I hoped to visit tropical resorts
to feel that texture of expensive sadness.
I wanted to avoid slaughter by growing
so large I would not fit in the machine,
but thinking everything was magic
was the same as thinking nothing was:
magnets, racecraft, three card monte.
I know nothing of your grief, granted,
nor you mine, but isn’t that why we’re here?
No philosopher ever went into the deli
on Mercer and Spring and asked Mohammed
just to make her whatever sandwich
the universe had preordained. I for one
hope to stop reliving things I said once
that were only mildly funny. I have this
hunch everyone now adult is dealing with
the knowledge we are living in a failed
state of bad faith, and hence we shelter in
denunciation, poems of innocence and hurt,
our innocence, our hurt, while happily
we’re rapidly extracting rotted bodies
from the earth, all the liquid dead we nurse
our little systems on until they stop their
beeping, until, engorged as ticks, we burst.
Born in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland in 1975, Nick Laird was educated at Cookstown High School and Cambridge University. He worked as a lawyer for several years before leaving law to write full-time. The recipient of many prizes for his poetry and fiction, including the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Ireland Chair of Poetry Award, the Betty Trask Prize, a Somerset Maugham award, and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, he has lived in London, Warsaw, and Rome. He is on faculty at NYU and Professor of Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre At Queens University in Belfast.