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Gilded Dirt issue #3:

Editor-in-chief: Maria Sledmere Design: Maria Sledmere Cover Art: Douglas Pattison Online Content Assistants: Scott Coubrough, Steven Harvie Contributors: Timothy Berrigan, Scott Coubrough, Suzanne Ghadmi, Sally Gales, Callie Gardner, Stuart Glen, Dominic Hale, Steven Harvie, Colin Herd, Katy Lewis Hood, Matias Loikala, DJ Misty, Jarlath Mulhern, Heather O’Donnell, Mairi O’Gorman, T. E. Parsons, Dan Power, Sarah Spence, Sarah Smith, Anna Winberg, Joshua Ziner ~

http://sabrina-vs-misty.tumblr.com @gildeddirt gilded_dirt@hotmail.com


urban decay; architectural curios; hauntology; pastel rust & flake; Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter & theory of thing-power; chromatic fragmentation; J.G. Ballard’s Crash; suspended moments; amnesia cured in pieces; strange monuments and memorabilia; items of kitsch; tasteless pop art; broken souvenirs; always already damaged toys; matter in excess of itself/surroundings; plastic personalities; amnesiac joy; dream fragments; plunderphonics; ruin narratives; fantasy destruction; languid ornamental mourning; shards; thingly galvanism; fortuitous object assemblages; making the best of a broken scenario; glaring reincarnations; savage/fragile; purity seen through dismantled tradition; ruin porn; obsolete mystique; rediscovery of wonder in lost objects; totalled art; ethics and value in waste culture; Lavender Town; dead malls; tarnished aesthetic; paint flakes; capitalist residues; tattered brands; lurid food matter; flowers reclaiming industrial space; ecotones; luminous cultural memorials; tacky plaques; strange idolatry; the performative norms of museum interaction; organic shards; the Romantic fragment poem in the 21st century; oil spills; the ethics and aesthetics of Insta filters in relation to waste; industrial swansong; nurave; post-capitalist elegia; contemporary takes on The Arcades Project; the semiotic potentiality of trash; materiality normativity; the ravages of climate; defamiliarised excreta; archaeological remainders; the politics of picturesque ruin; oscillation between foreground and background matter; contemplative impulse; objects with elapsed categorical status


Vibrant Ruins : An Introduction Maria Sledmere, June 2018 Vividly, I remember a question from an exam paper on one of my undergraduate English Lit courses. It went something like: hefty, flagrant quotation; the word ‘Discuss’. The quote in question was almost certainly a chunk of this one, from Deleuze and Guattari, writing in AntiOedipus: We live today in the age of partial objects, bricks that have been shattered to bits, and leftovers. [...] We no longer believe in a primordial totality that once existed, or in final totality that awaits us at some future date. We no longer believe in the dull grey outlines of a dreary, colourless dialectic of evolution (Deleuze and Guattari 1989: 42). Against this prior ideology of monochrome evolution, a linear trajectory towards some kind of enlightenment and completion, we dwell always already in the vibrant fragments of a present deferred by the rubble of diurnal experience. Spliced across tabs, devices and time zones, buffering hard-drives and the struggle for signal, we exist in the gaps between these fragments. Everything we build of our present is an ultimate structure of ruin. The documents we assemble, beautiful international spreadsheets; the love affairs confected from instant messages. I looked at the quotation on my exam paper and knew that every drop of ink from my pen would only contribute to the confusion of ruins. Every paragraph a fragment. But what of these fragments? How to signify or make sense of a ruin? Is there a difference between ornament, ruin and object? What combinations of the three might coexist in a singular entity, or indeed an assemblage or network of several? The aim of this issue, themed VIBRANT RUINS, was to attract work that explored the interplay of things in an era of curious, partial objects—where humans themselves are included as objects. What of our psyches split across fissured, fleeting discourse? What of the spaces and places we figure as home, until figuration shatters our built-up auras, our known emotion? Writing of ‘The Claw’, that long-arm of city demolition that enables construction,


