Examples

Here you can read some poems from Joe’s books, and at the bottom of the page there are some links to external sites that feature Joe’s work.

Portugal 3, Spain 3
(from The Taking Part)

Knowing I’d be with you,
I’ve been practising your language,
so when he scores the penalty,
instead of Fuck off, cheating shit,
I have something more poetic:
Que te folle un pez!

You equalise, but he scores again,
so I stand, shout at the screen,
Hijo de las mil putas!
in revenge for 2006.

When you take the lead,
I realise that I’m unprepared,
educated only in insults, curses,
have nothing for this, beyond
Arriba, arriba, si si si!

In the end, his hat trick
allows me to unleash
Me cago en tu madre!
and I no longer worry, for now,
about not knowing what to say,
or how to say it.

Killing the Piano
(from Killing the Piano)

We tried to save you with small ads.
Free to good home, must collect
but nobody called.

We tried schools and churches,
community centres,
but none were prepared to accommodate you.
No room for the past,
no use for tradition,
and each back turned
was another key condemned.

Once we dragged you a hundred miles north,
and later a hundred back,
my faithful friend as I learnt how to play,
from Three Blind Mice
to Für Elise and the Nut Rocker.

But for years you stood,
lid down, barely touched,
except by the clumsy fists of children,
bashing a blind fortissimo,
untroubled by rhythm or melody,
unaware that every good boy deserves favour.

For years you stood,
an obstacle,
an inconvenience,
silently slipping out of tune.

It fell to me to strike the killing blow,
consign you to the fate we’d tried to swerve.
Behind the crack of splintering walnut
I could hear a heart
breaking.

Cathedrals
(from The Taking Part)

There’s something in the angles,
those webs of knitted steel.

How many million voices have been
captured in that silk?
How many cries of victory,
frustration and despair have
risen from these terraces,
the edges of these flip-down seats,
to echo in the rafters
long after we are dead?

Have you ever been alone in a cathedral?
Just you, and all history’s ghosts.

Joe’s work has been published in many online magazines, and you can read some of his poems and short stories here. These links are to external sites and will open in a new browser tab.

Poetry

The Day I Turned Into a Bear at Atrium.
Glastonbury, Parts 1 & 2 at The Poetry Village.
Portugal 3, Spain 3 and The Town That Was Murdered at Celebrating Change.
Seeing Death at Green Ink Poetry.
Revolution 78 at The Poetry Village.
Did You Dream of Fire? at I Am Not a Silent Poet.
Nana’s House at Atrium.
Owl & Pussycat v.62 at The Poetry Village.
Distance at Poetry & Covid.

Short stories

What We Learnt from Vitruvian Man at The Blue Nib.
You Are Assessed for Repairs at Ellipsis Zine.
An Appointment on BBC Radio Leeds (audio).