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  • Writer's pictureNeuro Logical

Icarus in the city - Oz Hardwick

Down from the mountain, we trade myths like

bubblegum cards: floods, famines, arbitrary judgments,

and disproportionate revenge. You change water into

wine and I change the desert into a shaded balcony in

an Art Deco skyscraper. (My kind of town.) I wear

tinted spectacles to hide my charcoal eyes as I lay out

my years as a smouldering boy plummeting from a

burning sky, a domestic Lucifer hell-bent on breaking

apart. You are an archetype for me to misinterpret, your

elegant dress plumped with snakes and apples. (If I

could just remember …) These roles, we know, are

only temporary: mutation is metamorphosis for the

modern masses and change can’t be arrested, whatever

its alleged crimes. What we believed was a mountain

was just the monkey bars in the playground. (I am still

a small boy, falling.) What we believed were myths

were just monstrous lies. We sit apart, sipping tepid tea

and reassessing who we might be in the light of

emerging data. I’m an open book with illegible script;

you’re a lone bubble rising in a chilled flute. We scan

our apps and check our messages, deleting demands

from fickle gods. (I’m laying my cards on the table.)

There’s nothing up my sleeve but basalt and the stumps

of feathers.


Oz Hardwick is a European prose poet, whose next collection, A Census of Preconceptions, will be published by SurVision Books in 2022. With Anne Caldwell, he edited The Valley Press Anthology of Prose Poetry (Valley Press, 2019) and Prose Poetry in Theory and Practice (Routledge, 2022). Oz is Professor of Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University.

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