architect Ben Weir argues, ‘A felled body, ripe for decomposition, can become a fertile source of vitality for the urban ecosystem. The scavengers move in’ (2017). How can we build through destruction, what accidental communities or biomes spring up in the process? What might a poetics of salvage, distillation or process look like? How to extract or exact the imminent vibrancy of ruins? Isn’t it funny how the news focuses only on action, the presenttense of war, conflict, environmental abuse? What would a discourse that focused on the aftermath, the rubble and ruin, the incremental decay and change look like? Canadian writer and artist Josh Thorpe calls for a ‘slow news’, whose focus is on making discursive interventions in the everyday, defamiliarising the objects, landscapes and events that we take for granted around us with experimental journalism. Is literature, poised as it is around questions of subjectivity, time, space, strategy and matter, already a kind of slow journalling, a sojourning if you will, of the daily? Observing pieces of litter fortuitously thrown together on the concrete, Jane Bennett notes the vibrant materiality of these things as they exist in tandem, an arrangement of chance: ‘In this assemblage, objects appear more vividly as things, that is, as entities not entirely reducible to the contexts in which (human) subjects set them, never entirely exhausted by their semiotics’ (2004: 351). What of our phenomenological experience of objects that somehow jump out at you? What aspects of such entities remain hidden or apart from human perception? What kinds of sensory enchantment can we parse from the recalcitrant side of an entity? Set in the gentrified neighbourhood of Finnieston, Glasgow, T.E. Parson’s ‘Yolk’ operates as a glistering, almost sardonic re-enactment of Bennett’s assemblage of trash: in the first paragraph, a character is already prying off a bottle cap, ‘struggling with a strained carrier bag’. The protagonist’s glimpse of this vagrant man sets off all sorts of associations: amphetamine dreams of wasted living, urban excess and the odd glimpse of pastoral life, of slowed-down time out of time that lures from distance—a chiaroscuro world of light and shadow, finally ‘sinking into atavistic tidal pools’. If there was a theme song to Gilded Dirt issue #3, aside from all the crackly ambient intonations of our favourite electronic nocturnes, it might be Talking Heads’ ‘(Nothing But) Flowers’. A song from the late eighties that envisions a quirky eco-utopia in which modern progress collapses ‘back to nature’, as it were: the architecture of neoliberalism


(your shopping malls, Pizza Huts, parking lots, highways, microwaves and billboards) have been replaced by agrarian landscapes and glimpses of prelapsarian life: ‘Now we just eat nuts and berries’. The song’s protagonist initially begins with Edenic celebration of this regression, all birds and bees and Adam and Eve. Soon enough, a nostalgia for the techno futurepast reoccurs: ‘If this is paradise / I wish I had a lawnmower’. If anyone glimpsed what vapourwave would do, twenty years later, to our memories of eighties culture and its retrofutures, it’s David Byrne. The constant refrain, ‘You got it, You got it’ recalls some kind of maddening advert. We are not quite sure what Byrne is peddling. The point is to complicate, perhaps, our notions of eco-utopia versus technoutopia, to throw into relief each side of the equation. Again that phrase, the grass is always greener. Why do we always imagine a vibrant, healthy meadow on the other side? What happens when the meadow itself isn’t enough, when something within us burns with aluminium dreams? Have we spent too long in the capitalist realism of all-night, 24/7 material availability: ‘I miss the honky tonks, / Dairy Queens and 7-Elevens’. Our existential state remains poised on permanent distraction: ‘And as things fell apart / Nobody paid much attention’. Even in the eighties, Byrne knew enlightenment could never come as a lightning strike of epiphany that changed everything. Even if we slid back into primitive, bucolic existence, we’d remain as hypnotised by the lapidary memories of things as we are now, scrolling misty-eyed down Instagram feeds, leaving digital traces like the silvery residues of slug-trails playfully evoked in Sarah Spence’s ‘The Streak’: ‘Dream-drunk, heartbeat speeding’. What difference between a cornfield, vintage-filtered on screen, and the one that hazes at the brink of a corporate, billboard nirvana or childhood memory? The contributors within this issue, in various ways, traverse the hauntological plains of objects, landscapes, places and memories. These are not ghost-towns of literary evocation, but rather sparkly and lively attempts to trace the affective plains and lines of flight that reel across the things of our life, that which goes amiss in daily routine. The temporality of a stone, as playfully envisioned by Steven Harvie; Heather O’Donnell’s plastiglomerate poetics; the flicker between presence and absence, numbness and full feeling that follows all nectarous metaphor in Colin Herd’s ‘Short answer: yes; long answer:’, ‘I’m trying to be an app / there but not there’. Even though Dan Power’s ghost trail, ‘spooky


