Ellen Johns


Renegade Refugee

Were you sifting the soil
searching for your conscience,
in that dank hole...
or tunnelling your way to hell?

In hiding,
an undiscovered well,
the nectar of your nation,
in oil blessed lands?

Beneath a top layer
of splintered bones
and shrapnel of armoury,
glazed with a peoples’ blood.

Have you had your fill,
of feasting on a nation’s fear?
Is the gluttony of genocide
laying heavy in your gut?

When the sun
assaults your eyes,
singeing your retinas,
you must readjust your vision.

Focus on the anarchy.
The vile vision,
the aftermath.

Defiant eyes and
supercilious smirk.
Have they dissolved
with the demise of a tyrant?

Sockets as shallow and black
as the graves delegated.
Replaced with a vagrant,
bowed in the stance of
subservient surrender.

Your skull shrugs off
a weathered skin.
It hangs loosely
in lethargy.

A thousand more lines
in your crumpled brow.
As abundant as fronts fought in
and barriers built.

A beard untamed
and matted with
the grey ashes
of a war torn place.

Lonely, aged citizen,
join the exodus,
of tormented souls
who file out
of their land.
Lead them all...
renegade refugee.

Sudan Sun

A sweltering sun
blisters wasteland,
fertile plains calcify,
crack with strain.

Empty husks litter
path of the sower
in haunting of
yesteryear's harvest.

Emaciation sharpens
lens of the West,
sketches starvation's
portfolio of pain.

Babies suck life
from wasted women,
aching jaws
on hollowed breasts.

Magnified flies
like mortuary birds
digest despair,
infest each frame.

Pestilence loiters in
sweating shrouds,
wades through
sludge-filled holes.

A nation excreted,
smeared in a conflict,
bureaucracy's bowels
empty hindrance of life.

Political post mortems
read and reviewed,
deep pockets rattle
rusting coins.....

as I join you,
Sir Bob,
head pressed
in my hands


Suspended from a twisted twine of succulence
in the confines of a vascular vault,
scattered with cellulite cushions.
A pendulum subtly swaying
to the pelvic swing.

Immersed in an aqueous ambience,
a Jacuzzi of infinite bubbles
silently drifting in natural currents,
lulled by the sound
of a uterine sea.

Future's construction,
a myriad of miracles
shaping and moulding
patented persona
and features unique.

Mother of Nature
is rapidly weaving
the cling in
the strings
of maternity


There is a drought of saliva,
in my desert baked throat.
A masked man looms
in pristine starched coat.
Collars and cuffs snapped off.

A tray of torturous tools
balance on my chest.
Expand in size with each
frantic exhalation
of arid breath.

Vocal chords shrivel
and wither.
Putrid aromas
penetrate my nostrils.
They twitch with recognition.

No shade for my eyes.
They burn beneath
the blinding bulbs.
A wave of neuralgia
crashes over me.

My jaw is stretched to the hilt.
Prised open like a stubborn clam.
The hinges ache
with awkwardness.
A pool of spittle stifles a scream.

A writhing needle
burrows into my gum.
The corkscrew drill
assaults my oral space.
Decay is disposed of.

The nerve exposed,
twitching, alive.
Shards of amalgam
rebound from the,
roof of my mouth.

An ice cold Jacuzzi
froths on my tongue,
like a sour sorbet.
I swallow grit
and dribble debris.

Bonnie Blue

Celtic coverlets
drape war weary hills,
thistle darned
broad heather hems.

Warriors trudge in
a whiskey-laced mist,
tartan frayed
smudged in sky.

Lone piper mourns
rigid kilt, solo stance
pipes loosely slung
brittle shoulders subside.

Blue are the bells
as they toll
to the tune
full of woe in the woods


stare at me.
I am hazardous hair
shockingly styled,
artistic anarchy,
fashion defiled.
A putrid purple
erectile protrusion,
a cerebral carpet
on skull of stubble.

wince at me.
I am follicles fused,
graffiti-can lacquer,
needle pine spikes
pierce decade of doom.
Lancing of lobes,
rusting blunt pins,
abuse of skin viewed
in gallery of pain.

jeer at me.
I am Kohl application
in layers of sludge,
liquorice laces
on insipid lids.
Wire thin legs hang,
dangle from pelvis,
bandaged in leather
and tourniquet tight.

believe in me.
I am royalty ransacked,
futile flag,
shredded rags
draped over pallid persona.
Chaotic gig,
spewing slurs,
bouncing in pools
of spittle and vomit.

listen to me.
I am link over link,
jangling chains
curving the spine,
elderly stance.
Deafening decibels
lyrics disputed,
voice of disturbance
appalled but absorbed.

