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John W Sexton – Ocean of Souls

Profile John W Sexton LE Poetry & Writing September 2018

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Ocean of Souls: Six Minimalist Sequences, poems by John W Sexton

John W. Sexton was born in 1958 and is the author of five previous poetry collections: The Prince’s Brief Career, Foreword by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, (Cairn Mountain Press, 1995), Shadows Bloom / Scáthanna Faoi Bhláth, a book of haiku with translations into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock (Doghouse, 2004), Vortex (Doghouse, 2005), Petit Mal (Revival Press 2009), and The Offspring of the Moon (Salmon Poetry 2013). He also created and wrote The Ivory Tower for RTE radio, which ran to over one hundred half-hour episodes. His novels based on this series, The Johnny Coffin Diaries and Johnny Coffin School-Dazed are both published by The O’Brien Press and have been translated into Italian and Serbian. Under the ironic pseudonym of Sex W. Johnston he has recorded an album with legendary Stranglers frontman, Hugh Cornwell, entitled Sons of Shiva, which has been released on Track Records. He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem The Green Owl won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007. In 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry. His poem “In and Out of Their Heads”, from The Offspring of the Moon, was selected for The Forward Book of Poetry 2014. He is also the changeling-other of the blog-poet Jack Brae Curtingstall.


Face of Christ

stitched from snakeskin Mr Dolly-Devilpatch

red doors plot against the tyranny of threshold

winding the unharm clock the old grow young

after eating a flea infused with god he discovers fire

in 1969 Luna is proved a stone I’m eleven

moth at the oil lamp the face of Christ on its wings

Perfect Ifs

up ride a birch catkin to the moon’s eye

evaporated reigns the king made of steam

negatives count backwards Einstime machine

stuck in the 13th story Chef Zed’s toffeemen

towing Jerusalem by their hair swim midden east

the glassblowers breathe bulbs of perfect ifs

b mob ex plodes un does the car nage


A Molecule Free

time travel takes real time on the turf escalator

his paper crown ablaze he illuminates the exit

build your own universe a molecule free with every issue

snow queen a morphine glacier expands his mind

for the Prince of Emgión sunlight opens the petal doors

Gabriel 8 ten devilled X 4 T got 6 6 6 a parrot

House of Light

cargo humans in jars dreaming until the moonmine

grazing stone my shadow’s clothes never wear thin

then Mahoud held on to a cloud and escaped the city

before Yahweh, Onan claimed possession by glove puppets

Gallileo attaches the planets to the sun by his grey hair

Lilly pulled lilyturf until the ground screamed worms

under the Yangtze River Mr Chlang in his house of light


His Nephrite Suit

take one primal egg poach in steaming cosmos serve cooled

fraction of theory more than the negative gold in fort nix

in his nephrite suit Emperor Shao enters the ocean of souls

soft tissue scars from wars with dandelion swords

armageddon ice-cream machine makes bloodberry Mondays

shadows the only tenants in the castle of dust

Instruction on Centring

Jack Moonbeam your white sperm penetrates space

Jonah’s unused whaleway return ticket

woodworm generate thoughts in the colonel’s headboard

an instruction on centring from the stone angels

heron sections Siamese Buddhas from the salmon’s heart

granny dark’s brood all from the graves of the unbaptised

lord crow pecks the poisoned kumquat from her throat


© John W Sexton