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The Great Escape

Oz Hardwick

It used to be that your name was all I had in my diary, neatly penned in day after day. Times varied, and there was a complex system of rubrication, but the words remained the same, digging deeper and deeper through each day, like the tunnel in an escape movie. On my way to work, or to the shops, I’d surreptitiously scatter the fragments of my clandestine excavations from flour bags laced beneath my coat, while at night I’d leave a makeshift dummy in my bunk. As weeks, then months, passed by, I rolled each page into a fine tube of bartered leaves, then smoked away the evidence by the perimeter fence in plain view of searchlights and guards with unconvincing accents. Sometimes I felt I was in the moment, but more often I felt I was in a badly dubbed movie, made more for morale and sentiment than artistic vision. It’s not mentioned on imdb, but there are clips on YouTube. There I am, shuffling and avoiding eye contact under questioning, makeshift cigarette burning my fingers: and there’s your name, barely scratching the surface, and I’m unsure of the spelling.

Oz Hardwick is an international award-winning poet, who hides things from himself that everyone else notices immediately. He has written a lot of books and has forgotten how to play bass guitar. Swings and, indeed, roundabouts. Oz is Professor of Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University (UK).

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