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Mother Hiroshima, Deportation, We met Charles Bukowski in lockdown, How men unmade the world—Anthony Owen

Antony Owen is a writer of conflict translated in English, German, Japanese & Dutch. His work has been recognised internationally including a full collection translated in 2021 by Thelem Press and an award in the British Army Poetry Competition in 2018. His work has also been shortlisted for The Ted Hughes Award for new work in poetry. 

Mother Hiroshima 

She asked “have you ever seen three dwarf stars melt purple into a line?” 

Moon was a blister, sun an open sore and then the devils welt, 

I carried heaven in my water until it ran down my legs, 

a river of black rain that returned Hiroshima. 

I did not lose my baby until Spring 

my tumours were blossom pink, 

the colour of our rebirth. 

We are going home now 

a prefecture of sky 

my shadow flies, 

black no more. 



Sent to Coventry or Rwanda  

But never Westminster  

your silt sorrel skin 

like the Thames 

too dirty for us 

like secrets 


There is a white plague 

a Sotheby Jesus sold 

to new blue Romans 

fat on the spoils 

of secret deals 

in plain view 

like Rwanda 

and Palestine 

and Yemen 



and white 

and spaces 

We met Charles Bukowski in lockdown 

For Emily 

I wish I could take my daughter to Cape Canaveral 

punch a hole into heaven with a rocket-ship  

to show her the world is still moving 

and we’d float like lost ships 

claiming each other. 

I wish I could take my daughter to Jerusalem Square 

to eat supper as dusk is given like a red roman cape. 

I would show her cuckoos stealing our olives 

that came all the way from Palestine.  

I’d take the pip and plant it for her. 

I wish I could take my daughter to meet Charles Bukowski 

she could feel at home in his homelessness and prose. 

I could learn a thing about the art of patience. 

My daughter would turn his rum to water, 

turn sweetness into alcohol happiness. 

All my wishes came true when her name danced on my tongue 

three syllables like rain bouncing on a dry river bed 

those splashes exploded into crowns of water 

my coronation as your flawed Father, 

Jupiter as my scarred jewel. 

How men unmade the world 


Last night in the whispering rain 

I heard Allah and Jesus  

both were in tears 

sewing each other’s lips. 

 All the lambs have left the farm 

some were numbered in dye 

the others are mad in grief 

you can’t see it though  

not unless you look hard 

Last night I couldn’t get an erection 

there was no pleasure in my body. 

All my memories hung like mosquitos, 

pinking air with their abdomens 

My heart in soulless pixelations. 

All the sheep are following the shepherds, 

and a shepherd has a flamethrower 

he has shorn the black one  

and writes upon it all the crimes 

“Palestine, Aleppo, Afghanistan”. 

Last night in the moon 

I saw bones of man. 

Thank God then, 

an eighth day 

aglow yet cold 

an illusion of warmth; 

Sun behind a barren rock 

the spunk of a million stars 

birthing a deserved darkness. 


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