James Lilley, Poetry

Dead Butterfly

I remember when I was six,
A butterfly, dazzling, divine
Floated on by,
I danced, chasing it across, freshly cut lawn,
Abruptly stopped by a web, hidden,
Dew drop covered sparkling,
The spider devouring the butterfly,
What was I supposed to do?

Now as a man,
I watched her walk away,
Slamming the door,
In a act of finality,
She was my pili-pala
My nature was that of the spider,
Damaging her, not that I wanted to,
Blackened clouds following,
What was I supposed to do?


Empty head, except, its full of ghosts,
my brother gone he haunts me the most,
The shadows pass my windows, playing tricks,
Back in the desert, behind sun bleached walls,
screams call my name,
too scared to move, I wish I was home.

Pigs by James Lilley

James Lilley, Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine

Pigs at the top table,
Spewing lies, spinning a story,
Another fascinating fable.

Does anyone find it strange
35,000 delegates flew
To a conference on climate change?

Fly less, holidaying once a year is to far
But the President had a convoy
Of eighty five cars.

Worry not because mother nature
Wears our scars.

Why do the rules matter?
Eat less meat
But only the pigs get fatter.

A single tree falls in a forest
Still our ambitions
On change are too modest.

Save the trees, the bees and the sea.
Fuck the government and fuck Boris.

Fredo by James Lilley

Flash Fiction, James Lilley

A single short sharp horn blast let Jerry know they’d arrive. They had parked a little down the street. He flicked his cigarette, took the stoop stairs two at a time, and headed in their direction in a walk that was not quite a jog. As he neared the beat-up Cadillac, he noticed, the driver’s seat was empty. Which meant he was driving. He opened the car door and climbed in.
“Hey Fredo.” Phil spoke from the passenger seat not looking at Jerry. Jerry buckled his belt and turned to look over his shoulder to see Rick sat in the seat behind him.
“Phil. Rick. Who’s Fredo?” he asked turning in his seat slightly. Phil was holding a little plastic bag filled with white powder.
“Sorry. Slip of the tongue. Let’s get going.” He reached into the bag, pinched a little powder and held it to one nostril. With an audible snort the powder disappeared. When Jerry hadn’t pulled off, he turned his blood shot eyes to the drivers chair.
“Drive.” He told Jerry with less humour than before.
“Sure.” Jerry put the car in drive and joined the steady trawl of traffic outside of his triple decker “Where to?”
“Thought we were laying low for a while?”
“Hey Rick, check out the fucking brains on Donnie Brasco here!”
Rick snorted a forced humourless chuckle from behind him. Jerry could tell something was up, Phil was acting erratically, he was high as well.
“You bring your piece?”
“No, you told me not to?”
“Good man. Never use the same piece twice. Especially with the heat. You watch many gangster movies?”
Jerry glanced quickly over at Phil again trying to work out what he was talking about.
“You not slept much right Phil?” Rick interrupted from the back.
“Fuck are you twos? My mother?” he reached into the bag again. “Get us down the docks.”

They drove in silence for a while, Phil reaching into the bag every so often, twitching and mumbling to himself. Jerry felt a dread creeping in, a worry knotting his stomach, something was up and it was apparent Phil wasn’t taking it well. They drove through the city, passing the bright lights and tall buildings until the hustle and bustle started to dissolve into the dilapidated outskirts near the docks, reaching a place where there were few street lights. A part of the city long forgotten, neglected even. There were less people down here, a few girls on street corners standing under the lights that were working, many sitting or lying on the street. The Cadillac passed through abandoned and crumbling warehouses covered under a night blanket of a starless night.
“In there.” Phil jabbed a white dusted finger at the window, pointing at a warehouse with no doors and roof sections missing. “Dim the lights.”
Jerry felt cold sweat trickling down his back. He didn’t like this. Not one bit. Phil was watching him now. Very closely. He clicked the headlights off and rolled into the darkness of the warehouse.
“Fuck, Phil, I can’t see a goddamn thing.” Jerry remarked straining himself over the steering wheel to try and make out what was ahead of him.
“You ain’t scared of the dark are you?” twisting around in his seat again. “Get a load of Henry Hill here. Scared of the dark. Kill the engine.”

