Andrew Darlington


we have secrets,
the private wounds
we don’t share with outsiders,
there are men without shadows
in this lost Yorkshire village,
we lock and bolt doors at dusk,
we stay inside and fear the dark,
and we don’t tell others
we keep this fear inside and
glimpse it in each other’s eyes
the beasts in the wood,
foul children we don’t speak of,
the carrion stench
we pretend not to notice
the inconvenient blood smears
we discretely expunge
for we have secrets
we fear to share


after a reading in Huddersfield
she takes me aside and whispers
the leaf-free oak branch
her ey
‘why burneth thou with such rage?’
and I tell her nay, you misunderstand,
tis nothing but my tilt of humour
the way I swallow poison down, but
she knows me more than I know myself,
for you question not the pulse of blood
in your veins nor the fire you breathe,
it is but part of you, your factory setting,
your default orientation, how to define
anger when it’s all you’ve ever known?
as inseparable as gravity from a planet,
it wraps me, I can know no external thing
without that thing being infected by rage,
an anger that turns the world into symbols,
it’s only now I’ve written it all out of me
purged in poems of blood and bile
through fifty years and come clear
to a better understanding of self,
that I see yes, she was right all along,
anger and guilt, rage and remorse
were the energies that power me
those poems that freed my soul,
thank you sweet lady,
you saw my pain before
I even knew I was hurting…

Andrew Darlington has had masses of material published in all manner of strange and obscure places, magazines, websites, anthologies and books. He’s also worked as a Stand-Up Poet on the ‘Alternative Cabaret Circuit’, and has interviewed very many people from the worlds of Literature, SF-Fantasy, Art and Rock-Music for a variety of publications (a selection of favourite interviews collected into the Headpress book I Was Elvis Presley’s Bastard Love-Child. His latest music biography is Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey: Sly Stone & Black Power (Leaky Boot Press).