Al Anderson, Alicia Byrne Keene, Amaury Wonderling, Arun Jeetoo, Ashley Barr,
dis/content, Evelyn Wh-ell, Godefroy Dronsart, JD Howse, Joseph Turrent, Joshua Jones,
JP Seabright, Kat Sinclair, Leia Butler, Max Thesen Law, Nathan Austin, Nick Ines Ward,
Oisín Breen, Plum Selfridge, Ryan Ormond, Sarah Dawson, Sophie Taylor, Five
Click on a thumbnail to view the piece.
look out of the window
I promise you it’s raining & this rabbit
takes too long in the shower
it doesn’t matter under which sink
he slumbered last night
the room is full of steam
a vexed capillary bursting into a season
dead animal in a puddle cherry blossom
lovers come & go like a bloated tragicomedy
the rabbit looking into a faded postcard
make enough plans with enough comrades
who hate each other sufficiently
it’s the same as having no plans
the rabbit has so many plans
long hours dribbling into a drain before
you know what to do with them
walking in the park & sweating
steam rising from the pavement
so embarrassing to think
of this as The Scene
The Scene dribbling into a drain
The Scene rising off a pavement in August
the rabbit packs his bags the fifth time this week
burying pages from an erstwhile confession
in unmarked graves around the city
we all know you’re not calling back
The Rabbit’s written a novella every day this week
why haven’t you?
he omits his recent evictions the strange things one misses such as
whatever object is hit by light first
a cup of mold, for instance
an east facing wall
an afternoon diffused thru a frosted skylight
a lonely sea anemone
fingering its hole for rent
& the rabbit wonders
why no one told him how
lonely that would feel
closes his account on ram.com
fuck like the person you think you should’ve been
the rabbit is in love
with the hottest day last year
he spent all night up
in some rafters ingesting beetles & magick
piss steaming on the pavement outside
drunken arguments & caged trees
a faded postcard burnt like the rest
the soft scent of its song
the rabbit crushes coffee beans into mania & moth’s wings into coffee
lifts two bottles of house red
from a petrol station
glorious sunsets are wholly contingent
on all your shit thrown to the sky
the rabbit’s ears are too eloquent
he heads to some ghost’s birthday party
says happy birthday to halogen light
some dried tea leaves, a dripping sound
inhales a bag of bargain rioja
this is someone’s idea of beautiful
the rabbit listens to a wellness podcast
a former employer forced on him
it demands he centres himself
trust his dopeness
look out of the window
I can promise you it’s snowing outside
the rabbit’s devising a pitch
doped by a glum slurry of river
a rabbity reimagining of some egregiously
a Rabbit’s Faust
no one’s done that yet
he’s in the money
a Mephistophelian origin story
the rabbit’s eyes roll back in satisfaction
before he was Mephistopheles
Mephistopheles on hold for four hours
& hating absolutely everyone
sadly wanking his way through
winter & sustained
off warm larger
& salty food
a young rabbit
lonely fat & joyous
isolated on the school camping trip
some other boy calling
a fat slut &
before he was Mephistopheles
when he was tears & snot
there is nothing erotic in tears, don’t even try
says the rabbit, suddenly shaken
by the vastness of this economy
little rabbit god
god of the airport travelodge
of lukewarm coffee & millennial torpor
of zombie architecture &
everyone to whom you money
a spatial diffidence
a vague depression
tessellated in winter mornings
the rabbit smiles
at all the things he was promised
all you were tears, snot
a history with no history
to speak of
a huge ram
his head in
a sequence of
from a river
all you were
was tears, snot
another boy called
your mother a fat slut
a light shower
‘been here before’
is what you say
the air smells of
Stranger, the snake
& Ram god of
his thumb rests
on your chin
‘been here before’
another way of saying
this fear isn’t anything new
'The Word You're Looking For Is 'Mercy'' is a taken from a collection in progress, tentatively titled ’Suburban Baroque’. The poem is concerned with modes of sincerity and confession, drawing from my PhD research into the history of emotions and how they’re represented in contemporary cultural and aesthetic structures.
Al Anderson is a writer and artist born in Birmingham, UK. Recent poems can be found in Spam zine, Fruit Journal, The Suburban Review, Spoonfeed, Blush lit, Datableed and Modern Queer Poets. He co-edits Pigs zine and is a PhD candidate at the University of East Anglia. His chapbook Tenderloin is forthcoming from b l u s h lit in september 2021.
Al can be found on instagram @al__anderson
After Sasha Litvintseva’s ‘Every Rupture’
The swimming pool
radiates a leaden kind of caution.
People lie hyphenated by weak sun,
determined on deckchairs.
Visit the bathroom
to place your hands in the danger’s path.
Let skin hiss into mislaying -
lukewarm, its refracted length.
Funny to think of this as a celebration,
a collection of waterways dulled with silt.
