'Keith's cat has given you fleas'

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5 AM

by Roxy Dunn


5 AM


It's not quite light
am I getting old?
old people wake early
half a croissant is on the desk
like a squashed crescent 
and there's that record I bought 
with the Soviet rocket sleeve

Around the corner in Highbury
Keith's cat has given you fleas
your bags are packed for Antibes
I wonder if I care about the right things
like rabbits dying slowly and Brexit
sometimes I’m secretly unfazed
I feel selfish and middle-aged

I'd like to play this rocket record
but I don't have a record player
the band are from Leeds, is that cool?
I can't work out if this is regret
or just the onset of dullness
I think I'll eat breakfast then sleep till noon
eat the remains of last night's moon

by Roxy Dunn

'5 AM' by Roxy Dunn. Printed by permission of Roxy Dunn. Taken from 'Clowning'

(Eyewear Publishing, 2016)


Poem as Friend to Paterson

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5 AMRoxy Dunn

In this episode you will hear Paterson talking about the poem that has been a friend to him - '5 AM' by Roxy Dunn.

Paterson visited us at The October Gallery in London. We are very grateful to The October Gallery for hosting The Poetry Exchange so warmly. Thank you also to Roxy Dunn for kindly granting permission for us to use this poem. Do visit them for further inspiration:


Please also feel free to discover a little more about Kiki Dimoula, the Poet behind Fiona's emerging friend, 'The Wrong Arrangement'.


Paterson is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members Fiona Bennett and Michael Schaeffer.

'5 AM' is read by Michael Schaeffer


We talk to people about the poem that has been a friend to them.

In exchange we create a gift for them, a bespoke reading of their chosen poem inspired by the conversation. Our award-winning podcast shares these unique and powerful stories of connection with people across the world. 


We set up an intimate environment for these conversations at festivals, in arts, cultural and public spaces across the country. We also hold exchanges ‘long distance’. Our visitors come from all walks of life and we also feature well-known personalities such as Andrew Scott, Maxine Peake, Roy McFarlane and Paterson Joseph.