about the author

J. H. Martin is from London, England, but has no fixed abode. His writing has appeared in a number of places in Asia, Europe, and the USA. For more information, please visit acoatforamonkey.wordpress.com.

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Two Poems 

J. H. Martin

À Bientôt, J’Espère

When the bar girl
Puts my phone down
When the drunk man next door
Stops shouting at his son
When the balcony
Stops burning my feet
When the Black Panther runs out
When the mangoes have dried
And when the front door stops banging
With more fights and mad yanks

That’s when I will phone

When the Ketamine’s gone
The ants have stopped marching
The MDMA’s worn off
And the locust has come out of hiding

That’s when I will write

When I have paid back the money
That the bus drivers and motos
Have beaten out of me
That’s when I will put on your beads
And shave my head clean

Mon ami

That’s when
I will come to your island
And put down what remains
And follow the way you found

Kowloon, Glasgow & In Between

Last night
I didn’t sleep well

I wasn’t in Wan Chai
Drinking with a woman from Kenya
I wasn’t in a Beijing public toilets
With a woman from the Philippines
And I wasn’t in a bar in Phnom Penh
Kissing a married woman

I was in a small hotel room

The lights were off and I was naked
A woman from Tokyo lying face down next to me

The neon outside
Lit up her skin
And I ran my hand down the length of her spine

The walls breathed in
I breathed out
And her soft moans turned my thoughts
Into the throbbing drone of Khaosan Road

Sitting up
I saw the glass on the dresser
Still had some whisky inside

She was gone
And I was alone
Listening to a Russian man
Singing loudly to himself next door

That was six
No—seven years ago

We were married then
I wasn’t deported
And I wasn’t sitting on a red covered bed
Glass in hand
Listening to Kowloon and its 4 AM sounds

Bins being emptied
Elevators descending
And the steady AC hum
That wouldn’t break the sweat
That dripped from my furrowed brow

Standing up
I couldn’t think of anything else
To write to her

My application
To the mainland rejected
I had nothing better to do
Than stand there and toast
The sleeping shops across the road

Their mannequins and ‘SALE’ displays
Much better dressed and more politely behaved
Than my aroused and laughing silhouette

Much liked
Much shared

But still alone
As I am now

Talking to a divorced woman in Rangoon
Passing through the Lake District
On a bus bound for my city
Where I can no longer afford to live


It’s all but a dream

Like that Douglas fir
Like that steamed belly pork

In between

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