Fake grass, polished banisters,
a rumple of sea.
Chaos of mirror-sky,
to what can be held in a mouth.
Our small grumble
rushes through railings,
living a corrosion
that spills to bleach the bark.
The swamp has puckered skin,
reflects a skyline’s collapse;
a series of moss-softened cracks.
The sun-flowing hair of the children
a study in static, hide and seek
through the ruined colonnade.
Double all our skylines,
here in this place without touch.
Maybe it will tesselate things,
make a bearable glow;
quiet us to lake-surface
levels of calm, a twinned graph
where the spikes of trees pierce water.
Throughout the pandemic I have been writing poems that centre around the topics of dream-states, endlessness, and interior space. I was enchanted by Sasha Litvintseva's short film 'Every Rupture', shown virtually by Dublin's Douglas Hyde Gallery in January 2021. The narrative discusses three settings - a cruise ship during the Brexit referendum, a decaying forest in Lithuania, and video footage of tourists from a time when, as the narrative notes, 'we touched things without fear.' The film conveys this uncanny sense of mirroring - pre-pandemic problems now amplified - through kaleidoscopic motifs.
Alicia Byrne Keane is an IRC-funded final year PhD student at Trinity College Dublin. Alicia’s poetry has been published in The Moth, The Colorado Review, The Cardiff Review, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Banshee, Abridged, and the Honest Ulsterman, among others. Alicia’s poem ‘surface audience’ was nominated for a Pushcart Prize; the short story ‘Snorkels’ was featured in Marrowbone Books' anthology 'The Globe and Scales', alongside the work of other Irish writers such as Dermot Bolger, Mia Gallagher, and Louise Nealon. The poem ‘Cloud / land arc’ was nominated for the Orison Anthology.
Alicia can be found on twitter @keane_byrne
I see this project as a metamodernist attempt at responding to the selfie culture. I have tried to share with the viewers the emotional structure of the entity I feel I am at the moment in the most honest and naked way possible. Being strongly influenced by Heidegger and Sontag, I'm mostly interested in prelinguistic art, in the sense that I'm not trying to 'say' anything, I'm not trying to ‘transmit some meaning’ that needs to be uncovered from outside the artwork in order to ‘release its truth’. I’m trying to open up a world of sensations that the viewer can experience by exploring the artwork, which I see as some kind of uncharted landscape of Being.
Amaury Wonderling is a London-based poet and filmmaker. He holds a Master’s Degree in Physics and a Bachelor’s Degree in Screenwriting. He adds fig jam to his burgers and enjoys doing cartwheels when drunk. He has been published in the magazines Blithe Spirit and The Cannon's Mouth. His poems have been commended in the National Poetry Competition, the Grindstone Literary Prize and the Poetry for Good competition. He is currently working on his first poetry collection.
Amaury can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
after George A. Romero
It is 1600 in london a monday
one day after bastille day or my birthday yes
it is 2017 and i read buzzfeed news on my phone
the battery is 39 per cent i will get off the 1652 to stevenage
at 1800 and then go straight to sleep
i wont know the uber driver who picks me up
i walk down the fresh purple street sunsetting
have an onion bhaji sandwich and an evian and check
my facebook newsfeed to see what my enemies
across the world are doing these days
i get to sainsburys and pavlo (first name i dont know i
dont think so
maybe) doesnt even check he has given me more change than its
due and in
waterstones i get a lorde
for ruban with drawings of mike perry although i do
think of brockhampton solange or
one of kureshis plays but i dont i stick with lorde
and roll into hmv
ask for some fukunaga
enter a sweetshop
for a ten pack of menthols
carton of neilson He is up in the corner on the tv
the reporter sobs
i am sweating a lot by now and
refresh facebook newsfeed
in tears at status after status with sad face emojis heart emojis like
emojis about him and then
'The Day the Zombie Died' is a real-life account of my wanderings around retail shops and places in London (UK) and my discovery that the godfather of zombies has died. The mundane serves as a backdrop to highlight this life-altering moment of George A. Romero's death-- an artist who I profoundly admired and made the world I live in that little bit more bearable. Omitting punctuation, capitalisation, playing with the blank document space, stanza lines and pace was necessary to parallel my movements across London. For this poem in particular, I want to deliver a gut punch reaction that leaves the reader pining forever..
Arun Jeetoo is poet and educator from London. His words appear in The London Reader, a gallery in Cardiff with LUMIN Journal, CivicLecister’s Black Lives Matter Anthology, The Best New British and Irish Poets 2019-2021, Acid Bath Publishing and many more online and print anthologies and magazines. His debut pamphlet I Want to Be the One You Think About at Night was published under Waterloo Press (2020).
