Thursday, 30 October 2014


Invite into me the straight lull
facing two or three in multiple
failings, reach to dry throat warming.

Without the energy even to
dislike, dislike survivalist ribs
he touched down the ladder.

Won’t you speak slowly and hold
not disarming the love I universally
for once just felt? Language

decking pain too abstract that
collapse leaf sound, aggrandise
morbidly, hope ambiguity along.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Samantha Walton and Lila Matsumoto - Collaboration, Camaradefest II.


There's been some horrific communications in "UK Poetry" (a disgusting euphemism), and it's been really difficult for me to read the arguements going back and forth. So much rank apologism forcing to the surface ingrained prejudice and careless, thoughtless social advantage passed off as intellectual sincerity. A piece of writing started circulating that explicitly detailed the actions of a poet in the 'alt lit' scene. A scene I'm not too knowledgeable about. What I can gather is that parts of that scene make a big deal out of creating poetry that unapologetically 'confesses'. The named individual's poetry is explicitly sexist, documenting his emotional pangs for an ex. It's not easy stuff to read through. In fact, it's a mire. This piece started circulating on the UK Poetry email list. There were some fast and dumb reactions. Some very offensive ones. Quickly people became angry, some defensive, scores of feminists abandoned the list. The whole thing started to fall to bits. Though I am aware that the list is still operating.

I've been trying to quantify how I feel about the incident, and what is to be done. The voices of poets like Alison Croggan and Samantha Walton have been extremely important in this dialogue through email discussions etc. I think a lot of us have been trying to work out what to do next, how to actually change and affect the scene. Some things went around that I'll admit worried me. Check lists for 'curators' and people running readings. Head counts etc. This worries me  because for many people running nights this head counting would make the people they are trying to include into a quota - 'have I got enough people of colour, women, queers, disabled people at my poetry night?' asks the cis-male editor of some Cambridge journal 'I don't want to look like I don't care'. Also, there was talk about areas of safety. Very important. But there is perhaps a subtext that might move these night to purely affluent areas, away from the tissue (as if most of them aren't already there). Yeah, this checklist worried me. I don't want a bunch of people to be scare of looking like they don't care. I want us to all to realise where our care lacks and alter our priorities accordingly.

I could say a lot. I don't really want to. I've probably already said too much. I just want to share a video of two excellent poets reading a very important piece of work. It springs from a place I wouldn't usually go - Steven Fowler's Camarade fest. I have some strong disagreements with Fowler's curatorial practice - short collaborations one after another, a ready developed aesthetic, little room for maneuver. It all feels a bit branded to me. But I've probably been thinking through a limiting lens. Samantha and Lila's collaboration, in a short space of time, gets to the really uncomfortable and essential questions I think a lot of us have been struggling with, and to air these thoughts in front of a large audience at this point in time is absolutely vital. I really wish I'd been there to see it. The audience laughter feels uncomfortable and contagious, like the studio audience in those David Lynch 'Rabbits' things. How laughter sounds in a cubicle full of radical 3d pointillist graffiti where the boards echo with ache and rebellion and the dots get joined up when the whole room gets flattened.

Thank you Lila, thank you Samantha.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Proud as Mending Joy

I am not at proud
to be here no
     've Benn drag'd
to stat
at the
on idiot starving
                             pa ve d
         serendipitous kiss
rank // defile 'is aisle one
             fag ashen the tonal
total squeel of apartment junk

the trees struck out
the cause tensile

I want(on)ed
for the focus to retain
            plaits of sep er
national drug ule.

Pain for panic ulcer without
stripping up against me clear
in a wart grand in the bait
proceding to kill neck down
archive this ready song in
tongue's fuck knot superb. I
you ch
sex pest
cling to mere fanciful abnecktion
to teste      ' d  
want          's
to be away

nd feel as ay live inside
a neck
             on bad life.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The New Quarter.

I've had one of those emails. I get them every now and again. Asking me to affiliate with some 'creative' collective, to join the nights I run up to the network. I'm (perhaps irrationally) afraid of that network. Here's the beef. Maybe it is totally logical. In fact, it is. Listen. They're building this horrible complex down on the seafront. They're once again talking about regenerating the old pier, this time quite possibly into some kind of bastard health spa - holiday houses and executive suites, long corridors with water coolers and touch cards and fire doors leading into board rooms and small tidy bars full of vintage paraphernalia, the kind of thing we like - jukeboxes and stuff. They're going to put that in the sea right in front of the town staring right across at its mirror. Behind it, over it, there's going to be a tower that will be four hundred meters high and provide the whole tiny town with taxed wireless Internet. Under the tower there's going to be this strip of arches filled with little people and their little things. They're going to call this the 'creative quarter'. The arches will be shops run by Makers selling jewelery, driftwood, steampunk accessories - all of it up-cycled. It's going to be pretty good to be honest. Loads of young people with aspirations.

That's the language of catalogs. Those are the people who will live full and happy lives. They've done well, they can make money out of what they love and they will stay there under the tower by the conference centre. I've tried replying to people's requests for some kind of artistic solidarity, this guy asks us all to read at galleries in London. He wants us all to collaborate. I want that too. I want us to stay up together forever until no one can put us to sleep but ourselves. He won't even pay your transport, funded and all. You get to read for five minutes. We need to stretch time till we can see back into it from a huge distance, move around the space that time operates on, operate in it. I'm really happy with these letters on Yage. They seem to be asking for no antidotes at all. That's what they're doing with this tower. Can you actually believe it will be four hundred metres high? It might even touch the bellies of planes and curlews. Anyway, there will be auditions for the Creative quarter. The reason that word and everyone who uses it scares the living shit out of me, so I'm crying and scratching the ground, is because it's that siphoning off, a solution to all your problems, a briefness; a place for exploration and hope. It's so conceited and ruthless. When what we do is no longer necessary, just healthy. You are not alone. God is with you. 

There's a lot going on in this town. I love it here. I've lived here nearly thirty years now, and every time I set out for food my friends are there smiling, offering to pay for dinner, tucking napkins into my stocking tops. We run this place. It used to be a shit hole. People would stare at you if you wanted to make anything of yourself. I had a great education thanks very much. It's unfortunate I have to change your attitudes to make ends meet. There's a building just like this new development near the station. I had an interview there the other day. It's absolutely true that the social connotations of a tiny snippet of music coming out of the door of a cafe can be disseminated according to their injunction against everyone else. I'm going to play some music. I'm going back to bed. I'm going to dress up. Good.