It’s In The Air by Marc Brightside

In this, the final selection in our ‘Difference & Defiance’ series by our guest editor Jess Green, the planet defies us and the end is nigh…

It’s In The Air

The world decided it was time
to take a dive, reset the code.
Our high street was a dead land,
people drowning in their iPods,
perhaps it was beyond repair.

And so, the sky solidified,
fossilised into a limestone wall,
left us with an anaesthetic smell,
something between cinnamon
and death; an empty plague
evoking visions of a nightmare,
of an English New Orleans,
packing up our suitcases with
clothes and tinned baked beans.

Did the missiles fall and no-one
told me? Did the neurotoxins
in our water just lobotomise me
without asking? Did the eternal
dread of living poor, of being
stupid, lonely and afraid rise up,
larger than a tidal wave, fixed
to terminate the old illusion?

My barista had ideas of his own:
‘It’s sand from the Sahara Desert,
you can’t see it, but it’s in the air.’
Then he continued his debate over
the classification of gingerbread
(is it a cookie, or is it a cake,
these are the pressing questions)
while the couple in the corner,
grey as dying mice, talked up
a storm, the power of a storm,
how helpless we are, in the face
of nature’s patient, quiet fury.


Marc Brightside discovered poetry under the tuition of the acclaimed poet Julian Stannard, during his time on the University of Winchester’s Creative Writing B.A degree course, where he would later achieve his Master’s in Creative and Critical Writing. Since graduating, Marc has had poems published in various outlets across the UK, performed by invitation at The Poetry Society’s Poem-A-Thon charity fundraiser, and placed top ten in the 2016 National Poetry Competition with ‘Eleven Years of May’. Marc was also longlisted in the 2018 NPC with ‘A Beetle’, commended in the Snowdrop Literary Festival with ‘Snowthing’, and had a live performance streamed on Andy Bungay’s radio podcast alongside Margaret Atwood. Marc Brightside’s debut poetry collection, Keep it in the Family, was published by Dempsey and Windle in 2017, and he can frequently be found performing in-and-around London with both Gobjaw Poetry and Poets Anonymous.

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