Sue Johns was born in Penzance, Cornwall in 1958 and now lives in South London.Sue began writing and performing as a 'punk poet' and is veteran of the London circuit. She has performed at festivals and cabarets around the country as a solo performer and with Dodo Modern Poets and also writes and performs theatrical monologues.

Sue Johns has been widely published in magazines and anthologies including Time for Song (Contemporary Cornish Poetry) Poetry News, 

The Morning StarProle, Southbank Poetry and The London Magazine. 

She has published  a collection Tantrum, 1998 and a pamphlet A Certain Age, 2003 

Her collection Hush was published by Morgan’s Eye Press in 2011.

A new pamphlet, Rented has been published by Palewell Press  in April 2018. 

She is, currently, completing Track Record a pamphlet project inspired by trains. 

Sue also writes theatrical monologues, works with art/word collaborations.

 

Poems


  

God said… published in Prole, 2017

That I am stranger than the honey on my lips.

My mouth is as smooth as oil -

easing me along to a bitter end.

These stilettos are bound for hell.


I say couldn’t your son wash his own feet?

Don’t bring my hair into it

I’m dry-eyed and my perfume stays

right behind my ears.


My attic brings salvation to many men

and my walls don’t even crack.

This town isn’t Jericho baby -

I can worship the moon if I wish.


There is no faith to save me

I will not go in peace.

 


What Price? published in The Morning Star, 2017

Gold does not burn easily, it resides cool and calm
in the empty rooms of Kensington
which oligarchs, old money and fading pop stars
pass through when tiring of their first and second homes.

Where those, that can, will vote to price
the disaffected northward, where poverty has its place,
or towards the coast, past the holiday homes
to caravans, caves and the sea beyond.

The poor cannot stay in their cramped rooms,
silent, behind the cladding to reduce offence.
With The Community Centre and the Youth Club gone
where else but the streets?

Where they cannot be trusted because
they could be violent, because they are too many.
Too many, we are, smoked out of the capital's rebirth -
with the heavy air whispering murder.

The city must hear itself above its consumption
for those who have thrown their children,
blindly, into the waiting arms of hope
and turned to melt within their wedding rings.


 

Watching Promise  published in Poetry News, 2017

across The Square,
from under the tabby nets,
it seems a client has left her a gift.
My guess is a filthy finger nail
got married to her oily hip
and fathered some pus just out of reach
because she's using some dirty dance-moves
to squeeze it.

Promise knows this isn't like the hand-jobs
we give, off the kerb, ending in a heavy spurt.
This is a wound that'll spread
and come back weeping across an angry border.
It reminds me of those new girls,
when they stray into a foreign postcode.

Promise needs to put on the slippers
that make her look free again
(though she's formidable in heels)
and pay a visit to the prissy chemist

who will be relieved (not,) to be asked
for ‘Morning Afters' or a cream for ‘crabs',
though she'll still dispense that look
she reserves for an entire continent
watching Promise, bounce her box-braids
out of there with a crash
and the door-bell pinging.

This is our healing-time.
My friend rubs antiseptic
into the wet of her back-fat as The Square
takes a communal draw to the lungs,
watching Promise unlock her milky windows
to lie with her legs wide open
and let in some air.


 

Barrel Bomb

 

In a city where sirens hush the night creatures

and every morning is eaten off a knife. A widow comes

to breakfast on blood and masonry, plucking my

debris from the earth. The furrows of her palms are

ignorant of their cargo, as are the soles of her feet.

I am the penitent beggar at the heel of her

broken shoe. Sister! I cry in silence. Cast me skyward,

stop this mortiferios rain. Reverse my unguided fall,

refill me with oil. Remove my bearings from

the shredded limbs, return them to industry. Take me

back to scrap and pig-iron, have the furnace, re cast me

as a bed pan or scalpel. bring the nails from the hospital –

the ones that took the eye, the nose, the tongue.

Re-invent them as a trundle cot or crutches.


 

Coroner’s Report

 

They call you

Gentleman

Then list the quantities of

Heroin, crack and alcohol

 

Head injuries

Cellulites

(Heh, no wonder you were depressed)

The groin abscess

Injected just the day before

 

Nicotine on your fingers

Dirt under your nails

(No lipstick on your collar)

 

Asthmatic

‘Keep that cat off his bed’ Mum said

Hepatitis

C

 

Unwashed feet

Time of death

 

Lungs congested,

Kidneys disintegrated

But sorry mate your

Intestines were unremarkable