J.S.Watts is a British poet, novelist  and short story writer. She has been published widely in literary magazines and anthologies and is the author of eight books: four of poetry, plus four novels. Her latest poetry collection, Underword, is due out from Lapwing Publications in Winter 2022. See her website for further details: http://www.jswatts.co.uk/  



Poems for morphrog26

Walking In Empty Shoes






walking forward in empty shoes
a town in a dream I’ve dreamed before
all is changed, everything the same
repeated recollections
endlessly mouthed endlessly repeated
seeking somewhere that ought to be here
but somehow is never quite
shapeless memories on the edges of thought
clutching I return empty handed
missing what was already not there
I think if only I could just
vacant doorways to empty houses
concealing dead centre
pull the blinds down keep it quiet
silent gnawings on hollow wood
I have returned to where I have not yet been
chasing down a street of shifting shadows
I know I’m almost
but where are you
doors slamming on empty streets
empty shoes walking again
if only I could
but I still can’t quite

© J.S. Watts


Breaded Plaice, Chips and Peas

Plaice in breadcrumbs, chips and peas
a bright squeeze of lemon on the side:
sounds like
bright brown crunch of autumn morning,
green leaves curled close,
with freshwater tang of snow.
A meal that delivers crisp and fresh
since childhood
when dietary intolerance
and my sensed need to keep it cheap
within my parents’ budgeted stress and strains
made it my go to meal of choice on family treats.
Now it cooks in home comfort:
feels like
free white crunch of deep, frozen snow
wrapping spring’s promise of warm fresh earth,
a sprig of clean new grass.
Tastes like
old memories cupping
the mouth comfort of sugared pancakes,
scrambled eggs on toast, bacon and tomato sandwiches,
breaded plaice, chips and peas.
Don’t ask.
Don’t walk.
Just eat.

Scrying Tonight

When scrying the future
or your past
you need untroubled black waters.
The kind that can be found
in a cold deep puddle
at midnight
when walking sleep away.
Apply caution.
If you catch a clear full moon
in your water
all you will see
is a flat white fish
floating in the seas
of your memory.

Possibility of Snow

The inside membrane of my nose
itches with such unchecked ferocity
I must be allergic to something
or it is a forewarning
of something
but nothing I have smelled
reminds me of such
is likely to cause
my red nosed rubbings
that I cannot tell why I am a clown.
I have not walked anywhere new today,
inhibited by the heavy water
falling from the sky
and turning puddles into ponds.
Perhaps I have inadvertently
inhaled the past
but I remember that smelling of all good things
the salty heat of mouth loved food.
It would not cause my nose to itch
without mercy
only Mother Nature does that.
Perhaps it is going to snow.

Walking Quarters

Pushing through the crunch
of sun-browned autumn leaves
the cold fresh tang of crisp untrampled snow
I can reach back
or is it forward
with metronomic pace
to the smell of quickening soil
the soft rush of future
out from the past
into the sun’s bright embrace
the smell of grassy seas
birdsong flying over the waves
flowering, ripening, drying fruits
the curl and crunch of crisp autumn leaves
sun-dried to perfection
the thud of my own footsteps
fading forward.    

© J.S. Watts


Shiny reflections
I perceive as random
dislocations of light
you embrace as intuitive
flashes of unconstructed genius
a fire-night carnival
of auto-projected images
newsreel eye-candy
bubble-gum pink and screaming
their life-blood stories
as we crash and burn.
Head-locked into
the white-star meteor
metaphor pump
you’re jazzing the head rush.
I drift slowly seeking
the cool refreshing trickle
that flows a tranquil river
bearing misty sub-aquatic thought.
You’re back there jay-walking,
arms flung wide as summer,
dodging the headlights
and conceptual collisions
loving the hot-oil smell of almost
auto-crunch accidentals
that fanfare, like a serenade
of car horns,
the ceaseless roar of now.

© J.S. Watts