Poem in Which Proust Detects Exoplanets

We are as jealous as Swann of the stars,
of what they’re doing out there in the dark,
of whom they’re seeing behind our backs
when they have sent us home sans cattleya
to our lonely flats, where we realise
that all that ice-hot charm we took for ours
is radiating on the spectrograph
of a rival’s smile, the neat rows of teeth,
the absorption lines in their irises.
Although it’s late, and it humiliates,
we take a black cab back and wait outside
her window, watching shadows flux the light
through the shutters, to and fro, to and fro:
we find the exoplanet that kills us.

Simon Barraclough

Poem in Which I Google Myself

God and I have been in deep, deep discussion over the past few months.
I was not expecting to be interested and yet I found myself engaged.
Now we have begun training intensely.

I’m barely recognizable in “Self-Portrait”
my jaw squeezing so tight that I could feel a strange whine in the bone
I could see the escaping gas changing the colour of the air around it.

My legs are heavy today, but
I shouldn’t say I’m fat or chubby or I don’t like my thighs.
Long after politics has come and gone, I want to be able to live with myself.
This fight is going to be excellent for fans.

Rosie Breese

Poem In Which The Unremarkable Is Feared

They say my love targets children
(my kisses have yet to implode playgrounds),

that I have some spiteful agenda
as if I was the Borg, not an office worker.

When my mother was hospitalized
I’d sit beside the bed, alone

amid the stale piss-whiff and asinine azaleas.
Reassurance has no genitalia.

We need firm hands of either sex to hold.
Daily this blackness is heard: chitinous thoughts

burbling through the radio’s boggy speaker.
They worry at my poison life – what I do

in my own home – those shiny-armoured things.
Put out the bins, usually.

Matt Haigh

POEM IN WHICH THE SCALE IS CONSTANTLY VARIABLE

For instance every single person
in the world except you suddenly
and with ruthless consistency
has the same face, giving every street
and room a depressing feeling of one-
dimensionality. Conversely,
the smallest detail in my own life
– what is my favourite kind of beetle! –
becomes huge and exciting
like a giant interactive sculpture of itself
where I can climb inside and yell the name of
my favourite kind of beetle until it bounces
off the dark mirror-like sides and jumps
right back into my body as energy
which I use of course to tell you of this.
I admire the way in which lovers
used to keep smaller images
of each other in a pocket or wallet,
anywhere so it be always
close to the body. I emulate this
by keeping a Facebook conversation
open with you at all times
so that your very small face
may hover always on my screen,
though since I blocked you, and due
to some bug in the software,
the phone tells me helpfully
each time I use it that I
cannot reply to this conversation
which tiny error message flashes huge
over the action in all subsequent
scenes like malfunctioning subtitles so distracting
you can’t hear the background
music anymore or when any of the other
characters says anything.

Daisy Behagg

Poem in which Derek Jarman looks at a forest

whoso list: I Love The 50s
.   Formica countdown of glistening boredom
borstal-grey wanks    a cropped boy
.   aswim in tinselled air    a language
opaque, acrylic, stiff-sopping
.   the happy metaphor: body as field
colour as memory, bole-spurt
.   as use-value, enclosure etc
& apples gravid thoughts
.   requisitioned to the tongue
the deer are plagiarised    but gorse
the scissoring gold    verbs as thorns
that patterns wind in branches
.   & sea-thrift    a bit of the ready
or love an hind    razed bracken’s lightning
.   & breath in midst of heather

Dan Barrow

poem in which lightning strikes

you’re ten feet tall
and slick you have bridges
to build and ideas
about them you’re quantum
duo-plectic intra-frenetic
you’re built with exquisitely
integrated sinewy
objectives you bounce
off walls you respawn
sometimes in a bed that you own
you zip through kites
you redesign the kite
to the point where airlines
go bankrupt
you hover
you’re made by the fairies
that run electricity
they give you counsel
and sometimes when it’s dark
or the bills are numerous
and loaded they teach you
how to trick the wiring
so the lightbulbs
come alive
turn yellow
and with just a drip
of the stuff
elasticate     solder
hammer     blow
and germinate
electricity
into something else

Kieran Ryan

(The title and first line of this poem are taken from this song.)

Poem in Which I Am Discharged from Hospital

i have stopped everything, which is good
that’s where my body was going to [all rusty; into everything]

shit, it was going to hell but it looked fine and stood upright, all of us at once

.                         [i have found through walking deeper into the corners of my

.              apartment, acres of space

i’m not needed outside any longer]

the tree is still sitting in the living room [means bad luck] because in my 21 years of

life on this planet I am not acceptant of

when something starts it has to be continued, and even then there isn’t ever

completion, that once something is completed it’s more that you’ve moved onto the

next thing

[but that thing has just moved on to you]

so now i have pine needles in my hair and my bra

and i feel old, but “you’re so young”

and

“it gets much worse”, with a laugh [sounds like whisky]

which i think is supposed to be reassuring

Alanna McArdle

Poem in Which A Girl Strays Beyond the Course Material

beyond the course material, the girl would ask the lecturers
how they dress in the mornings whilst
holding the threads
that pull rugs from her feet

at the appointed time
they spit rivulets of Colgate
carving fragile faultlines in the sink:
between criticality
and complicity

she is dawdling on the edge of the course material,
a coarseness leaking over and out

beyond the course material
is the £5 curry bought before the screening*
menu scrawled in the same font as Zero Books publications

beyond the course material
is the honeydew melon bought after the screening
because the white girl wants a sweet escape
without the waistline, purchased in that immaterial safety net:
mohair weave of academic loan

the smize in bakery windows
of a hyped up Marie Antoinette

students complicit
in a circus of suspension
This essay requires:
a tightrope over reality
3cm margins fit for misprision
a carving knife ripe for the carcass
any carcass – please
keep privilege to footnotes,
and submit one myopic sliver
cured & over-seasoned by the end of the week

.                                                         today the tarpaulin revolution
.                                                   folded in                    on itself; the commons
.                                                           collapsed inwards. something
.                                        cellular;                 rhizome in         reverse. fears
.                                               about poetry with an appetite of capital;
.                                                                                                  eating up everything
.                                                                                                            bulimic and gleaming

but on bright mornings splayed on the horizon
& autumn leaves bleed out to our feet
you think maybe words are resistance,
like the commons as sites of oppression
made fertile mud for revolt

the mud that cloys and chokes
is also the sludge that spews life

she is dangerously close to that primordial swamp
it is uttering something inaudible, dumb
back in GMT she tames the only hyper– that’s real
feral –sensitivity passing for grades

on unmarkable days of decreation
it seems a poem is the best of a bad bunch
and a garden
the greatest violence of all

Daisy Lafarge

* A film in which a white man tells Congolese workers to capitalise on poverty, which
provides their greatest source of income. Malnourished children dance around the neon
sneer of Text Art installed in their village that reads: ENJOY POVERTY

Issue 7 Coming Soon

All new poems in which from:

Lorraine Mariner
Andrew McMillan
Daisy Lafarge
Judy Brown
Jessica Schouela
Alanna McArdle
Katrina Naomi
John McCullough
Laura Webb
Karl Smith
Graeme Bezanson
Joe Turrent
Megan Watkins
Joey Connolly
Rosie Breese
Dan Barrow
Fiona Moore
Matt Haigh
Emily Hasler
Simon Barraclough
Rebecca Goss
Kieran Ryan
Daisy Behagg