Ian Mullins – 1 poem

This Year’s Grey



Says she’s sorry –

should I be sorry too?

Or is she just blessing

her cold ego by being the one

who speaks first, righting the wrong

her mouth twisted like a bag

she’d hidden a live rat in?


Or are these words performing

the same rite for me, blessing myself

with silence as she blesses

herself with words? And how

will I tell black from white

or white from grey, when everyone

is wearing it this year?






Ian Mullins dredges debris from the banks of the river mersey. The autism-themed chapbook Almost Human (Original Plus) was published in 2017. The music-themed collection Laughter In The Shape Of A Guitar (UB) was released in 2015. Number 1 Red, a novel about professional wrestling and property wars, escaped from a headlock in 2017. All should be approached with caution.


Ian Mullins – 2 poems 



You haven’t been yourself,

she says. So who have I been?

Perhaps the creature who hides

behind my back and turns

when I turn, so I never

glimpse him but know he’s 

always there. You, of course,

neither know nor care

for this wild screaming boy, 

who would shoot out the moon 

and blind the sun’s eye 

for a bet. No wonder then, 

that when my wild shadow 

shows himself you find him 

mute and strange, beating odd tattoos 

with his claws on cold, 

broken earth. And if he could speak

what would he say but

 I haven’t  been myself  

for some time?





Time Out 


It’s hard work

being out of your mind:

all those words

tugging on your tongue

as though all your past lives have

re-incarnated into your skull,

and all of them have

too much to say

in too many languages

no-one speaks anymore.

Better here, drugged out

on the bench watching a game

that’s nothing more than

grown-ups playing at

being kids again; remembering

a time when everything mattered

but none of it was your fault,

when you could walk home

swinging your bat, telling yourself

you’ll laugh at this when 

you’re sad and old, when dreaming 

is just another way 

of kidding yourself that you’re 

really quite sane; it’s just 

the world that’s mad as a mouse 

chasing a cat to steal 

back cheese. Don’t they 

set traps for that?





Ian Mullins


Ian Mullins – 2 poems 

Laura’s Room

It’s cold in Laura’s room.

The curtains are drawn, but there

is no window behind them,

only the shapes of bricks

drawn by hand on the wall.

No carpets; only a handful

of dirty rags festering on dry boards,

where you find comfort

how you may. You study

the art of waiting when no-one

is expecting your call.

Nothing can be read

in the few simple stains

high on the four plain walls.

No furniture need comfort you,

no light need detain you.

You enter the same way a fly

enters an empty bottle, in Summer,

perhaps from hunger

or curiosity, or restless after a thaw.

It should be quite simple

to fly your way out, should flight

be needed. The door is never locked

when Laura leaves the room.



She’s 21

looks good naked

got a boyfriend/girlfriend

sex when she wants it

says she’s going to Australia soon

maybe take the bus

work for an hour or two

sleep on the beach

naked under stars

naked as she

drink down the years

shower under a waterfall

grow fat like a walrus

have three or four kids

she’ll never see again

collect men like syringes

die on the beach

in the middle of summer

says you don’t have to bury me

just fold me away

I’m 21;

forget about the rest.


Ian Mullins bails out from Liverpool England. His collection Laughter In The Shape Of A Guitar was published by UB ( in 2015. He has published poems and stories with Purple Patch, Neon, The Journal, Mad Swirl, Clutching At Straws, Hellfire Crossroads, The Literary Hatchet and many more.