One Poem by Joe Cullen

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

The restaurant just round the block

These days I keep recalling
places where I’ve eaten.
Smoked pheasant.
Chicken braised in salt-fish stock.
Lamb tongue melting in your mouth
like snow in spring.
Table cloths white
as an altar boy’s first smock.

I noticed recently
a restaurant just round the block.
Early one evening as light was fading
and I had nothing else to do
I wandered round there
stepped inside.

There was no-one about.
The chairs were upholstered
in brown brocade.
The napkins un-made.
The walls painted ox-blood.
The tables made of coffin-wood.


Joe Cullen, aka ‘Bard of Dalston’, has been published in a number of poetry magazines and journals including ‘South Poetry, ‘South Bank Poetry’, ‘Other Poetry’, ‘Long Poem Magazine’, ‘Decanto’, ‘The North’, ‘Stand’, ‘The Projectionist’s Playground’,  ‘Snakeskin’ and ‘The Delinquent’ as well as ‘’. Poetry awards and commendations include: ‘Poetry Pulse’, 2012; ‘Rhyme & Reason’, 2012; ‘Sportswriters Awards’, 2012; ‘Four Counties’, 2015. He has given poetry readings at Torriano, London, RADA, London, Salisbury Arts Centre, Barbican Arts Centre, Poetry Café, London and the Crystal Palace festival. He was nominated by ‘South Poetry’ for the Forward Prize 2010/11 in the ‘best single poem’ category and received a 2012 ‘Poetry Kit’ Award for best poem of 2012.

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