Oz Hardwick

Monster Movie Overture

My overthinking is an overcoat, done up to my chin with 
leather buttons like half footballs and a loose belt that girdles 
my hips like stars. I’m thinking Mintaka, Alnilam and 
Alnitak, and I’m thinking about a loose dog snapping at a 
hunter’s heels. I’m thinking about how time runs faster in a 
planetarium and how the sky sneaks closer each time I blink, 
like a hunter’s hound approaching prey, its rheumy eyes 
baleful as a doubt-filled priest. I can’t decide whether I don’t 
feel the cold like other people, or whether it’s just not that 
important in comparison to that hunter lumbering over the 
city skyline like a kaiju creature of white fire. A giant bull, 
clean out of laser beams, backs away, and I know how it feels 
to be the animator’s second choice, with no real backstory 
and even the popcorn-munching masses in my own head 
cheering on the other guy as he raises his club, or his spear, 
or his imagined lines between points which are only 
connected by our need to see stories. I overcompensate for 
variables, though I oversimplify the situation. I overreact to 
certain stimuli, though I have learned to overcome the most 
noticeable repercussions. I overuse some words – hunter, 
loose – but I can edit later, once the movie’s over.

The Moving Image

She discovered TV like her ancestors had discovered fire, 
terrified and ecstatic at the uncontrollable chaos of it all. The 
voices in her head at last found faces, grew fingers, and grew 
into the shapes of things she loved. There was beauty that 
transcended all language and the need she felt when she 
couldn't sleep, all boxed and available at the flick of a switch 
and the short revolution of a Bakelite dial. Silence departed 
like a shamed ex-lover and the pictures that had haunted her 
since childhood removed their white sheets and revealed the 
living pixels underneath. This is what happened: she learnt to 
die at midnight in a blaze of anthems and tears.


Ice leaves footprints in supermarket aisles long after the 
shelves have been emptied. It leaves handprints on bare skin 
when we dream with windows open. It leaves a white line 
like a motorway or a mirror when we can’t sleep at all. In a 
messy house, there’s ice under every stack of magazines, 
between the textured leaves of part-used cheque books, and 
behind the storage boxes which haven’t been opened in 
generations. Outside, laundry waves like accountants and HR 
personnel on a sinking raft, out of their depth on a bonding 
weekend. Ice will smooth over the ripples. Flowers bow their 
heads like uneasy kings and grass imagines itself into upstart 
spines in search of a straw horse to bring to its knees. The 
one thing I need/don’t need/fear is imagination, so when ice 
struts up the path bearing boxes piled to the silver sky, I lock 
the door and stop breathing. I am vaguely aware of a 
motorbike or a mirage, of fingerprints like leaves. When I 
come to my messy senses, the cupboards are bare and all the 
kitchen appliances are ice sculptures, inexpertly carved by 
those same office bodies before they were lost. 


Flights, Issue Eight, March 2023