Jim Conwell – 1 poem



Bernie had her own world I guess,

not one that I was ever really part of.

She was a local in Cricklewood.

Nothing self-conscious about it, she just was.

She drank in Barrett’s for Christsake! She worked in Kilburn.

She’d been to Ireland a few times

but, beyond that, they didn’t do baked beans in Morocco. 


There’s a picture of the two of us at a party

and we’ve both had enough to be looking into the middle distance.

It looks like we feel affection for one another –

or she for me, if I’m honest. 


When I went over to see my uncle,

he was lying in a coffin

in his own living room while

we lined up for the visitors

who came, each for their own goodbye. 


I remember how presentable he was

and I thought of the skill behind that

and wondered about the fucking amateurs

that had prepared my mother

and my father

and my sister. 


I didn’t have the heart to make a fuss at the time.

I’d just been punched, hard, in the stomach

and was holding myself quiet, hoping to recover.

But you don’t actually. That’s what

they don’t tell you, the guardians of these things. 


They say there is a process, goals, stages

to reach in a journey that will take you

to the other, safe, side of this dangerous hole

that has opened up in your existence. 


But supposing it doesn’t happen that way?

Where is the club for people who don’t manage?

The one that will allow you to make a mess of it.


My sister died. She’s still dead.

I live with her absence.

I can’t wrap that up.


Jim Conwell’s parents were economic migrants from the rural west of Ireland and he was born in London, England. He has had poems published in a wide variety of magazines and had two poems shortlisted in the Bridport Poetry Prize. He is married to Annemarie van der Meer and they have eight grandchildren.

By Heavenly Flower Publishing

Bindweed Magazine publishes two anthologies each year: Midsummer Madness and Winter Wonderland. Bindweed is run as a not for profit, labour of love endeavour by an author/poet couple: Leilanie Stewart and Joseph Robert. Bindweed can be found at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s