Wily Guys has been my artist AKA for a while now (wilyguys.com, @wilyguys on Insta & Twitter, plus Medium, of course), and by way of an explainer, here is the small poem in which the name first appeared.

I wrote it during Barcelona midsummer – so being English, I was wilting – dreams were of cool air and cold waters.

The unfamiliar country and my pitiful Spanish/Catalan abilities led me to spend many a night alone – a conflicting experience, as I’d flat-shared for the previous decade in London hovels for wild fortunes, so the solitude was a sweet relief. Lonely, however, remains lonely.

This melancholy and a simultaneous confidence/anxiety is, I hope, expressed in this poem, and the desperate sense of place is very utopian, with a strong link to the (cold) ocean. Add to that a lingering optimism for the future and the briefest hint of technological wonder and you basically get the idealised, fictional version of me.

The untitled work below was part of a year-long project to create a poem every single day, inspired by a creative writing teacher I’d studied under, the novelist/memoirist Rachel Cusk. To my surprise, I actually completed the project (well, I missed one day. Don’t judge me.). It may not be one of my favourites from this writing experiment, but it certainly feels like the person I want to be, so Wily Guys it was, from that point on. I consider it a personality to aim for.

From this:

Morning glaze goes over the big hill
low like love you miss.

Interminable it all is,
as time moves and sticks.

At night they wet one side of the road,
not mine. Mine is dry.

To this:

Life on an ocean cliff for wily guys with kindness.
Watching the sea throw
from up on high.