Dowgate

Site of the original water gate into London

VV
This impossible crown of fowers.
This accumulation of fluid in the back of the brain.

VV
Blisters on the hands where we went on all fours.
A bruise shaped like a human heart.
VV

Names pinned to last portraits.
Blood mixing with water, astonishing new dress.

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Whose cutoff finger warrants no attention these days.
Which fragment did you say was colorless.

VV
Éireann Lorsung

Poem in which we hear the word ‘drone’

a male bee in a colony of bees
which does no work
but can fertilise the queen
HH
            I think of bagpipes,
                                    refrigerators,
                                                aeroplanes
HH
the news left on
                        a radio talking
HH
HHHHHHHHat a party I was cornered in a kitchen
HH
an indolent person, an idler
                        pass away, drag out (life, time)
HH
in a film  people
                                                buying flour and diesel at a market
HH
                        bees, definitely
HH
a doctor/engineer/teacher
on a mountain path
coming home for lunch
                                                steady, deep humming
HH
people              around a kitchen table
                                    soup spilling,                 windowpanes trembling
HH
            terrorists
HH
a pilotless missile, directed by remote control
HH
one continuous note                  a low moan
HH

HH

Josephine Corcoran

Chekhov’s Gun

From a train, she passes how all things pass, wrapped
in their instants, messy and simple as the as-yet unlooked-at

complication, under the sign for a rail-station named Marsden –
which is like the surname of a first love, from

before I understood, like now – standing alone,
the inscrutable woman, all cheekbones

and short hair, and red polkadots rapped onto their white,
her hand raised to rest – perhaps briefly – against her cheek. Life,

for Chekhov, is neither horrible, nor happy,
but strange-unique-fleeting-beautiful-awful, according to Gerhardie

in this book I was reading before I shot by and saw the lee
of the sign for Marsden. And for me, also – and for me.


Joey Connolly

Children. Children.

And should they come*,
beating them like a father,
big and awesome,
spoiling them like small puppies,
pets,
and saying what wonder
I took upon myself and also,
I must be good.

Learning to pass ten fingers
down their back,
to fasten mouth to temples.
And letting them betray me.
I shall have no big plans for them:
lift the spoon correctly
walk straight wave goodbye.

I shall stand guard,
because the sperm and blood will be there
because I long to go home
because there is no purely clear word
because hey,
I will still want it all.

They will sprout
black cliffs,
under great restraint
installing crows along the thicket –
a field band.

Pressing and crashing the thorns,
burning them, letting no one
look inside them, being anointed human.

I shall lay seaweed in their hair,
wax against fire beneath their tongues
and in their pockets water.
I shall watch them tread
in short socks like everyone,
falling into the hands of evening wolves,
wailing, imitating their voices.
And I will shut behind me
the glass door.

In the blackening day hope
is a glitter of nothing,
you need only believe in the first sound:
Mother.

ddd*and if they come I shall swallow them

Anat Zecharia – translated by Irit Sela

Poem for Which there is No Explanation

The timetables are striped to help you read them.
There is no meaning to the stripes.

The stripes are pale, so you only see them
subconsciously: your brain makes columns

of the numbers, which you read as a timetable
because they are in the accepted format –

a list of place-names down the left-hand side,
symbols at the top and very little on a Sunday –

posted on a station wall at the back of beyond.
Otherwise they could be share prices, swimming results

or experimental data. Or the jottings
of an obsessive: it is very easy

to miss a train by one minute. The lines
curve past overgrown embankments, late summer

standstill. You are the only person here.
How did you get this far? Some things unravel

through explanation. You may be waiting
for a train that never comes.

Fiona Moore

Poem in Which We Compare Several Descriptions of that Ingenious Hidalgo of La Mancha

In a village, a certain corner, or certain village,
the name of which I cannot, no, I will not
bring to mind, there lived a man, on that
we all agree, perhaps a country gentleman.

