside is safe. Don’t go.







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