tour guide’, is ostensibly about a kind of evaporating tour guide, unfortunate purveyor of tales from the underworld, it’s also a poem about sensory tourism: the way overloaded impression, maybe, is what ‘makes the place look dead’. I think of the ghost in the machine, Roland Barthes’ punctum (that object or ‘accident’ from the photograph ‘which pricks, bruises me’), of Don DeLillo’s Most Photographed Barn in the World. The way we give things an aura, and not just in Walter Benjamin’s sense of the artwork’s luminous commodification. While Sally Gales takes us on a psychogeographic perambulation around a devastated mansion, Matias Loikala’s open-field poetry explodes the stream of consciousness which devours the vibrant impressions of things which connect around us. Issue #3’s writers are interested in points where objects and familiar places glow with resonance or fade into shadows, show up their ruins and shatter a simple sense of linear time. As Timothy Berrigan puts it, among his alluringly tangled fragments: ‘There was a moment when we were crossing two oceans. We start in the future and end up going sideways’. The lyric poems of Dominic Hale present a kind of everyday phenomenology of the post-internet, the adjacent esplanades of the IRL and virtual as they collide at waypoints of memory, politics, desire or affective climax: where ‘clouds of aphids’ resonate ‘aphex_green’, file names scattered like aporetic directories to the wormholes of here, there or nowhere, items spliced to ruin, urban eclogues, enmeshed objects recessing as elegy. The ruin invites a sort of voyeurism, a sudden rush of interconnection which works as a horizontal mesh, the synchronic axis of metonymy: Katy Lewis Hood’s ‘ULTRAVIOLET’ evocatively collates the chemical poetics of Pantone’s 2018 Colour of the Year, drawing sources from atmospheric scientists, diarists and literary folks alike. Callie Gardner’s ‘selected fragments on poetic composition’ invites a subtle poetics of intersemiotic and interspecies translation: ‘to produce the sensation of loss with a deferred profundity, / write as though your hands were short flowers, and their pollens inks’. A scattering of decadent, surrealist imagery leads Jarlath Mulhern to a hotel of ‘all insentient charcoal audacious brass / The occasional photograph that screams -’. Mediating objects such as the photographic image take on anthropomorphic properties, reminding us of their lively presence, a secret side of sensory property, ironically exempt from human experience.


What role does literature play in assembling these fragments? Do these authors display the self-reflexivity of a Romantic fragment poem, a sense of curatorial ease over divergent materials? A deliberate invocation of mystery’s allure at the crossroads of history? Is there a ‘visionary longing for the absolute’, as Michael Bradshaw (2007) describes the intellectual trajectory of the Romantic fragment? What unfinished or unspoken elements haunt these texts? Where do industry and poetry collide, the city and country? Does a vibrant ruin by necessity evoke liturgy or elegy, avowal or withdrawal, worship or remembrance? How can poetics bring us closer to the sensory experience of nonhuman entities; what lyric ‘I’ remains in a world of haunted presences, things which glow, warp, leave their auratic residue? The motion and stasis within Joshua Ziner’s poem, ‘Be Real, It Doesn’t Matter Anyway’, seem to offer a hypothetical manual for venerating a kind of electric, erotic interobjectivity: ‘Maybe we could build something beautiful here / then turn & walk away’. Dwelling should never be about solely the blood and soil of a dangerous essentialism, the cute gift wrap of commercial ornament; but rather an essentialism that remains lively, multi-sided, clustered with possibilities across the aesthetic dimension. A dwelling among entities always partially withdrawn from other entities; a dwelling of flickers, glimmers and ontological umbra. This issue, then, should be consumed within the noise of incident: a meteorological assemblage of blinks and clicks, images and text poised on necessary interrelation. Inside the limited time-space of that literature exam, did I write with the urgency inclined to living between worlds and object zones of temporal shelter? Was my handwriting—that desperate, material inscription—merely a supplement to excess and decay? Did spontaneity shatter the certainty of both tome and omen? The world of ruin oscillates between presence and absence, permanence and temporariness, depletion and intensity. We advocate a multisensory textuality, a synesthetic estrangement of familiar objects and interactions. Our editorial playlist, plus special bonus playlist by Stuart Glen, offer a soundtrack that resonates with the thematic and material interests of the poems and hybrid pieces across the issue. We advise strong rereading, ambient reading, reading at twilight and right before sleep. As The Quietus wrote of Grouper’s 2014 album, Ruins: ‘the closer you listen, the more intimate it becomes’, the more sound and silence entwine as one. A brilliant, soporific potential: a fall into geologic


