Three poems by Rupert M Loydell


We are a biological computer
drawing lines, connecting dots,
processing glyphs and contours.
Big photos on the wall make us feel
like we are going to the moon.

Anybody can make a narrative,
everybody does. We grid the page,
restrain the words, and everything
falls into place once mapped.
It’s like a battlefield, you have to

think your own way through. I want
a definitive world view; perception
has changed because of technology
but is always open to recall. We occupy
a different space in another room.



When I came to write this, I had lost the first sheet of paper written in the night as the poem nudged at me, escaping from the book I’d finally managed to read after three attempts.

The story is told to the narrator by his friend (‘I remember he said that she said’), slowly recounted by the author. It is a book about the recent past, history and how people escaped it, ran away or hid, allowed others a place on the train or a plane. It continues until we get to facts about extermination, concentration camps, memory and loss.

Between the words, the silence, says Dan Beachy-Quick, each silence as nuanced and potent as the rest. Untold stories need telling, but we need room for the unsaid too, space to write and think.

Death happens all too soon.



,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Resources for addressing the needs
Last year I was homesick
……………We need to take control
Education, materialism and hard work
……………Making immigration work for all
I am a child – we either flourish or flag
……………Urgent needs and key recommendations
You can see my beliefs by what I do
……………Refugees are living in perpetual fear
I have been growing up here
……………Sponsor a child
We have a really good life
……………Maximizing the potential
Next year I am homesick
……………Find us a new home 

……………I see people in a different way
Remember that the dying character still has a personality
……………It’s not a fear as such
The dying process is often referred to as the terminal phase
……………It’s like you are tumbling down
This definition will guide validation of after-death reports
……………I don’t have to feel this way
Life is a survival horror game set in a vast and dangerous open world
…………..It feels even worse
This has been created to help you to answer some difficult questions
…………..I am so sick and tired of listening

…………..I was hoping I can stay
The right to travel has never been absolute
…………..We were very sorry to leave
Free movement rights may differ somewhat
…………..We had very little to lose
The country needs a new migration system
……………Everyone seemed so frightening
A world where boundaries are becoming less meaningful
……………I felt very lonely most of the time
A narrative about the rights of individuals
……………Find us a new home

Setting Fire to the Train Tracks to Get the Snow to Melt, by Rupert M Loydell

It’s not unexpected, it’s not a surprise,
it’s not even a snowstorm, 20cm of the stuff
on a main road and the county grinds to a halt.
There’s only one gritter for us all, we’ve run out
of salt, and some stupid driver had an accident
the moment the first snowflake fell. Elsewhere,
people have left their cars and walked away,
and a school are bedding down for the night.
You couldn’t make it up. I haven’t. It might be
cold, it might be icy, we will have to stay home.
Funny, I had a coat, a scraper and simply drove
slow. I think it has happened here before
but you wouldn’t know it. We are busy stockpiling
food and buckets of water in the cupboard
in case Europe turns the supply off. We grew
our own veg and won the war and we don’t want
foreigners here. We’d rather starve, maybe we will.
Look out, here comes another inch of snow,
a rainbow, and a weather warning. Turn the TV up
and put on another jumper. The world will have
to listen now. Let’s set fire to the rails.

Because, by Rupert M Loydell

Because they live longer lives
……we let them sleep all day
……then die alone.

Because they do not understand
……we cannot teach them,
……prefer not to talk.

Because they do not earn enough
……we let them eat badly
……and live somewhere else.

Because they are not us
……we are not interested
……and leave well alone.

Because they will die sooner
……we make excuses
……and put ourselves first.

Because we do not understand,
……they are always there;
……thankfully somewhere else.

Because we do not care
……they are not cared for,
……and live on their own.

Because they live such lives
……we push them away
……and let them die alone.

Damaged Gods by Rupert M Loydell

An easy typing mistake to make,
but in the context of these poems
one pertinent to belief and doubt.
Can we damage, have we damaged,

the god we wanted to believe in?
Saying the wrong thing, questioning,
ignoring, or just getting it wrong:
ambition and money, big buildings,

bad songs, an excuse for wars and
imposing our way of life on others.
Perhaps we need more words
for sorrow and despair, perhaps

we should learn how to pray again,
how to live and how to behave,
tie ourselves up in knots of thought
and accept we are just illusion.

Rupert Loydell’s books are published by Shearsman Books and Knives, Forks and Spoon Press.

Apologies by Rupert M Loydell

So, we apologise for everything.
The NHS and parking, unemployment,
attitudes to immigrants, the price
of food and drink. It doesn’t
really affect us, we don’t know
about shopping bills, bus fares
or the cost of fuel; but we’re sorry
to hear you’re struggling –
can you try harder to earn more?

