There’s nothing so sad as a man
speculating over future greatness:
the poems written in his honour,
awards named after him,
generations of tearful suicides
tracking pilgrimages to his gravesite,
a hero for a damned breed,
all the time spent dreaming
while the world wakes up and lives.
You do not need to deny a man his dreams
if he have already denied himself.
Past midnight and the air bloats with hard noise:
washer-dryers, hum of computer fans,
traffic vacating the space where you are,
perhaps the rattle of late night TV;
no human sounds, only little machines
made to fill the space insomnia brings.
All these jangles and tin lose their edges
around the borders of your pillow, or
at least you were able to blunt the day
against the grindstone of dreams beforehand.
Now, you curse every creek of the pipework,
every dog that refuses to lie down,
blinking and wishing, with life amplified
under the echo chamber of the moon.
Jumping the Queue
Having to talk people out of suicide
is to be closer to death than I want:
those that have decided
to be their own catalyst,
having replaced decision with despair;
those who are looking for a place
to hand in their soul, not wanting to reclaim it
from God’s lost property office.
You cannot say life is beautiful
to people with extinction in their ears:
they are deaf to reason, numb to love.
You have to poke into the pit
where they’ve buried themselves
and hope a pinpoint of light follows you in;
with focus, the pinpoint becomes a hole,
wide enough to reach a hand through;
with persistence, the hole becomes a tunnel,
welcoming enough to crawl out through,
and that the world is still enough
in which to find a way to live.
Colin Dardis is a poet, editor, creative writer tutor, freelance arts facilitator and mental health advocate. His work has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and the USA. He is the founder of Poetry NI, a multi-media, multi-project platform for poetry in Northern Ireland. Colin is also the online editor for Lagan Press.