Two Poems By Rob Yates

The Tung is pleased to present two new poems by Rob Yates.



The word is ugly, but I associate it with my youth and its firelight, the sheer freight of living young.

The presence of live music in my childhood had the same refusal to be ignored as large moths.

Before the band, the backdrop’s hung with no sound. A galaxy, psychedelic tints, a nod towards space. Few things affect me more than our urge to link evenings to the celestial.

I have just fallen over on the floor of a train, on top of a painfully polite couple, exhibiting a failure to stand upright, or to speak of things in the night. This isn’t a literary feint. I’m actually very embarrassed.

I need to text my uncle, who I believe has fallen over in similar ways, but he has never owned a mobile phone.

I have a mild cold, have drunk seven pints, am stripping things down – I am being licentious.

Whilst everyone waits for the band, myself included, we stare at smaller than ever screens. Everyone is utterly terrified of ‘being bored’. Surely if anything characterises a person, this isn’t it.

If this is not it, it is the fear of someone on public transport [ I abbreviate ‘public transport’ to ‘p. trans.’ to lessen the chance of fellow passengers reading my writing successfully ] laughing at you but loving other human beings.

Why do we struggle with the love of others directed in ways away from ourselves?

If I had a psychosis diagnosis I would be pinned for these scribblings on the 23:?? train. I am definitely being pinned for worsening manners.

I am debating whether to apologise for falling on my neighbour, for burdening my neighbour.

Modern living might be a balancing of the burdening of the barrage of neighbours.

Many things look absurd in the morning.

It is all noise that we’ve come to watch.


-- -- --



I was married in winter it was cold

and untraditional and cost more people

drank too much to keep warm.

My wife’s called Mary like the saint

but more pretty even in December.

Our anniversary is always on the same day

gets older every year she works I work the boy

learns soon he’ll work he’ll get

in the way but he’ll soon learn.

Mary doesn’t snore and when she wakes smells

like butter there is some hair on her arms

none yet on her face.

I’m having an affair not too serious

the woman smells like eggs not butter

says ‘my flab is ghastly’ mine not hers she’s thin

but still rumps with a big bull like me I miss

my wife breathing when she was young I miss

my boy and his laugh and his dyslexia I missed

the nativity play he was a shepherd I

was working late no egg sex that night just work

the play was shit said Mary so was the boy

but tell him he was marvellous he can’t read or write

might as well believe I miss

my boy and the way he still breaks toys even

at ten years old.

-- -- --

Rob Yates is currently based in London following a two year stint abroad in Indonesia and New Zealand. He is working through a third draft of a second novel and has had poetry and fiction appear in Bodega, Agenda, Envoi and other magazines.