time, the time of plastics and dreams; the time of childhood, death and memory. The time of a gorgeous, often futile recycling; the ethical headache of morning. And ultimately, it’s this intimacy with other minds and bodies, times and states, spaces and places, that encourages a new ecology of emotions and senses, a vertigo plunge of past and future that might just feel productive, delicious, a spectrum of whole new blues and greens. The spectrum that constellates a multi-species array of sensations inside that nick of presentness, as in Wordsworth’s ‘The Ruined Cottage’: ‘his spirit drank / The spectacle: sensation, soul, and form, / All melted into him; they swallowed up / His animal being; in them did he live, / And by them did he live; they were his life’. ~ Bennett Jane, 2004. ‘The Force of Things: Steps toward an Ecology of Matter’, Political Theory, Vol. 32, pp. 347-372. Bradshaw, Michael, 2007. ‘Hedgehog Theory: How to Read a Romantic Fragment Poem’, Literature Compass, Vol. 5 (1). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-4113.2007.00503.x. Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari, 1989. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (London: Athlone). McAuliffe, Colm, 2014. ‘Reviews: Grouper, Ruins’, The Quietus, November 7th 2014. Available at: http://thequietus.com/articles/16638-grouperruins-review. Thorpe, Josh, 2018. ‘Piles of dirt and how to talk about them’, Talk at CCA Glasgow, 11.6.18. Weir, Ben, 2017. Everything Gets Treated the Same (Belfast: Framewerk). Wordsworth, William, 1797-1804. ‘The Excursion, Book I ("The Ruined Cottage")’. Available at: https://genius.com/William-wordsworth-theexcursion-book-i-the-ruined-cottage-annotated.


Maria Sledmere, Chloroplastixx


selected fragments on poetic composition from the Amphibolics of Oktopodes (translated from the Greek by Callie Gardner) 12 to produce the sensation of loss with a deferred profundity, write as though your hands were short flowers, and their pollens inks 16b to make the reader feel like a ragged coastline, use words selected over the course of a long june evening at a northerly latitude from a diary written entirely on mornings with weather 23 for the physical nervousness of political hope, write in a tree, or on the edge of a bed. falling out is preferable but the effect can be easily simulated by keel-hauling oneself with nylon bondage rope 38 to elicit a feeling of rage at the ways one has never been treated, mimic the impression of a latinate spider scrabbling up the screen of a 1995 Amstrad Action A117 45a to help the reader understand that to be is to be divided, induce bubbling between yourself and the other. give up none of your understanding to knowing a science of the perfectible. 60* to have the reader know that [ speak with the voice of a hidden [ ] obstacle

] warfare, ] less than [

117 with the understanding of inevitable losing of words, make no apology for the fullness of sounds; having each a long bell with its longer chime, let it harass the smooth branches of the clearing, and wind fearfully through the tents *trans. note: this is a partial fragment of notoriously doubtful authorship, and I follow Hagen-Jorland (1992) in attributing it to the Alexandrian Pseudo-Oktopodes, but include here for completeness.


