3 Poems for July 2022 from Colin Dardis : A Day in Death, All These Words, Erosion

A Day In Death

He types good morning into the group chat. No one responds. It is 09.07am and the whole of Tuesday lies ahead like a valley without a horizon.

All he can see out the window is a TV aerial and clouds. A bird arcs in and out frame for a second, full winged oscillation. Occasionally, a bird might perch on the aerial, a gull looking bored between scavenges. He realised the window is more of a mirror. The glass is freckled with mould.

The water pipes sound like a helicopter inside a food blender. Their wild rapid beatings take over one corner of the room. He imagines strings, coming out of his brain, attached to the corner, crude childhood phone lines, tins on string, all noise having a direct feed into his conscious. A passing aeroplane adds in an extra atonal melody, rips out a portion of the sky and stuffed the resulting wind into his thoughts. It’s impossible to switch off the world.

A ten-minute break passes like a breath. His ears barely decompressed from the skull before the headset goes back on. The microphone wraps round his cheek, as ominous as a dentist’s scraper.

All the pain is congealing around his neck and left shoulder. There is no position that offers relief. Permutations of posture and pillows do nothing. He knows he will have to get through it, will have to dismiss the discomfort and just continue, a bird singing in a rainstorm, a snowman refusing to melt. Despite his grandiose imaginings, there is nothing poetic here. This doesn’t deserve to be written about, he feels, as a piece of unseen grit claws into his eyelid. Who truly is comfortable and awake

Lick your finger and tease the world out from your eyes. Everything you see is a mote that blurs reality if you refuse to accept what reality is. There is a wound in the clouds for the light to pass. The clouds will not suffocate. If you are breathing, you have an excuse to live.

His head jolts to the direction of the window. A gull right outside, sounding like a sick cat. Two weeks ago, he saw a rat run cross the road. The neighbours are being careless with their trash. Allow vermin to feed and soon they will take over. A mouse can squeeze itself through a hole smaller than a penny. Imagine all the holes we are leaving behind us. He hasn’t been out of the house in eleven days, not counting the trip down the back alley to collect the wheelie bin. Empty bins standing amongst full nappies, broken toys, rotting food. What a treat, what a walk. The soles of his feet putrefy with every step. He’s scared what he might be bringing back insides. Padlock the doors with disinfectant. Wash the back step. Warm water and dirt only equal bad smells.

All These Words

All those words
that didn’t resonate,
that didn’t hit the audience
full in the face 
and leave them dazed, 
where do they go to? 

Floating around 
the top of the room, 
an unwanted ether.

You can’t scoop them back up
and save them for next time, 
they’re wasted energy,
lost potential. 

You can only send out 
new words and hope 
for a more efficient airstrike
on your next go, 
a higher kill rate.


We used simple methods to divide
people back in school: Boy, girl.
Who's good at football, who's stuck in goal.

Who’s good at spelling, bad at sums.
Who saw Neighbours last night.
Who completed their homework.

Who’s got the same brand of shoes.
Who wears their skirt above their knees.
Who’s right-handed, who’s left.

These were my classes.
Then the questions started:
the hair on display for changing-room eyes,

who's got their period, growth spurts,
who snogged who, who wouldn't be snogged
in a million-billion-gazillion years!

For you must realise this:
back then, a kiss was just a kiss
and not a prelude to sex.

But we soon lost our uniforms,
asked to clothe our own identities,
learnt that dirty word individual.

We knew nothing outside of class
and so were forced to redefine
what our lessons were.

Now my school desk sits on a cliff edge.
It started off in the middle of a field
and I'm getting wet from the ocean spray.

Bio: Colin Dardis is a neurodivergent poet, editor and sound artist from Northern Ireland. His latest collection is All This Light To See The Dead: Pandemic Journals 2020-21 (Rancid Idols Productions, 2022).

His work, largely influenced by his experiences with depression and Asperger's, has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and USA, and shortlisted for the Erbacce Prize, Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing, and Over The Edge New Writer of the Year Award, amongst others. Previous collections include Endless Flower (Rancid Idols Productions, 2021) The Dogs of Humanity (Fly on the Wall Press, 2019, shortlisted for Best Poetry Pamphlet, Saboteur Awards 2020), the x of y (Eyewear, 2018), Post-Truth Blues (Locofo Chaps, 2017) and Dōji: A Blunder (Lapwing, 2013). His latest album, a long-form ambient piece, is Back To Work (1tracktape, 2021).

Website: www.colindardispoet.co.uk
Twitter: @purelypoetry
Latest collection: All This Light In Which To See The Dead, out now via Rancid Idols Productions
Latest album: Dead Leaves, New Seeds, out now on all good streaming platforms

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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