Colin Bancroft

The Broken Tower

That morning, on the Orizaba,

he wrote for the first time in months;

not for the Guggenheim or the Aztecs,

or memoirs from the candy factory.

He didn’t write of the sailors

passed at in drunken stupors,

whose fists beat his face in waves,

blackening the ports of his eyes.

Not of New York City speakeasies

trawled for one night stands.

Nothing was said of the Voyages with Emil

circling Eighth Avenue and Broadway;

of how many dawns they had stood

looking out at Brooklyn Bridge

amid the lightening cuffs of sky.

He penned nothing for Peggy;

lodged stupefied in their double cabin,

all burnt wrists and tannic acid,

exploding matchbooks in Havana bars.

Instead, he wrote of the view from his tiptoes.

Of that rush of salty air

as he leant far over the rail.

The coat at his feet a neatly folded affair

simply left, as he dropped into the cold

churning oil of the wake.


Colin Bancroft is currently studying for an MA in Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University under the tutelage of Jean Sprackland. He has previously had poems published in Acumen, Agenda, Ariadne’s Thread, Black Light Engine Room, Broken Wine, Cannon’s Mouth, The Copperfield Review, Elbow Room, LondonGrip, Message in a Bottle, Neon and ScreechOwl. He has also been shortlisted for both the Manchester Bridgewater Prize and the New Holland Press competition.

Colins poems can be found in Elbow Room Volume 8