Arresting Breaks by Carl Griffin

I’m not a cold-blooded nutcase
but you can’t confirm specifics
swivelling in a chair
recording by light so centred
people passing through the street
think nobody’s home.

I want to know what it’s like
to plan a kill. Just to plan,
deliberate, expunge morality.

I walk bridleways, circle cul-de-sacs,
lean against the viaduct between
my local pub and adulthood reconfiguring.

No cloud of haunting sensibilities
have triggered
going through the motions of a phantom kill

so don’t sneak that look at me,
that redundant way seafront walkers
are responding to my staring,
dogs tightening leads
to bark or shrink behind their owners.

I sit on a bench. Beside a man.
Any man could be the man.

I only now consider weapons,
my alibi, and by decision time
etiquette permits the man to leave.

To live.

Murder is something I often check
I haven’t committed
and am atoning for

so I explore the dark side in light
no matter how striated,
no matter how remote the field
this light guides me to,

my reckoning land,

a man appearing, walking alone,
greeting me at a stile

and each of us, beyond intrigue, anticipating nothing.


Carl Griffin is from Swansea and has had poems published in Cake, Magma, Poetry Wales, Ink sweat and tears, and the Cheval anthology series. He has reviewed collections for Wales Arts Review and was recently long-listed for the Cinnamon Pamphlet Poetry Prize and Eyewear’s Melita Hume Prize, and commended in the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize.

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