Q&A – Ashley Chapman the River Poet from the Big Smoke


Ashley on the left, me on the right

Ashley is a writer and English teacher (currently teaching at Goldsmiths) and a good friend who I met during a few years living down in the Big Smoke whilst we were both living on boats in Limehouse, East London.

From a random meeting I progressed to have a brotherly and scholarly relationship with Ashley, who is older than me by some twenty years or so, as he passed on literary references for me to explore, as well as providing good life advice and introducing me to the tarot, and the idea of it being useful as a psychological tool.

Unlike me Ashley is a resident Londoner by birth and his poetry brims with the life of a mix of the modern and the ancient, much like the city itself.

– Chris Godber

His work can be read further at https://wind65.me/ and https://hellopoetry.com/ashleyq5/poems/ 

Hello Ashley could you tell us a little bit about how you became interested in writing and poetry?

Yes, I began writing poetry, probably as a child for the first time, at school, and as I discovered the opposite sex; then, this resurfaced as I was moved by the object of my desire. Then a few years ago, I met you, and you asked me to accompany you to a poetry gig at the Poetry Centre. I failed to go, but always felt bad. A few years later you invited me to a Tunnel event and decided to include me as a member. The theme that followed our next gig, about digital media, inspired me to write Silicone Souls

What do you like to write about in your poetry?

I like to write from my voice, which comes from a character, My Shadow Side or Fake Fakir Flake, or from emotion, Were You Ever Called a Whore? It really is an internal fragmentation in which I act out characters who have something to say. I love how my desire is channelled through these voices into language

Have you been Published anywhere?

Well, I have a website wind65.me and in the Tunnel Magazine, I also perform quite regularly at Celine’s Salon in Soho, the Pentameter Theatre and with you at the Tunnel, most recently at Crypt in Euston, St Pancras.

Any Final thoughts?

Poetry is a means with which to engage with the Real, but I love how the unconscious gets involved, literally filling me with excitement as I move words around until they make sense. Poetry is energy, emotion and a sense of creativity woven together using words that evoke something tangible. To be told that I have touched someone always brings me pleasure.


*Fake Fakir Flake*

Feel empty in your post apocalyptic City of Angels,
Where not even your pets are real!
An electric android, a sheep or a frog,
The whir-flutter of micro-electrical wings of a butterfly.Good, and so you ought.Now grab the handles of your empathy box,
And in a shared virtual hallucination –
Feel: empathy, depression, pain, delusion and despair,
The outré myriad gifts of consciousness.Millions of discombobulated and disconnected wrecks:
Adam’s sons; Eve’s daughters,
And among them simulations too,
Fakes! androids!
A phony circuit of semi-conscious memories,
A hive of neural malaise!
Welcome to our world; know how dead, inside, I feel.You, yes, you:Need a pet to make you more complete?
Maybe you can afford
A Fake Fakir Flake like me who looks like Jude Law,
Sounds like Richard Burton,
And silently romances you like Rudolph Valentino.
Come and stick what’s left of your mind in here,
In hair, hear her: har, har, har…A box of lies…A voice, Mercer’s,
With texture from an age you neither lived in nor dared in:
Al Jerry’s, a TV actor,
Droning on in pre-selected tones.The real thing, the men, the women, their animals,
Made in the wild, wild desert, in the green pulsing savannah,
On the open crusted sea; now too, washed, choked, and drained,
Too many spliced and diced mutations,
Iterating your image:
The thing that was my heart, My Child, now its imitation.

Were you ever called a whore?

We fall,
and hard,
and in the shadows,
prick ourselves on snags,
that tear our clothes;
grazed and cut,
we stagger on –
Impressions, ideas, fancies!
Of these have we been disabused.But is this spring,
come again?Lovely,
in the bright sunlight,
to see you,
felt green hat in among the photo clouds,
apple suedes on the gallery’s damp floor.Melvyn,
and I,
merrily circling with you the light cloud images,
my nostrils full of pollen spikes.
The pictures:
wisps of trailing dreams churning in ‘scapes of infinite blue;
dark clouds,
in amongst them,
too.Photographs in two time places,
at once, all:
the one and t’other.So excitement swells,
and everything besides us quells,
because the knowing of itself,
and dares beyond the frames;
to skirt knowingly the unsaid;
to want beyond the wounded past,
to pull things,
once again,
inside out.In whimsy’s currents flow these thoughts,
these feelings,
these drives;
eddies swirling in these waters,
so that as you sit,
on a summer’s day,
it moves,
a mirror to everything above.The wavelets on the surface,
hammered into shape,
burn, bite and dazzle;
the sun’s flames leaping and dancing on the ripples.In the basement,
on the concrete floor,
your Y proneness shifts,
releasing knees on black-clad thighs;
two pendulums swinging,
yawing metronomes in the cool,
coolness of my desultory thoughts.Oh, what am I saying?
Feelings like reveries walk along these silver lips straying langerously.
These myths are too soon made,
carried one to the next,
until contained no longer,
become new truths.


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