Wednesday 11 May 2022

Two Poems by Matt Gilbert

Beyond DIY


Winter haunts the bathroom wall,

inviting damp to fill cold corners,

shape faceless negatives in mould


Observed through steam when lying

in hot water, old discontents, reborn

as stains, small guilts on warping paint


Faint apparitions of anxiety, surfacing

behind the taps, a recalled cast

of past mistakes, sketchy forms in white


The angler-fish, all teeth and razor

patience, the eyeless soldier, broken flag,

the crooked bird, on unhinged wings


Ghosts, condensed in two dimensions,

uneasy blot and patch, one day to be

exorcised, with new brushes, dipped in gloss.


An average sort of stone


It’s nothing but a random lump

of broken rock, former gate post

maybe, or fragment of the other house


that once stood here, before a stray bomb

turned terrace into unintended semi –

either way, we’re not expecting much


when we tilt it – but our shifting

discloses latent power, secrets spark,

shadows shrink, as daylight rushes in,


flushing dark out of the underworld,

and we are possessed by fascination,

myself, my son and every child inside


who once was me, gazing now at frantic

legs, writhing orange, segmented lurkers,

exposed alongside squirts of congealed fat,


soon recast as unhappy slugs, squirming

like teens roused early, relieved only when

curiosity relents, puts the stone back in its place.

Matt Gilbert is a freelance copywriter, who also blogs about place, books and other distractions at He has had poems published by Atrium, Black Bough and Ink Sweat & Tears, amongst others. Originally from Bristol, England, he currently gets his fill of urban hills in south east London.



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