These are four poems taken from Dolorem Ipsum, Isabel del Rio’s penultimate book, a poetry collection published last year and recently reviewed in Perro Negro

living a lie

lies are a life in themselves, lighting you up
with their illusory summits
and deceitful valleys;

so, who or what can you trust nowadays: not the colours
of the rainbow, not the power of storm Celia, not the value
of gold, not the price of strawberries


the truth is nothing but

would you recognise the truth after all these years
if you saw it close up?
would you know what to do with it?
would it be, ultimately, on your side?
will you rise to the occasion?

truth might be stranger than fiction, but none of your stories 
can be said to be false


your name

so, what name would you have chosen for your yourself instead of
the one you were
assigned at birth, what height and weight;
what parents, siblings; what favourite books, films, music;
what latitude of place, how many
sunshine hours per year; gender,
preferences and orientation, deviances; shape
of nose, length of hair,
softness of skin; clothing,
shoes; language,
attitude, temperament,

Speak up, for I cannot hear you.



it has now been brought to our attention
that before saying a single thing
you must no longer ask
whether it is kind or necessary or true but
whether there is
any point
at all
in saying it

Isabel del Rio is a British-Spanish poet, writer and linguist. Born in Madrid, she has spent most of her life in London. She has published fiction and poetry in both English and Spanish. Her books include La duda, shortlisted for two literary awards in Spain, and the bilingual Zero Negative -Cero negativo. She is co-founder of Friends of Alice PublishingDolorem Ipsum was published in 2020 and can be purchased here. She has just published her memoir A Woman Alone in English with sections in Spanish