Antony Owen


The Shelf Stacker

On riot black bricks
a welder sprayed the lie
washed away by unnoticed youths
doing their time in high vis.

Sunset is chained to a swing
its mural bled in the playground
with the fists of a jobseeker
searching the works of rage.

The streets are paved in dropped meat
derelict shops are cold beds of youth
clutching their stomachs
like cheap handbags.

Downtown, the streets are cleaned for trade,
diamonds of a cobblers window brushed into bags,
a youth wears his preachers label
he is the welder forced to stack shelves.



Antony Owen is from Coventry and had a first collection published in 2009 by The Heaventree Press. His second collection The Dreaded Boy was published by Pighog Press in 2011. Owen was a 2011 poetry competition finalist in The Wilfred Owen Story and is working on a third collection planned for late 2014. Owen writes: “‘The Shelf Stacker’ is Owen’s part of a collaboration of urban poems with celebrated Irish poet Joseph Horgan which explore the impacts of immigration, identity, multiculturalism and unemployment on a typical streetin 21st Century Britain.”