We didn’t mean to pinch your arse
or overlook promotion. Didn’t mean
those rude remarks, or your
lower pay scale wages. If you
want a job then fight for it,
you must pay for education;
sitting in the bar, like us,
won’t help with your ambition.
Can’t you try harder to earn more?

The line is longer than you’d wish,
the pub was quiet and empty.
I’m  always amazed how much I know
compared to all the experts.
We’ve started so we’ll finish,
the odds are stacked against us;
nothing’s ever gained by deceit,
so figure out your reasons
for not earning what you’re worth.

Yesterday’s forgotten, tomorrow
isn’t here, so work out your position.
You didn’t mean to end up this way,
but this is what the facts say:
you did this and you did that,
then thought of other things to do.
You say that you deserve more,
you are worth more, but we’re
at the mercy of market forces:

you’re only worth what they will pay
and you are always undervalued.
Life is shit, and what is worse,
there is no love between us.
Things we value are worth less
(which implies a kind of freedom),
but we are lost and without work,
even though we want to earn
what we’re worth or more.

Trust us and we’ll prove ourselves,
return on your investment.
Pennies pinched and spent
will reward phantom guidance.
We don’t know the cost of things,
are not involved in daily finance,
but of course we understand
and care, please rest assured
we know how hard things are.

We apologise for everything:
the price of drink and unemployment.
Revise your attitude to immigrants
and the price of food and drink.
We don’t know about shopping bills,
bus or train fares, what gas costs.
Sorry to hear you’re struggling,
we’re sorry to hear you’re poor,
but can’t you manage to earn more?


Rupert Loydell’s books are published by Shearsman Books and Knives, Forks and Spoon Press.

The World According to Trump by Rupert M Loydell

The gun he killed with
doesn’t count:
it is not a gun law issue.

The women he fondled
do not count:
it was not sexual assault.

Money sent to offshore banks
does not count:
it is not tax avoidance.

Those who object
do not count:
they are simply wrong.

Those who are colored
do not count:
they are not American.

The election he won
counts for everything:
it was not rigged at all.

Donald Trump
cannot count.
His days are numbered.

Sheer Bravado by Rupert M Loydell

Sometimes, of course, it is sheer bravado,
wishful thinking about what could have been.
times it is because I do not remember,
retold the story so many times
it has become fiction, a truth gleaned
from photos, memoirs, friends’ anecdotes,
overlaid with a veneer of middle age.

It probably wasn’t like that
but I remember it as better then.
Gigs were cheap and plentiful,
London was a great place to live,
and the world just was, a place
of potential and possibility, not one
devoid of promise and spare cash.

I worked shifts at the hospital,
spent a summer mixing chemicals
in a factory, another teaching sailing
to kids in the USA. New York
was simply wonderful, hot and
cheap to live in; a year in Coventry
brought me down to earth, taught me

things I didn’t want to know:
how people were different and lived
as they chose, how people were poor
and couldn’t live as they wished.
Forty years later, we’re all the same:
broke and trapped in a consumer dream
we can’t afford and wouldn’t wish

on anyone. Hidden away in our village,
we’ve escaped the worst, but friends
are back on the dole, on the streets,
worn out from corporate bullshit
and the forms they always need to fill in.
Sometimes the future seems sheer bravado:
we need to stand together, not give in.

Rupert Loydell’s books are published by Shearsman Books and Knives, Forks and Spoon Press.

Quiet Prayer by Rupert M Loydell

It was not a quiet prayer.

When it came, it was

wrenched from him, in anger

or pain, possibly both, but

it was definitely a shout

not a whisper, was certainly

something directed at god,

certainly heartfelt and

demanding, absolutely sure

of its reasons and concerns.


It was not a quiet prayer,

it was a scream of grief

ripped out of the night,

pain from hearing the worst.

It was primal and personal,

a shout about being alone

and not knowing what to do,

a request for a compass,

a map and survival rations.

But mostly a demand for love.


It was not a quiet prayer

and it whispered its way

around the village, out

into the world. Elsewhere,

on their knees, others

were shocked at the raw

hurt, the need; took prayer

upon themselves, spent time

begging for mercy

and pleading for his soul.


It was not a quiet prayer,

it was prayer nourished

by dissolution and despair,

a loud eccentric mash-up

of energy and anger,

questions and desire,

despair spun loose

into the world to see

where it would go and

if anyone would answer.


[first published in Third Way]

The Best of Both Worlds by Rupert M Loydell

The marriage was a write-off from the first night.

After the plumbers, builders and barristers, comes

the most exciting contemporary art show in town.


Images and sounds, and how they go together,

turn out to be an artistic narrative of a wounded

young man with yesterday’s empties on the ground


or abandoned on windowsills. The music scene

is exploding, the best of both worlds, though

less of a bonanza than expected. It’s no surprise


that boys should rebel and break loose, then

cordon off the other. Adolescent transgression

is a richly painted surface that appears to have


some kind of extra dimension. There are quaint

optical effects, professional struggles with

tragedy, and still one last act to come.


