‘Cigarettes on Grey Street’ and other poems by Julie Hogg

Cigarettes on Grey Street

corner seem appropriate.
You’re telling me you’re a
Redsmith for a contemporary
gallery and some northern
university or another, while
assuming me up and down.

I’m wearing a plastic red
mac and nude heels with
slack slingbacks lacking
any firm ankle support
but more than adept at
softly killing wet pavements.

Red hot tar’s spread on my
soul, which you’ll never
see, and my black silk scarf
is strangling me with a
permanent knot I just can’t
get out with casual dexterity

and we’re licking our tongues
on mendacity, treated like
a noun, personified to within
an inch of its life. Where will
we go tomorrow? Who will
we be? At the red lit man

pack-of-cards pedestrians seem
happy to crash into the same
old routine of a rush hour’s
matt grey sky and twilight
petrol fumes, pushing hectic
around before Dean Street.

Through the vision in your eyes
I can see you’re approximately
years and years behind me, I
need breeze from the quayside,
feeling inclined to find my own
highlights, perfect timing or a

shot of some other metallic; without
looking back I step into the traffic.

Vettriano Life

I was truly alone
like any romantic
pigeon-holed into
an edgy corner
happy-hour oysters
rare rib-eye steak
lush red wine
I danced to jazz
he tumbled whisky
with cut glass lustre
I followed him up
to this city’s
natural planetarium
saw the curve
of the earth
smoked Cuban cigars
my hands held no hearts
on this player’s cards
and when he came
my name was any name
my face was any face
in any rooftop place
like this where red
hems soak in
summer rain and stars
where princesses
work all night in bars
wishing for better
morning afters for
their unborn daughters.

Miss X, I adore you

She was a bleached out blonde,
busy inventing neologisms,
suspiring spirit, iron spangles,
starlot, harlet, portmanteau,
mesh, putty and leather boa,

discovered on a soft spot by
an artisan speakeasy, her sheer
plasticity attracted his gaze, he
told her of frits and vanadium
glazes, concealing imperfections,

misdemeanours, stupid mistakes.
Vitrification. He could break a
nose for the perfect shape, crawl
over bones, mould her face, how
shivering is the reverse of crazing,

blindfold her with masking tape,
cinch her waist, weight her pleats,
rotate her in a vitrine after heat,
repeat, Miss X, I adore you, in
his sleep. What are you looking at?

Save your sodden handkerchiefs
for how I walked into a kiln,
covered my self with clay,
confine the space I move in,
died in such a way. Porcelained.

Cod and Lobster

I’d like to believe Kindly Light
watched him leave, Golden Days,
Grace Louise, Pat’s lass from the

Potash said they’d laughed over
rip-off Prosecco, pork scratchings,
her lack of a cleavage, Love Divine,

who’d call a boat that? How every
night he’d be stuck, tangled up on
a coat hook at the bar with a wink,

puckered lips around rims of cask ale,
ignoring quiz questions, making frail
inherited attempts at not coming home,

drowned in a drink, sipping away and
I’d heard Morning Star Mick say there’s
a point where the sea meets the eyes,

swills out the sockets, forms a foam
ahead of the mind, to be honest, I didn’t
listen to everything they said, I smashed

the Yorkshire Coble in a bottle on the
harbour side of his saltbox shed, bled a
radiator, fed the kids, stripped our bed.


I can almost forget,
like a stolid white lie,
but tonight is a pupil,
a snowflake on red obsidian,

I polished a curette,
a simple gnostic incision,
above a Florentine smile
and disappeared into

the back of her eyes,
how she was upside down
for hours and hours,
a sterile to-die-for brunette

in Brownian trophic motion,
on axons, chiasms, in clefts,
she quelled the Wear, then,
there it is, in its bony hollow,

I remembered how a hand
from the day she was born,
began etching her name
into a gravestone and I lay

her down on a soundtrack,
in Old Elvet, My Sweet Lord,
life and death, And All That Jazz.

Mount Pleasant

I'm a Sea-Drift florentine 
with New York smoked
chocolate and gothic
liquorice ice cream 
all falsetto euphoria on
an acidic yellow slipway

silence, still life, plein air,
subtle watercolour fractals 

              mid brain, black substance
              potent dopamine receptors

                                and how I wish that this 
                                railing is your hand,
                                                          My Friend 
I swear I can see our
soles in the lichen and
an auburn woman all
flither picker hemmed
with Irish broken veins
on the curve of a cobb   

Cigarettes on Grey Street and other poems are © Julie Hogg

Julie Hogg is a Poet from the North East of England with an MA in Creative Writing from Teesside University. Published in many literary journals and magazines including Black Light Engine Room, Butcher’s Dog, Honest Ulsterman, Irisi, Proletarian Poetry and Well Versed and featured in anthologies by Ek Zuban, Litmus, Zoomorphic and Writing Motherhood from Seren, her debut pamphlet Majuba Road is available from Vane Women Press. Journeying in poetry through landscapes she inhabits, her voice can be lyrical, startling, staccato and also exquisitely tender.
These poems have been previously published individually by Appletree Writers, Butcher’s Dog, Diamond Twig Press, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Litmus Publishing, Obsessed with pipework, Rockland, StepAway Magazine and Vane Women Press.
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