Kim Moore (British Working Class Poets)

Kim Moore,

Kim Moore’s pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the 2011 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. Her first collection The Art of Falling (Seren 2015) won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Her second collection All The Men I Never Married (Seren, 2021) is currently shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection.  Her first non-fiction book What The Trumpet Taught Me will be published by Smith/Doorstop in March 2022. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University


My People


I come from people who swear without realising they’re swearing. I come from scaffolders and plasterers and shoemakers and carers,

the type of carers paid pence per minute to visit an old lady’s house. Some of my people have been inside a prison. Sometimes I tilt towards them and see myself reflected back. If they were from Yorkshire, which they’re not, but if they were, they would have been

the ones on the pickets shouting scab and throwing bricks at policemen. I come from a line of women who get married twice. I come from

a line of women who bring up children and men who go to work. If I knew who my people were, in the time before women

were allowed to work, they were probably the women who were working anyway. If I knew who my people were before women got the vote, they would not have cared about the vote.There are many arguments among my people. Nobody likes everybody.

In the time of slavery my people would have had them if they were the type of people who could afford them, which they probably weren’t. In the time of casual racism, some of my people would and will join in. Some of my people know everybody

who lives on their street.They are the type of people who will argue with the teacher if their child has detention.The women

of my people are wolves and we talk to the moon in our sleep.


There was the boy I met on the park who tasted of humbugs

and wore a mustard-yellow jumper


and the kickboxer with beautiful long brown hair

that he tied with a band at the nape of his neck


and the one who had a constant ear infection so I always sat on his left

and the guy who worked in an office

and could only afford to fill up his car with two pounds worth of petrol


and the trumpet player I loved from the moment I saw him

dancing to the Rolling Stones


and the guy who smoked weed and got more and more paranoid whose fingers flickered and danced when he talked


and the one whose eyes were two pieces of winter sky


and a music producer

long-legged and full of opinions


and more trumpet players

one who was too short and not him one who was too thin and not him


are you judging me yet, are you surprised?


Let me tell you of the ones I never kissed or who never kissed me


the trombonist I went drinking with

how we lay twice a week in each other’s beds like two unlit candles


we were not for each other and in this we were wise

we were only moving through the world together for a time


there was a double bassist who stood behind me and angled the body of his bass into mine

and shadowed my hands on its neck


and all I could feel was heat from his skin


and the lightest breath

and even this might have been imagined


I want to say to them now

though all we are to each other is ghosts once you were all that I thought of


when I whisper your names

it isn’t a curse or a spell or a blessing

I’m not mourning your passing or calling you here


this is something harder like walking alone

in the dusk and the leaves


this is the naming of trees

this is a series of flames

this is watching you all disappear.




Many years ago, I lived in a house in the woods. The woodcutter visited on nights when the moon hid itself between the clouds.


Sometimes I go back to watch it happen again, slip inside the body of the woodcutter,

to feel what it felt like to be him.


His arms and legs are heavier than mine.

The cigarettes on his heart, his lungs, his chest. His finger to his lips, biting the nail to the quick.


I start to lose the border of where his pain and mine begin and end.

I am in the body of the woodcutter.


But I am not the body of the woodcutter.

His body is a shallow dish and I’m a slick of water. If I move too much, I’ll spill out and over.


What I’ve really come back for is me, ten years younger.Through his eyes,

she looks small and pale, a wisp of smoke


he could walk right through. Her face turned in. Her mouth shut tight.

She smells of flight and all the things


this body hates. But when he presses her to the ground, she vanishes inside herself and nobody can reach her.


His tongue spits words I’d never say, and yet here I am, inside his body saying them.

I leave the body of the woodcutter.


I leave it all behind – her, the house, the trees. I return to myself, begin again.


Many years ago, I lived in a house in the woods.



Here are three poems - the first is from The Art of Falling. 


The second two need the book title at the top 'All the Men I Never Married No.1' and then the same - 'All the Men I Never Married No.2' if they are published in magazine.  

Third person biog below, thanks so much for asking me to be involved. 


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