Poetry by Benedict Newbery


Benedict Newbery is a poet and journalist, in addition to being an occasional poetry reviewer and copy editor for Nude magazine.  His poems have been published in Magma, Succour, the delinquent, South Bank Poetry, Carillon, and Straight from the Fridge.  In October 2006 he presented poetry and spoken word in a joint exhibition, Morningwell, with painter Simon Dawe.  Whilst the film of his poem Cul de Sac, which he storyboarded and co-directed with animator Sandra Salter, was shortlisted for the 2008 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival, Berlin.  Last summer,  on behalf of the Sohemian Society, he hosted Moscow Rules a literary journey in Hampstead tracing the action in Le Carré’s  Smiley’s People.  He lives in London and performs at various open mic events around the capital.

It’s The Administrators!

Steve Jones
mans the phones
with koala eyes
crumbs of disco biscuit
down the sides
of his brain.
Nods at Jane,
rubs his face
and starts to disappear.

Sandy Brown
is settling down
louche in an olive suit.
sending figures
down yellow forms —
can do this in his sleep.
Sniffs at Jane
who says hello
and sits by Paul,
a bloke she knew from school.

Paul Tillings
form filling
berk in a Burton’s suit.
Pressing a boil
on his neck,
snipping bites
from meat paste
on white bread,
making mistakes
for Jane to rearrange
and file.




© Benedict Newbery 2009. All rights reserved.
(First published in the delinquent)

The Royal Oak

It’s early doors
and the air holds flies
above cold slops,
as Pete and Jack –
soon joined by the man in the cap –
stand apart on lino
that lifts beneath the bar.

Passed them every day.
Nipping out and popping in
to drop a bob or two
on three o’clock’s also-ran.
Stooped over palms,
each way’s bits of shrapnel,
picking, adding, sorting,
then slipping in again.

Later on
jetsam, driftwood,
a wheel on the wall
and brass
ripped from some old bar,
filled a space
left by the net drapes
and cracked formica.

But just the same in name.

And sat apart,
Pete and Jack
and the man in the cap –
last of the Black-and-Tans,
with drop on the side.

Passed them every day.
Chin to chest,
yellow eyes
among the liver spots,
beards stained
with Capstan tracks
framed by Sixties hair.
Shoulders forward
close to the building’s edge,
then slipping in again.

© Benedict Newbery 2008. All rights reserved.
(First published in Magma)

Weymouth Bay

This evening’s end
slipped beneath the swell
of a late-summer sea
and joined The Hood,
tonight the Bismark too –
hulks of Special Brew
sent below on pebble shot
from the battery of boys.
Now gone.

Far off
the sun wrapped the bay,
drew shadows up cliffs
into secret grass
of thumbnail fields –
parcels tied by fingers
that stretched
from the barns and farms,
trees and drystone walls.

Night came
black as the guts
of hunting cod,
raised a bombers’ moon
to light a king astride his horse,
then out, across the water,
dropped a path
to touch the stump
of a lost pier –
a thousand lovers
on August tea dance afternoons,
the big band’s brassy swing
still tingling in the bay.

© Benedict Newbery 2008. All rights reserved.
(First published in Carillon)

Cul de sac

I saw Mrs Smith who lost a child –
slipped from the pier – her only son,
open the gate to an empty house
as her silent husband climbed the hill
on his long-gone daughter’s bike

I heard Jack Jones in his garden shed
bending steel and shaving wood
while making plans and mental lists
of things required by his broken wife
to ease her last two years

I heard old Stan smashing six-inch nails
with jackhammer pace to create a space
beneath the ploughed up lawn
where he and Daisy would be safe from harm
through an endless night that never came

I saw tall John leave his house at dusk
in his big greatcoat and trilby hat.
His final month spent in hotel bars,
wandering through blackening nights,
then slipping back at a later hour –
the last of that year’s ghosts.

© Benedict Newbery 2008. All rights reserved.
(First published in the delinquent)

To watch the film of Cul de Sac, which was shortlisted for the 2008 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival, Berlin, CLICK HERE

Benedict Newbery

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