Issue 19 – Winter 2011 – Stephen Middleton

Stephen C. Middleton



In Praise of the Indirect

Full frontal, they want
To put across
The magic, or the pain


Be indirect
To protect
The mystery of the song

Distance gives illness
Chill & skewed perspectives
Captures myriad blights

A rightness
From deflection
The rest of the world is wrong.



X-Ray / shadow
Felt & feet
That do not touch the ground
Flying low this time

(Wine from Pescara –
I checked the label)

Older bottles
Like those that my brother
Used to collect

Coyote, Katie, which you could
Watch for days

Vitrines & burst blood vessel
Burnt & turns septic
Festering sole
Trench foot, jake leg

“A lot to answer for”,
Says Caro
But that begs questions too
Beuys questions impale also.

Joseph Beuys; Actions, Vitrines, Environments exhibition at Tate Modern 2005, with particular reference to the rooms / exhibits; I Like America and America Likes Me and Vitrines.



Stephen C. Middleton is a writer working in London, England. He has had five books published, including A Brave Light (Stride) and Worlds of Pain / Shades of Grace (Poetry Salzburg). He has been in a number of anthologies, including Paging DoctorJazz (Shoestring), Troubles Swapped For Something Fresh (Salt, 2009) & From Hepworth’s Garden Out (Shearsman, 2010). For several years he was editor of Ostinato, a magazine of jazz and jazz related poetry, and The Tenormen Press, producing limited edition art books of illustrated poetry about music. He has been in many magazines, mostly in the U.K, but also in the U.S.A, Australia, and Europe. His live work includes poetry readings, performance pieces with musicians, stand up comedy, and storytelling. He is currently working on a number of projects (prose and poetry) relating to jazz, blues, politics, outsider (folk) art, mountain environments, and long-term illness.