Issue 21: Daniel Eltringham

Five a Week 


Fulfilled my yearly quota in a dream last night

and just like that – shazam – the bubble bursts.

Clock punitive and clock lenient. Social conditions

of going under, but not together, no faux-

redemptive elegiac – good – pure isolate,

let it all in, sentience of stone. Trying not

to write a ‘work’ poem, that’s obvious,

there’s so much else going on let it in

from form crude fill-through deep spill of

the calendar year. Minute hand minute. Let in

direct data with no distinctions, let light in

like talking last night with Linda & Gloria

like talking last week with Leire & Linda

there has to be more of this, that’s obvious.

Let’s set out to booby-trap belonging, the rules

were rigged from the very / main mast & mizzen,

haul away, all. From experience, yes, but towards

the start, again. No analogues, I mean that

in all kinds of ways, let me count. Mean. Speak-

ing of “hostile environments” as invariably

we are – the thermal maximum all over

again – X marks that spot – it’s only 50m years

give-or-take, it’s only the KT boundary it’s not

the end of the world / deportation threat / 50 years’

residence / it’s not the end. The world chokes

on its progeny:

                                             we’ve seen this before.


Poorer than parents well OK. Partially

automated zero-growth solid-state

sufficiency not “back to the land” what

on this earth does that mean / just highlight

                                                               the sensitivity

of our dependency / to light

just one expansive gesture then

               for the millenarians:

                              explode all the cars,

                              wreck self-driving

masculinity / that 20th-C error

so sit back, wait for the feedback

to kick. Yet the problem pertains

to shrink the footprint down

means absolutely to be grounded,

deny lift-off to shrink the world

down & I don’t / produced by the ideology

of connection – no borders, that’s obvious –

but can we self-impose some stay home,

                                                              sit tight, illimit.

                 Banana, piña, sandía,

keep counting for five-a-day feels

no nativist diet of apples & pears & yet

                 “local eating” mass mediated

& yet, is this, action? You worry too much.


Line lateral and line lineal. Torsion

of the self-timed hour – twist – minute

push-back of the purloined minute,

time sheet taken on trust. But who,

cheat, deceit, self-overseen against

the neoliberal stopwatch. Literally,

a five-minute pint & on the train back

to luxuriate in compression. Walking

down the Don with Edmund talking

hope & apocalypse, bright blue times

two codes a kingfisher. Walking

through Valencia mentally correct

-ing gender agreement of Anarchist

graffiti – su riqueza nuestra hambre –

like it matters to the hungry / we

all have our prescriptivisms don’t we

but seriously, correct this: sequester

-ed by a social engagement / another one

“gone paleo” in a deep

state set in                      against inclemency.

Sometimes, said Becky, you reach for a pun

and it just isn’t there                    the language

can’t contain it & so it bears the blame.

Nothing left but shame: raid all the best stuff,

quit the stronghold, drop down, to the street.



Fissured at all points along its body.

Flips the dipole and not as metaphor.

Sharpens the weather-climate distinction

on a point of honour / Speeds up slowly

now, slowdown




a management

style best described as “hermetic”. But

it’s true, it dawns on a 4.30am Annie,

“the Pavlovian sunrise itself, its alba-effect,

is enough to feel wired these days.”

Physio-mnemonic of the early bird.

Behaviourialism through the wringer

of the day. A dawn raid. They have

carried my possessions to the highland

The swamp has swallowed

my possessions

                                 hands ignorant

of silver have been filled

with my silver

                                 necks ignorant

of gems have fastened my gems

around them.


As a forerunner of fortune spelt

yet said as I end my sweet tenor

of an argument, beauty to the bone.

Leave a message on the phone

machine you terrific terraform,

asteroid-mined rare-earths you’re

getting silly. “2 days of the ‘blue

humanities’ & a late-night fishcake”.

Clarity from Natalie closest to bone,

to home, bite down hard then abjure.

It’s time itself claimed from the shoreline’s

mantle of fine chitin, planted on a single

foot. The “soft things”, saved from silt.

Four five six pick up sticks.

The crises mount and pleat into one      another, as

                          in lieu of fracture

           the lines                                peter out.

The contingency of home. Five

a week is doing it right & five

a day keeps the doctor away &

they’ll never clock so subtle

a register of refusal. Get out

get out get out get out get out.

I can’t see how it all coheres.

The crisis multiplies & splits

and we hold on, for how long: 

the view is violence end to end.

Dan Eltringham is a poet and academic, currently teaching at the University of Sheffield. He has published articles in Textual Practice and Green Letters, and his poetry and translations have recently appeared in the anthologies Wretched Strangers: borders movement homes and The World Speaking Back…To Denise Riley (both Boiler House Press, 2018), and in Datableed, Cumulus, Plumwood Mountain, Colorado Review and Zarf.

In 2018 he co-curated the exhibition Trespass!, (Sheffield Institute of Arts), and in 2017 he collaborated with artist David Walker Barker on the text-image cabinet installation Searching for Jossie (In The Open, Sheffield Institute of Arts). His collection Cairn Almanac is a book of poems about field work, time and climate change (Hesterglock Press, 2017). He edits Route 57, the University of Sheffield’s creative writing journal, co-edits Girasol Press and co-runs the reading series Electric Arc Furnace.

Copyright © 2018 by Daniel Eltringham, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.