Life Insurance

Dom Hale


We will no longer serve you. A day warps
strained through orange light, tenements and forms
moulting their fixity beyond the heat shimmer of infinite summer
Birds burn through the upper atoms
Getting dicey off the rails
And I think of my skint companions
where they might be, what they could be up to at the moment
Passing hours swallowed in manipulation
aches like cranes and girders of regenerating cities
the private forgery they grind our teeth inside
Deadbolt. Tuesday. But it’s not my tunes you lot hear
doing in the evening Illegitimate and fucked A sun defaults
hands me the familiar urge to bail
from this disgusting law-abiding country
Acres of the criminalised and watched
Scalpels hazard lights Old apparitions we have struggled with

The world would make us cold.
Ten years for tearing down a statue track the rip of truth
They ask me to account for my life
I will not explain myself, statute gorging out there lordly Beggared clouds
In England somebody takes themselves every two hours
I heard that in the recorded lecture I’m making notes on for a student
who I’ve never met and for which I will be paid £8.72
Gratitude is poison
and everywhere that poison smacks the hanging heads
my sister on her own and wasted in a soulless hospital
Wrecks beyond anything phrases can liberate
Kennel time Scalar blows Motherfuckers managing the NHS
Even as I type these lines I feel my deadening.

What cruelty have you been force-fed today? Lavender
bleeds the leaving sky a plane faint against it
bound for Global Infrastructure Partners and border checks
control towers of the hostile environment
emergency restrictions designed to isolate confuse and pacify
Reigning SNP the loyal retainers of the free movement of capital
indicting hunted bodies defenders of a grotesque landlordism
memorials the nadir of handcuffed brains
When a woman is abducted by a cop what kind of mass cultural derangement
orders hordes of plainclothes pigs into every fucking corner of an island
It’s austerity forever then
The commons was a lie or died in Morton Hall
cos air and water’s money
surveilled areas at night
But I am with you mate addicted sleepwalker
card-carrying dupe of Big Tech bolt awake still here
the multinationals divvying up the rotting USA
batted between screens, attention like a burnt-out building
and nothing for my co-conspirators
I saw the sawn-off future in the river
saw the dented springtime was a baton
One lockdown too many.

These purple marks on my lower abdomen
are signs that the corticosteroids and drink are catching up with me at last
Nobody really asks how anyone else is doing anymore
because the truth’s about impossible to bear
and so widespread reduced to platitudinising as to be almost meaningless
in the little society of unhinged screaming at each other
Begone from the poets’ boundaried paradise
sent packing from the GP surgery
I look to you for a dunnock touch
Flux of shoots snowdrops on London Road Gardens
or the short-lived yellow ones Pleasure grounds for dogs
If I have a dissidence it’s clinging to these hollow rooms
hollow but at odds still with the barrage talk of public fact
So draw yourself up to a great height and snap the actual fuck out of it
The mould may well be with us to the desolation and our end
If I’ve reflected torment I have reflected light
and aimed my tailed brokenness like a broken hyperlink
at the psyches and opinions of the lost eyewitnesses
I will walk deep into a woodland
Now you see me there



Dom Hale is the author of Civilian Lyrics (Veer 2021), Scammer (the87press 2020), Firewall (Distance No Object), and other works of poetry. He’s currently co-editing the magazine Ludd Gang and helping to organise a mutual aid fund for UK-based poets at

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