PLASTIGLOMERATES Heather O’Donnell Steely ambergris from our own guts Sedimentary feast to some The Earth churning day-glo whey From a constellation of desires The earth as the artist The programmer Here are the thermoplastic effigies That cannot be destroyed Here is mine Here is yours Alien coral reefs Attracted objects barfed up by the sea A plastic clamshell in an amphitheatre Of organic matter This golem geode of frayed rope Glitter confetti hearts mingling With the lip of a plastic lighter The desire to covet it To turn away Looking upon inseparable objects Gathered in a molecular matrix Some uncharted organ Quantum entanglement as the Witchcraft we tried to burn

Earth digesting humanity’s Late into the night party But it will not go down I cannot fathom its falling upwards This slow-time oceanic comet Something that has been churned And torqued Interfacing beyond the end of us Earth as the plastic that the sun Will heat Plastic’s cosmic cousins Kiss by Saturn’s moon Socratic, notice how I do nothing How rock recording plastic remains As rightful as a poem


Scott Coubrough


RUIN Matias Loikala the ice is lounging, swinging / there are fields where the wind does not work. loss of location in conjunction with body / loss, I / fill in geography / choreography / rub me in milk, prolapse / of the throat. the evening bursts / a lightheaded lap / and I think me into a candy / oatmeal blossoms so I thought / thousands of white holes, beautiful / spectacle I thought / streets of apartment buildings falling into the street / suddenly falling over the rocks my torso / spring is spring for the second time

this year; the

face itself was cut

over a huge pink

open,

cloud / dancers are rolling. my head was a beautiful hole / I sat on my shoulder as

a three-pound lark / and the ground

was raining / trying lasts a long time, taste of wild horse,

to stay warm / the future

goodness,


honesty you did me

a city. sirloin night, you slip into my eyes, open.

in myself there is a black cloud / my

cheeks / / hello / hello / sunset clouds / burning gold, knees like a concave pink field. / the relative somewhere / and

accuracy of the place

swallow / I'm

ultimately everything is immense; until I sorry about the

water / on the edges of the poem / like threads – this is an accumulation / the sky in the sky / the surface of the black viscose / I was thinking of a prism. a lightener / to keep oneself in the air echoes / tinnitus, and the sky stains / a rowanberry, as in vain as I'm talking / somehow / all street lamps light up at the same time


St Anne Mairi O’Gorman

The island’s longitude Is 1770 – marked With a peppercorn, Green and hot as night. Who planted that white moon? Light reaps rows of breeze Block bungalows. I don’t know why, But Elvis tells me A school once grew here He cannot know that I know they were sown And left to straggle. They chopped, weeded, hoed, Gutted fish, grilled, drilled, Saluted the flag, Rewrote that first page – The red soil’s rich. The sin was in the seed. Independence: A threshing floor where We learned separation And unmarked graves. We keep the mansion clean.


But even in that new Colony, dirt was tracked All through the house By youths with red-soled feet: Red soil in the food, Coins gleamed in the pot. Earth spat up treasure Which, like all that grows, Was evidence plus time. Here, in houses green with rot, Girls ceased to eat. The old colony, asleep In the organ below, Stirred at the impact Of those locked steps. You know that? Elvis asks. I don’t know, I forgot. I can read the green That springs where Latitude has winnowed.


Departing Years Suzanne Ghadmi

Someone must sign Then watch the retreating train That departed years ago. Where is the weather? In this insipid landscape, Where is the snow? That will cover us all And put to sleep Drunken dreams. Death by weather The inquest would find, And also, maybe the vodka. And what of the organ Best supplied with hot blood? I mean the tongue, you know. When will her words die? When will the snow cover those?


Somewhere Somewhere between figuration And abstraction, there are Hesitant, harsh, heavy lines That tells a static tale of places And migration. Even in the distance there is no one There never was. All that is left Is an old leather travel bag Full of bits of paper and tubes of paint Pens without caps, pencils worn down to nothing No longer useful. No longer somewhere.


