Staring into the Eyes of Johnny Mathis in a Sue Ryder

from Staring into the Eyes of Johnny Mathis in a Sue Ryder by Oliver James Lomax

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A new poem by Oliver James Lomax written about discovering an old Johnny Mathis L.P whilst shopping in a Sue Ryder charity shop and consulting him on the matters of love, with piano accompaniment from the wonderfully talented Martin Taylor.


Staring Into The Eyes Of Johnny Mathis In A Sue Ryder
So it has come to this Johnny, playing such a small room
sandwiched between Acker Bilk and The Bay City Rollers Greatest Hits LP
like a Swarovski crystal in the rough
these long afternoons without her have really got me climbing the walls
you see Johnny she has killed any chance of a romantic ending
like a safety net catching the plummeting 1966 Thunderbird Convertible of Thelma and Louise
allowing them to each serve two consecutive life sentences in complete isolation
and now each poem reads as though it has been a false errand
like the time I took my Ultimate Warrior wrestling figure to Lourdes on a school trip
and bathed his broken action in holy water
although my love is permanently shelved
like a toby jug of a Lake poet staring into the middle distance
until she decide to take a long drink from my head
and I should really know better, heed the warning signs
feel the prophetic armada sailing through my bloodstream
with every ship carrying a ruby eyed figurehead of her
yet still I want to sing it out loud unafraid of public assassination
like an open top motorcade carrying presidential teddy bears
waving at an 8mm camera with light hearted insouciance
like a lone cellist on the moon playing to no witness
in the Sea of Tranquility
even though she sometimes looked at me
as if you were wearing a onesie of a past lover
and she said the cruelest things in the kindest voice
like John Le Mesurier recording an audio book of Mein Kampf
and told me I was constantly out of touch
as though I was walking through the Apple surgery
holding a helium balloon of a novelty Snoopy telephone
everything is getting increasingly worse by the day Johnny
it’s like watching a 1950’s biopic of an Avon salesman who has crash landed on a planet
completely void of narcissism
and her friends at the research facility say that they always knew it was going to end badly
as if they had discovered ancient Pictish cave drawings of our most famous arguments
I have tried to put things right
like Francis Ford Coppola desperately removing disc 3 from every Godfather trilogy boxset
but you know things are over forever
when you type the name of someone you love into a search engine
that’s worse than trying to contact a deceased dyslexic relative on a Ouija board
her ghost is a voided gin bottle on a student windowsill
and I am the church candle driven into its neck crying heavy tears
I wish I could jump into you circa 1958 Johnny
like Scott Baluka in Quantum Leap and that Ziggy wouldn’t be able to return me to the present day
so that I could have great hair and wear gold confidently
and not look like I’d made a panicked decision from the pages of the Argos catalogue
so I to could be regal
you have been rounded up Johnny from 99p to a Pound
because Val at the counter is sick of walking to the bank twice a day
for a hoard of one pence pieces
she is looking at me strangely
probably because I have been talking to a record sleeve for the last five minutes
and if this Sue Ryder had a panic button she would have hit it by now
but fuck her
because I have spotted an early Clarice Cliff egg cup
that must have slipped under the donation radar
and we are out of here
I’m taking you with me to Johnny
I just want to get you home and play Misty for me.


from Staring into the Eyes of Johnny Mathis in a Sue Ryder, released January 29, 2019
Written and performed by Oliver James Lomax
Music and piano accompaniment by Martin Taylor
Engineered, recorded and mastered by Tim Thomas at Blueprint Studios Manchester
Filming, photography and cover design by Grania Estrella McLaughlin


all rights reserved



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