Fred Johnston


The sun always grabs us by surprise its yolky wash on a pub wall the clumsy spill round the black legs of café tables. it rains so frequently it’s like the sea trying to climb out of its skin. The beach is a runnelled grey, an old man’s face in cardiac arrest. we have stopped

Bone Scanning

Perhaps like Superman I will see through walls now that I’ve tanked up on isotopes lighting bruise-blue veins and sparking neon from suspect bones the camera, smoochy as a lover will map out the secret places where little bumpy evils lurk jigsawing until I am like a find in a dig and there it is,

The Origin of Poetry

Forgive the figure curled like a question mark in the corner no one speaks his language He tried to read a newspaper and failed, print swimming like tadpoles in a jar At night he speaks to Napoléon of empires and dying horses in the day-room he recalls his wife She comes as ghosted as a


We went about in circles one hand on the next man’s shoulders something out of Gogol or Great War blind: we ate chicken soup, which gave one old man stomach cramps: he was taken away, snotting. A trustee, if such a thing is imaginable in a lunatic asylum, clicked around as part of a service-trolley,