Blue Monday1
Embroidery by Zara Joan Miller

The equation underpinning the theory of ‘Blue Monday’ was created by psychologist and life coach Dr. Cliff Arnall in 2005 for a press campaign for Sky Travel. Though widely discredited as pseudoscience, ‘Blue Monday’ continues to be adopted by companies and brands. These poems are part of an ongoing response to this claim.

/ do we keep our teeth

22 10 20

It’s so like
a tunnel
with the lid
come away,
so like your
mouth turning
a pip. when i
stab myself
in the finger
getting mad
at you, the
internet comes
late carrying
a lasso or the
dish collecting
rain from iran
so like a stalk,
his silk cuts. this
hand, once an
ashtray is a
soap dish
now a palm
is always a
lifeline I miss
the mud. he
was not a
monk. he said
wish her well
for a fortnight
at least. is
there a dentist
there, do we
keep our teeth.
no one told us
they were coming
they wont come
he said, I’ll make
a U turn. it’s so
like the half-
pipe of your
growing cold
nowhere fast
you say I ask
where you’re
going, its so
like the shape
of the orange
slide (not
bending) the
part I mean
where you sit
and see land
again getting
closer now


16 01 21

just don’t forget to breathe she said,
administering a dose of buddleia

when you woke there was a feather
on the bed too tiny to belong to
anything. an elastic band on the linoleum
formed a figure of eight. only the shelf
refused to catch the light, inverting
the natural order of things

they didn’t know it was there, she said,
but the Blitz blew up the asphalt
exposing a network of ancient roots,
buried deep. a single bud no one could

interrupted by another anti-
ageing jingle,
you’re on the ward again
re-staging your faith by the
light of the screen, pre-booking the
one with the infinity pool

and since the sun outgrew the moon,
the moon grew prone to camou
itself in the loveless light of day

but you can still see the rim.
the part where
it leaks into the sky

carpeting albedo

25 01 21

i’m melting
at a rate of
complete albedo
loss. that is,
turning from you
west. i could use
something a little
stronger, waiting
for you to call
& tell me
this too is your
dream this too
is your darkness.
claiming back
all that i owe
– the debt simply
dripping from
my 3rd eye –
i could use some-
thing a little
because even
after all this time,
the sun never
said to the earth
you owe me. [1]
we tried to get
that high. tried
to fly in it.
and your cockpit
was filled with
twinkling lights
but I can’t move
that fast. someone
left a pair of
crutches in the
phone box
so i rode them
home instead.
home is where
you are, piercing
holes in the lid
for circulation.
i love it when
the outside gets
in and there
are times when i
can’t stand it.
since the ice keeps
melting i’ll get
to laminating
your igloo, lay
some carpet
on this berg.
just drifting/
beside the
socket you’re
all i need
the way you
look at me
in the mirror,
your glass eye.
i saw a snowman
on the street
the day after
it snowed:
bone white,
a little fox piss,

[1] Hafiz


Zara Joan Miller is a poet and artist. Recent contributions include Another Gaze, Fieldnotes journal and Autograph. Screenings of her films include Soft Rio (Marseille Underground Film Festival, Marseille, France, 2021), horsecity (, 2020; Centre of Gravity, Bristol, UK 2020) and HEARSE #2 (, 2020). Zara co-programmes CEREBELLUM at Cafe OTO with Evie Ward.