Grime Kerbstone Psalms - by Miggy Angel
Miggy Angel performing from his new book, Grime Kerbstone Psalms, at the Atlas Deli, Nottingham; February 2013
There are not nine million stories in the city. There is one story with nine
million endings & nine million ways to begin.
“If I can’t
build a door with this alphabet then it’s useless to me.” - Miggy Angel
"Don't buy me a book just
write me one." - Miggy Angel.
About the cover of
Our cover photograph is by talented
Nottingham photographer and artist Trish
The picture is one of a series of incredible works that Trish completed after spending a year with Urban Revolution, a free running team in Nottingham.
Praise for Grime Kerbstone Psalms
Miggy Angel travels the hard road that lies beneath the streets where we, the engaged, serve our time, oblivious to the deeper Hades of ‘pavement tramps’ and ‘cobble-stone kids’. He chronicles ‘a barren plane’ of fried brains and seeping abscesses, dissolution, grime and despair, where crack’s what y’smoke and love is y’craving for it.
Choking on the bitter detritus of our twisted society, he peels away the clichéd realities of needles, ‘rat mess’ and urine soaked mattresses to pledge that the worm will turn, must turn, on the alphabet soup of bullshit promises. Time and again he pleads, ‘Spare me my dreams’.
Yet, for Miggy, the lie of the plane beneath the wafer-thin blacktop is anything but barren. Within this bold volume are poems and psalms and passages that fill me with hope for my stepson, now 17 years on the streets with no name or solace. Though dripping with rage, Miggy’s discriminating eye is served by the power of vivid language and dazzling concepts that give hope to those of us, above or below ground, who might have thrown in the towel.
By no means an easy read, these gut-wrenching submissions from a gutter and kerbstone poet are utterly compelling. I will man any barricade he cares to build.” - John Stuart Clark (aka Brick)
John Stuart Clark is the author of two travel books and numerous articles. As Brick, he is the dip-pen behind two cartoon books and a graphic novel.
The Foreword from Grime Kerbstone Psalms
When a person loses authorship of their life’s narrative, as I did at a young age, any activity which provides an opportunity to wield the conductor’s stick & marshal the orchestra becomes incredibly attractive. Writing is such an activity. As the poet Charles Wright has said, "Poetry is an exile’s art. Anyone who writes it seriously is writing from an exile’s point of view." Writing is survival. Writing is sticking a flag in the terrain of your life & making a claim on the territory. Writing is confirmation, a telegram from you to yourself, telling you that you’re still alive. Writing is the last outpost of vital, independent thought in lobotomized times. Writing is a proactive act in a prescribed world. Writing is a connection to our innate wellspring of creativity, which is our connection to the magical box of tricks which is the universe. Imagination is the umbilical chord connecting us to god – creating is the closest we get to being gods ourselves.
My first attempts at writing were whilst just out of addiction rehab, living in a halfway house off Ladbroke Grove in London in my early twenties - & followed me into a homeless-person’s unit in Earl’s Court. I recall that these initial lunges at literature were incredibly painful. Having read no books I had no reference points other than my own energies & impulses. Which sounds potentially liberating: but as my primary animator was an incendiary vein of anger & resentment, my writing was consequently mostly rabid doggerel & personal vitriol against humanity.
I felt in those days unbelievably low. It’s hard now to convey the sense I had of myself as worthless. Every day was akin to walking barefoot on hot coals.
Why did I persist with writing thru the long days & nights when I produced nothing of note - neither a glimpse of potential success or future promise? I do not know. Maybe it's because writing was all I had, the only door still left ajar. I was beset by a furious ambition, a wild, energised desire to write, & write better.
Writing really began for me in reading. I have been mentored by a procession of men & women (writers), some dead, others whom I’ll probably never meet. All of whom gifted me a tacit permission to write & unwittingly educated me in the arcane & blessed art of abidance, & reception. What a life these touch-stone persons have bestowed upon this scallywag committed to a life of attuning his sensibilities & forging a receptacle from his heart.
I offer to you my first book of poems. I hope you receive it as an invitation to go & write your own.
Angel – Nottingham, 2012
"Every word is carved in concrete, every Full Stop drips with blood." - Mike Garry
“These poems are packed full of gritty realism and emotion, and Miggy's use of language is superb. Highly recommended.” - Nicola Monaghan
"We had the great pleasure of listening to Miggy deliver some of his
poetry at the Nottingham Recovery Ball, and we were mesmerised by it
along with the other 200 guests…insightful, elegant, amusing and
delightful, Miggy's work is sure to be music to your eyes as you
indulge yourself in this wonderful book of poetry"
"I really enjoyed these poems, they are witty and heartfelt, philosophical in the face of adversity but critical about injustice. Miggy Angel is a distinctive voice." - Kevin Fegan
"Poetry aint 'over there', silly - it's right where you're standing" - Miggy Angel
We have sold out of the paperback edition but a kindle edition is still available from Amazon.
Miggy Angel is one half of the music project
We Bleed Ink
with La La Lepus aka John Freer. You can find their music at