:: Article

Six Poems

By Colin Herd.

sketch for paper ball

crumple this. the birds and
butterflies should echo more
the knots in my skull, my bow-
tie and even the oil-slicked
farfalle in my bowl. maybe the
bit behind the ear, “a pink pepper”
my mother calls it. on the
night could we make the zapping
sound louder or more intense
or something? the joint between
finger and nostril should quiver,
like a rubber-band mid-flight,
but make it look unsure of itself,
like a flying cat, the boy who doesn’t
know where it’s headed, survivors
on the rocks, and an homme endormi.
    two years before Blues: A
Magazine of New Rhythms A
Bisexual Bi-monthly made him
famous, Charles Henri Ford
wrote in his journal: “In two
years I will be famous. In two
years I will be famous. In two
years I will be famous. In two
years I will be famous. In two
years I will be famous. In two
years I will be famous. This is
my oath.”
        i’m just saying, it’s
best to try.


inspired by my babysitter’s
, i’m studying the paintings
of Lorser Feitelson. i have had a monstrous
week and a half. a week and a half (and a half) of
large spilling slices. they suck me in to dream
like crazy of L.A.

as though i were suffering from a slipped
disk, i’m cultivating inner tranquility and
bright, chromatic abstraction. i’m swelling,
gently undulating, changing in thickness as i sway.
the first i heard of someone behind me was a tic-tac
crunched by an incisor. i know that sound. i know that
smell. i know a curtain drppn n bg clsng zp. the trouble

starts because what makes me tick, also makes me talk,
and therein lies the rub (i wish).


franz kline

i really like the famous
black and white paintings
of franz kline. i like what
jack tworkov calls the
‘confidence and audacity’
of so stark a limitation of
means. but tworkov also
warns that ‘the danger is
in the motive. because it is
also the path of the attention-
getting poster artist.’ kline’s
paintings make me think of
how he came to produce them,
projecting blown-up drawings
on a canvas (encouraged by
de kooning) and painting the
now thick but still sometimes
spindly lines. his wife was very
ill when he made those
paintings, she was in central
islip state hospital enduring
severe attacks of depression
and schizophrenia.


a teenager (i don’t know any other word),
wasted, wintery, spent & spiteful, leading forth
his flock. also ill, or something. lowly strung, if
you know what i mean. they walk as if they might
faint any minute, feebly bowed, as if somethings
are tugging at their feet from underneath.

the boy hums a tune, sometimes whistling
for variety’s sake. the flock laugh a bit, but
mostly not.

shady trees are at their shadiest. i mean they’ve
shed their gear. they’re nudist trees. why not?



