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Stephen Knight

Stephen Knight’s most recent collection is The Prince of Wails.

Poem: ‘Where This Train Terminates’

Stephen Knight, 14 June 2017

The world is packed with scaffolding and empty packing-crates Where this train terminates The humid air is poorly when the clouds are working nights Moths crowd the windows dreaming hard of cancelled flights

Where this train terminates Waiters ghost among the tables clearing dinner plates Cocky foxes wearing human stoles take in the sights Shadows build in places theirs by rights

The...

Two Poems

Stephen Knight, 5 May 2005

My Future

– waiting for me somewhere out of sight past the betting shop and the Nationwide where buses stop to shiver in the middle of the night – doesn’t for a moment doubt we’ll recognise each other when he looks me in the eye, but wonders if the buttonhole was wise or lifts a wristwatch to his ear then sighs before a table laid with shiny cutlery and a cloth so...

Poem: ‘The Call-Box’

Stephen Knight, 8 May 2003

A queue has formed outside the box. The air’s quite warm so someone takes a blazer off and pink magnolia trees open their arms to a broken breeze dismantling the lacquered hair and the one comb-over à la Bobby Charlton. Eyes down, all ages fidget and shift their weight, rehearsing beneath a wispy sky.

Prepared to tolerate the smell of piss and a crackly line so they can say the...

Poem: ‘The Golden State’

Stephen Knight, 4 January 2001

For Colleen

If not the giant redwoods taking centuries to reach the light, nor the lights- camera-action typhoons regular as clockwork in the murky Tonga Bar, nor, perched above LA, the penitential Getty – its prospect of the coastline smudged by airborne crap, nor even the Chronicle’s news that the universe is flat, and expandingfaster and faster for ever – ‘Wow! Wow!...

Poem: ‘So Early in the Year’

Stephen Knight, 1 April 1999

Presumably the whole point is that there should be no continuum: of anything. That failures of memory are but a proof of a living organism’s subordination to the laws of nature. No life is meant to be preserved.

Joseph Brodsky, In a Room and a Half

‘I really ought to stop climbing trees,’ you said, nipping the filter off another low-tar cigarette then settling your arm...

Poem: ‘A British Summer’

Stephen Knight, 2 April 1998

My boredom chock-a-block with furniture – the desk in bits, the sofa’s cushions cluttering the bed, drawers shoved beneath the dresser – I stare at Wimbledon while listening to the man restretch then clean the carpets in two rooms; suds rumbling in their drum, the smell of pine detergent creeping up to me.

Two hours of plucky Brits, mauve clouds, the covers on, or grim-faced...

Poem: ‘The Gift’

Stephen Knight, 19 July 1984

My parcel was delivered to the college Thoroughly packaged, like an only child ... I tear my father’s beautifully-written note (Please acknowledge receipt, Love Mum & Dad) Then fold the wrapping for possible re-use. A breeze laps the posters crusting the wall; Like lily pads, they compete to face the light.

I bump into Philip inside the Lodge. He asks to see the gift – another...

Poem: ‘Laughing Gas’

Stephen Knight, 3 May 1984

        I am timing the Fire Doors for something to do;     They swing alarmingly! Since the Management reduced Our use of electricity I walk the corridors         Trailing my fingertips the length of the wall.

        I think of adjectives to sum this...

Poem: ‘Our Undersea World’

Stephen Knight, 1 September 1983

The trick (he tells me) is to sleep till one  O’clock then watch the television.In the corner of his murky bedroom  There is always a swirl of colour:

T-shirts; smoke threading from an ashtray to  The light; shoes; anemones thrivingOn the wreck of the Torrey Canyon; our  Chancellor raising the Budget box.

The incarnations of Robin Hood

Wendy Doniger, 22 July 2004

In the 1964 film Robin and the Seven Hoods, when someone compares ‘Robbo’ (Frank Sinatra) to Robin Hood, one of the gangsters asks: ‘Who’s Robin Hood?’ And another...

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Just Good Friends

Caroline Moorehead, 2 February 1984

When a Mafia suspect called Joseph Miceli Crimi led police, in March 1981, to an office safe in Castiglion Fibocchi, near Arezzo, which contained the names of prominent Italians and documents...

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