Les Wicks

Les Wicks has toured widely and seen publication in over 350 different magazines, anthologies and newspapers across 28 countries in 13 languages. His 13th book of poetry is Getting By Not Fitting In (Island, 2016).

Les Wicks




The band’s manager warned me in advance.
I tried to be careful
but a boneyard’s worth of hole came up
& it was supposed to be a calling
& I fell across it like a torn chorus.

Ray had plans, re-roofed his upscale home,
paved the path out to high gates, security cameras.
He thought it was building a reputation but somehow still
in the same pit as me – I lie down, he lies.
We were no class act.

Our band never practised, air guitars
wheezed. He said I had no post-doc degree or honour –
I said he had an excess, it was bound to end badly.

Nothing was simple or real. I mistook his ratty heartbeat
for a bass line. He snorted a line of argument,
it wasn’t time for my solo spot.
Sheet music talked of litigation.

The applause was febrile. Our audience
knew nothing, a smell in the corner of the stage
had written the reviews.