domino’s head is on my shoulder. on stage, the shapes are
playing, along with the london sinfonietta, a really great piece
called ‘chopped and screwed’. we’re both crushing massively
over the drummer, mark, who sometimes sings as well. he’s
pretty amazing because he bends right down, till his head is at
the same level as the drum, and his arm comes over kind of like
a crane, then he plays with an ultra sensitive percussiveness.
maybe not that accurate a description, an impression, more or
less. next to him, mica is singing. it’s difficult to hear but i think it’s,
“i don’t believe in anything so give me everything. i tried to feed
the energy but don’t do anything”. raisa, the other member of the
band, is using this big, moaning, quiet, table zither, which
mica invented for the piece. later, at a bar called concrete, domino
says to mark that her heart does a somersault every time he sings.
obviously he’s embarrassed but he just says ‘domino, every time
you wear those glasses my heart does a somersault’ the joke being
that domino always wears those glasses ‘it’s like a rollercoaster’, he
adds. mark’s wearing a white t shirt tie-dyed, purplish and veiny
like an especially fruity bruise. all the shapes are. domino says mica
made them last night. last time i saw them play it was little potato printed
black squares, like ww2 windows. simon walks toward us. he taught
mica at musical school. he’s beaming. other people drift off to get
drinks and things. simon asks me how i met mica. i say i’m best friends
with domino. simon says he reconnected with domino and mica at
a concert of the composer laurence crane, recently. he said he was
there alone and as he was arriving, walking along munching a cornish
pasty, they ran up excitedly behind him. when i tell domino how much
i like this guy, who mentioned the fact he was eating a cornish pasty,
she embellishes the story further, how they were all sitting waiting for
the concert to start and simon kept humming songs by the band ‘ash’.
he’s seen every one of their tours apparently. when still at the bar simon
asks me something about my beard but i think he’s offering me a beer
(mine’s almost empty) so it leads to an embarrassing kind of confused
stand-off and we quit talking after that, really. selina looks confused
when domino mentions something about my boyfriend. “is it that
astonishing that i’d have managed that?” i say, moc-horified. “no, i
just didn’t know you were gay”. i’m telling gemma and zara about my
career plans, about how i am thinking of abandoning my phd for teacher
training. zara’s an in-demand hair-stylist. gemma just got a job working
for science, damien hirst’s company. i congratulate her. they think i’ll
make a good teacher. say they’ll send their children to my school. i’m
flattered but i deflect it telling them about this film i saw recently, called
“skirt day”, with isabelle adjani playing a french teacher in a drama
studio in the basement of an inner-city parisian school, trying to teach
moliere to a class of very unruly teenagers, loud and very abusive. she
wears knee-length skirts and the kids often call her a slut, etc. etc. she’s
encouraging a couple of quiet, shy-ish kids to act a scene out on the stage
while behind her all hell’s breaking loose between two guys over a rucksuck.
they’re arguing about whatever’s inside it. adjani walks purposefully to the
back of the room and asks them to hand over the rucksack. they ignore her.
the room is still really loud, all the other kids ignoring this and just talking
as if nothing’s going on. adjani goes to grab the rucksuck, they resist, and
in the tussle a gun falls to the floor. the sound guy did an amazing job
here because it’s the first time in the film there’s silence, or anything
approaching silence. adjani recognizes this too, and immediately picks
up the weapon. something inside her flips, like her heart gasps because
the sound of quiet is so alien to her teaching life. they have literally never
listened to her before. she tries to teach the class at gunpoint, meanwhile,
outside, a hostage-diffusion operation is going on. it’s a claustrophobic film,
taking place mainly in this one room. in negotiations with the police, adjani
demands that a “skirt day” be in place in all french schools so that women
and girls can wear skirts as short as they like without fear of condemnation,
abuse or rape. (during the film it transpires one girl in the class has been
raped by a guy in the class and filmed on another’s mobile phone).
obviously, the thing’s doomed from the start, adjani ends up shot and
killed but at the very end of the film it’s her funeral, and some girls from
the class are there, wearing short skirts. zara writes down the name of the
film, they both seem to like the sound of it. simon, who arrived half-way
through, and missed most of the story, gives a sort of a lumpy yawn, and
then laughs and apologises. outside, they play an endless loop of a thirty
second clip from jurassic park. concrete doesn’t really have a sign, per se,
just the word in spotlights, which you can’t make out very well up close.


your andrex eyes

your revel eyes
your fairy eyes
your sunkist eyes
your penguin eyes
your pritt stick eyes
your tizer eyes
your malteser eyes
your universal eyes
your bounty eyes
your lurpak eyes
your sunny delight eyes
your finest eyes
your taste the difference eyes
your smartie eyes
your mars eyes
your xerox eyes
your blu tack eyes
your polo eyes
your fruit gum eyes
your mentos eyes
your irn bru eyes
your marmite eyes
your horlicks eyes
your green and blacks eyes
your wotsit eyes
your birds eye eyes
your strepsil eyes
your lemsip eyes
your apple eyes
your lego eyes
your boss eyes
your starbucks eyes
your thermos eyes
your jelly belly eyes
your hoover eyes
your immodium eyes
your mr brain’s eyes
your bacofoil eyes
your crayloa eyes
your oasis eyes
your guess eyes
your yahoo eyes
your scrabble eyes
your puma eyes
your fuji film eyes
your national lottery eyes
your mr sheen eyes
your independent eyes


Colin Herd was born in Stirling in 1985 and now lives in Edinburgh. He has published a chapbook LIKE (The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press 2010) and a book too ok (BlazeVOX Books 2011). He edits the literary magazine anything anymore anywhere and reviews regularly: art for Aesthetica, poetry for Chroma Journal and (mainly though not exclusively) fiction for 3:AM.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, May 31st, 2011.