top of page

Patrick Roberts: a poem

The Telegraph Line

There was horror I carry a half-weight

as my portion and sleep when I can

For you brother tell me tell me of the north

as if we were there again as the younger man

that we were Tell me about the curling touch

the way that sparking fingers traced patterns

over years into you and yet their traces were

marked on my own skin

Tell me how you did that

how you survived her so well that you could talk

while I wore our map as a lake of mercury on me

which flowed south at the worst times surged

until I broke blood and in the high days froze

so that all who saw me smile remarked that

I wore the face of a dead The smile of relapse

I wore the electric pattern as if it were her lace her strap

each day a new message hurt its way through the lines

pain glowed new in me

Tell me how brother

Tell me how you had the nerve to live with yourself

knowing that in London I was doll to your tricks

could not swallow a meal but hate it could not feel you

lay yourself on her without my finding a blank partner

and spending the night trying to bring her to colour

attempting to lay my own cables inside her sensation

with the hope that some certain exchange might live

You tell me of peace No

Patrick Davidson Roberts was born in 1987 and grew up in Sunderland and Durham. He was editor of The Next Review magazine 2013-2017, co-founded Offord Road Books press in 2017 and reviews for The Poetry School. He is the author of The Mains (Vanguard Editions, 2018). In 2019 he ran All My Teachers, an all-women reading series.


bottom of page