Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


Remembrance Day, 2016

  • 03 November 2017


Selected poems


bowler hat

Magritte, the body flesh of,

is just

intermediary between earth

& bowler hat


(colours uncertain



circulatory system


staged on carpet,

ugly patterns


chaotic skin

beginning the depiction—


a mealy tongue curls in

analysis of a neckline


while accelerating decorations

protest the prison of days

— Barnaby Smith




I swear I saw his chest go up and down

swelling, impermanent —

curled up yellow fingers falling

on blemished but once rosy buttocks

unquenched and stormy,

dancing a cumbersome dance

under the artificial light

of early evening


in each of them the great swirling

intestinal brain


oceanic thickets of appetite that bring blisters

to thin lips. Honeyed insects for two hours

floating through each others' blood.

— Barnaby Smith



Decision in a foreign city

It takes a moment only

And the others are gone,

My lover, our friends,

Back to take the narrow lift

To our holiday apartment

While I wait for laundry

To shed its travel grime,

Tumble itself crisp and bright.


Later, we will find cheap food

In this city of love,

Practise our school French,

Refine taste buds and palate,

Joke with the easy waiter

About which football code

Is truly the best, but of course

Only if I return ...


It takes a moment only,

The dry clothes packed in bags,

And I am standing in the street

Looking left, looking right,

Lights and shadows beckoning,

Murmurs of strangeness beckoning.


Without a second thought

I could return to welcome arms,

To more laughter and keen words,

This holiday our first overseas,

How the light is cooler here,

How trees shimmer with a green

That isn't burnt or dirty,

How our national game wins,

Being the only one

That only scores goals

By foot. Or I could follow

That blood whisper of new streets,

New words to call myself,

Try on a new face, then another,

Stride into a future not chosen

By the past, not bound to it.


Looking left, looking right,

It takes a moment only

To imagine a third future

In which all moments brighten

Because I stood and chose

And, so choosing, will remember.


I stroll uphill to our room

With its view of the Eiffel Tower,

Which we won't visit, preferring

Shakespeare & Co, the Louvre,

The markets, the back streets

Of Montmartre, the love locks

On the Pont des Art.


I step from the elevator, wait

For our door to open, blood

Quickening with breath and gaze,

Blaze of city lights, hues of touch.

— Earl Livings


  Remembrance Day, 2016

In a bakery in York, I stand silent

With other customers for two minutes,

Think of nephews who have served

And seen action, some still serving

On land and on water, some bearing

The costs of their service in bad knees,

Hard hearing, scars in hidden places,

And think also of you, my father,

Tending to aircraft engines

Or helping out on black-market runs

In small cargo planes, from the mainland

To New Guinea, that time a door