When the whale
– it was a flying fish in life –
dies, crabs and gulls will flock to it
hollowing out a temple on the beach
for you to live in for a while.

There will be a salt-gash.
It will tear
from your stinging eyes
to your churning guts
to the pit of your stomach
where the harpoon is still

You will be visited by a wise woman
to discuss the gash and the service,
tailor your drowning to the one who threw you ice-cold into it.

She will invite you to dig deep
to find the ambergris
used in the balm of another person’s sleeping
wearing concrete slippers.
She knows how to make useful things
from the corsetbone and baleen
and blubbering.
Call it ballast
to keep you stable through the ceremony
call it a life raft
to keep you afloat in the turbulent wake of





Art by Elena Purlyte.


Middle Spirits


Exciting news – I made a thing! A physical thing that exists, in collaboration with the excellent Elena Purlyte. Its a collection of illustrated poems – my poems, her art – that has been in the works for a good long while now. Check out some preview images below!

The title is in reference to the way people used to understand fairies and household spirits and pagan gods before they got bundled in with everything else that was either satanic or imaginary. I could go on about this idea at length (and maybe I will, in another post), but the gist is that they’re something ‘between’ heaven and hell. Supernatural, but still earthly. The pamphlet is essentially a collection of flights of fancy, some lighthearted, some darker, so the title Middle Spirits seemed like a good fit!

(I realise all this sound a bit pretentious and high flown, but that was pretty much the opposite of the point – I wanted to use poetry to express imagination in a way that *doesn’t* require you to understand metre or have read Wordsworth)

We’re most at the end of what was essentially a ‘trial run’ of printing and selling them, largely on a personal basis, which we did to get an idea of what they would look like and how much it would cost to get them made in that particular way (we used a website called Inky Little Fingers, if you’re interested). There are a few copies left from the first run, but essentially we’d like to figure out more properly how we’re going to sell and promote them before we print any more. If you’d be interested copy, drop me an email at allstar.lewis@gmail.com and I’ll see what I can do – if nothing else it will give me an idea of how much interest there is.

The two of us have a few different ideas for what might come next, potentially accompanying the first ‘proper’ print run. Prints, perhaps. Buttons, maybe. Tote bags, potentially (if only because me and Elena really want our own ones). And maybe even a second, shorter collection with a tighter focus. But in the meantime, it just feels so good to have something I can hold in my hands. Hype!pamphlet-selfie-cropped


Elena Purlyte – Eyes of Trees


Ladies and gentleman, allow me to share with you some art by a good friend of mine – Elena Purlyte. I’ve featured several of her paintings in previous posts and in some of my spoken word performances, ones which were made specifically for those poems. But I decided it was high time I shared some of her work for its own sake. What do you think?

Personally, I find her work really captures the imagination. There’s an otherworldly quality to her paintings, the warm ones and the ones with a more sinister feel to them. If you like what you’ve seen here, then check out her personal blog and give her your support! Throwing your work out into the scary world of the internet can be a thankless task sometimes:

With any luck there will be plenty more collaboration between us in the future. But until then, enjoy!

The Wolf who came to the Door


I’m delighted to unveil a new painting from Elena Purlytė, which goes hand in hand with one of my older poems ‘the Wolf who came to the Door’. Enjoy!

Lewis Brown

The Wolf who came to the Door painting

Once upon a time there was a widow who lived
in a house on a street on a hill.
She was largely content and she didn’t complain
excepting the tenancy bill.

She was largely content and she didn’t complain
she still had her job and her home and her health.
She kept a tight ship and a garden of sorts
for the benefit of none but herself.

But once of an evening when the sky opened up
and the rain on the roof made a din
a wolf knocked on her door with a dripping-wet paw
and asked if he couldn’t come in.

He wiped off his paws and took off his coat,
so he wouldn’t get mud on the floor.
He was oh so civil and very refined,
the wolf who came to the door.

She offered him tea, which he graciously drank
which was no mean feat without…

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Supersonic Spacewhale


supersonic spacewhale rotated

Look! The supersonic spacewhale!
What an incredible sight –
surfing astral rainbows
at twice the speed of light.
Hunting shoals of cosmic krill,
star-hopping with impossible skill
the supersonic spacewhale rules the night!

In a galaxy of darkness
it keeps the shadows at bay
finds the evils of the universe
and drives them all away.
Doctor Who
has nothing on you
the supersonic spacewhale saves the day!

It is honest and straightforward,
as it squashes evil flat.
It doesn’t need a fancy costume.
It doesn’t dress up like a bat.
And you won’t hear it complain
‘first they think I’m a bird, then they think I’m a plane’.
No, a spacewhale is a spacewhale, and that’s that.

So when scientists are wondering
‘Is there life beyond the skies?’
don’t be surprised if someone turns,
throws up their hands and cries
that zooming through the starry void,
munching on an asteroid,
the supersonic spacewhale never dies!


Art by Elena Purlytė at: http://www.eyesoftrees.wordpress.com

The Launch Sequence


Art meets poetry once more – this time in space! Thanks again to the amazing Elena Purlytė for her work.

Lewis Brown


‘T Minus 5’

They said they should send a poet
to describe the Earth from space.
They thought it might do the world some good:
some betterment, for the human race.

“You know, I think that it’s not too late,”
Some bright arts-graduate said.
“We’ve sent up chimps,” he reasoned,
“So why not a poet instead?”

‘T Minus 4.’

The media thought it was a great idea
and the public was incredibly keen.
They even got seals of approval
from Brain Cox and the Queen.

Teams of engineers came together
to make this wonderful vision a fact,
this coming-together of science and art
in a single magnificent act.

‘T Minus 3.’

So they lured out a poet from hiding
with the promise of worldwide acclaim,
although little in his haste did he realise
that they didn’t mean literary fame.

Even though the suit didn’t fit him
and no one explained…

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The Boy by the Perfect Lake


Wonderful new art to go with an old-ish poem, courtesy of Elena Purlytė.

Lewis Brown


The boy by the perfect lake
Sits right on the very edge
Leaning forward, he is more above the water than he is on the land.
The lake is flawless, a perfect mirror
reflecting the sun,
and the sky,
and the boy.

His finger hovers above the surface of the lake.
He longs to touch it,
feel the water on his skin
and become one with his own reflection
but he doesn’t dare.
The water is too perfect,
and it does not look warm.

He is afraid his worries will weigh him down,
pull him to the bottom,
that his doubts will drown him
or his problems push him in.
Suddenly afraid he turns, looks behind him
but there is no one there.

He almost gets up, stands up,
walks away from the lake
and goes back the way he came.
Instead, he closes his eyes
and remembers.
Remembers all…

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