The Poetry of Francis Charlton

The Abyss


Don’t be afraid to look into the abyss
(and I dare you to)
If you look into the abyss
What looks back at you…

Are the sane unable to let go of what
remains of their insanity.

Would be murderers yet to act.

Politicians with a conscience but without
the ability to listen to it.

Lovers who will.
Lovers who won’t.

Philosophers arguing the abyss wants nothing.
Yet not willing to consider the possibility that it does.

Poets weeping about  feelings they can’t express.

Painters unwilling to exhibit their work to avoid criticism.

Presidents who won’t go all the way.
Dictators who went too far.

Zealots of every persuasion who can’t
persuade themselves.

Do be afraid to look into the abyss.
It will, no doubt, look back into you.



She said,
‘Do you have a secret place where you can
go to, in order to be alone?’
I said,
‘In my head, but only if I can silence the voices.’




My Life in Art


I remember as a young man walking the streets of London
In wonder
Like a catatonic waking to a
New World
I strode the streets looking for a
Higher purpose
I was rewarded in my search with an
abundance of riches
Picasso, Vincent, Andy
Waiting for me
Although the streets were paved with and led to beauty
Often I felt the need to enter the darkness of
The Underground
Charon, he took payment in drawings of women I’d slept with
Crossing London I would exit the
Stygian darkness
surfacing at Hyde Park to sit on the grass and watch the sun burn off the mist to reveal the
Summer morning
Many times I would make love in the dew wet grass with someone I’d met in a gallery
Nannies with prams took to the pathways, one of them said, faintly smiling, noticing the flush on our faces ‘Guten Morgen,’ and gave me the gift of a look that said, ‘It could have been me!’
And later it was her.
I didn’t have a blue raincoat. I possessed, or more correctly it possessed me, a black Mac with many pockets for pencils and pads, and I wore it always with the collar
Turned up.
She recognised me on
Kensington High Street.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Visiting Albert,’ I said, and then on to Highgate to draw, do you…’
‘Danke. Yes please I come with you. I remember your black mac you wear it with purpose.’
‘My purpose is to draw beautiful women. Will you take your clothes off for me?’
We made love as she lay spread eagled over a tomb in the Cemetery.
I told her that I always sleep with my models before I paint them.
She said she sleeps with artists before she would allow them to paint her.
I drew her as an Angel.
I drew her as a nymph amid the gravestones and the trees.
‘Where do you live. I said.
‘Belsize Park. You can walk me there. I have a flat. I want you to make love to me again, for tomorrow I return to Berlin.’
‘You will be my inspiration,’ I said.
‘One of many,’ she smiled.

I still have the drawing.




To learn more about the poet and artist go to Francis Charlton

Twitter: @francischarlton

Facebook: Xpresso Arts / RandomActsofculture

Francis has been an Artist for over forty years, from spraying simple stencil outlines of vaporised people on walls of buildings in the West End of London, in the late 70s, to the fly-poster bombing of ‘Warhol is Over’ on the day Andy Warhol died, in February 87, on walls in London’s Soho. Referencing John Lennon’s iconic ‘War is Over’ poster campaign of 1971, which he revisited during the Gulf War(s) as ‘Jihad is Over,‘ creating a postcard drop with ‘Don’t Panic’ magazine.

A former art teacher he has exhibited in numerous London venues including London Post with 60’s Retro Nostalgia; Freud gallery with his Dead Blonds series; Vexed Generation with the Bar-code Nudes set and in many other solo and group shows both nationally and internationally. He has shown with the New Artists Fair in London for the last two years. His work has a political and satirical edge to it, often commentating on current issues. See his ‘Bones for Drones’ and ‘Walt’s World’ series. His solo show opens in Butterfly Fine Arts Gallery, Manchester in October 2016, and he is showing at the Grid Art Fair in London late October 2016.

He is currently concentrating on his Watercolour Narrative series of portraits and preparing for a joint show with artist Steve McCracken in 2017.

Francis is working on a follow-up to his book: ‘Indiscretions of The London Boulevardier. Excerpts from an Artists’ (so-called) Life.’ A diary set in London, it takes a satirical look through the eyes of Dave, a contemporary artist, and his adventures in the art world.

Machinations of the London Boulevardier. Excerpts from an Artists’ (so-called) Life.’ Will be published January 2017.

His previous novels featuring artist Dave, the London Boulevardier are available from Amazon Books.

Francis has a studio in Hebden Bridge, where he works and teaches classes on watercolour techniques, drawing, and Process/Intuitive painting workshops. He organises a salon of creatives, artists, poets, photographers, sculptors, actors and clown trainers, (although he draws the line at mimes) which meet on a regular basis to share ideas and inspiration.