:: Article

Three Poems

By Colin Herd.

unhook my ribbon, i have dappled things
(my thighs) that couple-colour, branded now
by the creepy stairwell too,
with dust and brine, my coat
attracting currents, refusing goldfish
who seem to think i’m one
of them, but i’m a starfish and i’ll
mince my words no longer: like a terrible
fantastic comedy, it sucks: goodbye beast,
goodbye small pirate ship, goodbye plankton+
you needn’t lurk under my window anymore
singing atomic bongos. [at this point,
not before, i rebutton my lemon cardigan. the
button is barely hanging on. i keep my cool
because i have my dignity, though that too is
waning. quick thinking allows me to slip my
arms out and flip a sour lemon wave
as i exit on the right: ]

not a terror of beauty exactly,
but i don’t know how to act
in its presence, a frightening
delirious tone infiltrates my repartee,
even my gait alters, longer strides to
call on the neighbours who say,
let’s get you in the house, why not
use the telephone and the bathroom.
i can’t stay, but i painfully describe
the matter, the flat tire (it’s thoughts of you)
the flood (i’d been fishing poems out for weeks
because the flush is bust) the mouse,
(so similar to the noise of a bed-spring &

in serious thought (forbid it, you)
dialogue is not to be equated with
love. but love without dialogue,
and yielding is not love.
it is then (and i camp it up to make
the point) a chamber of horrors (xxx)
not a mansion of intimate
dialogue (xxx). men keep gliding
by the parlour door because handsome
rich people can afford to be plainspoken
and nonchalant.

Dear Countdown genius,

the letters you are given are ygwcoaito,
your smile = considerable consternation
and all you can come up with is “goaty”
which is fine because your opposite number
says ‘coat’ very sheepishly. i’m not wearing
a coat but i am growing a goaty
and it is all for you each strand
the numbers don’t add up, but who
cares, we don’t need to respect suits
who ask us for money. nobody has
money anymore. very few people
have love. but we do, goaties and love.


Colin Herd lives and works in Edinburgh. He writes both individually and as part of the New Scottish Language Poets. He maintains a blog here.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, March 20th, 2009.