Author Archives: benhenleysmith

Lemon vomit

I retch acid
Sharp tastes from the night before that 
My toothbrush with bristles hard as brush 
Can’t scratch from this soured breath 

Two fingers flick my throat 
Unlocking a channel for liquid flow 
The putrid stench falls
As my mind clears 

My blessing and curse 
Bewitches an aching body 
With spells of pretend confidence 

For those hours I dazzle 
My paws ooze life
Until they don’t 
And it’s sweat 

2am, again
Outside where no one can hear 
My body produces lemon vomit 
The moon my only witness


A stretch 
These marks on my hips 
Slits of blood 
Valleys of red 

They stretch 
My capacity for work 
Is beyond the limit 
I stretch

This love 
For more and for depth 
Is stretching and killing 
What’s left 

My tank 
Depleting it’s load 
Until it’s dry 
And then …


Ballooning green leaves rush 
From the fingertips of nature’s hands
Like fists piercing the earth 
A passage between earth and sky 

A poplar blows side to side 
Like a nervous child in the school line 
Skinny and taller than most 
She listens with her patient eye 

That hornbeam bully 
Who snatches your lunch 
Is fatter, no wiser  
Even if it hurts  
Sweet chestnut you don’t know who I am
Or who I’ll become 
So I’ll love you from a distance
And that’s ok 

My leaves will still tremble on hollow twigs 
But like a true Birch
I will find my journey to the sky
And leave this earth

Eating light

Not ideal 
Grown in the ground  
Bred on land   
Let me eat light 

That is what plants do 
With their arms out wide
Like a junkies injection 
They skip meals
To eat light 

Maybe somewhere out there
In the Andromeda 
Maybe they are dancing

Crazed species 
Energised life forms  

No middleman 
No supply chain 
No hurt 



For when 
We took that walk through private land  
Got in trouble with farmer man 

For what
Scooters from school and toast at home 
Racing bikes with Harry in tow 

For her
Purple hair and battered coats 
Fountain pens and written notes

For it 
Im bigger now and older too 
Important stuff for me to do

Light vibrations

Down that narrow london street 
Music from the clouds pierce through a workman’s vans
Showering light vibrations into my ears 
Transporting me to you

We can’t see it but we feel it 
Classical songs from the ages that suck us in 
And spit us out 
That hurt us and heal us

He loved this music 
Whenever I dropped in 
To the house 10 degrees too hot for humans 
He’d be sitting there, listening 

As if a message was tangled in those notes 
Just for him 
Suspended in mid air 
That only he could hear

Now the dusty street spits its truth 
Transported for one fleeting moment 
I’m landed back on both feet 
Better finish this cig

Autumn kitchen

I can hear her
Singing to the radio in the autumn kitchen 
The tap roars on and off  
Dishes clang
As my mind wanders 

Sat under a blanket 
I turn off my own music to hear hers 
I let my heart check it’s own pulse 
At once, I’m in both rooms 
Clinging to this moment before it slips

A cats tongues

I am the tool from an early age 
Twice the size of a human hand 
An archeulean mystery that carves and cuts
I am a cats tongue

The Greeks called me a Thunderstone 
A lightening bold dispatched from Zeus
How romantic 
How untrue 

Pear shaped or ovate 
Edges sharper than a barbers blade 
My maker could not stomach me 
My ferocity lost in soft hands 

I was never used to good effect 
Yes, humans made me 
named me 
But they could not tame me 

The first tool of humanity 
Trial and error 
A failure 
Yet I was not the last 

Stone gifts from the Oldowan
Flakes of rock on a brute hand axe 
A hammer to land a heavy hit 
A knife to cut flesh 

Human energy channelled 
Human tooling born 
And now you rely on glass and silicon 
A thunderbolt from the clouds …

These modern cat tongues 
Don’t cut above the skin
Their edges are deeper
Handle with care

Darwin’s peacock

A peacock may be flashy and LSD bright 
Her glow will turn your mind to wonderful sins 
Soft feathers bouncing in an oversized gay 
Flamboyant for all to envy 

When I gaze at her it makes me sick 
So far removed from efficiency and clarity
Natural selection has not found its truth 
She has withstood the fair hand of nature 

Our logic has mistakenly granted a wide birth 
Why not a finch of delicate touch 
That bird of subtly, carved in reality  
Must I endure

Oh this selfish beast 
Beauty is her trap and I her victim 
No more I say 
Your inefficiency is my deepest regret

A spiders patience

A web spun from instinct 
Decades of practise with nothing to show 
But existence maintained 
A blood line upheld  

What has it taken to survive 
Other than the courage 
To sit and wait 
As the hours fade 

Waiting and waiting 
For innocence to stumble 
Into your web of lost time
Into your clutches of death 


And it’s broken 
That misty white thread
Meets its own demise 
In the hands of a wading gardener 

I did not recognise your strife 
My innocence took your home 
Now you rebuild 
As you always have

May I sit with you 
Get caught in your web of patience 
Fall into your clutches 
Ready for our next meal