4 Poems by John Bowie @johnbowie

Punk Noir Magazine



‘Get out, you’re barred!’the barman’s voice went, 


like the smashed mirror, cowering punters,

spilt drinks and emptying seats.

he pulled a gun, waved it about,

the barman ducked,

took cover, 

we all did.

he threw it —  it didn’t go off.

‘Who’s that?’ I said from beneath a table. 

‘Dunno, I think he owns the place,’ a voice came

then he left.

the barman jumped up from behind cover,

locked the door. 

the last shards of mirror fell as we finished our drinks,

from a landlord, barred from his own hole.


Hell-Tail Bitch

she sells it, and not for money, 

with each arch of that back, kick of that tail,

she milks, crushes, gnaws and 

grinds lose another piece of soul; already beaten.

the dogs, they queue up for it, to give it to her,

knowing they’re not first in line,

that they’re mixing each and everyone’s soup.

going in anyway,


she’ll always sell it and they’ll all want it,

everyone, men,

even some of the women too.

God can’t resist, he’ll take her at last

and she’ll walk away, riding to eternity,

feeling nothing,

taking everything.


She Had An Itch

I travelled cities, proud.

telling them how she was; beautiful and clever.

I showed photos. 

‘Yes,’ they’d say, and, ‘how old?’

I told them, and that three times a day wasn’t enough for her,

that I felt my age, plus ten… I couldn’t stop talking, about her.

the more I said, the more I appealed to the crowd.

I left, didn’t take the wiser offers, knowing she was waiting for me.

I got back, the door was left wide open.

she’d fucked someone else, he was still there, sunbathing out-back

whilst she was on the bed, wanting more.

he’d only gone two rounds, I stayed, for a while…

she really was something, and nothing.

I was tired from travelling.

haven’t spoken since,

didn’t much then.


Stone Cold Lovers

lovers on a beach, wrapped in grains,

claw-locked limbs, as sand flies hop

over matted hair

woven with sinews of seaweed.

sculpted bodies,

growing stone-cold, 

warmth fading from deadlocked hands.

a lone parked car, rug still in the back,

flask never opened, food to waste,

but for the birds

that can’t get in.

as white horses weep,

they go together, departing.

joining those dead birds and sunken ships.

together, beached, wrecked, carcasses.

the dead make no plans.

John writes articles, poetry, reviews, short stories and novels. His fiction is a semi-autobiographical mix of dirty realism, crime fiction and noir. Ghostly references to a heritage that includes the Vikings, Scotland, Ireland and the North, flavour the words throughout. Often with a dark humoured edge.

John’s writing has appeared online and in print for the likes of Red Dog PressBristol NoirStorgy MagazineLitro MagazinePunk Noir MagazineNecro Magazineand Deadman’s Tome

John lives in Bristol with his wife and daughters, where he has been since the late nineties. He is a professional designer, artist and writer as well as a proud husband, father, brother and son.