Mark McDonnell lives in Staffordshire, England where he teaches in a high school. He was recently shortlisted for the 2017 TLS Mick Imlah Poetry Prize. His poetry has appeared in Snakeskin Poetry and will be featured shortly in Measure. He was a finalist in the 2016 Eratosphere Sonnet Bake-Off.
They gather in this pub straight after work,
the old fools, hunkered down and heavy-armoured.
Slowly though, they shed their skins and shields.
I sit among them, stupidly enamoured
of their jukebox grief, the deep berserk
desires they hold. The space between the glove
and skin feels just like home, might yet contain
the charm to take me off to fresher fields.
Beyond this fetid air I'd feel the rain
fall on my face. But something, either love
or nausea in my gut, will hold me back
and pin me to these fools. I drop my coin
for alchemy. Mechanical. It yields
a thing ineffable. The head. The loin.
When are you coming back? Oh Jimmy Mack...