Issue 28: Howard Wright


He disintegrated where he sat, from the legs up,

unwrapping his puttees, unwinding

the wide grey sands of Persia, half-mortified,

my great uncle George unravelling on the sofa,

almost mummified, telling the story,

before he disappeared completely,

of the last celebratory flourish over the top,

his boots shone like blackened ball-joints,

brass buttons were gold, rifle oiled

and uniform cleaned and pressed, his medals

mere bits of ribbons and coins of tin

piled in a small heap after everything

that was himself was dispensed with, dispersed

in the devilish, indiscriminate wind.

Ocean Drive

Turning left at the Erotic Revue takes us away from

the bus station. The over-endowed silhouette points

at a handle-less black door. We make another note

in the trail of street names as we try to find the beach

while looking back through the maze to the station.

There’s an outlet for all things made of cork - wallets,

belts, hats, shoes - a coastline of one long white

brutalist facade, strips of windows, and dry hills behind,

a surfeit of gaudy chemists, bars with outside tables,

a German-run galleria, charcuterie and Pinot,

‘Temptatione’, a sex shop window, grilled and cellophaned

for half-dressed manikins, the prone female in latex

and nylons wide-eyed on a bed of sequins

and crepe-de-chine, the male figure in fishnets,

tight-mouthed, looking at the fluorescent ceiling.

A murder scene, the perpetrator as dead as the victim.

Howard Wright lectures at the Ulster University, Belfast. He was awarded second prize in 2018’s Ver Poets Open and was Commended in the McLellan Prize. Poems have since been in The North, Cyphers and Abridged, and new work has appeared in HU Mag and Northwords Now.

Copyright © 2022 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.