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3 poems by Lisa J Coates

North and South

honky-tonk angels

dressed in white, living

on the wild side, sing

out as they fly overhead.

A biannual performance,

carefully choreographed,


Nobody blames them.

God didn’t make them.

They know their lines.

I wish I knew mine.

This poem references the 1952 song It wasn’t God who made Honky Tonk Angels, written by J.D “Jay Miller” and performed by Kitty Wells

not drowning

early in the days of us

I saw hurtling towards me

a mountain wave, the darkest

of greys with nothing to do but

fight for air as it overwhelmed me

I told you of my dream

of my struggle to breathe

Now I would let your wave

take me.


It is the time in-between

when we step onto the boardwalk

your arm around my waist

weaving through the rushes and reeds

whispering their false water —

we follow the petrified river to where

it feeds the loch, and the kelpies rise

from foam wild against

the darkening sky, one frozen

in silent scream against the wind as if

to swallow the swallowing night, the other

watches me

as we draw closer

as we draw closer

I have no fear these spirits will drag me to an airless

death, have no awareness of the danger

of the one who brought me here

whose other form I have yet to see


Lisa J Coates is a musician, writer, and stage director. She has poems in Southbank Poetry

Magazine, Dear Reader, Levatio, Northern Gravy and is mentored by Helen Mort. A

classically trained mezzo-soprano, she has performed internationally in opera and

contemporary music, recorded commercially, performed live on television and radio.


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