Day 41 of 365 – John W. Sexton

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Never-Never

Michael Jackson, (1958-2009)

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when he grew up the boy without a boyhood
turned himself into a magical puppet \ laced the clouds
with strings of rain from which he could dance
free of time and always grow down \ the golden oriole
hidden but for his fluting song spoke from the trees
and sang the death of the never-old and the never-young \
the boy who had no boyhood washed his skin
a deathly blue until he was neither of shadow or light
but in-between \ and his house was a house of mirrors
reflecting nothing but themselves \ mirror after mirror
after mirror for never after never \ when he grew up the boy
without a boyhood stole the childhood from other boys \
laced the clouds with strings of rain and danced
himself to nothing \ the golden oriole hidden but
for his fluting song spoke from the trees and
sang the death of the never-old and the never-young

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From Futures Pass
by John Sexton
Published by Salmon in 2020
Copyright © John W. Sexton 2020

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MORE ABOUT 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.

He is also the changeling-other of the blog-poet Jack Brae Curtingstall.

Futures Pass by John W. Sexton

Visit the Salmon Poetry Online Bookshop to read more about this collection, including more sample poems