Dylan Willoughby

crop black man showing pray gesture

Dylan Willoughby was born in London, England and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. His poetry has appeared widely in the UK and the US, including in Agenda, Stand, Denver Quarterly, and Shenandoah, and is forthcoming in Agenda and Conduit. Chester Creek Press has published three chapbooks, each held by The British Library: Les Festivals Des Murmures; Dusk at St. Mark’s and Other Poems; and Thrive. He was a residency fellow at MacDowell and Yaddo. Dylan’s photography has recently appeared in Wrongdoing. His music, as “Lost in Stars,” has been featured by The LA Times, NYLON, XLR8R, and many other venues.

Scenes from a Masque


In a dream I pass two identical antique shops
Afterwards, I try to fire my shrink in the middle of a car wash

The world — trickster — has made itself our altar
Don’t trivialize these assumed forms


Behind the veil is a worse masquerade
Dance awhile to the pavane of drawn breath

The matchbox reads “Strike Anywhere”
The world as flint and as stone


Pray like Peter Spàno in the thorn bush
Cups of oblivion devastate the known hush


The young woman at LAX reads Ways to Live Forever
The way she holds the book is itself a thé dansant

I have swallowed the mirror
but still the veil conceals my self


God & angels dispense with noisy words
But isn’t the Word our highest good?

I pray to the wounds of Christ like Bernard,
sounds whose only hope is toward.

Song of Songs

Previously published in Sixpence Society Literary Journal.

Do I aspire to sing how no mortal can sound
The way Humilitas said the angels can sing?
Or is this province of the made thing
Enough for my purposes? Ruddy earthbound.

What makes this song are the open wounds
Like mouths pleading with air,
Lips trembling with divinity and despair
From our dirt and blood, these holy sounds