Late Tuesday night, deserted London street, London Gold,

October blues, dense night feeling, vocalese on the radio,

jazz scat-singing trilling chirruping, counterdawn of dusk,

over the City, night will gently break, and a light caul of sleep, (night calls),

black cool, like a cloak, cover all, down on a young man’s cheek,

nachtmusik cuts to crooning sax solo then piano/guitar

trade riffs, swap solos, lights stranded in windows glow through the night,

eat into the dark by an acid of pale orange-yellow electric light

leaching into the night’s fallows, wash of pastel-pale, dissolving

shadows to shed them elsewhere more densely, outcasting a penumbra

of shifting lights, segues to strings, intro to the ballad, lush sheen

of string section, the junked lover in the song is singing

of how she’s staying up all night getting high on black coffee

and nicotine, hellhounded by whisky chasers around the rim

of a Guinness glass, switch to the catguts of Robert Johnson’s

liquor guitar wailing over his long-lost lady, black soul

crying over the Hackney nightime rooftops, with luna riding high

on skeins of black nightcloud, God’s nightlight, cut to radio 3 notturna

quiet London street, a radio, a lit window

 

 

Andrew Shelley

 

Born 1962 in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England, the winter Sylvia Plath died. Began writing in 1973. Bits of his juvenilia survive in the magazines  Sepia, Pennine Platform and Northern Line and in the pamphlet Chaos (Kawabata Press, 1979). Went up to Cambridge in 1980  to read English. Graduated with a First in 1983. Poems of his won prizes at University. In 1984 he lived in London, working as a literary journalist, reviewing for The Sunday Times and The London Magazine. 1985-6: Lived and wrote in Greece on Ministry of Education Scholarships, teaching English Literature occasionally. In 1986 he went to Oxford to write a doctorate on Beckett, which was awarded in 1991. Held a Research Fellowship there from 1991-93. On completion of this he became a full-time writer, teaching only occasionally. Many publications, including poems, essays and articles in magazines.  Books include Peaceworks (The Many Press 1996), Requiem Tree (Spectacular Diseases, 2002), Thornsongs (Unarmed Chapbook, 2007), Love Enough (Pulsing Vulva, 2008), Openacity  (Drunken Guru, 2009), Bread Bullion (five thousand mile paper mine, 2012), True Moral Loaves (five thousand mile paper mine, 2012). ‘Undercoming’ is a text/visual collaboration comprising the books Lightwriting (Gabbling Goblin,2007) and Happy Apples (Cuddly Shark, 2008) and an exhibition, ’Word of Eye’. Two collections – ‘Spit Bricks’ (1997-98) and ‘Idiot Scripts’ (1999-2005) – have appeared in their entirety as individual pieces in print magazines and online but remain unpublished as books. Other yet to be published books include ‘Defining Statements on an Autumn Afternoon’ (2011-13), ‘Dying For Friday’ (2014-15), ‘Letters to the Lost One’ (2015-16) and ‘Things to Say to Jilly’ (2017) . Recently completed projects are a short book, ‘Done For Love’ (2017-18) and a pamphlet, ‘As They Broached the Goldmine’ (2018). Both are as yet unpublished although sections of the latter title have appeared in the journal Tears in the Fence. Most recently completed projects are the pamphlets ‘Everyman’s Land’ and ‘Soldier’s Block’. Lives and works in North East London.

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