from "Pocket Song"

Luke Roberts





For harmony, dust

      I've been testing my weight

            dust was my body's accomplice.

Dust was lettered

            and I was its litter

                  the sweet world was ending

                  and I was its song.







I snuck into the city.

I admired its buildings and drills.

I lived on the sixth floor

      daily descended

              and nightly returning

collected the matter at hand.

The heat would enter my left arm

       and leave through my right

but my sweat was constant and even.







I snuck into the city

            chokes close to the road

supply and demand


I've been standing alone

            and October is closing

contact with water

                        contact with air.

Give me your best arm for steering

            let me take it

                        and change it

the exchange rate

                        over emotional.




The heat leaves through my clothing.

The cranes hint and I'm hinting.

With my hands in my pockets.

With my hands in the air.







It's hard to distinguish

joy from aggression


with the moon so low

on the horizon.


Like a tough cousin

roughing up the carpet


I tidy the damage

with my eyes on the floor.


It's hard to extinguish

the light in the street


where to look

when you're told

to stop looking







Now it's morning

            and I'm listening

                        and it's morning.


Amy says Simone Weil says


            Art has no immediate future

            because all art is collective

            and there is no more collective life.


It's a trick of the light

      and I'm not used to this light

                    after the brilliant compromises

of night.

      And it's morning and I'm listening

being held in the voice,

            and the world isn't ending

      and I'm morning and you're night

                   and it's coming


               love unbroken by the sun

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Author Bio: Luke Roberts is the author of False Flags (2011), Left Helicon (2014) and other chapbooks. His long poem 'To My Contemporaries' recently appeared in Chicago Review. He is the editor of Desire Lines: Unselected Poems, 1966-2000 by Barry MacSweeney, and has also published a monograph, Barry MacSweeney and the Politics of Post-War British Poetry (2017). He lives in London, where he works as Lecturer in Modern Poetry at King's College.