John Smallshaw


Not bothering when
until the now becomes then
turns men into monsters.

On the streets where we grew old
before the sun had quite set
before the fisherman caught us
but we
are still caught in the net.

when becomes now and then it is,
or is it then anyway when any day
could be the day?

I am wasting my time in this word maze
making syllables play games
making names out of mirrors
and building sharks
where’s the minnows?
where are the small fry that slipped through the net
did the fisherman capture them
and if so when?

Let me go back to another reflection
a ratification of each imperfection

a hologram man
not here but I am
In and out
out and in

Remember that rose?
“Spanish Harlem”
when the road was a garden
how it tried
those withered old men took
the plans and a pen and in one
single stroke

smoke and looking glass through which
we cannot pass.

I saved my hours in a pint pot
and got nought in return
burning daylight to flush out
didn’t feel right.

It’ll be alright soon.

as I fly from the seven pillars
with seven dollars
one for each of the widows
Harlem looks golden
like an apple and
another garden to be stolen.

Old is then when is then when is
and makes no sense to me.