Wednesday, May 1, 2024



End Times


The leaflet yelled “Wake Up!!! The End Times Are Here”

Does that give me permission to run around wearing

a melting birthday cake, the crown of burning candles

slowly oozing its way to my scalp? Dance with the crows

salivating over the exposed dioramas of roadkill?

Perform the sea’s plays as two-story high waves crash

like ACME anvils over my head? Skinny dip in poetry?

Pray to be merged with a nuclear power station’s

collapsing heart? Whatever. Just promise you'll wake me

to be reclaimed as a citizen of the earth, diving so deep

the only sounds reverberating in my skull are the earthworms

complaining about the poets jabbering like flightless birds,

muttering renew, renew, renew.




Dullest mollusc, your rusty scars

are no warpaint. Perhaps some PR

to go with a glass of your Chardonnay?

We appreciate the effort you put in,

but start screaming about your history:

Aphrodite’s midwife. James the Great’s

biggest cheerleader. You are more

than this clumsy muppet moving

along the ocean's currents like a mime

pulling an invisible rope. Your 200 eyes,

no bigger than a pinhead, must surely

know this? And let's discuss the issue

of your meat – soft like a marshmallow

in a ceviche. Firm when cooked.

The clown's smile of roe. You are the fact

in factory. Look how your rare pearls

rage when produced.




Overboiled milk tattooed

a crab on the cooker hob:

a disfigured continent

of claw and anger. Its pincer

shook at me like a clichéd

old man yelling at kids

when the wire wool

scrubbed away its essence,

reducing it to an outline.

The crab, though, got under

my fingernails, made me

dance sideways, worship

unknown seas like bad disco

tunes drowning my brain

with everything I boiled,

thought I had scrubbed clean.


Lion's Mane Fungi


A frozen waterfall

caught in the forest's palm.

Faux weeping willow,

faux headbanger,

faux shaggy dog

from the Dulux adverts.

You rejuvenate our tongues

while we fell the trees

you sleep on.

Little wonder you roar

a billion spores into the air.


Matthew Perry


Condensation has made dragon tails

on the windows: a gift from October;

the cold slowly renovating the flat.

The street is calm like the moment

when something major happens

and the slow realisation sinks in.

I couldn't sleep last night –

the time change made my mind

play hopscotch. All I remember

is reading "Matthew Perry dies

aged 54." I woke to the innocence

of silence, followed by the realisation

that someone, somewhere is cracking,

and all I can think of is the silly

condensation that can be wiped away

faster than a dragon can incinerate you

away from the pain.




CHRISTIAN WARD is a UK-based poet with recent work in Acumen, Dreich, Dream Catcher, Dodging the Rain and Canary. He was longlisted for the 2023 Aurora Prize for Writing, shortlisted for the 2023 Ironbridge Poetry Competition and 2023 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, and won the 2023 Cathalbui Poetry Competition.


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