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paul summers



way off-camera

beyond the reach


of news cycles

& investigative minds


the death toll is rising

the body count grows


bruised hearts

& airless lungs


clogged arteries

& petrified tongues


passion corroded

empathy eroded


asphyxiated dreams

statistics & lies


& god is dead

the faithful fucked


their currency

devalued or defunct


our father. oh father

grant us each day


our daily pills

our snidey tabs


our red-tops

& the strongest drink


our multipack crisps

our poundshop ket


our smack & crack

our coke & skunk


deliver us our bargain hunt

& the great british bake-off


imprison us with labels

cage us in our minds

we live off fear

& borrowed hate


i will smear my cell

with dogma & lard


unleash a plague

of thankless hope




it is almost



through the drone

of this chatter


the movement of traffic

the transit of hours


the rumble of hunger

the hiss of the rain


the dirge of defeat’s

monotonous refrain


dürer’s horsemen

braying at the door


the quiet slaughter

of the fattened poor

lots of things which rhyme that i would not take

with me in the event of a planetary evacuation



capitalism / cataclysm /narcissism / catechism / the march of neo-liberalism / the anuretic embolism /the new managerial / anything imperial / confederate flags /louis vuitton bags / received pronunciation / blatant acts of ingratiation / starvation / stagnation / exploitation / alienation  / deforestation / non-consensual penetration / vacuous wankers / merchant bankers /homeopaths / psychopaths / intolerance / ignorance / sycophants / fire ants  / leopard print nylon underpants / jewellery made from elephants / sebaceous cysts / misogynists / cultural colonialists / predatory recidivists / ukes / nukes / tv cooks / martin amis books /eating disorders / constructed borders / child abuse / the hangman’s noose / the original soundtrack of footloose / poetry’s recourse to the needlessly obtuse / domestic violence / that awkward silence /posh physicians / teenage magicians /endless conversations about yoga positions / inane blogs / yappy dogs / referring to the french as frogs / ads for hot ukrainian brides / unrelenting genocides / murdering bees with pesticides / klu klux klans / obsessions with le creuset pans / royal babies / rabies / quorn /porn / the mediocre / online poker  / chicken pox / botox  / vox pops/ gm crops / death / bad breath / crystal meth / every tory shibboleth / orange pith /the beauty myth / fracking / hacking / smacking / academies with corporate backing / dementia / involuntary indenture / racial tension / condescension / slaves to convention/ middle class pretension / hipster poseurs / brown nosers / various cancers / politicians’ non-answers / sweat shops /racist cops / bullington club fops/ red tops /chieftain tanks / food-banks  / alt right cranks / voluminous yanks / endless war / geordie shore / assassin drones / mobile phones / marble-gobbed sloans / pay day loans / holocaust deniers / bearded messiahs / fake news / high heeled shoes / herpes/ fleas / processed cheese/ unregulated monopolies / extortionate tuition fees / the inhumane treatment of refugees / crippling debt / buy to let / innumerable offensive smells / pharmaceutical cartels / sleeping rough / acting tough / gratuitous swearers / rolex wearers / judgemental starers/ the burden endured by unpaid carers / apartheid regimes/ facebook memes / suburban semis with fake tudor beams / boulevards of broken dreams / bilious spite / the supremacy of white / posturing with military might / rupert murdoch peddling shite / the unfree state / stifled debate / the ugliness of wanton hate / our continued subservience to the notion of fate

Paul Summers was born in Northumberland but has been living in tropical central Queensland for the last four and a half years. A founding editor of the magazines Billy Liar and Liar Republic, he has written extensively for TV, film, radio and the theatre. His books include Cunawabi, The Rat’s Mirror, The Last Bus, Vermeer’s Dark Parlour, Big Bella’s Dirty Cafe and Three Men on the Metro (with Andy Croft and Bill Herbert). His most recent poetry collections are union, primitive cartography and straya (all published by Smokestack Books), and arise (Culture Matters). He lives in North Shields.

Poor Doors
Sheriff Stars

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
bedroom tax
Disrupt and Upset

the sleeper wakes


it is almost



drown out

by the drone


of our shopping

channel juicers


the bleat of our trauma

our narcissist blurt


the quiet slaughter

of the fattened poor





to my kingdom


to the fag-end

of its progress


a slow-mo flash-fire

of bubbling tar


consuming the fibres

of jaundiced filters



this autumn air

our breath incendiary


we live off fear

& borrowed hate




& nothing

will grow


in the shadow

of our romance

bedroom tax
Sheriff Stars

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
Disrupt and Upset

Militant Thistles

prickling the politics of "permanent austerity"

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