Spurt Splat Thwump Splish. Blessed with

an extraordinary ear and new-found prestige

this is less about the past and more about


the future. Performances begin this weekend.

This is music without sound, a spectacle

which generates sticking-out ears and lines


that morph into the sound you make in your head.

You read as you hear as you look, only to find

yourself coaxing a fragile soundtrack out of


a prolonged struggle with nerves, hysteria,

colitis, stomach cramps and migraines.

Glassy letters shatter like cat’s teeth,


giving an unregulated feel to dance events

scissored straight from the pages of cartoons:

bleak communist blocks in pale grey skies.

Ahead of the Game by Rupert M Loydell

We are too slow at escaping, too good at sitting still and enjoying the lives we have made. We need to be ahead of the game, selling up, moving on, making new friends.
We have become bogged down with what we own and worrying about where to go and what to do there. Other places we know all have their charms, and there are worse things than sitting alone in the sun with wine and a book for company.
We should not fear silence or the language of others. We could learn, would get by. We should stop chasing the past, stop expecting success and go and live where we want. Survive there, be there. Make a new home and a new life.
We must stop acting scared and compromising. We can never be rich, financially or culturally, where we are; it would be nice to be both, but health and food and peace & quiet would be enough for me.

Admit One by Rupert M Loydell

Things we want go sour, what
we aspire to is not attainable.
We get old before our inner youth
expires, dreams disperse as our knees
give out and we have to buy a new car.
The urban metaphor of heaven is no use
to us in the village of confusion,
the city of God seems a long way off
although we’re nearer now than ever;
but it’s hard to read the signs,
harder still to stay on track.
Admit One. I clutch the ticket to a
well-ordained, human paradise,
we think of as a new England,
Albion, or a tidier version of
where we live now. A tsunami
of vision literature arrives in the post:
someone has seen angels and ghosts,
been told what to write. These visitors
do not cure my arthritis or let me sleep,
cannot tell me what I should do.
I am still having to make it up
and pretend I am in the right.
I am not an out-and-out charlatan
but there are peculiar practices
to observe. I write words in lines
and pat them into shape, type words
that fly through the air to others
as screens flicker in my room.
You would not have thought
it possible, but this is not magic,
it is science; is what the world
has become the whole world over.
The remains of my past lie
in a neat and unremarkable
graveyard in the suburbs.
Opinion does not echo anymore
and the bus that used to take
me to school grumbles past
as if I had never moved away.
Regrets and mistakes are everywhere,
we can only hope for the best.
Oh earthquake driver, god of tides,
stop the clock and say hello.

Desert Island Discs by Rupert M Loydell

The doctor on the radio
spoke about operating
during war and made me cry.
Down-to-earth, matter-of-fact,
way out of my experience,
he’d operated and stitched,
dismembered and mopped up
worldwide, often in the dark.
Machine-gun toting militia
looked on, nurses ran
for cover as lights dimmed
and unseen bombs exploded.
He answered the questions
and introduced his next
piece of music, different
worlds colliding in song.

Apocalyptic Annunciation by Rupert M. Loydell

It was a matter of national security,
the President had to be informed.
But he was busy with his grooming regime,
practicing presidential poses in the mirror.
He had all the moves down pat, had almost
memorised the nuclear push button code,
and remembered who he now was.
But who was this blonde woman
who said she had come to debrief him?
Was that an innuendo? Just how
attractive was the power he had?
His money, fame and fortune?
Oh, national security. Homeland alert,
undercover cops and time to dish the dirt.
He stared at Carrie’s earlobes,
tried not to look at her breasts
or ask her if he could have the pleasure,
kept his hands down by his side,
fiddling with the gadget in his pocket.
‘Mr. President, what have you done?’
The world on fire outside went white.

Done and Dusted by Rupert M Loydell

When she killed herself
it was all over the papers.
Everyone knew, then
everyone forgot, talked
about something else.
There were TV reports
and neighbours’ tributes,
some actor friends
said nice things but
then it was as though
nothing had happened,
as though it was all ok,
done and dusted,
just another day.


Previously published in International Times.

annunCIAtion by Rupert M Loydell

Mary, goes the conspiracy theory,
was set up, framed, scapegoated.
She was pregnant already, it was
Joseph or an unknown boyfriend,
her father abused her as a child.

It was a prophecy, it was foretold,
the men in black were on the case,
secret agents or aliens infiltrated
the village. We need to see the files,
hear the tapes. And so it came to pass.


This poem is from IMPOSSIBLE SONGS, a lofi booklet by sarah cave & rupert M loydell [analogue flashback books]
which are all poems about annunications.