poetry by paul robert mullen


i find myself in Manchester again

this time a business meeting

last time a poetry reading

a gig

an exhibition

a coffee with old friends

off to watch the cricket

pub crawl with the old university crowd

former lecturer’s book launch

friend’s birthday party

freebie at the football match

stag do

head-wetting bevvies

shopping trip for that new record

i’ve thought about these lies i’ve spun

curled in the arms of a life

you’ll never understand

huddled in front of pornography in

common rooms full of walking


stalking the basements

lined with cats eyes of alarm bell reds

for intimate strangers

i saw it all coming

more vividly than it’s happening

i knew that you would end up idolising me

in ways that would destroy us both

i’m still finding ways

to blame you for the things

you don’t even know

the air is thick in these places

and no amount of showering can clean

the shame of it from your mind

or the chlorine from

your pruned pores

or the primal recurring lust

that sweating walls lined with skin


walking out onto unlit streets


scanning the empty carparks for trouble

my body redundant of sleep

coffee is a blessing

and the first train out of the station

rattles mostly empty

through freezing fog

back towards the sham

that is our reality

that thing they can’t abide

every time we touched

i got that sinking feeling in my gut

the sort you get when police sirens illuminate

the streets behind you on an empty country road

late evening

the sort you get at airport security

when buzzers and lights and alarms flash

just step over here please, sir

the sort you get when the landline rings

in the middle of the night

it can only be bad news

and what breaks my heart

is you look at me like everything i’ve just

explained is happening

to you too 

About the Author

Paul Mullen.jpeg

Paul Robert Mullen is a poet, musician and sociable loner from Liverpool, U.K. He has three published poetry collections: curse this blue raincoat (2017), testimony (2018), and 35 (2018). He has been widely published in literary magazines, journals, anthologies and e-zines. Paul also enjoys paperbacks with broken spines, and all things minimalist.

Twitter: @mushyprm35

Magazines/E-zines/Journals/Anthologies published in: Allegro, Anti-Heroin Chic, Bending Genres, Black Bough Poetry, Bonnie's Crew, Cephalo Press, Cleaning Up Glitter, Constellate, Crossways, Dodging The Rain, Dreamcatcher, Eunoia Review, Four X Four, Ghost City Press, Heron Clan, Mojave Heart, Panning For Poems, Pendora, Selcouth Station, The Canon's Mouth, The Fiction Pool, The Foxglove Journal, The Interpreter's House, The Journal, The Mark Literary Review, The Pangolin Review, Three Drops From A Cauldron, Words For The Wild

Previous work on Cleaning up Glitter: Poetry