Arun can be found on Twitter @g2poetry, on Instagram @g2poetry or on Facebook @G2poetry
"Shower Scene 5: Shower Lettings" is part of a larger creative project in which I take the processes of inscription and de-scription that are built into what it means to have a shower and literalize the shower’s “script,” by which I mean the gestures, habitus, and normativizing forces that it helps to uphold. That’s a really condensed way of saying I have been re-writing a few key filmic shower scenes with the intention of bringing private and privacy-making actions into public or common space. The versions of shower scenes I’m writing are interested in bringing the material structures and realities that are naturalized by the shower into view. What that means practically is that I put the shower and its use directly into conversations about it itself by bringing some of the actors who are involved in writing the discourses of the shower (and, alongside it, discourses of public and/or private space, discourses of colonization, imperialism, racialization, and gendering) into spaces in which the shower is performed — the shower, the bathroom. The script's characters include theorists, characters from various films and tv shows, animals and insects that find their way in(to my flat), letting agents and others. The scenes are composed following a fairly loose mode of procedural generation and include quotations and bits of language from a variety of sources. My studio apartment offers itself as a fitting stage for this kind of re-scripting.
Ashley Barr is researching a creative-critical PhD at the University of Sussex on conceptual and process-based poetries. Before moving to Brighton, they lived in Boise, Idaho for a long time. They have new work up at Fruit Journal and a micro-chapbook called How To Access "Spreading Pleasure" forthcoming from Ghost City Press.
Ashley can be found on twitter @Tru3stD3t3ctiv3
A full bibliography for this film can be found in the video description on youtube by clicking through on the media player.
An Archive of These Dreamings is a collaborative project of found text taken from the dreamings of dis/content - an international, multidisciplinary art collective that aims to foster critical art-making informed by a spirit of collaboration and play, pleasure, sincerity, risk-taking and inclusivity in all senses, including means of access, culture/ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality. Recording dreams as a method of reorganising conjectural images, desires, and wishes, this installation aims to investigate what it might look like to speak communally in relation to hours of darkness and uncertainty. Made in collaboration with artwork by Marylyn Tan and read by Joy Chee, Reginald Kent, Sarah Supaat, Drew Davies, Marylyn Tan, Joanna Chak, and Cat Chong.
Joanna Chak is a whimsical collaborative soul in search of meaningful fun. Ex-peripertatic. Loves. BAFA Parsons/The New School.
Joy Chee, who, after three years working in Tokyo, escaped back to Singapore to pursue her dream of extreme gardening and bread-baking. When she’s not preparing for the apocalypse, she’s either slinging drinks, scaring herself with the concept of the afterlife, or both at once.
Cat Chong, is a poet, PhD candidate, co-founder of the CTC collective, and proud queer crip working at the intersections of disability, gender nonconformity, and lyric intervention. Their debut pamphlet Plain Air: An Apology in Transit was recently published with Broken Sleep Books in July 2021.
Drew Davis, the desert rat of the Arizona valley, received his BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. His work oscillates between Object-Oriented to passionate disinterest in bodies and environments.
Reginald James Kent, who is doing a M.A in English at Nanyang Technological University, is working on a collection of short stories. His work focuses on queer forms and the gay experience. He will soon be a creative writing M.F.A candidate at the University of Washington.
Sarah Supaat is a some-time dabbler and full-time paper-pusher. In her previous life, she studied linguistics, and stage-managed on the side.
Marylyn Tan is a queer, delicious, slutty, large-beasted, linguistics graduate, poet, and artist, who has been performing and disappointing since 2014. Her first volume of poetry, GAZE BACK (Singapore Literature Prize 2020, Lambda loser), is the lesbo Singaporean trans-genre witch grimoire you never knew you needed.
dis/content can be found on instagram @hellodiscontent or online at https://hellodiscontent.carrd.co/#
This man I can see that nothing is going on with this man he is not doing anything except being here so that nothing else can be here which is significant enough and because also
he is speaking
stamped by two purple/pink lines of text above the left nipple the top line bowed over the bottom as foreshadowing and
I can see he has a thick silver chain on but nothing else or maybe trousers I cannot see them and this chain is resting on his neck which is bulging with tendons having been turned to the left and it is the gravity of this chain also which makes it plain he is lying down for it would fall on his front if he were standing up or sitting down but is falling off to the side because he is lying
and I can see his skin has stretched across the underneath the way it does when you lie down and there is tension because you have pulled your spine out to the horizontal (and he has stretched his arm out also) and there are small slopes of bone curving in his chest onto which light falls and catches on the skin
which is white apart from the chain the tattoo the thin black hairs which lie flat against the chest and loop over the dark brown nipple disc just there with gentle precision against the flatness of his chest
stretched out and I cannot see his face
his face is turned to the side I can see his chin is tilted to the left so his ear touches the bed which is also not visible
his face is turned away and he is just like a man, generic, heat but nothing else
like a dog a member
like a fresh catch cod flesh just laying there the pink curve of his bottom lip twisted neck
Something is about to twist on I can feel it I can feel it I can feel it in the back, the back
of my knees
like an involuntary twitch of the wrist.
