Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson
Charles Johnson

Upwards of a hundred of Charles Johnson’s poems have appeared over the last dozen years in a range of magazines from Blade to The Rialto and anthologies including Needs be, Lodestones, Freedom rules and Beyond Bedlam.

Born in 1942 in Birmingham, at the turn of the century Charles accepted early retirement from a career in public libraries – having been Librarian at Redditch for rather longer than he likes to admit. He co-founded (with Jane Clarke) Flarestack Publishing – for which they were joint runners-up in the Public Library Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2000 – to produce poetry pamphlets, and the quarterly new poetry magazine Obsessed With Pipework, which accepts original poetry contributions from all over the English-speaking world.

Led to writing poetry by Meister Eckhart’s “discover what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it, give birth to it. God is always saying one thing. What is that one word? – it is God and creation”, and taught by Matthew Sweeney, Roger Garfitt, Graham Mort and Gillian Allnutt, Charles is now a full-time poetry editor/publisher, and lives in Pilton, Somerset with his wife Roz and a tankful of tropical fish.

The Depth of Field dilemma and the hooks

When for my project: Hotel Toilets of America
I focus my Pentax
with the close-up filter
on the nearer
of the double
chrome hooks
back of the lavatory door,
wherever does the further
prong go as I watch it blur
away to nothing in the glass box
of the viewfinder?

It can’t be nowhere,
can’t that moment cease
to exist in any sense,
has simply chosen absence,
to cover its tracks,
seem to disappear
like the cleverer daughter.

I should maybe say Shallowness: a paradox.

Charles Johnson

published in Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Vol II, 2004

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