James Appleyard is a London-based poet and writer. His work has appeared in numerous publications including Aesthetica Magazine and has been anthologised by Medusa’s Laugh Press.  

Suburban Outpost Burning is simultaneously a mediation on loss and a celebration of life. These poems peel away the emotional resonances of grief to reveal its surprisingly life affirming essence. This collection also contains ‘Protection Spells’, a series of pieces that see James Appleyard explore the tumultuous journey of parenthood with surprising and luminous tenderness.

Suburban Outpost Burning by James Appleyard

Poetry pamphlet – 30 pages


Taken from Suburban Outpost Burning

Escape Routes
Remember your childhood 
toys, squatting in their box, 
half chewed and waiting to be 
The road to your house 
now bulldozed by fierce blocks of flats, 
those dilapidated high street banks 
resurrected into gastro-pub glory. 
The old newsagents, hobbled by its
half collapsed awning, 
its doorway delivering the 
earthy smell of fresh newsprint 
and sickly whiff of corn syrup 
pink gelatine sweets.
and feel the pull 
as you wake for work one morning,  
leave your home,
step on the wrong train
and disappear.

Talking and Driving at the Same Time 
Your hands rest on the steering wheel,
twitching, pent up,
on the brink of 
running yourself off the road. 
I know the cause of this excessive 
sparking energy, 
plugged-in as the revolutions turn: 
They take their toll on you, 
language never comes easy
or as a form of relief.
But you were always at home around cars.
To me 
the mechanical piston pull  
seemed like an inexplicable magic. 
To you 
the parts drifted into place, 
fitting with a divine logic,
instinctively understood. 
When you were a child 
you used to sleep 
with miniature cars tucked under your pillow.
Tiny, shiny sparks of metal,
bright colours primary in your mind 
while your head rested.
Cars were the things you held so dear 
it makes sense then 
that your car was the vehicle 
in which you chose to try to 
drive yourself out of your own life. 
But now we sit side by side 
your hands on the wheel, 
talking and driving at the same time, 
and me, always the passenger, 
palms resting on my knees 
still wondering how long 
your unquiet logic  
will keep you going.

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