Poetry: Selections from Christian Ward

Comb Star
Astropecten polyacanthus
Its aubergine skin is purple from a hedge 
fund invested in thoughts that make you bruise:
A dismayed significant other considering 
offering a citrusy lick of the yellow poison frog
to watch them enter the turnstile at Hades. 
The employee flying like Icarus after share
options going south after poor results. 
A bleach cocktail ending a marriage involuntary. 
The red fox turned bloody as a poppy
after resting on the train tracks' rusting tongue. 
A horseshoe bat turned into a torturer's beanie. 
An elephant understanding the language of hatred. 
Sharks losing their rudders. The kipper-orange 
underside lost to the losing returns of soft sand;
its spikes a reminder of the shifting cost of pain. 

The Joy of Coffee 

50 cups of coffee is enough to turn you
into a nebula of pheasants lusting after the gun. 
50 more and your heart will leap out
of your mouth like an Ood, begging 
to be served like steak tartar so the rush
of experiencing the whole universe at once
can finally end. Some other side effects
should be noted to appease health and safety:
Your brain may violently shake inside
the cocktail shaker of your skull, 
resulting in bird poo grey matter. You may 
impersonate any celebrity so perfectly 
you could be their doppelganger. 
Animals will confess their darkest secrets. 
You'll be the Magneto of bras. Trees
will weep into your hands. Buildings
will tell you to fuck off. Every church 
will glow like your girlfriend
experiencing your hand up her skirt. 
The sky will call you a cunt
while the moon will explode
before everything becoming still
like the first time you fucked up.

Halloween Moth

Every other rainforest moth crumbles like a staked vampire 
compared to Creatonotos Gangis. This is an LSD trip made real, 
a flying hallucinogen. UFO clouds have nothing on it. TikTok 
it quickly before the silicon chips in your phone river away. 
YouTube its carpet knife abdomen - an optical illusion
fooling the eye into thinking it's a venus fly trap's eyelash rimmed 
head. You want the money shot - the bukkake of attention 
the internet released from its fibre optic tentacles:
The four furry butt cheeks ballooning from its abdomen -
bottle brush scent glands to attract a mate. Explanation given, 
you unwerewolf yourself back to normality, release 
the bandages that gripped you like a religious moment, 
scream and check every shadow like a private detective 
for something more monstrous, more monstrous than what's 
been attached to you since birth.

Filming ‘The Beheading of Daniel Pearl’

Week twelve. The special effects
guy has quit, citing ‘insensitive
subject matter’. Asshole. $300k
down. Maryland is no Pakistan
but between the minaret-necked
cormorants and hillbilly locals
I can’t tell the difference. Week
eighteen. The walk-on playing
Pearl’s Taliban executioner can’t
hold the replica scimitar steady,
doesn’t believe it won’t cut. I press
the edge against my right arm, point
to the dent, shallow as a GI’s crew-cut,
that it leaves. $500k down. The man
is still shaking. Dick. Week twenty-four.
Some pathetic loser has left a fake head
drooling ketchup outside my trailer. $2m
down. My head is already loosening itself
from the neck. I don’t need a gimmick to tell me
this is the worst death I’ve experienced yet.
(Previously published in Fuselit)

Observing the Wolf Man

The wolf man sitting opposite
on the train is thumbing through
a cheap paperback. His hairy
hands, thickened by moonlight,
carefully turn the tea-brown pages,
examining each description
and snippet of dialogue until they
are fully absorbed into his system
like water drunk from a wolf’s paw print.
I'd take a careful look at his face
to see his sulphur eyes, how much closer
he resembles the wolf than the dog,
but am afraid he might chow down
on my belly like in a B movie horror.
Isn't that the way we'd all like to go —
in full view of the camera, lights blaring,
the shadowed director stretching the length
of the moment until he shouts "Cut!"
and everything fades to white?
(Previously published in Prole)

Christian Ward is a UK-based writer who has recently appeared in the Tipton Poetry JournalGinosko Literary Journal, DreichUppagus and the BlueHouse Journal


  1. These are amazing, thought-provoking works, Christian. Congrats... I'm still digesting.


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