:: Article

A + E and others poems

By Charlie Baylis.

city girl

the full moon and the full moon with the fur lined mouth
the coral reef ripped by fins off the coast of Japan
the green eye leering through the green grass         the exclamation
mark on the killer whale       the twerking seal      the queen of colorado

scarlett johansson eating a salad        (red pepper        garlic       avocado)
the fountain of jennifer twinkling in the apple light
the monsoon emptying babies from my rain-boots
the vegetable boy crying by the onion rack

the monk counting the snowflakes in the snow, I
standing in the cobweb watching the light change
the fifth and first movement of the charlie wave
the acid flushed city girl         my neon fingers brushing her neon thigh

I never saw the trees
I never wanted to see the trees.

A + E

for Emily

Stay away from my sister. Stay away from my pea soup.
Life is easy when you live alone. My little sister says.
She lives in a castle, chews the sun like chewing gum.
Do you like my sister? You can kiss her at the bus stop.
My nose is turning green. I can’t keep my eyes off her.
Take her home to Arlene. Marry her to a frog –
if a blonde prince waits. Do you know when to stop?
Stop a second before she says stop – her bedroom window
ripples to let rain in, each drop becomes larger in my mind.
Broken into pieces by spies. Do you know my sister?
What is it you want with her? Amber spring showers.
Revolution is a recipe we can’t win. A hole haunts my bathtub of gin.
When I was a boy I pretended to drown every time
my pearly toe blue a swimming pool. I want to sigh a kite.
For the past three nights I’ve been sleeping in A + E.
Electricity has made a mess of me. Fold away my map
of Emily. I do not need her. Every face that flickers
briefly on my screen reminds me so sweetly of my sister.
The moment her hair spilled out into yellow flowers.

from the heartbreaking collapse of the pound


today at the paddling pool by the kino
Ezra spoke to me             said red
was just a shade of red             said
the mountains were not where I would find the mountains

said a scrapheap of lurid images             would not be enough
to light a lantern’s promise

Ezra’s beard was starry and mystical      but the beaches
we bathed on had been bled to death

leaches sucked the pink from the sky
and at night I had to sink a whole ship of cocaine
just to escape this loneliness.

The hallway of permanent creation

The purple skittle on the hipster’s head.
The yellow ball of fear pulsating to the music of the spheres.
The salt and vinegar crisp packet emptying and then filling. Endlessly.
The Himalayan mountain stuffed with soft toys and bubblegum.

The time that the clock says it is. The time that the clock says it isn’t.
Jenny X moaning through the morning mist. Jenny X panting on the colour-wheel.
Temperamental angels, the sanctity of sound.
K the blue letter, K the green letter, K the red letter.

Federica walking backwards through the aviary wearing only gloves.
Lilia untying the stillness of the statues. Elizabeth dipping a toe in the water.
Pink Lucozade splashed on my tongue, my teeth, my dorsal veins.
The hot section, the cold section, the death section.

All of these images I lay at your feet.


Charlie Baylis was born in Nottingham. His critical writing has been published in Stride, Neon and Sabotage Reviews. His poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, the Forward Prize and the Queen´s Ferry Press´s Best Small Fictions. He was (very briefly) a flash fiction editor for Litro. He has published two pamphlets Elizabeth (agave press) and Hilda Doolittle´s Carl Jung T-shirt (erbacce). He spends his spare time completely adrift of reality.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, September 3rd, 2016.