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…
How to Boil an Egg
Before you begin to cook you must apply some heat
to the water (a gas flame is best) then wait for the water
to reach 100 degrees Celsius. Don’t worry,
the water will not
Then the egg must be carefully submerged into the water,
which should have bubbles of air streaming through it. The air is the result of a transfer
of energy from liquid to gas. Don’t worry, the water
is not breathing.
Once the egg is submerged, its shell will transfer the
heat evenly across the surface of the egg. The
albumin will slowly transform to a pure white veil
over the bright yellow yolk which will slowly
begin to harden.
You peered into the pan, the roll of steam
refreshing your face,
and you said that there might be a baby chicken inside.
I told you that was impossible because
commercial eggs are not fertilised.
Then you told me about an egg you were given when
around Thailand. It was a local delicacy and when
into it, a sour punch of sulphurous vinegar
flooded your mouth.
When you looked down you saw a tiny head.
The unborn chick blind and boiled
its transparent eyelids,
soft beak, putty bones,
fractals of tiny feathers
wisps of unrealised flight.
You told me how you turned around and
threw up on the ground by your feet,
the local people laughing as they stood
You walked out of the kitchen and I stood by
watching the egg hardening in the water.
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