but before this the camera tracks before his eyes, and you should be able to see it in his eyes, it’s reflection but they are shut, his eyes, because this man is dead (not really)
and I know this and I know this man because he is the author of this text (which is why he is here)
no but back to the twist, the pre-twist
Movement comes from the hips: hold still!
and they are holding:
these two men, or young men, or boys, are holding each other, in hold holding the correct frame (it’s a dance or about to be)
and we see one elbow, and we see two pockets and we don’t see beneath
there are no pricks in this film there are billy clubs and police batons but no pricks in this film
in this film Dandy longs for a prick or something like that which can hurt his mother really stick it to her you know? And what is Dandy to do, his envy is stock stuff, it would be in this text if he was here or not. But he and his friend don’t have a prick so they have to go in search of one, this is the driving force here. It is the reason we have anything to look at all.
You have to keep changing in this film, that’s what I am learning, no one is the same even if people call them by the same name or they are in the same clothes (although sometimes these change too)
–– it could be one long bender, that has occurred to me, yes I did think and I might have even said ‘we’re being taken for a ride’ which is at some points more or less accurate seeing as they have cars in this universe too
these cars are pretty functional, they drive the plot from point a to point b, just basic carriers, escorts of the narrative, but they do represent the force of the state or the omnipotence of the institution or the narrator who can see where this is all going. They might even be police cars, I cannot remember, maybe they had sirens, any way it does not really matter if they were police cars or not since you have no choice in the matter you have to buckle up
and these two figures in clothes like boys, well these well-dressed boys hold the other against this kind of scrutiny because they are just passing through this narrative, like messengers or road signs, or passing behind this narrative, like decoration
〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇 〇〇
the two men, these James Dean hermaphrodites, here were born into this narrative everything about each others’ pre-history will only occur here in the dialogue and it may or may not refer to something that happened in the world and certainly will not refer to something that happened outside of it
one was here already, it was his story, but the other one just appeared, came through that door from nothing, the outside
there was a car but only mentioned
'cocks away, after the big screen' is an investigation into textual translations of cinematic form and visual genres post-internet. The work explores 'plot twists' as embodied movements, the surreal horror of spectator passivity, narrative dead-ends, and making impotent the 'reveal' of the porno, as ways to communicate the worms and wormholes of trans existence.
Evelyn Wh-ell is a researcher and writer, currently studying for a PhD in queer and trans artists’ moving image, with an interest in the politics of visibility and the aesthetics of risk. Their critical and creative writing has appeared in Another Gaze, FDBN…Publications, b l u s h lit, and Cambridge Literary Review. They host ‘The Disenfranchised Things Talk Show’ on No Bounds Radio.
Evelyn can be found on twitter and instagram at @evelynwh_ell
=e=c=h=o= is a sound piece based on the freezing of a piece of audio from a synthesizer into a delay line. Left on hold in the buffer of this delay, I then played around in real time with the controls of the effect, stretching the sound-ghost in pitch and rhythm, curious to see what this very minimal situation would create. A sizzle of granular delay was added later, itself made up from extreme repetitions of the now-original material.
Godefroy Dronsart is a writer, teacher and musician currently residing near Paris. His words and sounds have appeared in the Babel Tower Notice Board, Postscript, Paris Lit Up and Rejection Letters among others. His first chapbook The Manual was published earlier this year by Sweat Drenched Press and explores the space between poetry, prose and gamebooks. He has a sweet tooth for all things experimental, modernist and strange.
Godefroy can be found on twitter and instagram @OzoneGrass
Anonymous Structures explores the tension between familiarity and distance in sexual contexts. The piece was inspired by an experience of narrowly avoiding sexual assault due to the intervention of an onlooker. The text is taken from philosophy textbooks, while the images are collaged from vintage pornography, which has been cropped and distorted to erase identifying features of the films and performers. The work uses digital and sexual spheres to explore disconnects between internal and external perceptions of the self, and question the ways in which sexuality may allow someone to drift into a conception of 'audience' that excuses them from fully acknowledging their role as 'participant'. The piece hopefully raises uncomfortable questions about the role of participant and onlooker, in sexual scenarios but also in the interpretation of art.
JD Howse is a poet who works across text, image, and video. His work has appeared in Rewilding, Spam, Fruit, Datableed, Stride, and others. He has also self-published a number of artist's books and zines. He is the curator of Permeable Barrier and formerly co-ran the LGBT+ poetry night Theatre of Failure.
JD can be found on instagram @jdhowse or online at jdhowse.com
'Watermelon Sugar' stretches the fabric of the original Harry Styles track into a non-linear abstraction. By seeking out hidden shadows, it aims to transform a sunny sound into something more dimmed, introspective, and textured. Look at Harry Styles' eyes, as he is surrounded by models on a beach (cropped out). You can see the boredom, the desperation maybe. I want you to hear that hidden feeling.
