Reuben Woolley: Six poems from 'broken stories' with a note by the author



she brings black flowers
black flowers
to black weddings


from black suns
she dances


black swans
on black rivers


i want / black
sails on black seas



the outlying


looking out from layers
is not time
for counting the broken

 it's here all the tawdry

another pointed explosion
for all the relevant 
dead.we have no room
for breathing & talk
is no comfort at all



time shining



is a time away

unseen                       there is eyes

& all the twisted mix



i have my own name now

& i can speak you

                                    we go slow

not here

making shadows

the echo of sounds




through all the day i hide

my mad indifference


& bridge

a while away


are holes

in all systems



life is overrated she said



            i write


            i missed

your portrait

& all the years



every detail


hung a face

            & dried

where everything is



insufficient.a candle

will not warm us now


the broth is cold

& the bone is hollow




they did & loud

her sleep continues





this last
            there are no heroes
behind cross
focused on distance
            are empty plates
for broken tables


she walks in black
& dust


with all the silence
of tomorrow 

every move & when


is a tale for hurtling days

i’ve lived with me
all my is 
not easy


            i go riding
on rivers.they’ll take me
in the slow beat
of a universe

an ocean a long breath
are answers sufficient


metawhatever & sleeping


i don’t want

your infinities         self-

reflected        & old smears

                        the doubling

of alibis

glazed for auction

                        the bark

in my hands


i’m fingering for nothing

& finding it



let’s go            small

in the distance


bye bye


[NOTE. Published earlier this year by 20/20 Vision Publishing in the UK, of which Woolley writes, relating to both the title & the concept: “For a story to be broken means that once upon a time it was whole. A story is never finished; one leads into another. However, in these dystopian times, this process has become more complex; the story teller meets interference. These narratives that used to exist, that helped to hold a culture together are being broken by certain people for their own ends (political and corporatist) or are being weakened in our hi-tech world (with or without our collaboration). We haven’t yet produced a strong enough narratology to take their place.


“We are the stories.


“Music is a strong influence on the work. The white spaces are an essential element and should be read. The void is not empty! However, the beats are not necessarily the regular beats of drum and bass but rather the breath beats of a free form jazz saxophonist, for example, which may vary in tempo. I like to think of the interplay between different beats: the earth beat, breath beat and the blood beat.


“Among the influences on the work are a wide range of British, American and European poets, writers such as James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, whose plays I consider to be among the greatest poetry of the 20th Century, and musicians such as Captain Beefheart, Bob Dylan, Roy Harper, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Terry Riley.”]