THE BELGIAN COAST michael o'brien


Up before the birds and sun. Before light soft promises. Shadowed movements - birds, foxes, trees. My head the same but in its usual spot. The sky softly forgotten. The sun and its being. I write notes by phone light.

Becoming a mustard farmer this autumn morning. I gas myself and then save myself and give my self a medal for surviving. I pin that big shiny bastard right into my heart. I give myself a brass band ceremony.

     heavy eyes
     one by one


The child has found his electric toys. He has soft light hiccups. They make for weird but good percussion between bleeps and bloops. I’m told hiccups help expand one’s diaphragm. My diaphragm is the size of the Belgian coast. This is why I have no friends.

     milk dribble
     separated by an invisible line 
     the pine plantation


     aztec nightmare a beast looks back at itself

The sun learns how to breathe. A thirteen step course - with videos uploaded daily on youtube. The sun breaks. I head to the library to return a book on Queens Park football club. Breezy day. Trees in full turn. Dry for now. Coming to the point in autumn where the sun is strong enough to remind one, in a melancholic way, of summer. A child grips a hammer. No soft warm days for at least six months. The brain before a dream. Feelings of mortality gripped in grey hair. Yup.

Michael O’Brien lives in Glasgow, Scotland. He is the author of As Adam (UP Literature), Big Nothing (Bones), and The Anabasis of Man (Yavanika Press). You can follow him on twitter @michaelobrien22