M56 Hymn: 20.01.2017
Just for today, let me stand on this forecourt
nozzle in hand pumping testosterone
and ancient sun light, and not feel a millilitre
of shame for my gender or carbon footprint.
Let me sit in the inside lane of the M56
sun sinking in the rear-view over Moel Famau
like a hard-boiled egg, pilot lights
on chemical sites at Little Stanney and Runcorn
pulsing like retro arcade games. Let the man
on the radio telling it the way he wants it to be
for the dawn of a new America not concern me.
Leave platitude and sentiment to rot online
and instead bid me shift up to sixth; the thrust
of a German TDI beneath my right foot and arse
the only thrill today demands. Allow me to shrug
off my default masculinity, bringing you into
this poem, but not as a caricature or device.
Pray it not come across as trite when I say
that I want today following signs for THE NORTH
to amount to nothing more than our hands holding
across the handbrake. For the issues beyond
tires and tarmac needn’t be worthy of further
exposition when we’ve a full tank, grab bag of crisps
and the road and night ahead are long.
Jake Campbell was born in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, in 1988. He has published two pamphlets of poetry: The Coast Will Wait Behind You (Art Editions North, 2015) and Definitions of Distance (Red Squirrel Press, 2012). He is undertaking a practice-based PhD at Newcastle University, writing his first full collection and an accompanying study into North-East poetries. Regularly collaborating with other artists, he has received the Andrew Waterhouse award and took second prize in the 2016 Basil Bunting Priz