The Code & Honour & 3 other new poems by John D Robinson


I know low-life,
I’ve lived it, breathed
it: cheated, robbed,
lied and betrayed
most and myself:
I’ve been cold and
distant and brutal
and self-sacrificial
but even in that
place there are
unspoken codes and
rules as there are
in all worlds:
but you over-stepped
and people got hurt,
some of them
soon enough,
the blood on your
hands will
be your own.


From the age of 7
she can remember
always feeling hungry
and guilty and the
verbal, physical and
sexual abuse by her
parents, older siblings
and other sick
she ran away at 15,
lived on the streets,
sold her flesh and
her soul for junk,
at 21, she awoke in a
hospital bed,
and 2 stab wounds to
her stomach
and she pulled
18 months later,
aged 23
she wasn’t so lucky.


‘Look’ she said, mobile phone
in hand; she slowly flipped
through a series of photographs
of her nakedness swollen and
smothered in bruises and
traumatic injuries:
‘I woke up in agony, I had no
idea what happened, I called
the police and of course no
one in the house knew
anything about it’
she was shaking and
she was frightened, as she’s
been for 25 years:
11 years of constant booze
and drug addiction, clean
and sober for 3 weeks:
‘I feel good, I’m in
control, you know, I can
think now’
she told me and smiled
a beautiful smile, it
felt like a new world
that she’d just stepped into
for the first time
and seeing a reflection
of herself
and not recognising
who she was looking at.


She pledged that she’d never
use again, swore on her
mother’s life, she’d never
score again
and she meant it too,
during this time we got to
know each a little, I never
told her how I felt about
her, I should have told
her but it would have
made no difference to
us or the world, but if
there is something I
regret not saying to you
was that I loved you
but you went away, back
to a place that would
keep you away from me
forever, to a world of
dirty-works and disease
and hopelessness and
we were so young but I
know now that you
had already written your
script and that it pushed me
away from you, per haps
out of thoughtfulness,
of temporary self-
we never did say
goodbye and I’m glad
of this
as this is something
I never wanted to
say to you.

C_UsersJohnPicturesJohn-D-RJohn D Robinson was born in 63 in the UK; his poems have appeared widely in the small press and online literary journals including; Rusty Truck; Red Fez; Hobo Camp Review; Rats Ass Review; Down In The Dirt; Yellow Mama; Outsider Poetry; Chicago Record; Horror Sleaze and Trash; BoySlut; In Between Hangovers; He is a contributing poet to the 2016, 48th Street Press Broadside Series.

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