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Nightlight / Mark Ward

Nightlight

By: Mark Ward

€12.00
Mark Ward’s long-awaited first collection Nightlight is a journey through a city and a reaching towards whatever light can be found; be that in a sex club, with a board game, a new friendship or a changing relationship. Throughout this journey, Ward feels his way back to touchstones of queer history as well as trying to make himself at home in his surroundings and his increasingly rebellious brain. These poems, deeply attune...
ISBN 978-1-915022-28-8
Pub Date Saturday, February 25, 2023
Cover Image Inkspiral Design
Page Count 68
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Mark Ward’s long-awaited first collection Nightlight is a journey through a city and a reaching towards whatever light can be found; be that in a sex club, with a board game, a new friendship or a changing relationship. Throughout this journey, Ward feels his way back to touchstones of queer history as well as trying to make himself at home in his surroundings and his increasingly rebellious brain. These poems, deeply attuned to craft and form, mark the arrival of a fearless new voice in Irish poetry addressing sexuality, mental health, and the intricacies of relationships with a fresh eye and fierce command ­­­


Nightlight shows Mark Ward confronting the dark with panache. The defiance of the speakers at the start of this collection, however, is hard-won. The self here is under relentless attack, both from subtle prejudice and the winds that threaten all our most intimate connections. A librarian learns a new friend is desperate to die, a loving mother and son face a future as 'two ellipses, scattered into full stops.' Accessible and authentic, these poems glow with feeling.” 

         John McCullough


“In Nightlight, Mark Ward gives us poems that are closely attuned to the body, to physical encounter, to the way history exists inside and beyond us. Ward’s poems sing from the testimony of memory, decipher its evidences, and trace its passage, both as it enters us and as it leaves. These lyrics are unashamed and visceral.” 

         Seán Hewitt


"In one poem, Mark Ward writes “body parts should become agents of commotion”, at another point he writes “Each touch is a spotlight”. In this powerful, energetic collection, the reader is asked to witness the performances, loving, erotic, fearful, which the body must endure." 

        Andrew McMillan

Mark Ward

Mark Ward is the author of the collection Nightlight (Salmon Poetry, 2023) and the pamphlets Faultlines (voidspace, 2024), HIKE (Bear Creek, 2022), Carcass (7KP, 2020 and Circumference (FLP, 2018). He is the founding editor of Impossible Archetype, an international journal of LGBTQ+ poetry. You can read more at his website astintinyourspotlight.wordpress.com 

Local


A knot of desiccated shopfronts

A festival comprised of four floats

A souvenir shop spills its unsold stock

    out onto the street


This town is a drive-thru

Its residents siphoned off into veins, 

    bled into the outdoors

  space to oneself


The hill could be a mountain, 

or a little up-and-over, a detour

of desire lines worn into earth;

the history of exploration, escape


plans. To meet the horizon, 

one must become a cloud, a lance,

a microcosm, a vista, a picture

postcard to the folks without 


trails laid out. The locals don’t walk

here, they rescind their sky, allow

    meaning to disappear

behind daytripped days and eyes and


we imagine life in its confines, the splinter 

between the pub and post office, home;

  a winter whose length you can walk

  without ever leaving



Trick


I laugh at boys that need to kiss

          to cum, that hit and miss

                           brush of lips,


that slobbering mess subtle as a fisting

        your tongue as tender as kindling

                        the moment dwindling


to a regret at not saving all of this 

             for love, or for some lips

                    that don’t feel amiss


I curdle my mouth for those insisting

         on access despite being fleeting

               flesh designed for sweating


The rules explained about lips and nips

       about expectations, grips and flips

                     about temporary eclipse


Our selfishness bartered tit for tit

    a transaction fulfilled bit by bit

                by bite, by spit, by grit


Until we give in to the seizure of bliss

     the mess of momentary happiness

                  the mutual breathlessness


And when I can move, I start to dress

           aware that you seem to expect

                     something more direct,


something you’re not getting, my lips

        mutter goodbye, thanks, let’s do this

                 again, the same old script

             

trotted out once more for another trick

    I head home, face flush, with a wish

      for a boy whose lips I want to kiss




The Imaginary Friend


pinches inside the centre of my chest

like an axial graph folded and ripped, 

an extradimensional shift to shit,

cinched with the rented smile of a guest


he suspects that his greatest achievement

is unravelling the probable

cause travelling without effect

leaving life only with the introspect 


the what-ifs your standard issue rejects


he perfects his wind-tunnel soft whisper

appearing almost apologetic

at his fissures dotted around reality;

each idle thought an enemy, each slit


quickening the tangled nerves around it,

each brush becomes a thicket drowning 

my vision and the waterline, revising

life into a supine circle of salt



Poems Copyright © Mark Ward 2023

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