Five a Week


Fulfilled my yearly quota in a dream last night
and just like that – shazam – the bubble bursts.
Clock punitive and clock lenient. Social conditions
of going under, but not together, no faux-
redemptive elegiac – good – pure isolate,

let it all in, sentience of stone. Trying not
to write a ‘work’ poem, that’s obvious,
there’s so much else going on let it in
from form crude fill-through deep spill of
the calendar year. Minute hand minute. Let in

direct data with no distinctions, let light in
like talking last night with Linda & Gloria
like talking last week with Leire & Linda
there has to be more of this, that’s obvious.
Let’s set out to booby-trap belonging, the rules

were rigged from the very / main mast & mizzen,
haul away, all. From experience, yes, but towards
the start, again. No analogues, I mean that
in all kinds of ways, let me count. Mean. Speak-
ing of “hostile environments” as invariably

we are – the thermal maximum all over
again – X marks that spot – it’s only 50m years
give-or-take, it’s only the KT boundary it’s not
the end of the world / deportation threat / 50 years’
residence / it’s not the end. The world chokes

on its progeny:
                                             we’ve seen this before.



Poorer than parents well OK. Partially
automated zero-growth solid-state
sufficiency not “back to the land” what
on this earth does that mean / just highlight
                                                               the sensitivity

of our dependency / to light
just one expansive gesture then
               for the millenarians:
                              explode all the cars,
                              wreck self-driving

masculinity / that 20th-C error
so sit back, wait for the feedback
to kick. Yet the problem pertains
to shrink the footprint down
means absolutely to be grounded,

deny lift-off to shrink the world
down & I don’t / produced by the ideology
of connection – no borders, that’s obvious –
but can we self-impose some stay home,
                                                              sit tight, illimit.

                 Banana, piña, sandía,
keep counting for five-a-day feels
no nativist diet of apples & pears & yet
                 “local eating” mass mediated
& yet, is this, action? You worry too much.



Line lateral and line lineal. Torsion
of the self-timed hour – twist – minute
push-back of the purloined minute,
time sheet taken on trust. But who,
cheat, deceit, self-overseen against

the neoliberal stopwatch. Literally,
a five-minute pint & on the train back
to luxuriate in compression. Walking
down the Don with Edmund talking
hope & apocalypse, bright blue times

two codes a kingfisher. Walking
through Valencia mentally correct
-ing gender agreement of Anarchist
graffiti – su riqueza nuestra hambre –
like it matters to the hungry / we

all have our prescriptivisms don’t we
but seriously, correct this: sequester
-ed by a social engagement / another one
“gone paleo” in a deep
state set in                      against inclemency.

Sometimes, said Becky, you reach for a pun
and it just isn’t there                    the language
can’t contain it & so it bears the blame.
Nothing left but shame: raid all the best stuff,
quit the stronghold, drop down, to the street.


Fissured at all points along its body.
Flips the dipole and not as metaphor.
Sharpens the weather-climate distinction
on a point of honour / Speeds up slowly

now, slowdown
a management

style best described as “hermetic”. But
it’s true, it dawns on a 4.30am Annie,
“the Pavlovian sunrise itself, its alba-effect,
is enough to feel wired these days.”
Physio-mnemonic of the early bird.

Behaviourialism through the wringer
of the day. A dawn raid. They have
carried my possessions to the highland
The swamp has swallowed
my possessions

                                 hands ignorant
of silver have been filled
with my silver
                                 necks ignorant
of gems have fastened my gems

around them.



As a forerunner of fortune spelt
yet said as I end my sweet tenor
of an argument, beauty to the bone.
Leave a message on the phone
machine you terrific terraform,

asteroid-mined rare-earths you’re
getting silly. “2 days of the ‘blue
humanities’ & a late-night fishcake”.
Clarity from Natalie closest to bone,
to home, bite down hard then abjure.

It’s time itself claimed from the shoreline’s
mantle of fine chitin, planted on a single
foot. The “soft things”, saved from silt.
Four five six pick up sticks.
The crises mount and pleat into one      another, as
                          in lieu of fracture
           the lines                                peter out.

The contingency of home. Five
a week is doing it right & five
a day keeps the doctor away &
they’ll never clock so subtle
a register of refusal. Get out

get out get out get out get out.
I can’t see how it all coheres.
The crisis multiplies & splits
and we hold on, for how long: 
the view is violence end to end.





[Dan Eltringham is a poet and academic, currently teaching at the University of Sheffield. He has published articles in Textual Practice and Green Letters, and his poetry and translations have recently appeared in the anthologies Wretched Strangers: borders movement homes and The World Speaking Back…To Denise Riley (both Boiler House Press, 2018), and in Datableed, Cumulus, Plumwood Mountain, Colorado Review and Zarf. In 2018 he co-curated the exhibition Trespass!, (Sheffield Institute of Arts), and in 2017 he collaborated with artist David Walker Barker on the text-image cabinet installation Searching for Jossie (In The Open, Sheffield Institute of Arts). His collection Cairn Almanac is a book of poems about field work, time and climate change (Hesterglock Press, 2017). He edits Route 57, the University of Sheffield’s creative writing journal, co-edits Girasol Press and co-runs the reading series Electric Arc Furnace.]

Copyright © 2018 by Daniel Eltringham, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.