Up in the back we colonised
the sprawling lawn length table

And in his rack, he kept a lance, and with
his lance he kept a shield, an ancient shield,
a leather shield, worm-eaten, it might even be
mistaken for a target or a buckler.

piled high the stack by shape and depth
a tilting tower between us

His horse was lean, a skinny, scrawny hack,
his coursing greyhound, starved yet swift and fast.
He dined on stew, in which the beef was more
proportionately present than the mutton.

decisions like this should not be
made hastily or lightly

On Saturdays he fed on lardy eggs.
On Saturdays he fed on griefs and groans.
On Saturdays he fed on tripe and trouble.
On Saturdays he fed on gripes and grumblings

that Saturday we sipped on pints
of frothing lager tops

occasionally a small and slender pigeon
extraordinary on a Sunday.
This took three-quarters of his income, three-
fourths of his revenue, and what remained

pored slowly through our prologues from
dulled senses not precision

went on a coat, a suit, a cape, a jerkin
or surtout, if you will, of black or puce
with velvet breeches matched with velvet slippers
to wear on holy, feasting, holidays.

the out of season rain outside
will keep us here all day

On weekdays, working days, he walked out proudly,
honouring his country, dignified,
wearing the good and honest, very finest
quality of homespun, home-spun, homespun.

we’ll still be reading when the seasons
change over again


John Canfield

Outside at The Lamb

the table torn from you
Suddenly                 and we are close
John Ashbery, ‘Leaving the Atocha Station’

I am always at any given point in time and space aware of where you
are not. We haven’t meant to bring each other here, and still
don’t know how to do what others do, how they are
proximate and how they gesture across the table
as if throwing bread or taking off their clothes.
There are aphids attracted by the climbing plants
or yeasty glasses, by the stillness between us,
the dry earth’s anticipation of rain. You reach out
and take them from my hair – their bodies
are so translucent – look – light through an empty bottle,
a hatching egg, the sun moving behind a cloud the way
it does right now, when the question is our faces both turned
up toward the sky, and the answer is a swarm of tiny insects
coming closer, bringing uncountable small excuses for us to touch.

Martha Sprackland

Poem In Which A Girl Paints My Nails

The frown and precision of a surgeon
cutting little pieces of my skin clean
in a Hello Kitty mouth mask, cotton
swabbing, peach chemical on cuticle.

Head down, quiet, you rub palms with lotion,
solemn, aesthetic manipulation.
A tiny lacquered fan for keratin,
painting each fingertip like porcelain.

Behind: examples of synthetic nails
pinned in a frame like rainforest beetles.
Two women select colours like snow cones,
the four of us form a swatch of skin tones.

With its hot dryers blowing tropical
fake flowers, basins of aquamarine,
this room can beautify every gene
combination and melanin portion.

As you dip new hands like heads to a font,
manicurist, you know this: women want
hands that throw light and conjure images
into dark neural pathways, recesses.

Francine Elena

poem in which gertrude stein gets remixed

/ comes painful cattle
domesticated sat-sharp
early
kitchen-clean fairy fairly soft
soft change money to light
bulbs widening bidding a wedding
out of kindness comes
rapid same question
receivedlittle treading
mention nothing nothing nothing
here there a peaceful life to arise
her her at peace to
arouse her her a piece
of life it is surely cohesive come in a let
ter was nicely stop it stop it was a cleaner a
wet cleaner & it was not you can’t say
it’s war a wet [cleaner i love conversation]do you it was
here book was there i like it – printed – descriptive –
i like conversation do you[stop it]i love you
can’t say it say it’s war[ ]a piece was not exchanged
a letter was nicely__ the rest was mismanaged
what was the use* out of selectioncomes
painful cattle
it is not dangerous a pleasure then & more it
was not where it was wet in the morning there
is meaning in more frequently than another &
yet they always come together in the evening
there is feeling the rest was mismanaged this
is a please there is no pleasure in not getting it what is the use of not
getting tired a little calm is so ordinary this is a please & in any case
there is sweetness & some of that comes painful cattle this is a please
a language tires a language tries a language tries to die to be set free
this is a please there is a kind of delightfulness in kindness pleasure
in getting it stop it stop[you like it printed descriptive i hope so come
together]

Alexander Speaker

Poem In Which The Pentothal Kicks In

There was a ballyhoo of parakeets, light sliced
through the crown of pines, a girl with an enswell
for my eye and a nickel for my ear. Born again

union men in file by the bus stop dicing nougat
into scanty cubes. The locals said flies were visitants
of the saints. At Hickory Bay the scallop squad
were knee deep. At Loch Enemy: a fagged aqualung
wept ashore as more diurnal detritus. A croupy voice
told me unwhisperable things, showed me photofits
drawn cack-handed by the memory wiped.
Cordite on the mistral and my desire was DEFCON 1

when bouncing ricin fell to a rhapsody of I fucking need this.
I was the last of the pack to attack and the last to fall back.
I thought manmade remains and ran with it.

Samuel Prince