I am your son!

Inspired by Sid Vicious.


A nose to nose duel,
equal height, not dimension,
we suck in space.

Breaths collide,
in this climate
of confrontation.

Cocooned in obstinacy,
unshed tears orbit
our unblinking eyes.

Lexis missiles explode,
splicing the atmosphere,
turning it blue.

Composure crumbles
in razed reflections
at each twist of the verbal vice.

Tears scorch en route,
branding the features
of a face with no feeling.

With a sigh of your eyelids,
you turn and dismiss me,
slow march away.....

Emptying your pockets
of all our yesterdays,
each crushed by my following feet.

You disappear from view,
in a fog
of powdered memories

Fragrance Of Eden

I sat so still as if sculptured
from the oaken pew. The seconds
and minutes stuttered their way
through one extraordinary
hour of my existence.

I could not extinguish the flames
of the fragrance of Eden. Nor the sizzling
palm print branded upon my back.

I felt the silkiness of an oil so rare
smoothed into the creases
of my frown, massaged into
the pores of my upturned palms.

I swayed in the ambience of a virginal
sensation as whispers tickled
the whorls of my ears. Clandestine
chants in a tongue unbelonging.

I tasted the tang of my tears
as they fell unawares. One appointment
with Him, a sensory celebration.
An anointment by Him, and I scattered
my worries hand in hand with the clouds.

Tommy Thumb

How I once treasured my warm little friend
A comfort through days that I thought had no end
Alone in the dark I would lay on my hand
And pop thumby in on my way to dreamland.

My nine other digits were slender and tall
But poor little thumby was ever so small
I loved the sensation of wrinkly skin
Attached like a limpet I sucked that skin in

Some nights I would snuffle and silently snivel
I sucked and I sucked and my thumby would shrivel
I worried sometimes I might suck him away
And sighed with relief at the start of each day

To find him still there and wiggling about
I hated the feeling of pulling him out
But as I got older the other kids mocked
Mothers stared openly looking quite shocked

So Mum bought a potion and painted it on
The taste was repulsive but still I sucked on
I couldn't accept it, that this was the end
Of thumby and me, my warm little friend

I said my goodbye, with a sad little heart
And had one more suck of my small body part
Sometimes when I'm sad and I'm down on my luck
For old times' sake I just have a quick suck!!

For my daughter Nicola, who put her thumby in at two hours old.

The Place.

Identity robbed as you crawl through the door, chin hung so low it drags dust from the floor.
From external chaos to institute hell, a place to reside when one's feeling unwell.

Desolate dayroom, a wheeze and a choke, light blotted out by a thick yellow smoke.
Tar dripping filters, butts dipped in ash, bins overflow, an assortment of trash.

Laundry room hanging, a hundred grey frocks, basket containing a thousand odd socks.
Clothes spinning round in dizzying drum, nerve endings soothed by hypnotic hum.

Dishwater shampoo, shower room bare, plughole clogged up with a knot of old hair.
Blocks of grey soap, no lather or smell, noose-like red cord of emergency bell.

Watermark visible, greasy grey stain, hours of scrubbing, to wash off the pain.
Cleaners work swiftly, no hurry to please, afraid of their contact with mental disease.

Four times a day, assembles a queue, two blues for him, a white one for you.
Harpoon sedation, staff unperturbed, pumped into those who are really disturbed.

People so high that they wrestle with clouds, others so low they darn their own shrouds.
Some pace relentlessly, shoe soles are bare, others call out in a wail of despair.

Creative therapy, morning and night, art is encouraged, to let in the light.
Portraits of self, face twisted in scream, palette of darkness reveals the extreme.

For those who are lucky, it's quick and is brief, a respite for mind bringing utter relief.
For others, much longer, a voyage of strife, entombed in the system, are troubled for life.

Time has no relevance, clocks have expired, minds in a mangle, bodies retired.
Amidst all the chaos and thoughts full of sin, the process of healing can slowly begin.

All Works © Ellen Johns 2004