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Dorian Nightingale



the poet

Dorian Nightingale has always been fascinated by the musicality and textural sounds of words. He draws inspiration from an eclectic range of artistic influences: everything from Caravaggio to Radiohead. A graduate of New Writing South (Creative Writing), the Open University (Psychology) and the London School of Economics (Comparative Politics), Dorian was nominated in 2022 for Best of the Net for his poem you. He's also had a number of his poems published in print and online. Dorian lives with his family in Sussex, England.

the poems


00:00 / 01:03

            forgive me.

                      for if you were to ask what were my dreams and my goals, 

            they’d remain undisclosed, all holed up, left untold.

            for i fear the fact that when they are spoken,

                  if they should dare pass my lips

            and be there in the open,

            the merest hint of their uttering 

                      would prevent them from happening 

            (or at least puncture ambition to the point of abandonment).

            the attainment of aims, it seems, spellbound by admittance.

            so i’ll tell you almost wants and nearly desires.

                       the fire in my belly coming across not so hot.

            careful not to craft too particular replies –

                       answering imperfectly, all seemingly unwise. 

            and therefore don’t be surprised if my style seems apathetic,

                       that i’m somewhat distracted, slightly compromised.

            i’m just protecting myself from some predictable fall.

            keeping in thrall

                                   to make the endgame, my prize.


00:00 / 00:28

                     and i lock you in a box that i occasionally open,  

                     with that key i still pick up by the tip not the bow.  

                     a place where i stow

                     your hair clips and your tutus, pairs of polka 

                                     dotted socks and shiny buckled shoes. 

                     your name on tags, a name

                     i’ve known since i was six. patterns 

                     saved of dresses 

                                           that i was going to sew and stitch.

day at the beach

00:00 / 00:55



                        my mind confined on this shoreline of mine.

                        i’ve been here before,

                                                      many times, many more.

                        the brine in the air assaulting my senses, 

                        lining my gut with that same salted feeling.

                        the same sort of feeling 

                                  revealing my shy endeavour.

                        a spoiling reminder that whatever the weather

                        i’ll always foil the very first step, the very first

                                  dip in the saltwater wet. Fearful

                        i’ll slip on the undersea flint

                        and slit the tip of my toe  

                                     or cut the side of my foot.

                        i know, i know …

                        biding my time, still afraid of that slice,

                        never holding my nerve, 

                                            never turning the tide.

Publishing credits

spellbound: Flights (Issue 10)

you / day at the beach: Flights (Issue 5)

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