‘swimming’ by Charlie Baylis – The Red Ceilings Press


Charlie Baylis’ chapbook swimming – bathed in baby blue – backstrokes across ripples of keeping afloat in its pool of romantic and other variables. The sweet hue is in the beauty of its cover as well as soothing moments of lyrical reflection. In essence, this is a bittersweet play on the seriousness of romance, intent and frustration, poetry, and how language oscillates within and beyond this universe.

An obvious account of such vicissitude in romance occurs early in the title poem, when


which then moves certainly/realistically to this on the very next page


Surface but also pleasing playfulness is shown in lines like




where pararhyme and rhyme remind it isn’t just a poetic convention when given fresh gaming like this.

I write this review the day after Remembrance Day [but posted now] and such a context perpetrates further dances with intention and meaning


an explosion of unresolved hope and outcome.

If I can find lyricism in a writer’s work I will because this is a personally welcome poetic door to the sweetspot of language, opened [when clever, and Baylis is] in unexpected places


At this poem’s close, the ‘sham’ within our lyrical moments might be inherently as well as declaratively forgiven


In the second poem divers, there is more uncertainty conveyed because it is being conveyed again. This is presented in writing that is more than playful, though it still is, and reveals – as we have clearly seen – that within lyricism there will always be interruption. Ending on one page [I think really just the result of sequential placing on pages], the following ava in moves onto the next as


I love the sound of this as much as I do its surprise and its confirmation.

As with so many of the wonderful Red Ceilings Press chapbooks, this is a quick read – impact and reflection transcending – so were I to write about and quote more I would be spoiling. So I won’t.

To purchase, go here.

The Lonesomest Sound has Arrived


As I have already written on Twitter, I genuinely enjoy seeing other writers post pics of the arrival of their books, but it is so much more fun to receive your own work! In thanking the publisher via email, I did say I hoped it was normal to be my age and feel this excited like a kid…

I think this is a great cover: designed by the publisher Alec Newman with a painting [I have the original] by Rupert Loydell.

Nebraska 37: ‘Sidewalk NYC, 1954’ by Michael Catherwood

You never do find out what makes you tick, and after a while it’s unimportant.
― Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer is shadow boxing at the curb.
The curb is cornered, no place to duck
and Norm’s going in for the knockout. He works
the inside, pounding the mortar. He tucks

his chin tight like an owl, squares his shoulders
where the tar and the cement meet.
The light is falling, both traffic and sky. The smolder
of taverns and cafes begins to sing

in neon. The blurs in storefront windows glow
like ribbons. The curb lays back. Shadows fail
and Norman boxes in the evening’s dark scene.
Suddenly there are no curbs or sidewalks. Now

the stars glide and arc in their contrails
and Norman concedes to the quiet breeze.

© Michael Catherwood