Saturday, January 30, 2010


London Fields 

The night my girl flew to Paris 
the phone rang and I thought 
it’s her but heard the voice 
of a man I did not know saying 
I had fucked up and he knew where 
I was and was coming to get me. 
His voice had a Kray Twins sort 
of truth and sneered as I said 
I don’t know you I’ve never met you. 
I’m coming to get you he said 
I’m coming there to get you now. 

That we lived in a flat atop 
a large Edwardian home and thus 
I had two front doors between me 
and that voice was of some comfort, 
though not complete. Some days later 
when our old blue Triumph Herald 
was stolen the police found it 
a few streets away the wiper blades 
twisted oddly like the arms of a man 
imprisoned in a dungeon somewhere 
down the East End or so it felt.

I got casual work in Fleet Street 
left the Reuters building at dusk 
got off at Highgate. By the tube 
was a pub The Woodman where I drank 
a pint or so then walked the dark 
Queen’s Wood ten minutes to my door 
love poems in my head for my girl 
as I strolled beneath the trees. 
One night voices hard and close 
I heard two men crashing through 
the woods walking fast with purpose. 

Years later home in Australia I read 
of Dennis Nilsen a former army cook 
he had killed fifteen boys and men 
picked them up in The Woodman 
drugged killed and butchered 
buried parts flushed others fed 
entrails to animals got found out 
only after neighbours complained 
of blocked and smelly drains 
in his flat in Cranley Gardens 
at the end of our street. 

Larry Buttrose

Published in Best Australian Poems 2009, Black Inc., editor: Robert Adamson


  1. One of those poems too uncomfortable for the usual "hey I like that" comment. Discomfort is good. The experience described isn't.

  2. very emotive, felt like i was wandering the street with you...or maybe just following in the shadows behind....

  3. Thanks Rae... agreed, not a poem for which the poet might hope for "gee I enjoyed that!". And thanks Leah, odd how shadowy and creepy it is in retrospect, and how blithely ignorant I was at the time!