Celebrating two great writers' groups... and introducing a third.

David Armstrong: From 'Judas Jon':

Mind’s restless engine toils without respite
In metal shavings shredding nerves
And thrusts me towards collapse inside as,
Through the window of the garret eves,
Darkness starts to overlay the world
With a thick grey blanket of rough cloth
While underneath I pace the room,
Pace my mind in shadows barred,
A mad, caged wolf that prowls the floor
And wears a darkened hole in boards
Until a sudden change of pace:

Willy-nilly in a back-brain trance
I’m suddenly outside, and wander streets—
Or should I say the streets are wandered for me—
As on an old and battered hulk
Steered by an errant drunken bum
Who tramps the seas in his disgrace,
And cannot guide by compass, chart or pole;
So rudderless I sail past buildings—surreal rocks—
Till in a disturbed Dali canvas I fetch up,
Not to drooping watches or spindly limbs,
But marooned on the outskirts of a paranoiac-critical town,
Unstable, friendless, where nothing can assure;
And where, once more driven by my piston legs,
I stalk insane through funnelled crowds,
Scope out each character with narrowed eyes,
Crosshatch their features with blackened thought,
Then smudge them to obscurity—
To ghost-train pop-ups with Bacon facial twists
From the palette of an infant’s played-with food,
As from their feral throats they mutter threats
In guttural Russian tones. Fogbound
They loom, recede, then once more loom again.

David Armstrong: Travel Poet

Balcony Walk Oman



David has over the years travelled extensively and worked in many fields (sometimes literally), his favourite occupations having been freelance writing and managing writers’ groups. He turned to poetry only after retirement through a serious illness caught abroad, as both a therapy and a chance to contribute to what he considers the key literary form.

His chief influences include the English poet and artist William Blake, the American Beat poet, musician and lyricist of The Grateful Dead, Robert Hunter, and the Russian film maker Andrei Tarkovsky, all of whom he believes have tapped into the truth at the roots of human existence. At the moment he is readingTwentieth Century Greek poets, the reason why his lockdown project was to study modern Greek. He is also currently finishing his first two books of poetry, The Worthwhile: Selected Travel Verse and Other Poems and Crossings: Five Poems Written in Georgia. One piece from each of these is in the current Firebird Press anthology, Resurgence. He intends learning several ancient languages as research for his final volume, Paradox, which he hopes to complete in five years’ time (if he’s still alive).

One particular argument he has with the present zeitgeist is against its insidious ageism, whether in the publishing world or Western society in general.

Draft Work by David Armstrong in pdf format::

Opening of 'Train to Tbilisi' Draft 1

'Borjomi Flick-Knife' [initial sketch for Crossings]

Two Excerpts from 'Jack Johnson': Sketch for 'Johnson vs Burns' and 'The House that Jack Built' Draft 1

Excerpt from 'On Seeing an Adjari Dance'[initial sketch for Crossings]