New Poetry, Fiction, Essay

5 poems by Harry Gallagher

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Harry Gallagher’s new collection, Northern Lights (Stairwell Books) is a love letter to the people from the North East of England – who they were, who they are now and who they could be. He has previously been published by Prole, The Interpreter’s House, Ofipress, Poets’ Republic, Rebel Poetry, Lucifer Press, Black Light Engine Room Press, The Linnet’s Wings and others too numerous to list here. He runs the North East Poetry Society stanza and performs live up and down the UK.




Dirty Mouth


Attenborough blue,
Cousteau blue,
you know the shade.
That sheer, clear blue,
home to fish unafraid
of human intruders
stomping on sand,
clumping grains into cloud.

I have known you,
subtropical siren,
your miraging mouth
massaging the sun
with promises
of forevers.

You have no place
in this ragged poem,
which aches like Mondays.
Whose sinews roar
at the gates to the gare.
Whose head gets swimmy
with a sniff of the breeze
which whips off the breakers.

Where petrels skreek
their rage to the headland.
Where the filth of the furnace
fights its dirty corner.

It is a losing battle,
as season on season
its poison pen letters
will fade like a lovebite.






We are the overlooked,
the done to.
Our plates are crammed full
of bills and payfreezes.

We are the crumbs
brushed from the banquet table,
trodden on chronic
by bigger boots than would fit us.

We have no books
and our sights are set
by the scuffed skirtingboard
than surround us.

Sometimes we scuffle
when all we can see
are more and more crumbs
joining us in the cracks.

We feast on the stories
fed to us daily,
never look up
and never ask questions.




A List Of Possible Explanations For A Distant Buzz On A Cold Autumn Night


A sungold Yamaha FS1-E,
mowing down the decades
between youth
and middle age.

A bumble of bees,
tooled up and sleek,
come to kick the shit
out of Winter’s shins.

An odd numbered station,
throwing its lonely voice
out over the waves
of a tonedeaf world.

The whirr of a windfarm’s
semaphore hands,
singing “I am a siren
with come to bed sighs”.

The price of the thrill
of all of those years
doing lovely battle
with Gibsons and Fenders.

Or just the creaking
of a travelsick planet,
heaving like a waltzer
that’s had toomuch speed.






Unkempt as his beard,
this house is a raincoat,
trusty as time.

Windowboxes have rooted
to ledges, to walls,
tendrilled, mortared.

For he is green man,
bringing woodland to armchair,
to table, to floorboards.

And one day soon
all these tender stems
will leaf into his ears,

his eyes and mouth.
His fingers will forest
into elder and pine.

The windows will sprinkle
themselves in the soil,
his frayed trouser pockets

now nuthatch nests.
And all is as it should be
as his oldbones await the Spring.




Bevin Boy


No Cadiz for you,
nor eastern breezes.
Hand picked by uncle Ernest
for a life of liftshaft mornings,
the clank of the cage door
shafting the light.

Pitch marched in line
each cold desperate day
down into the guts
of a burnt black beast
which swallowed men whole
and spatout their shadows.

No bloody medal for you,
just backbreak and slack
that seeped through your lungs,
laying the eggs of the wheezes
that you always knew
would oneday sing you to sleep.




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