:: Article

Two Poems

By John Holten.

Low Cost Destinations

Chaos may well be the goal, an aim to smash one set of facts against another and to end up living nowhere, to spend the future killing the world, hobbling between the broken list of low-cost destinations as if the apocalypse had descended and différance had grown and finally taken over, leaving nothing identifiable, nothing recognisable or accountable, all footholds gone and obliterated.

       Ciampino is not Roma after all. Torp is not Oslo.

      Paris is not Beauvais, the Pryrenees are not the same as Pau; Skavsta is not Stockholm nor is Vasteras; Treviso is not Venice; Brescia is not Verona; Vitoria is not Bilbao; Altenburg is not Leipzig; Girona is not Barcelona; Charleroi is certainly not Brussels; Weeze is not Dusseldorf; Pisa is not Florence; and Stansted is not London.

      Torp is not Oslo. Oslo is not Torp.

      And while we’re at it: Dublin is not Dublin.

Amnesia Army

A letter in the post
Such a transportive thing to
days and years way back:
good for the reactionary
in you. But no then you
saved yourself, tactful and
clever, you big Guardian Reader.

We live in flat times?
No I shouldn’t think so.
Our music of another age
transports us out of Iraq
and such sad tragic realities
as art for the masses.

Our army the one which
has learned nothing.
‘the oldest army in the world’
with terrorism to disorientate
part of it to kill:
calling all holocaust dogs
calling all holocaust dogs.

Because we’re going to war again
over that must immortal of things:
yet one more abstract noun.


John Holten is a poet and novelist living in Berlin. He recently won the Symmetry of Flaws competition at Greenbeard Magazine. He’s also in the process of establishing Broken Dimanche Press.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, April 19th, 2009.