Joseph Turrent is a London-based poet. His book The Moth Apocalypse (HVTN Books) reprocesses the language of Twitter to imagine various cataclysmic scenarios as they might appear on social media. Recent work has appeared in Firmament magazine, and The Mouth of a Lion, an anthology of visual poems (Steel Incisors).
Joseph can be found on twitter @turrentula and instagram @themothapocalypse
The Sony Mega Drive was discontinued in 1997.
I had one in 2002, eight years after I was born.
It was all my parents could afford. I was a burden
then, undiagnosed. My parents told me stories
from when I was a child, like when I pulled the
big-backed TV down on top of me. In a sore loser
rage mode, or out of curiosity, to see what was
inside it, I’m not sure. And how I thought I was
a dog; I’d bark on all fours and eat my food off the
floor. There was a time when I had a Playstation 2,
and I was Spider-Man. I had all the games and didn’t
take the costume off for two weeks. I wore it
underneath my school uniform, and I blinked really
fast, pretending it was my ‘Spidey-Sense’.
I was given the Mega Drive in hope it would calm me.
I negotiated platformed levels, and collected gems,
so I could progress to the next stage. I saw the world
in 16-bit. It was brightly coloured and full of tone.
My first game was The Jungle Book, and I was Mowgli.
I always wondered if there was an error with my coding;
I climbed the living room curtains like they were vines
and ripped them from the curtain pole. I hated wearing
clothes. I screamed and cried when the hairdresser’s
scissors came too close to cutting my mane. She was
an enemy snake to be taken down with a banana
projectile. I wasn’t allowed to be Mowgli after that
incident at the salon. I never completed the game,
never found the human village. That version of me, as
Mowgli, like the Sony Mega Drive, was discontinued.
I kiss the code that makes the neck feel real. Knuckle-deep in pixels, I wipe myself clean. Game Over. Start Again. I’m always starting something. A game, an encounter, until I realise, they’re rigged: no one ever wins. I could burn in her digital bush, replace his nipples for joysticks. A new character each time I start afresh, multiple save slots. If I win, if I finish, it’s back to the start. I kiss the code that makes the neck feel real. Knuckle-deep in pixels, I wipe myself clean. Game Over. Start Again. I’m always starting something. A game, an encounter, until I realise, they’re rigged: no one ever wins. I could burn in her digital bush, replace his nipples for joysticks. A new character each time I start afresh, multiple save slots. If I win, if I finish, it’s back to the start. I kiss the code that makes the neck feel real. Knuckle-deep in pixels, I wipe myself clean. Game Over. Start Again. I’m always starting something. A game, an encounter, until I realise, they’re rigged: no one ever wins. I could burn in her digital bush, replace his nipples for joysticks. A new character each time I start afresh, multiple save slots. If I win, if I finish, it’s back to the start. I kiss the code that makes the neck feel real. Knuckle-deep in pixels, I wipe myself clean. Game Over. Start Again. I’m always starting something. A game, an encounter, until I realise, they’re rigged: no one ever wins. I could burn in her digital bush, replace his nipples for joysticks. A new character each time I start afresh, multiple save slots. If I win, if I finish, it’s back to the start. I kiss the code that makes the neck feel real. Knuckle-deep in pixels, I wipe myself clean. Game Over. Start Again. I’m always starting something. A game, an encounter, until I realise, they’re rigged: no one ever wins. I could burn in her digital bush, replace his nipples for joysticks. A new character each time I start afresh, multiple save slots. If I win, if I finish, it’s back to the start.
These two poems explore how the act of gaming influences the mental and personal spheres. The word Phygital is the concept of using technology to bridge the gap between the physical and the digital. The poem of the same name is a deep dive into memories of childhood, coupled with the knowledge of childhood in hindsight. I realise now as an adult how beneficial video games were in providing relief from the difficulties I faced as an autistic child with ADHD. Replay interpolates lust and sex with digital cultures as a reflection on the addictive nature of capitalist, consumerist society, in a closed circuit loop.
Joshua Jones is a queer, autistic writer and artist from Llanelli, South Wales. He has an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and is currently studying to become a teacher at Cardiff Met. He likes to paint and make collages and releases poetry with music under the name Human Head. He writes about music for Nawr Magazine.
Joshua can be found online at ermose.com, on twitter @nothumanhead and Instagram @joshuajonespoet
'THIS IS NOT A POEM' is my response to being asked to record a video of me reading a poem. I'm not a fan of photos or videos of myself and generally dislike my voice, so I chose to write an "anti-poem" and present without a reading, and in a deliberately obscure way. The first three and half lines of this text are a verbatim record of a man speaking into his mobile phone as I passed him pushing my daughter in her pram outside the McDonalds in Leytonstone at 8.53am on Tuesday 9th March 2021. 'this is my voice' is my first experimentation with sound poetry. I recorded this simple phrase and messed about with it. I then decided it needed some visuals that for me conveyed how I feel about 'my voice' in various contexts.
