Emma Purshouse (British Working Class Poetry)

"Emma Purshouse is an award-winning writer and performance poet based in the English Black Country.  She often uses her local accent and dialect in her work.  In 2021 she came 3rd in the UK's 'National Poetry Competition' which had over 16,000 entries.  Her poetry is published by 'Offa's Press' and her first novel 'Dogged' is published by Ignite books."

Black Country Doldrums, July 2021

After William Matthews


30°. A hiss of air brakes from a council truck.

- Garden Waste Collection Still Only £35 A Year -

Gorra gerrin the shade. A can cracks. Too warm. 

An’ this mask doh help. A lighter clicks.

The bloke eases himself onto a shaded bench.

An oversized dragonfly motif in monochrome

dives down the back of a woman’s top.

A yellowing man passes under cracked signage - 

Square Deal Carpets and Bedding.  Golden Girl

is becoming blue, as some chap kneeling at an altar

of stepladders tears off strips of masking tape. 

Shall you still wear yours? A wench tied in the middle

with a red cardie skips alongside her mother

a sideshow freak in a beard mask.  On the step

of The Screaming Reaper a tattooed woman smokes.

The queue for the 8pm chemist snakes down the street. 

A man on crutches throws back his head to laugh. 

I’ll wear mine.  A pause. There’s people dyin still,

burrit ay bin said.  Two kids skip out the Chinese

become a slap of summer shoes on the square,

the poc poc poc of a tennis ball  bounced. Tossed so high

it becomes a second sun. Now a small planet falling.  31°


Baiting Up


Two giggling girls in grey are circling the fishing pool.

Boys lean on brick walls, lollop in grass.  Phones ping,

music is distorted by distance and yap yap dogs,


a handful of maggots has been cast onto seed heavy

green water.  Adidas striped man with red rod

stands as though he may be No.7 on the sculpture trail.


Here, at the quiet end, tight to water lilies a fish back

breaks the surface, rolls like a leviathan might,

sinks again, Nice ‘N’ Spicy’ Nik Naks packet barely shifting.


On the Waterfront - 9th September 2022


12.40 pm


the statue has her tits out for the lads

that sup at Garrison’s Saloon Bar

in their footie tops and baseball caps.


A vaping man jangles car keys, checks

his bumper.  A magpie rattles away

to itself in a tree.  The ho-hum


of air conditioning.  Mind-numbed

pigeons sit on a roof top unaware

a queen is dead.  Indifferent to kings.



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