Two Poems by Mark Connors


We’re in Scarborough. You’re the first one up, nipping for a paper. You’re wearing an unpleasant brown polo shirt mum got you from the catalogue. It accentuates your hardened gut. Everyone you pass smiles back at you. They always do. You get talking to someone about something. He finds you odd at first, your ease at slipping into lives for just a moment. But you’ll mark him with your levity, your charm and affability and you’ll move on before he wants you to. You buy The Daily Express. We don’t understand.  I like to get my news from the other side too, you say. You comment on the headline to the man behind the counter. On the way back to our digs, you get talking to a woman with a yapping highland terrier. You’ve been a postman for years but dogs still don’t like you. You walk back through the door as if nothing has happened.

I Like Birds

My father was a postman.
He asked a woman
if she would save him envelopes
from letters her sister sent from Ceylon.

He brought them home to me
so I could soak stamps off.
I didn’t care if they were franked:
brown-capped babbler,
crimson-fronted barber,
Legge’s flowerpecker,
white-faced starling.

I made up calls for all of them,
me, a precocious virtuoso of exotic birdsong.

Mark Connors is a poet and novelist from Leeds. His poetry pamphlet, Life is a Long Song was published by OWF Press in 2015. His first collection, Nothing is Meant to be Broken was published by Stairwell Books in 2017. His second collection, Optics, was published by YAFFLE in 2019. His third collection is due out later in 2021.