LOUDSPEAKER:: The Lads by Mark Ward


WUSSY is proud to present poetry by Dublin queer, Mark Ward. 
If you would like to send in a writing submission, please contact 
Nicholas Goodly

The Lads

the top deck almost imperceptibly
bristles at their back row bark
a child involuntarily looks past me
sees the taller one screaming
threatening that he would gladly go
to prison again that he would cut out
his throat and show him his voice
box the cunt his laughter a sonic boom
everyone staunch, stoic, staring at
their phones can they see mine
is now the time to watch Drag Race
his again the kicker until they see
will they turn their easy, knife-like
rage onto me. I am thirty-five,
confident, and yet ready to make
allowances. I hit play defiant
but notice my left hand, its grip,
the angle obscuring. I can’t concentrate,
I hear their music shrieking, their laughter,
a smell of shit. I don’t turn around.
I have never hit anyone with intent
with a mobile phone screaming fury
he’s back bellowing his conversation
an act of dominance what would we do
without this plugged-in civility
a contrite ignorance, our bodies
rely on rigidity and feigned casualness
the lads get up and saunter, pretending
not to watch how their weight displaces
our air, our breath, they’re hawks
waiting to see a pair of eyes break
cover no one looks up it is over the top
deck a silent hymnal full of threats


Mark Ward is the author of Circumference (Finishing Line Press, 2018). He lives in Dublin, Ireland, has been published amongst others in Assaracus, Tincture, Poetry Ireland Review, Lunch, Skylight47 and others. He is the founding editor of Impossible Archetype, a journal of LGBTQ+ poetry.