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“Voraciously experimental, precociously accomplished.” Poetry International

“Multifaceted, mega-fabricated, louche architecture.” Magma

Jon is a Derbyshire-born writer, editor and researcher who specialises in amalgams: hybrids, mixtures, collections and crossovers, of poem and game, fantasy and realism, curation and composition. He writes micro-texts that often take the form of character portraits, nature lyrics or puzzles, and combines them with the work of other writers and artists in genre-blurring anthology books.

Poetry London have called him a “poet of fantastic inversions”, but such inversions are just one way of rethinking the poem as an object of readerly play and investigation. His work has been published in The Sunday Times and performed on BBC Radio 4, as well as appearing in a number of British and international journals. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2012 and the Poetry London prize in 2014 and 2016.

He has also published academic papers in the field of game studies. A monograph, Dual Wield: The Interplay of Poetry and Videogames, was published in 2022.

For a fuller account of his approach to writing, with examples, check out the short essay 'On Toys'.

Get in touch: jonskeletone [at] gmail.com. Or subscribe to Stray Bulletin for irregular updates.

Dr. Bakunetsu (爆熱!) //

His name means detonating heat, and this is also /
(so he tells me) the name given to the ailment. /
He raps at my sternum’s knot of bone – 'In here?' – /
and leans in to listen, lets out a low whistle. / /

He raps again, harder, then opens his black bag. /
'This here, this,' he says,'is liable to go off /
at just about any second, son. So don’t say a word, /
don’t even mumble. Keep as still as possible.' //

'When you get one this size,' he continues, /
it can take a house with it, son. It's only to leap /
like a flea, like one of them jumping beans, sunbeam, /
and up you'll go, like a damned sack of fireworks.' / /

His cigarette glows fierce as any signal flare – /
then he lowers his mask and makes the incision. /
I'd heard – hoped – that this hot, hard bullet /
could be kept in its chamber for some ripe moment, / /

or function as fuel rod, juice I could run on. /
But all it does is keep me taut and dead shakeable. /
Steam from the crack – a feather-fan of sparks. /
'Wasn't all that deep, son. Wasn’t all that deep.'


A version of this poem first appeared in City State: New London Poetry, edited by Tom Chivers and published in 2009. It’s part of a sequence of 16 elemental poems which I’ve been tinkering with on-off for more than 15 years. I’ve edited Dr. Bakunetsu several times; the poem seems determined to remain untidy.


The poems accessible on this site are dispensed randomly from a digital capsule toy vendor, or gashapon machine. You could think of it as a broken jukebox that plays whatever track it likes. Or a lucky dip. Click in this box to pick another one.

More projects


On Toys




of Forgery

Dual Wield

The Hipflask








Super Treasure

Death Daydream

Sidekick Books

Core Samples




site by jon