Poetry from Anthony Langford

Crawling like lice looking for a way home


I was crawling along a suburban road

With other metal entombed insects

With frowning faces

And pantomime hands

No angels in this queue.


I saw Satan

In a BMW

He was an advertising exec

And his legion of horned helpers

Were real estate agents

Happily extract your soul

With a handshake

White teeth

And a business card.


The music played

God bless it for trying

But it could not drown out

The urban frustration

Scattered like lice

Each seeking the perfect follicle.

There was another drive-by shooting last night

Just up the street this time

Either the drug dealers are spreading

Or the agents are lowering property values.


Nothing surprises me anymore

I got called a fag

By one of three workmen

Sitting on their ass

On the concrete

While I was out pushing my two-year-old in her pram

Which should automatically qualify me

For hetero status – pristine style.

The men were huddled together

In a group of groin scratching fuelled testosterone

Without a scrap of irony realized between them.


There’s nothing more frightening

Than young men, boys really, in numbers

Pack mentality

A bunch of sour grapes

All balls and no sense.


For that very reason

I avoid Saturday night trains

Like the clap

And Sydney taxis come with their own dangers

Bouncing around like bedraggled Beijing bovine

Misplaced by a meth mad Mumbai mongoose.


Instead, I dip the toe in

And the water’s oh so fine

So I’ll take my chances

With the jellyfish and the sharks

At least they won’t pretend to be my friend

Unlike those bearing a slogan

And a sale.




Shadow beings


I feel the sting

Of hypocrisy

Like a layer of nettles

In lieu of a picnic blanket


I absorb injustice

Like fast growing bruises

Sinking inside

While the blows rain down


Turning a blind eye

Only draws more attention.


Self-serving natures

Prompt painful corrupt disservice

A dog’s repetitive bark

A car alarm

A blinking light

Merely repels.


Judgment is all around

Pointing every which way

But inward.


Opportunities pass by

Like a missed train

Only stopping for others

Until you create your own transport

And hit the road.


People claim to covet the truth

While they seek it

Behind a façade of fabrications.


Light burns brightest

In the distance

A Star beaming out of reach

While we stumble in the dark

And keep wondering why.

Last stop before close


This is the end of the line

The place where promise

Dried up

And deceit reached full circle

Where expectancy froze brittle

On icy sliver truths.


Where the road

Hit the dirt

When the bottle

Ran dry

When the tank

Coughed residue defeat

And ghosts had no more


For a final dip in the ocean.


Steam dissipated


Under the crushing blue sky.


It sits over there

Yet yours is here

Suitable or nay

Backstabbing friend

Indifferent to feelings

Chance had admittance

The best

Always seems to sneak away

Before the lights

Reveals the patchy dance floor.







Well-travelled road to nowhere


He said he was on the train to nowhere

The older woman frowned

Thought he was crazy

And turned back to her phone.


He was mad

But not in the way she imagined

He knew what he was doing

He merely did not imagine a future for himself

His goals had been thwarted at every turn

So it seemed

His long-term depression had finally

Become host to the party.


He had not given up

And would not expect others to understand

That he was already defeated.


It was thirty-two minutes before Golden Hour

The light was cutting, intrusive

Every half-head turn

A blazing brain penetration

Aesthetically raped.


He moaned

The woman got up

Under the proviso of disembarkation.

She merely changed carriages.


He thought of getting up too

Getting off at the next station

To simply wander

Escape his head

At least attempt to stay one stop ahead

A gesture quickly deemed futile

Like all the other occasions.


He examined some of the other people

In the rectory communal space

And thought,

I have it better than them

I am conscious of my surroundings

And who I am

Flaws and all

And that’s gotta count for something.


Too bad I can’t bear the reality

Embedded in the façade.


He arrived in the city

And shuffled with the throng

And thought,

Let me survive tonight.

At least

For one more night.







The Night Journeymen (boys)


We stand in the street

At 3 plus am

Three post-apocalyptic warriors

Before we had heard the term

The air is sharp

And our breath appears

Before us

Hands numbing

Yet our flesh is flush warm with booze

The lamp lights blurred

The road tilting

As we march to the park

On instinct

To the electric barbeque

We are the masters now

The night is ours

Our town

We are teenage chieftains

Frozen sausages in hand

Stolen from my parents freezer

And twenty-cent coins on the brink.


We cook

We drink

We eat

We talk

Bonding without knowing

These stolen nights

Fancying snippets of future

Wishing for more

Almost living it

We will be this and that

We will have her

And go there

And do everything in mind

All it takes is to wish for it.


The southern stars as crisp as arrows

At least they were a few hours before

They show a better way

Better than this

Better than what we’ve known.


I look to my friends

And realize that we are trivial

And that dreams are only our drunken fantasy

And unless something major occurs

We will be here next week and the one after

And never get out.


And then I feel a sense of unity

Somehow, I am one with my friends

And the town

And the night

We stand on the corner

Under the insect electric

And make our farewells.


I shuffle home

Reflecting on freedom savored

Hug the dog

And collapse.



2 thoughts on “Poetry from Anthony Langford

  1. Love the real estate agents who would “happily extract your soul with a handshake”. Great anger in that first one. Can relate to it. Great work Anthony!

  2. “The best always seems to sneak away before the lights reveals the patchy dance floor.” Just as well these wondefully evocative poems did not sneak away. So many images in them. So many comments on hypocrisy and obsevations of unlived lives.

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