Jo Willoughby



Seven Seventeen

Evening time, bag of mud


And crumbling stone, shedding skin.

It’s been falling down ever since it was built, she said.

The building down the road, not 30 years old

Already destined for dust.

He said he worked there when he was younger

Sold electronics

In broad daylight, a person had walked in off the street

Pinched a TV

Displayed behind the counter

Pins, brooches

Rusted blades

Funding cuts

A leather soul

He walked from Spain to Winchester

A pilgrimage, or so he claimed.

They estimate that you can walk

2000 miles in a modern walking boot.

To Amazon

And Paypal

That spam email from HMRC

A purchased bike that was never received

A fragment, a chamber pot

The newspapers are interested in toilets.

In passing

He told me all about himself

and his worms

In the park nearby

You find them stranded on pavements

Breathing through skin

Lung tonic

Damp patches, blotched parquet.



Pile of dust needs clearing




The disabled toilet is cleaner

He says

The alarm

Toilet door shut

The cat has started pissing on the bathroom mat.

The new tenants

Have ruined that bamboo flooring.

All vacant landscapes

Have toilet roll under a bush

And you begin to notice

Each shade of white

Pearl, Iridescence

Yellow fuel light is on.

Jo Willoughby Pink Drawing
Jo Willoughby Pink Drawing 2

But you can drive for 40 miles on empty.

36 miles per hour

Speed camera on that same route

Driven over and over

Flash wakes you

And you pulled up too fast next to him

Got him with your broken wing mirror

Reminded you of that man


Says he exists on two levels

And on one he makes bad decisions


10 letters












Newspaper 1
Newspaper 2

Fractured screen

Thin slivers, saxon glass

Saturday night

Nobody wants you

When you’re out of context

Black smudge, green smudge, yellow smudge

A cesspit seems to turn the earth green

Brick earth

Earth to make bricks

We’re looking for dark circles


An air raid shelter and a lift shaft

Student accommodation and ALDI

A Fox

A Glove

This nanny state

The bottom failing on a Bakelite ink well

A Dinosaur, the machine chomps

chomps the skin from the building

“We destroy the past in pursuit of knowledge”

Layers dug away, the guts

Fill in holes with the same crushed concrete

And that Victorian rubbish

A toothbrush, nailbrush

But I keep the dirt under my nails

All week


Can you hear the sea

(a snack,

held to an ear)

it once ran under your feet.

Under these stones.

My people have no sea

But a river runs from north to south

And I was a journalist

(and draws a picture of a bird)

I drew a crude map





Should be a little bigger


Bare teeth

Do they resemble mountain peaks?

And this gnarled metal

Like a sculpture by that man

Like a sculpture by that man

But it’s the scraps

From a building


By another man

A psychological role

a lump of stone.

The tide

The movement of grit

(never quite remembered facts)

Has made them holy

She said

And think how solid a stone is

Rubbed smooth at corners

How many centuries

It takes to make a hole