No Good

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No Good

He is ill and he goes out.
He is ill and he goes dancing.

Stepping twists his legs,
he drinks his mind from beer bottles
but it’s no good.
Hot wine on his friend’s breath,
she sighs out drunken worries.
Emotion haunts the air,
it plays with her words
but he hears none of it.

His grey eyes turn
inwards like a ghoul
and an ugly void looks back,
pointing the eyes down,
the lips are braiding sentences.
He does not want for poetry,
the night took its toll.

His stamina falters and he takes a breath
but it’s no good.
Backing away,
the wall is his skin
it is his clothes
it is his mind it is his Earth.
The globe spins or, actually maybe he spins;
exhaustion took his balance

but I can tell you he is alone now.

Sitting on a cold step, broken laughs
make their way from the next room.
The clacks of shoes are like beetles,
barely visible in the corner of the doorframe,
shiny and black, all having fun.
They look black to him,
it’s no good.

This personal decay hides
behind his plastic eyes,
conversations take bites out of him.

As he walks away,
he can only just hear the muffled clacks
of his own good shoes
against the pavement
as he orders the taxi.


Oliver Harris was born in Lancashire in 1993 and, after moving to Scotland when he was 18, is now in his final year at the University of Edinburgh, studying Linguistics. He has performed his poetry at numerous events across the city and has been putting his thoughts in words and prose since 2009.

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