Daniel Wade




My face scraped along

the span of concrete

when I hit the footpath,

the brunt of a boot heel

pumping air from my chest

over and over, cut-price

reek of aftershave, or diesel,

their half-dead eyes


slashing me down to size,

feeding ravenously on the rush

and spasm of fist, of headbutt,

garbled roars echoing,

half-dead eyes glistening

in the fine, cool, neon,

smoke-free night. My own

vision a red-lidded mesh

of gravel and tar, the moon


bulging like their knuckles,

like the black eye I’d have

by morning. It was a while

before they stopped.

Arms sprawled weightless,

face a chewed-off pulp,

I felt the flavour of blood

ripple on my tongue, my teeth,


like a flint-eyed snake coiling up

to bite down hard

on its own tail. Wild dogs in hoods,

drooling shade and glee,

skulk in unison, fangs glinting

in the laneway, closer.

Good thing I didn’t end up

as a vegetable afterward.

What weakness of mine did


the bloodhounds sniff out?

I was too soft to fight back, I guess,

and make it worse, and anyway,

what was my word against theirs?

What prize did they

want off me, and to what end?

Truth of the matter is we need

to compete, to contend.


Raindrops fell to marinate

the blood. I staggered the rest

of the way home, the orange

icicles glittering off tonight’s

scrimmage. No charges pressed.

Ribs are in bits, bones holler

and howl, but I could still

breathe, a jerry-rig of limbs

shuffling to heel.






Daniel Wade is a poet and author from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, where he still lives. A graduate of Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, where he studied English and Journalism, Daniel's poetry has been published in Optic, Limerick Revival, Wordlegs (e-publication), The Stony Thursday Book (ed. Paddy Bushe), HeadSpace Magazine, the Seven Towers 2014 Census, the Bray Arts Journal, The Sea (charity anthology in aid of the RNLI), Sixteen Magazine (e-publication), The Bogman's Cannon, Zymbol, Iodine, HeadStuff, The Runt, the Fredricksburg Literary and Arts Review (Spring 2016 edition), and the Hennessey New Irish Writers’ page of the Irish Times. He has also featured as a guest on Dublin South FM's Rhyme and Reason poetry programme, as well as on Writer's Block. In June 2015, his radio drama, The Outer Darkness, was broadcast on Dublin South FM. A prolific performer, he has also read his work at various festivals, including the Electric Picnic, Body and Soul, Noeliefest and the West Belfast Festival. His spoken-word album, Embers and Earth, is available on Spotify. In January 2017, his first stage play, entitled The Collector, will premier at the New Theatre in Dublin. His website is http://danielwadeauthor.com/.