Simon Smith


Letter, Yesterday’s: with a Poem Attached by Paul Blackburn, & my Entry for the Day Before Yesterday


                              email takes the place of my letters today

today’s entry is reflection

                                                                          & daily account

to cheer you along

yes, Evan clicked at keys & stops in step to the mouthings

Matt sampled then re-processed

                                         as David & I

spoke line into line

each layer broadcast above

the other                                          cut

my nose shaving invisible

                             beneath my left nostril

sore with the cologne, this morning

                                                                   stings recall

Joshua Tree, Split Rock, the exit for Palm Springs   

                                                                                   the downpour as we skimmed Riverside



Paul Blackburn wrote                             the desert –

‘Along the San Andreas Fault’

The neon donuts blink              .                  Other

side of the mountains / yr in the desert                     .              Here

you really know it        .      Barry

Goldwater, Jr. is Congressman

these are his people       .

lines & stanzas

                              hang                                mobile

hang-gliders in air         on electronic

                                                                       the immense


& silent                                            S          P          A         C         E          S




                                               a very personal poem


to drop

                           kisses into

                                                          browsing data & love



                                            RAIN              RAIN              RAIN              the May

blossom beaten into the earth, no Ezra

Pound about to transcend the experience

with a nuclear

                           alchemy, no Métro, no wet

black bough, no faces

only petals, simple                      pink-blue petals                       beaten, muddy petals


Monday’s Blues

Bank Holiday best sat out.

So I sit it out.  Then what?

Bills, road tax the car, renew my driver’s licence – fail

online: – announce Feedback on Facebook to virtual

& real underwhelming indifference

Is my ‘star falling’?  Did it ever ascend?

Quick recce to the supermarket.  Bath.  Radio 4.  Skype down

Dot gone & her mother

                                                             I can hear

but not see her

she can see me

behind a blank wall of 6,500 miles                      the virtual collapses the real

info into deception


a crow passing right past my bedroom window right there it was

sounds like a dog                        sounds like a cat                             sounds like a crow

in the end sounds like a crow                crow Doppler effect


the moon passed the Earth closest tonight, since when              a big mooning face of a moon

at the empty bedroom




the sign sez

there’s a dip in the weather (overcast, humid) sunny by four, freshened

scouring S.E. London for somewhere

                                                                                 to dwell, Forest

Hill, Deptford              (ghost of Kit Marlowe, violence to the geography – a myth

tobacco-smoking, atheist, pederast

unmarked grave four hundred & nineteen years ago yesterday marks

the occasion, ‘great reckoning in a little room’

                                                                                                  Surrey Quays, Rotherhithe

history of a river, source, origin

snakes between quays, tower blocks, cottages, power

house to Empire – long gone


the traffic heavy / slow along Lower Street, the neatly

manicured rose-beds of council estates

block after block of low-rise to the river front & docks –

now marina                     tow path given over to cycle ways & pedestrian ginnel

Plough Way SE8 somewhere possible

checking in the day in free-form

first glass of Côtes du Rhône at six – served at room temperature


Begin Again

late morning in bed

reading / looking at Begin Again

surprise & delight at how you are made

of numerous portraits, a stranger to others

but the construct ‘you’ conjures your presence

the day I gave up drinking today

today & a walk abroad past the Orange Café

up Telegraph Hill Upper Park, across

Drakefell & the railway footbridge

along St Asaph’s and Linden Grove

to enact our return over & over

talking                              talking                             talking

where do we live?                                     what do we inhabit?

what place // language the place of habitation

then to the supermarket, guess at what we might eat

a little chicken with pancetta, a cold glass of Badoit


Liz appears for tea                                sit out in the garden

where are we going /

                                         to live

kicked into the long grass alongside the 12K from ma & pa


Simon Smith is a senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Kent. Part of his entry in The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry, edited by Ian Hamilton and Jeremy Noel-Tod reads, ‘Reverdy Road and Mercury are book-length sequences of short, epigrammatic lyrics which pick up and redistribute the language and life-world of modern London with a Raworthian lightness.’ The Fortnightly Review and The Los Angeles Review of Books have carried essays on his work. Shearsman Books will publish More Flowers Than You Could Possibly Carry: Selected Poems 1989-2012, edited and introduced by Barry Schwabsky, in 2016. Salon Noir, a new book of poems, recently appeared from Equipage.