JP Seabright is a queer writer living in London. Their work can be found in Babel Tower Notice Board, Fugitives & Futurists, Untitled Voices, Streetcake, Queerlings, Beir Bua and elsewhere. They are Assistant Editor of Full House Lit Mag .
JP can be found online at https://jpseabright.wordpress.com or on twitter @errormessage
Review of Broken Sleep's 'Hit Points'
by Kat Sinclair
Cover Me is a short sound piece constructed with a focus on alliteration and confusion. Built with two layers, the top layer reads the piece forwards, whereas the bottom layer reads the piece backwards attempting to match the pace of the top layer.
Leia Butler loves poetry in every form, particularly things that she has never seen before, or would stick on her wall. Leia is the founder and head editor of Full House Literary Magazine. Her debut collection, Tear and Share, releases with Broken Sleep Books in August 2021, and encourages an interactive tear-out aspect. She is a previous winner of a Streetcake experimental writing prize. Her other work can be found in Babel Tower Notice Board, Re-side, and Streetcake.
Leia can be found online at leiabutler.com or on twitter @leiabellebutler
Seems less a drop or glitch
more the actual work of god.
Or voice: his virtual echo caught
Incompletely depicted. Bounced back to the database.
Picture a pixel scrapyard.
Inter this errant image. I still shudder bottom-right.
Light in flurry; fast clatter.
spins to bring us close.
And like Max Renn I desire to get inside it and understand the picture as a membrane or a mouth:
Little teeth, luminous bones
Gleam me back synthetic glow
Haircut fresh, mid-speech
In freeze-frame, half-cameo.
I wrote: unmitigated image.
The obviousness of the sublime.
I wrote Skype Call a while ago, when I was in a long distance relationship and doing a lot of video calls. Poor network connection resulted in a fortuitous frozen image of my partner onscreen. The image was so perfect that it momentarily unseated my desire for closeness.
Max Thesen Law (1994) is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher, para-academic and writer from Cape Town. Their practice is foundationally text-based but manifests itself through various media including video, sound, performance, installation and printmaking. Their work and research focuses on ideas surrounding queer taxonomy, time, precarity, necropolitics, spectrality, and the politics of desire. They hold a BFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT and an MFA from the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford.
Max can be found online at www.mthesenlaw.com
These are made of material found in Google Books search results, the consequences of catastrophic failures that resulted when Google's OCR misrecognized diagrams, engravings, the texture of the page, or even the leather binding as text, and transcribed it. With the exception of the second texture, which juxtaposes two found texts, these were all copied and pasted, then presented as-is.
Nathan Austin is the author of (glost), Tie an O, and Survey Says!, as well as the recent broadside Surround Sound (for Éliane Radigue). His work has recently appeared in Speculative Nonfiction, The Believer, Talisman, ToCall, and Translation: a Halophyte Collective exhibition. He lives in Los Angeles.
Nathan can be found on Instagram @ocrtifacts and on Twitter @nathan-austin
I feel around for the mouth (somewhere) on head of my poem and my hands stain with ink. It’s a wound above the wound; a mouth above the cut. The mouth is a passage through which the body of the letter travels in and out of so that there can be a learning of the heart. In ‘Spacings’, the mouth is studied, situated in relation to Jean-Luc Nancy. The spaces around the words of the text overlap with the spacings of the mouth. It is sensual, lies ‘between the lips and at the other’s breasts’ and is an intimate space. I speak to the you of the poem which is wanting to be you and wanting to occupy that space between the lips. To be close to the physical moment of addressing. The tongue between the teeth.
Here lies the point, the twist of the knife. I put my finger in the poem's limp mouth. I return here, but slightly different. A poem “is beyond the body, sex, mouth, and eyes; it erases borders…” and yet it lingers at these margins. Like a word that hasn’t quite left the mouth.
‘The mouth is at the same time place and non-place, it is the locus of a dis-location, the gaping place…’
In depending on the mouth, the recitation of the poem is caught in its ambivalence. It is there and it isn’t there. The poem is spoken and so at the same time exists and doesn’t exist. This is because the mouth is a channel, a point at which objects move through from one space to another. Never the destination. The vocalization of the poem erases boundaries and yet depends on them for its very existence. It must be learnt through the mouth to seal it off.
‘Let us go then, you and I,’
This time I am the ventriloquist. Throwing my voice into the head of this saint, I repeat these words now. I repeat them every time I edit this piece. I repeat them with every return through time.
