shot glass
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare


Oz Hardwick is a poet, photographer, academic, and inveterate dabbler, based in York (UK). He has published nine solo collections and chapbooks, most recently the prose poetry sequence Wolf Planet (Hedgehog, 2020), and has been published in many international journals and anthologies. He has performed and held residencies in the UK, USA, Europe and Australia, and once sang in a small town in the American Midwest, though fortunately hardly anybody noticed. Oz is Professor of Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University but would like to be bass guitarist in a Belgian space rock band when he grows up.

Oz Hardwick

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Abandoned cars line spotless boulevards, like accordion keys or camp beds in a makeshift hospital. Their doors are locked but their windows are wound down in case of flooding, and their radios murmur folk songs and disco. I am a brush stroke in a painting by Giorgio de Chirico, searching for my bearings by adding up the numbers on registration plates, rapping each bright bonnet four times to stop myself from tripping into the sky, calling my disused name to statues of the ignoble dead in hope of an echo. The radios gossip about kisses sweet as candy and sweeter than wine, about dancing to your daddy on a Saturday night, and the rhythms mesh like a cat's cradle between bruised fingers. When I open my eyes, I am in a hospital bed, with flies on the mirrors and the windows sealed with chewing gum. A nurse enters playing an accordion, singing about the navy on the rolling, rolling sea. When I ask her why I'm here, she tells me she's sorry but she doesn't do requests.