Poetry: Selections from Gwil James Thomas

Picture of a Night in a Spanish Village

You are the distant wolf howl, 
carried across those 
dusty streets, 
the splintered bones 
of agricultural workers, 
who’d fought back – 
their bodies buried 
before their dreams, 
the faded pink 
spray paint 
on that crumbling 
and inhabitable house, 
which translates to –
‘long live the kids of ‘83’
and the young hearts 
of the teenagers 
behind the taverna 
swapping spit 
and smoking marijuana 
beneath a pale moon 
and with my heart 
pounding and fearful –
I am the one
you’d thought 
would never


It’s a stranger’s face, 
a piece of music, an aroma, 
or just the way that the sun 
feels against your skin 
on that given day 
and a memory gets jogged 
of some place in time, 
of a life lived and now gone, 
of the lives that might have 
been with others and 
of the dead and disappeared 
and you find yourself lost 
in a nostalgia and longing 
that suddenly grip your soul like 
an anaconda giving out free hugs 
at a bunny’s birthday party –
until it feels so real that you 
could almost exchange 
realities and then at its apex 
you wake from the dream,
as your boss prods you 
to remind you that you’re on 
company time and the feeling 
bittersweetly scurries off 
into the shadows of your mind –
waiting to unexpectedly 
reappear again somewhere else 
miles down the road.

Over in New Jersey

My poems cross The Atlantic, 
to a poet friend in New Jersey  –
their pages turned and splashed 
with beer foam at the bar, 
soon finding themselves 
being read during a lunch break 
in a psychiatric ward –
where they couldn’t feel 
more at home 
and then spill out of their chapbook
later on at the poet’s desk,
where the late night’s silence 
cuts like a carving knife 
against your tongue, 
as you slowly lick up and down 
the blade –
but it’s a silence that can offer 
redemption and growth 
and if the night is right, 
the birth of some fresh poems too –
something my poems know 
all too well, as they get comfy 
on the bookshelf,
staring at the poet at his desk,
ready for some pure fucking magic.

Gwil James Thomas is a poet, novelist and inept musician. He lives in his hometown of Bristol, England but has also lived in London, Brighton and Spain. He has twice been nominated for Best of The Net and once for The Pushcart Prize. His ninth chapbook of poetry, Gold Chains Around our Necks, Hellhounds at our Heels will be published by Holy & Intoxicated Publications in 2022.