Let: the tongue grazes the roof of the mouth
Us: teeth held together in prayer, the spirit passes through
Go: the smallest of a circles
Then: withdrawal of flesh quick like wine it
You: reaches out
And: returns again
I: to us
There is always the I and the other. The you and the I. I want to take the you into me, but it must remain outside. ‘I love because the other is the other, because its time will never be mine’. I want the poem because it is the other and despite trying to take it inside of me it will always endure as the other. Even with each learning of a poem, re-learning the heart and re-tracing, always it remains other.
Nick Ines Ward is a poet based based in Norwich. Their work has been published by Salo Press, Spam Zine, Pilot Press, Adriatic Magazine, Despair Summer Quarterly 2021 and Sticky Fingers Press.
They post on Instagram as @sonnet_youprick
Meaning lost, in packet-loss: a never-ending lament
Intention (unsent), restored to being, in comparison.
################ Error – Can Not Compute – ################
But reason does not equate to knowing how or why,
And I do not understand the machinations,
Nor how the tiller and the hand hold value.
I CAN NOT COMPUTE
NOR TRACK A STEADY COURSE UNTO BEING
Yet tense is the moment:
And for all moments.
And taut our reason
For too strong for most of us is the disconnect:
A great tremulous shake to the synapses.
AND I CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
FREED FROM MEANING SHARED
AND I HAVE LOST MYSELF
IN THE DEAD MULCH OF THE COMMON TONGUE
So it is that I am restless,
And I suffer an insatiable need
Now that I am bereft of waking dreams.
The Disconnect is a poem inspired by the Permeable Barrier's approach to portraying information, and its consequences, through art. It also engages with Claude Shannon's theory of the surprisal, i.e. that there is a point between randomness and pattern, where information thrives, but too much of either and meaning is lost. Lastly, it connects to the way in which communication in the digital age struggles, at times, under the weight of too much randomness, and too much order. As such, the poem itself centres on the difficulty we have in unplugging ourselves from the vast weave of meaning we have created, and the difficulty we have of actually individuating such meaning within ourselves. In a sense, it is a wry nod to the paradox of the contemporary information age, as well as a discourse on how contemporary identity is sustained.
Oisín Breen is a 36 year-old poet, part-time academic in narratological complexity, and financial journalist. Dublin born Breen's debut collection, ‘Flowers, all sorts in blossom, figs, berries, and fruits, forgotten’ was released Mar. 2020 by Edinburgh’s Hybrid Press. Primarily a proponent of long-form style-orientated poetry infused with the philosophical, Breen has been published in a number of journals, including the Blue Nib, Books Ireland, the Seattle Star, Modern Literature, La Piccioletta Barca, the Bosphorus Review of Books, Disquiet, Visual Verse, Mono, and Dreich magazine, with further work forthcoming.
Oisín can be found on twitter @Breen
Cover image credit is as follows - Maher Salma, Syria. Media: Zen Brush 2, iPad air 2, and Adonit Pixel.
standing at the intersection of 17th and broadway
with a pair of manolo blahnik mary janes
and a philip treacy hat,
accompanied by a judith leiber bag,
in the shape of a swan
covered in what look like swarovski crystals -
retailing at $3,500.
she looks over her shoulder
as the camera pulls away,
to produce a sweeping shot of new york city
in the fall.
within 48 hours
another ten planes will crash on the hudson
and clint eastwood will begin directing another ten films
about the tenacity of the human spirit.
the american dream never dies -
it is fed by innovation,
of which there is plenty.
long live goldman sachs.
This little poem zig-zags its way across a neat little collection of film and pop culture references, encompassing 'The Devil Wears Prada’, 'Sully’, 'Sex and the City’, and the illuminated books of RuPaul Charles. I hope that in its sleep deprived and ludic ways, the poem still manages to cut through with enough of a lucid critical gaze on the (pop) culture it seeks to both embody and dismantle. Long live Goldman Sachs.
Plum Selfridge (they/them) is a queer who lives and writes in Scotland.
(a) I was thinking about the frogspawn we saw in that little community garden in Cricklewood.
(b) The appearance of frogspawn is an event that might be described as a real life version of Rupert and the Frog Song (1984).
(c) Pipaluk was born in London Zoo on 1st December 1967 and will live there until 1985. To escape the bear enclosure in Mappin Terraces, Pipaluk would have to cross a dry ditch and climb over spiky slate parapets.
(d) London Zoo is located 3.3 miles from Mapesbury Dell in Cricklewood, which was officially opened on 4th November 2005 by conservationist and actor Bill Oddie.
(e) Polar bears are able to detect [frogs] from nearly one mile away and buried under three feet of snow.
