Nia Davies

Poetry: from Çekoslovakyalılaştıramadıklarımızdanmısınız or Long Words by Nia Davies

This is an extract from a new series of poems by Nia Davies – Çekoslovakyalılaştıramadıklarımızdanmısınız – or Long Words.  Inspired by a notoriously lengthy word in the Turkish language, the poems take their titles from the English translations of long words in various languages. The whole series will be coming out as a chapbook later in the autumn.


a dusty place where chickens usually groom themselves (1)

I have a very important observation
to report
that is something to do with poetry
it is something to do with place, i think
i move through place, i think
every part of that place i move through is a place
but that does not mean i am that place or
my poem is either
this was a place i wanted to move through but by the
time i found the way to say this place
it was no longer a place for chickens
now it is probably a place to park cars
or leave cars when they are broken
and beyond all repair
and the scrap people have not got round to putting them in the crusher
(first of all you take out the engine)
usually the chickens are not there
which supposes that sometimes they are there, grooming,
too stupid to move away from oncoming vehicles
like in dramatic moments on television
when a character wants to be in the way of oncoming transportation
it’s just these chickens are not suicidal
they are just stupid
this has something to do with poetry:
all poems have places in them
especially poems about home, kith,
(incredibly stupid?)
about or being inside or about taking a sideways look at
or a tangible, touchable reality, embodied
i sometimes wonder what bullshit really is
because it really is embodied,
coming as it does from a bull’s body
warm for a period of time
then disembodied
that is one place you could be inside of,
warm and welcoming even
then there are the poets who don’t like to reveal themselves in poems

[two] people trying to scatter pretended lies with each other (2)

a couple living vicariously
beat each other at a tabletop dancing competition
and one more thing
is the competitive movement of twigs in wind
and how later the couple cast across the field to sow
time and time again these little pieces of grave
that trip us all up
if you believe a lie is akin to death
if you believe death is a lie in the first place
come scatter here and here
lies we tell ourselves daily,
he screams through the keyhole:
i thought you were dead,
and of course she is
she’s just moving around his spaces
so he can go on living a lie
living a lie
he once held a conference with her right hand
there was a time he gained happiness via trellis and derby
he had no badges to speak of
and he drove his sprinter into hell
most days,
on other days he woke from his nightmare in a carpaccio
of unfulfilled wishes
spread gossip amongst himself
and the wind turned over in rumination
or was it ruination?
they passed the part of the hill where potatoes were grown
there were ridges and in those ridges they decided
it was better to die here scattering
it is better to lie down now instead of protesting, he said,
you were always a liar.


When our resentments will have (3)

caught fire and been salacious enough we
become nauseous. We were once
underenlightened and hammerhanded.
There’s no doubting the basis of our resentments,
there’s no absolute one way to fuck
and then wittingly handle this sensibly.
We trudged at first light and bitterness loomed,
brandished in our mileage
and we were undercast and at a loss
to say how are you getting on
and is there anything I can do to
help? All they want is cash anyway.
We heard a burley knock-on-coffin noise. Our business
of being lackadaisical and back to front
brought us regularly into question. You mention
the eking we had to do and no
it’s not a case of needing to work harder.
There’s hardly any love at all in the places
we wandered into.

Are you one of those people whom we couldn’t make to be originating from Czechoslovakia (4)

i couldn’t make it go away
and then the collective farms emptied
and then the malnutritioned chickens wondering
into festive heaps
devilish uncertainty
i caught a whiff of some kind of origin and
i couldn’t wear that origin for myself
we tried repeatedly to make you all come from somewhere
to make myself come from somewhere
and then i realised i now come from the internet
that’s the true nature of all origins anyway
we tried very hard
and we stood there in a kind of
brown scandalised waving
the burning issue was there and we had to douse it down
with an inflammable liquid
it is true that some beers are made in the micro-wave
to taste vaguely of nuclear winters
the rest is all anecdote
when bad things happened in the 80s we always had someone to blame
fashion, thatcher, gorgons
I stood at the keyhole trying to scream the house down
why are you wearing my brown jacket?
and why are you lying about wearing my jacket?
why is it so cold in this collectivised future?


1. Pinagpinamamagaspasan (Tagalog)

2. Nakikipagsisinunga-sinungalingan (Tagalog)

3. lוכשלהתמרמרויותינו (Hebrew)

4. Çekoslovakyalılaştıramadıklarımızdanmısınız (Turkish)

Illustration by Dean Lewis

To find out more about Nia Davies and her work visit her website


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