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3 poems by Len Lukowski


When I got out of isolation

beneath the February sun

I saw a robin and a great tit

trilling on the pulsing


of a naked tree

The birds were unbothered

by my presence,

just carried on

as I got closer —

a private recital.

I was so accustomed

to these plump bodies flying

from me in panic

I didn’t know what to do.


I did as anyone would

and took the phone

from my pocket so everyone

would know

As I withdrew the thing

the birds flew from me

landing on some branches

out of shot.

I stood bewildered

at my lack of control

and put the thing away

The robin returned

to its first place.

I just watched

the inside of its

open mouth

tongue moving

as it sang

rise and fall of its warm red throat

I remember it as red

I could not look away

I saw

how it would feel

to touch the

feathered bulge

and something

in me withers

without touch and

that’s why we take pictures

though it ruins everything

that one day

we might be touched again

Hopeful Monster


A hopeful monster follows me,

begging as only good boys can,

fur curls and moves

like the sky in a Van Gogh painting.

It tries to dig beneath

the front door

arranges itself

upon the stairs

belly to carpeted step

snout through railing

right legs tucked, left legs hanging,

does not deviate from eye contact

and neither do I.

I don’t know what it is

anymore to want something as much

as it does watching me eat.

Outsource my longing

to this small beast,

fur like blue flames,

in the hope that one day

we can become each other.


I watch the man come home I want

to climb inside his body,

freakishly pink as a Sphynx cat

aside from errant hairs

around his snout

and crown

and that second skin

he’s always wearing.

Sometimes I pity him,

his body’s become strange to me,

still I want it back.

I miss the days when I could reach stuff.

Lately the man’s been acting strange,

opening tin after tin of my food,

pressing his face inside and

finishing the contents with one inhale.

He doesn’t need me anymore,

all I ever do is watch.

Alone with your sleeping body

I could not rest, even after fucking,

jaw clenched, shoulders locked,

us tangled up in sticky heat.

How do you sleep like this?

Curtainless window open to the traffic

outside, lights on, bedroom door open

letting in the constant hum

of your fridge.

I think about leaving. Back home,

alone, a cooler, easier place,

environment under my control.

Instead, I sink into your spine

and stop resisting

the relentless noise and heat

—your fridge and the cars

form an orchestra—

organs growing heavy

muscles turning limp.

A green ballet dancer

hangs by its feet

from your window

the universe is

closing now

and I think I’m


climbing a

ridge that

resembles your spine.

The orchestra plays on

in the distance

until it is swallowed

concerto to silence

and something in me resists

something in me releases

something in me can’t stop


Len Lukowski is a writer, poet and performer based in Glasgow. His work has been published in Wasafiri, Huffington Post, The Quietus and The Cardiff Review. He sometimes plays in queer punk bands. His debut pamphlet 'The Bare Thing' will be published in 2022 with Broken Sleep Books.


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