Jerry killed the engine, putting the car in park, the dark was suffocating and all engulfing. He waited for his eyes to adjust trying to slow his breathing down.
Phil sparked a lighter, bringing it to his face to light a smoke clamped in his teeth, the orange glow burning Jerry’s eyes.
“What the fuck is going on Phil? Why you bring me down here and why the fuck are you calling me weird names?”
Jerry felt a movement, heard an audible click, he was sure Phil reaching into the glove compartment by his knees. Without asking, Jerry reached up and tapped the internal ceiling light. Phil had a revolver in one hand, resting on his lap.
“Those names I been calling you Jerry, are all fucking rats’.” Phil said calmly keeping his watering bloodshot eyes fixed on Jerry. “You a fucking rat?”
“Me? You kidding me?”
“Who else could it be? I think you sold us out to them Cobble Hill boys for a bigger cut.”
Before he could continue, Phil cocked the hammer on the revolver, raised a finger to his lips in a shush gesture.
“I been thinking on it a few days. It had to be you. Who else could it be?” he raised the gun in Jerry’s direction. “I knew it was you…”
His head exploded in a mist of red, spraying Jerry in lumps of brain batter and bone fragments. Jerry raised his hands to shield his face out of instinct. When he lowered his hand, he saw Phil’s body slouched forward on the dash, a big hole in the back of his skull, the only remaining part of his head. The windscreen was covered in red gore pooling on the floor around the dead man’s feet. Pulling himself around he saw Rick calmly sat behind Phil. Holding his own silenced gun.
“Rick, what the fuck?” Jerry said voice wavering.
“Phil got all paranoid about that job going sideways. Was convinced one of us ratted him out. He got all twitchy, wouldn’t sleep, started snorting too much coke.”
Jerry wiped the blood from his face gagging when he saw the red streak it left on his shirt sleeve.
“Why the fuck did he blame me?” Jerry asked getting control of himself.
“Well, I told him it was you.” he replied as if this wasn’t a big deal.
“What the fuck? Why?”
Rick turned the gun in Jerrys, direction.
“Well, there was a rat, it wasn’t going to be me.”
Jerry didn’t hear the shot.

Two Poems from James Lilley

James Lilley, Poetry

James Lilley, 34, father of three. By day an engineer by night a bare knuckle fighter and poet. Currently studying Creative Writing have had work featured in Versification, Black Bough Poetry, The Daily Drunk, Fevers of the Mind Poetry, Spill Words and Splintered Disorder press.  


by James Lilley

The colour was off

he said

but I cooked

it myself

on my mamas stove

in the pots we use

for Sunday roast

I needed the money

getting the mix wrong

A debt instead.

All The Trivial Things

by James Lilley

We see different counsellors

but we don’t talk about

what we talk about

at dinner

we push peas around the


and comment on

the steak

we don’t talk about

what we talk about

making awkward conversation

about Sue at work

our neighbours car

next years holiday

we hide from each other

behind all the trivial things.     

Three from James Lilley

James Lilley, Poetry

James Lilley, 34, father of three. By day an engineer by night a bare knuckle fighter and poet. Currently studying Creative Writing have had work featured in Versification, Black Bough Poetry, The Daily Drunk, Fevers of the Mind Poetry, Spill Words and Splintered Disorder press.  


When they moved the body

for the fourth time

the ground was frozen

shovels couldn’t break the soil

the stench got worse each time

and worms had found a home.

Not burying deep enough was a mistake

getting lost in the woods

with no flashlights

should have been avoided

a dog walker found them an hour later

but had found the body first greeted by flashing blues


Tonight’s not your night kid

Resonated in my head

as I made the walk

through crowd

faceless merciless horde

they wanted a show

promoter wanted a sure thing

hitting sky blue canvas

blood staining

corner urging

stay down

This ain’t your night

Didn’t even try

took the money

crying into my coach’s arms

I could have been a contender

Stash House

A pattering outside

Sounds like heavy rain on the windows

Maybe its fireworks

but its March 3rd

Cloud of blue smoke

Chevrolet speeds off

They were meant to hit a stash house,

Stench of gunpowder

singes nostril hair,

Family of four got caught instead

house full of holes

When they pulled the bodies out

People collapsed in the street

Screaming to the Gods

They’d opened up with a mac 10

Caught a guy

he proclaimed sorry

into news camera

Not sure what to make of it all.