August 17, 2015 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION




Harry Mills






And, as she garbled her linguistic gymnastics

of insincere Biblical offerings

the steel grey haired lady vicar

glanced down at her margin notes

to recall the forgotten name of the dearly beloved


penciled on the memorial card

with soft focus vignette photo of the deceased

fresh off the printer’s Heidelberg

whose imprint was just one point smaller

than the closing Amen


then, the men raised the coffin

slowly shuffling down the isle to the awaiting

incinerator, accompanied by a Bach recorded rendition

towards the waiting ruby-red tasseled curtains

that opened theatrically, like a Punch & Judy show








Mock baroque sweeping staircase

turning slowly to the gods

treading the threadbare burgundy Wilton

pockmarked with blackened chewing gum

between the singed Woodbine craters

held as tight as corsets with brass stair rods

below the flaking wall of signed idols

of Victor Mature’s wet dribbling lip

and Errol Flynn’s raised eyebrow

pointing to the balcony toilets

that wreaked of piss-soaked dimps

that circled, as sharks, in the blocked urinals








Up the Oldham Road

unfolding, smog choking, his knackered gear box

rattling as a pulpit priest’s fear

shaking shit out of the brass screwed warnings

of spitting and smoking

as the leather pouched collector

uncoiled the sage green serrated sugar-paper tickets

to old ladies, with opened knees, covered

by leatherette shopping bags, like black sporrans

peering through ocher smoked polluted windows

on Benny’s red bus









No retention

as the once safe cloud of family, passes

shrivels, dies in the sky, then buried in paupers graves

and old photos in biscuit tins, static smiles

through a Kodak, of a forgotten garden party, cease

and i’m ten years old in the back yard

wall bricks of mud burn summer colours

the mortar crumbles and departs with the help of my nail

uncles, unknown, un-named with tightly rolled-up sleeves

flex their faded war tattoos, breathing Woodbine breath

and the zinc bath hung from a wall beside the karzie, rests

this was the year my feet dangled over the back wall

watching priests in black performing magic to the dying

and young girls hiding love bites scurrying to the cotton mills










The eggs of quails, like Bedouin’s creamy cold peals

Roll the turning tongue’s treasure of twirled Burgundy

Feeding the absent senses of a kindled light perpetual

In a Southern night of toothless soothsayer’s prophesies

Of an open fingered outstretched withered hand

That will sooth life’s bended brow of a troubled ending

Crossing the chasm of spilt wine and fumbled pearls








Harry Mills

Born 1944 in North Manchester, England.. failed every exam in the world, went to Art School (with Tony Prince), ran ad agencies as creative director or owner…divorced, kids, divorced, kids… divorced four times… lived in China, now in Philippines where I drink too much and write too little.

Harry’s vast array of poetic wisdom can be found at his Facebook page or via his blog.


  1. tony prince August 20, at 14:29

    Harry is wrong of course, he didn't fail every exam in the world. I examined him at Oldham Municipal Art School in 1958 and he seemed perfectly sound to me. Tony Prince. Bray, England.

  2. Michael Kwaku Kesse Somuah August 17, at 11:33

    "watching priests in black performing magic to the dying and young girls hiding love bites scurrying to the cotton mills" . Loved the Interesting effects and juxtaposition. Harry, your bio is humorous and full of style.


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