Brooks Hatlen

My new blog for Under the Fable magazine will be out tomorrow. Its a (hopefully not to dull) look at the place of rhyme in poetry.

I leave this online world for five days now in order to take my mind and my family to Carmarthen Bay for a holiday.


Institutionalisation then.

what a subject for a poem.

so here is


I used to work in a car body shop

In Holloway

We specialised in top of the range cars




Now anyone who knows Holloway

Will automatically know

That if you drive a nice car

In Holloway

You are a drug dealer

Or you are lost

The place I worked

Was directly opposite

The women’s prison

And the saddest thing

Was the ladies who were let out

And instead of meeting their families

Loved ones


They simply sat on the kerb

Outside the prison gates

Not knowing what to do

Waiting for someone to tell them

To eat

To sleep

To pray

To exercise

No one told them

So they just sat

Like statues

Faced with a decision

They had not had to make

For aeons

They did the only thing they could

They stood up

Screaming and kicking and biting

Until someone came out

Rescued them

Took them back

To comfort

To peace

Behind bars

Beyond hope.

Good Bye.



Hokey Cokey

As of Monday I will be blogging for the quite wonderful and fairly new literary magazine Under The Fable. Anybody championing good, new writing deserves your unending support, so go check them out and love them @

Work on my debut collection continues unabated. I currently have a long list of about 60 poems I need to trim by a third, which is difficult for me. Here’s one that didn’t make the list, mainly because its silly. And we don’t like silly.

My friend is an agoraphobic

Who hates his wife

His porch

Is immaculate


Anyway, I believe back when I started this blog I promised some music, and since I have a particularly good tune playing as we speak (or type) I will honour that promise for the first time.

Thanks, as ever, for reading.




This life dictates

We stumble past kings

To consume the flesh of visions

(We let our blood

For a glimpse of jade)

Eternal ferment

Teeth chatter from the walls

Viscera pour from the ceiling

Outside spring bursts forth

Parturient symphonies

I wake up an angel

I wake up a demon

Kirigami arms

Blistered smile

The factory beckons.


When I get home

From town

I like to put on some classical music

Vinyl, of course

Make myself a herbal tea

Snack on some seeds

Whilst completing a cryptic crossword

The Times, of course

I like to lie back

With a challenging

Yet inspirational

Piece of literature

Russian, of course

And as I drift off to sleep

In my Egyptian cotton pyjamas

I like to pretend

That the highlight of my day

Wasn’t the chips, cheese and gravy

I bought from Kev

That I can still feel

Waging an endless war

With the seeds

And tea

And denial.

©Stuart Buck

Under the Fable/The Stares Nest/The Wasps Nest

Had a great night last night at the Under The Fable poetry night in Manchester’s Castle Hotel. Though wracked with nerves and real ale, I managed to perform for about 20 minutes. Longest one yet, and met with goodness throughout.

My poem ‘What I Do Not See’ is featured on today. Go read it, its great.

In other news, we have a wasps nest, so I wrote a poem.


It started at one a day

An annoyance

Gold and black

Pointless aggression

One a day is makeable

But as we slipped further

And further

Into the depths of frustrated idleness

They began pouring in

Five a day

Five an hour

Dozens an hour

Still we sat


Watching television

A wad of kitchen paper on the coffee table

Ready to pounce

I had mastered the technique

In fact

I was so capable

I would surely go down in folklore

Songs would be sung

Paintings commissioned

Chapters written

The bin began to fill up

Kitchen paper

And bodies

Viscera smeared the windows

Ensuring even in death

They ruined the view

Still we sat

As the room filled

Each step like a tightrope walk

Each day hazier

Filled with humming


Insatiable anger

They circle overhead

Banging and crashing


I sit here now

As they fill my body

Crawl through my veins

Up to my brain

A black cloud

Of barely repressed rage

My breath rattles venom

Where once was life.



Books don’t belong on shelves

In a library

Laden with dust

And false promises

Books don’t belong as a showpiece

Something to impress prospective fucks

‘Oh you’re reading Mrs. Dalloway

Well allow my legs to open’

Books don’t belong on screens

Where the sensual smell

Of paper and print and a person’s soul

Is locked behind tubes and cells

Books don’t belong in libraries

Shuffling and shoving

For the attention

Of the masses

Books belong on the bathroom floor

Pages still damp from where it was dropped in the bath

Books belong on the floor and in bed

Pages frayed and folded, over used and loved

Books belong in the excited arms of children

Their heads full of what could be

Books belong in our bags

Taken with us for fear of separation

Books belong in our hearts and our minds

Memorised and absorbed

Books belong between the fists of a father

And the silent sigh of his child

Books belong in the eyes of the vulnerable

Moments before the unthinkable happens

Books belong in the hands of the daughter

Gripping their mother one last time

Books belong in the barrel of the gun

The sheath of the sword

The ideas of the dictator

Books can save us

Or books can destroy us

You choose.


Who doesn’t enjoy a good haiku?

For those who don’t know, haiku is an ancient Japanese style of poetry, usually (although not always) consisting of three measured lines, with a syllable count of 5,7,5. They used to be fairly focused on nature, but modern haiku’s cover just about anything.

Jack Kerouac, the famous beat poet, was also a master haiku writer. Here are five of my (not as good) efforts.

For man is sculpted,
Rent and ripped by time and space,
And returns to dust.

We entered with naught,
Leafless and blinded by light,
The snake eats itself.

Eternal ferment,
Parturient symphonies,
Play out in real time.

Gossamer eyelids,
Fixed shut through my vain rapture,
See what I have done.

Stars efflorescent,
Creation and destruction,
Violent beauty.

All ©Stuart Buck