Issue 26: Howard Wright
gone thermo-nuclear. Coalsmoke in the rain.
A clinging childhood. The reek of rotten apples
where you turn the hedge,
of mayflower across the fields. Two high
planes and a washed-out sun. The buntings
staying up until they fall down
in coincidence and a spill of stars; artistic
licence that never expires. Cheap music
that makes everything all right
The lost note
in a peel of bells. The poetry of doubt.
Architecture and weather, some sleet
on the rooftops, cold in the bones.
of work. The telephone pole, a junction
for wires slicing the sky into eight, nine,
like a pie-chart of Antarctica.
as icing on the cake. Coffee grounds
in the sink sluiced away but not before you see
in negative a quadrant of
Lightning is a wave of the wand,
thunder a bad joke, the clutch all give-and-take.
Our arguments are enemies becoming friends
when we cross-country behind neurotic tractors
and big boom-boom blacked-out saloons
driven by low-slung, splay-eared racers
never quite showing themselves.
Too much icing and not enough cake.
We take it slow but need to be re-acquainted
with the weight of the fuel gun, its fumes
and political cost, paying with due concern
for what the world has become, then out
in the open, at the mercy of dipping roads
and compilation discs, large-scale maps
that fight back as reluctant guides to earthly
delights, our destination kissing the horizon
above two shores made for one another
under clouds that lift the heart.
Howard Wright lectures at Ulster University. He was longlisted in the 16/17 National Poetry Competition, and shortlisted for the 16/17 Poetry Business Pamphlet Prize. He won second place in the 2018 Ver Poets Competition and was Commended in the McLellan Prize. Poems have since appeared in Abridged, Poetry Ireland and Vallum, and are due to be published in The North and Stand.
Copyright © 2021 by Howard Wright, 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.