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3 poems by Lauren Garland

At the Pleasure Beach

I needed that day, it was a break in the rain –

we rode the Big Dipper, shared a plume of candyfloss,

laughed about nothing and lingered on South Pier

until the sky turned orange, then dark.

Sometimes thoughts go round in the wash,

come out while we sleep, tangled up

and coloured strange. Nights by the coast,

I dream I’m a cloud moving over the beach.

You’re lazed on the sand, finishing the crossword.

I pour a few happy-sad raindrops on you,

you speak at the sky but your message is hushed

by a fracas of waves, the clatter of a rollercoaster

creeping to its peak. And the carriage feels

the pull of the drop but for a moment it holds,

towering over the Irish Sea

which seethes and settles, seethes and seethes.


After Jiro Dreams of Sushi

This place we live has no rooms

to speak of it’s one great hall of darkness

the name of a man is muttered on the docks

drawn under by the waves and carried

on the current Jiro we feel it swell

in the sea with the tenor of a dream Jiro

curse or promise we don’t know which

it works beneath our gills we must

swim through it brothers and sisters

left and right our eyes and mouths

fixed open Jiro foams

on the tongues of the waves as they lap

at the boats Jiro Jiro

Jiro calling for the nets to be cast

This Picture of You in Trujillo

Seven capfuls of rum

in your eyes, yeah you’re backing

into the ocean, up to your hips,

completely at ease.

Sometimes, we’d have nothing for breakfast

and Fruit Loops for dinner.

Sundays drifted into Mondays,

seamlessly as one sea

to the next. We flagged down trucks

and weaved round warnings

of furious rock. Lakes of heat

pooled on the concrete,

we sped straight through them.

You climbed into a Jeep with a man

cradling a machete, and Cassie

he clasped your hand.


Lauren Garland is based in Manchester, where she works for a mental health charity and

follows the lives of neighbourhood cats. Her collaboration with composer Aaron Breeze won

the 2019 Rosamond Prize. Her pamphlet, Darling, is forthcoming in 2020 with Broken Sleep



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