Joe Carrick-Varty



Six Lies

The Minotaur tells his sixth lie of the day
to a colleague, seventh to the bus driver,
eighth to himself as he pays for a Twix,
smiling down at the woman behind the till.

His ninth he tells to a pooing dog,
tenth to its shadow, eleventh to its walker
who nods gravely, opening a pink plastic bag.
The Minotaur finds a bench by a fountain

and there he unwraps the Twix, promising
as he peels away the shiny paper
that he won’t eat chocolate again for a month.
A man in a suit and six o’clock stubble is asking

where the nearest train bridge is and are they frequent?
In the corner of the room the radio speaks words
like rips of Velcro. The Minotaur pads the landing,
golden wrapper rustling in his pocket like a bird.





All the Devil’s Mess

Because this is any other Saturday
the Minotaur is walking his invisible dog
in the park, clumping through snow
toward the iced brown pond

where the quilted backs of silver-
haired men huddle at the jetty,
whizzing their remote-controlled
boats across its island of melt water.

Because this is any other Saturday
the Minotaur is unsheathing
a tennis racket and ball. He’s winking
at the men, his eyelashes lined with snow.

This evening, in a pub’s dark corner,
hear them whisper of horns, of a bark and a ball
and boats lost and ice snapped like chipboard,
of a pond folded once, like a table.



Joe Carrick-Varty is a British-born Irish writer who lives in London. His debut pamphlet Somewhere Far (The Poetry Business, 2019) won the New Poets Prize. He is a book reviewer for PN Review and the founder and co-editor of bath magg.

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