Three new poems from Samuel Prince

I met Samuel through Roddy’s group, and I’m a big fan of his combination of  inventiveness, imagination and restraint, as well as his ability to find black cabs which have no understanding of the geography of London.

The Communal

A pinchful of flour has been stolen,
someone has tripped the switch and left
the widower cussing in the bathroom.
Grandpa ails on the divan.

That hair-lipped miser behind the screen,
indexes our visitors, hordes his heirlooms
and buffs his stiletto pristine.
We eavesdrop on his fractured breathing.

Around the phone is an unannexed zone
but we choose to encrypt our idle chatter;
inhale to hello, two coughs to agree,
tomorrow is a whimper.

Birthdays and accordions wheeze, the tension lifts,
a détente observed and we all donor a song
swap wives to serenade, before a rift
is rekindled over musical chairs.

The corridors become conduits to our private nightmares.


Dial the talking threat level,
sadly it has been sabotaged by the pools forecast – just when we need it.
Then there’s this: Us cannibals will come to turn on each other
seems the graffitists have tried their hands at clairvoyance.
Here’s my tips: those steel calypso drums will be out, petitions out,
those spray-can connoisseurs asked to sketch in court.
Us untrustworthy narrators, our stock will rise.
My double-decker, it edges on as if in a sideways scrolling Atari game,
jolts as we wait for the next scene to load, to earn its features.
From this vantage, I can see beneath the panoply of bus shelters,
the braided princesses, the bobbed gamines, all you High Road drifters,
and junctions ahead, to the cut-offs and overtakes, all the intimidatory tactics
of screw loose drivers and their splenetic emissions.  It wasn’t always so.
Come the day, proverbs will be in, temperance will be in, nightsticks will
be back, and as for me, I want to be on a pre-ordained blacklist,
a who’s who of who has to go,
to be herded to the changing rooms in the national stadium,
fingertips tenderised by bull-clips. I want to leave my lodgings and landlady,
her hands finned in hope, to inspect the pavements that morning
and find craters and craters and craters.


Michael started it.  I was a toddler then,
but grew to laud his burglar’s brio;
the chutzpah of seeking his sovereign’s
counsel.  One stunt and he is 80’s lore,
one copycat bid and a movement is born.
          Gone midnight now, en route
to the Kilburn badlands and home by cab
(no FM paeans only the Sat Nav’s dulcet
diktat), past the palace, infirmary sullen,
high-gated, a crèche for the regal mad,
the acolyte in me wants us to pull over,
mount the perimeter wall and sneak
towards the servant’s annex as the wind
bothers the flag at half-mast, limp
as stringy bacon.
                              Believers  should cut
their hands, sup a vintage white, roister
in the banquet hall and retrace what
they imagine was his route.  Irrupt into
her boudoir, sit rambling at the side
of the four-poster, make small talk on
the décor and matters of protocol, then
ask for a smoke, stroke a footstool corgi
as she goes for help and seals your legend.

Read more from Sam here

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