A peaceful start to a new day.
Look once: an over-sized pale moon
has paused behind the white birches
and seems unlikely to move on.
The bedrock I share with the trees
has always been there, always will.
Look twice: the pale moon’s in free fall
through space with neither up nor down
and the bedrock the white birches
share with me is turning its back
on the lost moon at frantic speed.
It can’t get far enough away.
I see men beating cream in a frozen box
in the market, singing, pressing mastic
into a good visitors will pay to lick.
They fire on columns lined like crops,
hack angled wounds in walnut blocks,
salve them with gleaming mollusk slips
to hawk to women murmuring fantastic
as caves powder with the bang of a clock.
My suggestion for rapid monetisation
(given low local costs) is to concentrate
on pricing active experience. The slide
of dollars is about customer co-creation.
Survey what the market bears: $308
A village of grandmothers
YumYum and Latte 3pm at your house. Text me if you prefer something else
Bring me high rents! Tiny flats! Mouldy walls!
Basements with only two windows!
Bring me the mirage of a cemented patio
and Hear! Hear! ... a living room!
And I will show you the meaning of ‘gratitude’ and ‘devotion’.
Let’s have scones with strawberry jam
and Rodda’s clotted cream at the V&A
while the Italian pianist plays Piaf’s tunes. Let’s wet our feet
while crossing the shallow pool – our minds still
on the jewellery behind the glass.
Bring me to Highgate Cemetery
and let’s try to find Karl Marx’s tomb.
Bring me marching bands playing in the pavilion
in St James Park
on a dewed Sunday morning. Bring me vegan brunches
at the Palm Vaults
while I tell to myself ‘I am not a hipster!’
Let me buy you a French dvd from Fopp,
let’s walk to the British Museum
and cross those streets where once
the Stephen sisters walked too.
Let’s go for a black & white movie
at the BFI and have a gin & tonic at the bar.
Bring me to the pier
when it’s dark and windy.
Let’s be silent.
Let’s listen to the voices of the women who built the bridges,
the streets and the buildings of our city.
Bring me in front of the Globe
when all the lights are off.
Let’s be silent.
Let’s listen to the voices of Boudica
and her daughters while they were killing
your ancestors (or mine?) and burning everything to ashes.
Let me close my eyes.
Let me breathe deeply.
Let me turn towards Southwark,
towards home – where,
if I can only find some change for the milk,
I can make you an Italian hot chocolate before bed.
Five Chilean bishops
Appealed to the Brit justiciary
On behalf of their dictator.
Behold the black bulbs
Of their ten shoon
Peek from under cyclamen soutanes.
From my dad
Not a shive
Of bread but a manner
Of counting coin
Like a day labourer
Just given his fee.
There was according to the hymns a flower which
from its own root bloomed a hundred more so strong
in smell that the girl (here she is) wanted only to breathe
it. She was growing. As she went to break its stem,
recognising narcissus from a picture, the whole earth
made a hole from which rose Hades, a man called host
who controlled many. The girl was taken (as she is).
The search for the girl (where is she) doesn’t end
or begin but defines her in the dictionary. Demeter,
her mother, became a wild bird looking for her over
the firm land and yielding sea. No one would tell her
the truth about her daughter. Not even the birds of
omen flew to her. In the hidden depths of the earth
the girl waited, picturing the surface of the world from
a memory of one page of the encyclopedia.
Perhaps without the dark smell isn’t as strong. When
spring returns the darkness starts to leave, the leaves
begin to grow, petals happen in repeats. Rose is a noun
and a verb. The girl known only beneath the earth
(here she is) once picked a flower so was picked. She’d
seen somebody doing it in a picture or was it on the
television. The fact of being here was reintroduced
to her as considerable.
A razor-petalled artichoke,
heart never knowingly not
but never on gauntleted sleeve.
Let it be,
you stalker of exotic meat
with blowpipe pupils
and arrows of desire
dipped in keenest
Simon Barraclough is a poet and writer who has published and edited several volumes and pamphlets, most recently Sunspots in 2015 (Penned in the Margins). He devises and performs in multimedia projects involving filmmakers and musicians (Psycho Poetica in 2010, The Debris Field in 2010, Sunspots in 2015, Vertiginous in 2018). Larry Butler grew up in northern California, and has lived in Glasgow since 1981, where he teaches Tai-Chi, movement and leads improvisation workshops. He co-founded the Poetry Healing Project out of which he founded and developed Survivors’ Poetry Scotland and Lapidus. Aisha Farr is an artist and writer who lives and works in London. Patrizia Longhitano was born in Brazil and lived most of her life in Italy until 2005 when she decided to move to the UK. Since then, she has been living in London working as a nanny. Her work is included in Un Nuevo Sol: British LatinX Writers, ed. Nathalie Teitler and Nii Ayikwei Parkes (Flipped Eye).Robin Fulton Macpherson’s Northern Habitat: Collected Poems 1960-2010is published by Marick Press. Some of the poems featured here appear in his new collection Arrivals of Light (Shearsman). Peter McCarey is the author of many poetry collections, including Collected Contraptions (Carcanet). His collection of essays on poetry, Find an Angel and Pick a Fight is published by Molecular Press, as is Petrushka, a hybrid novel which, written before Covid19, is a shocking prophecy of a pandemic. He lives in Geneva. April Yee writes about colonialism, climate change, and other effects of power. In 2020 her work was commended or shortlisted by Ambit, Live Canon, and the Bridport Prize. She reported in more than a dozen countries before moving to London, where she serves on the Refugee Journalism Project at UAL and tweets @aprilyee.
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