Michael A Oliver-Semenov


Looking back 

Looking back I dread to think
Of all the readings I sat through, full of drink,
Cock sure that I had something unusual,
A new poetry, brilliant and colloquial.

How many readings did I sit through
Not listening, totally pissed;
Waiting for my turn, listening only
For my name to come up on the list,

Then walk on stage clutching a pint
In one hand and a poem in the other,
Hands clearly shaking
From copious amounts of beer;

Pronounce myself a poet
Before vomiting verse, and
————————-my own lines

Because I had been too lazy to rehearse,
Or take the time to memorise.

What I wouldn’t give to meet myself then
As I am now,

And with hands
firm and sober,

Grab hold of myself, be my own mirror.


Office Politics

Explosion. Desks shook. Screens went black.
‘They’ve come for us!’ exclaimed the clerk opposite.
‘It’s a bomb!’ People screamed, began running.
Evacuation. Sirens: 3 fire engines arrived.
We congregated outside, lit cigarettes, ‘what happened?’
There was no debris or fire. The backup generator had snuffed it.
We returned to our desks, some visibly shaken.
‘I thought terrorists had bombed us’ said the clerk opposite, smiling.
What a hideous thought.
We were in Wales, working for a company no one cared about.
I knew she would retell her ‘bomb’ story for years to come.


 Shadows and Light

The moth sits under the lamp like a plectrum in a spotlight.
I am tempted to burn its wings with my lighter.
But nudge it instead, leaving gold on my finger.
It smacks the lit section of the wall repeatedly;
While I, looking over my shoulder, long
To be absorbed by the me that is indistinguishable
From nothingness.


Michael Oliver-Semenov was born in Cardiff, Wales but now resides in central Siberia. Since ditching his career as a banking clerk in 1997 he has published words and poetry in a plethora of magazines, anthologies and journals worldwide, including Blown, The Morning Star, Orbis, Ten of the Best, Wales Arts Review, Mandala Review and Ink Sweat and Tears. He divides his time between growing vegetables at his family dacha, teaching English and writing for The Siberian Times. 

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