"Slow down," Mother says

as I struggle to wolf down 

the chocolate muffin collapsing 

in my hands. It is an asteroid 

and they are the atmosphere. 

Slowing down, I see the elements, 

how things originally were. 

Glimpsing at my mother in this space, 

I watch her unravel back to its starting 

point - becoming feint, almost unreal.

A sleight of hand. 






He's the ideal flatmate:  clean, tidy,

never drinks or smokes. Doesn't get music

but that's okay. I've learnt to stop staring

at his ears in case he grips my neck

and I collapse like laundry on the floor.

Some days, late at night, I hear him muttering

'Captain, Captain, Captain' into a shoe

and laugh to myself. Spock, fine as he may be,

doesn't make for the best company. Everything 

has to be logical: call centres, mangoes, even sex. 

My girlfriend says he's a pervert whenever sheÕs

around, that he leers at her in a strange way, as if  

something is trapped under his skin and he's

desperately trying to get rid of it. Weirdo.

And, if you're wondering, never talk to him

about poetry. He bloody hates it. You can

almost smell the dactyls bubbling on his tongue 

as he drones on, how illogical it is to describe 

emotion on paper, before becoming still like a

heron about to dive into the dark of a pond

it has never seen before.




Filming The Beheading of Daniel Pearl


Week twelve. The special effects

guy has quit, citing Ôinsensitive

subject matterÕ. Asshole. $300k

down. Maryland is no Pakistan


but between the minaret-necked

cormorants and hillbilly locals

I canÕt tell the difference. Week

eighteen. The walk-on playing


PearlÕs Taliban executioner canÕt

hold the replica scimitar steady,

doesnÕt believe it wonÕt cut. I press

the edge against my right arm, point


to the dent, shallow as a GIÕs crew-cut,

that it leaves. $500k down. The man

is still shaking. Dick. Week twenty-four.

Some pathetic loser has left a fake head


drooling ketchup outside my trailer. $2m

down. My head is already loosening itself

from the neck. I donÕt need a gimmick to tell

me this is the worst death IÕve experienced yet.




Drive In


John Wayne taps you on the shoulder

but heÕs nowhere to be seen in the wing mirror.


Your quiff is frozen mid-crest and the ThunderbirdÕs 

vinyl is sticky with fear.  Peggy Sue leans over and

says Ôkiss me baby, letÕs be quickÕ but all you can

think of is the Swamp Man lurching into view.


Light dances a bolero on its way from the projectionist 

booth and hydrogen ignites. Helium and oxygen conjoin

under a discoball and everyone heads to funky town.


Another universe explodes on your tongue

with the last sip of  Coca Cola but all thatÕs

on your mind are her arms around you,

everything coming into view:


the kiss, smoke in search of its gun,

the uncertain morning after.



© Christian Ward