John-Paul Burns
The Minute & The Train
May 2019. 30 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-70-1
£6.00 (+ 1.50 p&p), €6.00 (+ 1.50 p&p), US$8.50 (+ 2.50 p&p)
 
“The poems in The Minute & The Train are well-made, wide-ranging and wonderfully attentive to inner and outer realities. Whatever the setting – corner shop, café, pub, cemetery, railway station, road at night or shared house – John-Paul Burns makes it vivid, surprising and memorable. It "will remain" with you long after you've peeled it and consumed it, just like the fruit in "A Tangerine Being Drawn".”
Michael Laskey

“The speakers in these poems are often out of sight, looking outward at landscape, objects or people while using clear-eyed and precise descriptions to find meaning in the world around them. Each poem is driven by this restless, searching gaze, leaving the reader with the realisation that looking out can also be a way of looking in.”
Kim Moore

“Here is poetry that defies glib classification. John-Paul Burns lets his rich imagination play with mastery of form and a wide world of subject matter always rooted in the business of living, of feeling, of seeing. Enigmatic shades of MacNeice blend with the conversational tones of Larkin to produce work that shines "like lakes at night". Everyday experiences are given a delightfully abstract, but never pretentious, complexity. The combined result is the "absolute making of a dance". An exciting and genuinely original voice.”
Keith Hutson


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Table of Contents


Excerpts from The Minute & The Train

A Pear

The pear is on the table
half-lit in a deep gold light;
a rehearsal of its flavour
at the stroke of nine.

It is wholly a bulb of shyness
dressed up like a word with a smell;
a paper bag with everything
that happened written all over it

and what’s next, translucent
as usual, in the air; as if
each hour hit the flesh
and left a crater or a flush

of red; it waits for the hand
that will hold it, give it
its pear shape, bite into
its sweet and dripping self.
 

Staring at the Dust, Sunrise

It floats above me, a fleck of thought
Dancing along the heat of the bed
As light as my eyes are heavy
In the static blue-grey of the hour

I just want sleep as thick as cream
My plans fall away before they begin
As if I can taste those above me
Trickling down through the floors

Someone orders a late Thai, an erotic yes, a pogo stick
I can hear the card-details humming through the air
On the clock I can see a fuzzy shape
Like five to four and excrement goes down the drain

Some hives, some years, make no honey
Some flats have dust that draws circles in the air
As if it could find a flower
And dawn paints streaks of champagne across the wall

I'd rather it didn't, but it does
And the dust bursts into a flake of gold
A pin on the map of the snowy ceiling
I'd rather it didn't, but it does
 


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