(f) The young giraffe side-eyes as she reaches for the provided feed – she looks to say 'now you see me’ and you set out in the faint light, puddles and neatly spaced trees. The white vehicle from the Royal Estates checks you or doesn’t and your sight drops to an empty bench by water as you cross a bridge and the young couple in shades of brown imagine you, the polar bear cub or animal rights activist. You look away but feel their wondering smile and then you
tread unnoticed up The Avenue, tracked by black ball cameras and all is mulchy and musky in following birdsong. Then the city opens to
Swiss Cottage and rows of shop fronts, your faint reflection, then three versions in upright mirrors displayed too low for your head and the walk becomes kinder, shielding you from the sea of traffic with grey and green mosaic, dirty glistening and kissed with red spray. Up
Broadhurst Gardens there are stifling roses and sickening trees, the mulching is rolling your stomach to spawn tadpoles or dump (‘no dumping here’) and fragrance is rot in all the after-wet of London in June. The closed businesses are suggestive of life – this is a Taste of Tokyo! Here are empty beer bottles and onward past
residences and the long wall that keeps the railway siding from bears like you – then the train unseen – the grand sound and a blackbird on high claims Kilburn, or this corner of it which is
quantity of fruit and cardboard, something of Tangier then lit brightly to all splendour. You are nearing it now and imagine the pilgrimage of the amphibians, drawn to the little pond from how far? Swirling inside or heaving, certainly pushing on frog hide or ursine fur, the curling locks of your forelegs, the forelegs of your forebears, the tight white get-up shining and shouting-out his drunk, drenched aroma until you are
here and wouldn’t you know, it’s another locked enclosure – all of London is the smell of zoo, the chirping and mulching musk of zoo and the tracking, the silent notations but look
here this glory of spawning in cherub rose, this welcoming polar, the flowering of the stacked white trainer that gave you all the trouble – oh this is all the metamorphosis you could wish, ursa minor, forever welcoming blooming roses, little happily you never come in.
Ryan Ormonde (he/him) is a poet from London. Ryan has contributed poems to SPAM, Spoonfeed and Osmosis and collaborated on two short poetry films, one with poet Karen Sandhu for Magma and the other with artist Madalina Zaharia. Ryan is a contributing artist to Impermanence Dance's Decade project and his poetry features in the associated film Lady Blackshirt for Bristol Old Vic.
'frogspawn' is a poetic text that considers realistic possibilities for an event that might resemble a real-life enactment of (or a source of inspiration for) Paul McCartney and Geoff Dunbar's animated film Rupert and the Frog Song (1984).
Ryan can be found on instagram @ryanopoet
This phonetic transcription of a short poem is part of a learning process. Phonetics can only be understood with reference to your own vocal apparatus - you have to make the noises, bring your tongue towards the various surfaces in your mouth. During this process, you gain a sense of how your mouth compares to other mouths, and the causes of your pronunciation flaws. You produce noises as you try to understand, an audio by-product, which I present as a kind of sound poem.
Sarah Dawson is a PhD student at the University of Leeds, studying failure in contemporary experimental poetry performance. expecting a different result, her collection of visual poems working through a process of mourning, was published in 2020 by HVTN’s Interruptions imprint. Her new work, which uses phonetic translation to slow down and complicate poetry reading, has been featured on the Babel Parish Radio podcast, and performed at Leeds Lit Fest. Her visual poetry has been exhibited at the Poetry Cafe, The Museum of Futures and The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery.
Sarah can be found online at https://sarah-dawson.co.uk/bio or on twitter @sarahkdawson
NHS DAIRY MILK (2021) is a triptych of video poems, co-written with Artificial Intelligence using shopping lists, recipes and unsent apology notes as original input data. Guilt, ingredients and love play side by side, hidden within nostalgic TV recordings and phone footage.
Sophie Taylor is a visual artist from Newcastle, who pursued a career in writing after studying Film and Sound Design at the Royal College of Art. Her texts have been published by Pamenar Press, LUVA, Lychee Zine and Gob Jaw amongst others, with a poetry collection launched via The NewBridge Project last year. Moonlighting as a late night radio show host and creating dialogue for AI characters, her work moves between audio, verse and script.
Sophie can be found online at mrsophie.com or on instagram @mrsophie
'I Put the Miss in Misanthropic' is a prayer for transcendence. It's the final lingering wish, hidden inside a person who has nothing left to give. Like the out breath, it extends beyond the body and mysteriously into another. The piece, which explores the loneliness and strength of solitary life, is an extention of a previous poem:
I want a quiet life,
Gentle, like closing my eyes.
I want a quiet life,
Warm, like tree trunks
Five is a writer and visual artist from Nairobi, Kenya. After dropping out of film school in 2019, Five has been devoting her time to honing her craft. During this period, her work has been published by Fleas on the Dog, Jalada Africa and Pile Press. She has also released two digital zines, Out of Orbit and Whiteness/Darkness.
Five can be found on instagram at @mysticouroboros
Copyright of individual works remain with their creators.
JD Howse and Permeable Barrier claim no ownership of these pieces.