Only codas now Steven Harvie

And our walls break like waves While the seas hide like caves

Kicking stones No music, no phone, we walk the streets uninterrupted. So boring we make a play of stones, Kicking them forward until they disappear. The thing is, they play the same game with us, Collapsing on miners, betraying skiers, murdering tenants; Whiling away the time


Be Real, It Doesn’t Matter Anyway Joshua Ziner How can you be nostalgic for something you never lived?? Shut up & take my hand Let’s drift through the Sears the Loew’s the Circuit City the who’s-who in capitalist philology Sexy collage of smells & furnishings I want it all: cheap, plastic, & ugly Kosmische & a Korg, light my wet dream We’re looping in circles, bodies in neon Haven’t you felt like we’ve been here before? Let go of me, return Come back Change the speed, alter the pitch All that’s solid turns to air anyway Whipping up a fury of dust & moths like your childhood porchlight, those 9pm summer dreams Stop at an empty lot, a momentary lapse Freeze time like a melody in limbo Wade through waters of analogue Bite into the sapphire Earth Monuments of a geology wrapped up in morals Or some Hallmark giftwrap Maybe we could build something beautiful here then turn & walk away.


Anna Winberg, Deconstructed

Walk to Work


Gut Spillage


Moving Image Archive // Sarah Smith Your Search: CUMBERNAULD Title: A FRESH START Date: 1969 Description: A young family move into a purpose-built home in the New Town of CUMBERNAULD Shotlist: street scene in Glasgow including demolition of tenement buildings (0.08) titles (0.19) map of central Scotland showing location of CUMBERNAULD (0.23) aerial views of town centre, housing schemes and transport network including roads, bus station and pedestrian bridges (1.24) interior and exterior of town centre (2.10) shots of a dark brown Vauxhall Chevette driving into a large cul-de-sac and parking in a marked bay (3.34) shots of a young couple and their daughter getting out of car (4.24) shots of woman and little girl entering house while man unloads a record player and a guitar from car (5.05) close up of house front showing bright yellow door and integral refuse unit (5.38) shots of downstairs interior including: couple walking through hallway; woman admiring kitchen worktops; man in living room operating central heating air vents (6.20) shots of woman and girl climbing stairway, little girl waving through the top banister at her father (7.03) shots of family exploring upper storey of house (7.36) girl bouncing on bed (8.04) shots of father and daughter running around in garden as mother stands at the back door (8.49) shots of couple unpacking boxes in kitchen and filling cupboards while daughter draws a picture at a table (8.54) shots of planning model for town centre and associated construction work (9.13) panning shot of CUMBERNAULD from surrounding ridge (9.38).


The Streak Sarah Spence

A streak of slime from someone’s fleshy belly. I screech and scrub. A slug. I sweep aside the cleaning bottles beneath the sink seeking the crack that betrays me, the breach letting unclean foreign creatures sneak in my kitchen. And while I sleep! Leaving that obscene streak between the bits it’s been — it’s unhygienic. I run hot water deep, steep a fresh cloth in bleach, smear the smear clear til it’s gleaming. But the next night while I’m dreaming a second streak appears along the sink. I roll my sleeves up, rubber gloves. A slug. I hit repeat: the bleach, the cloth, the frothy steam and with a bit of elbow grease I clear away the creature’s souvenir completely. To stop the ordeal repeating, that evening I leave out beer to lure it, deep to drown it — a gardeners’ technique, I believe, for getting lettuce thieves. That’ll teach it! Over eager, I caffeine up, police the sink, the dark becoming creepy and surreal so when I’m forced to sleep I dream of living meat aligned and neat along my jaws between my teeth and I choke awake believing that my tongue’s a creeping creature stuck. A slug. Dream-drunk, heartbeat speeding, I scramble from my sheets to rinse my mouth but at the sink I see — a streak, a streak, a streak! And though I’m weak-kneed and weeping I pledge to wipe these creatures out completely! Salt shaker in shaking hands, I leave my kitchen for the garden’s weeds and beasties, feeling with bare feet until my eyes, bleary from sleep and crying, readjust and I see — a streak! a streak! Streaks — meeting! Streaks — weaving! Streaks streaking across concrete and — a complete gleaming network is revealed, a moonlit system, silver and inconceivable, sweeping over paving like organic city streets, branching and reaching in secrecy, fresh from fleshy bellies.


Woodbank House Sally Gales


I had just gotten over the flu, so what better activity to engage with than venturing out into a cold, blustery Scottish afternoon for a romp through a ruin. Some might think it is dedication while others might argue it is becoming an unhealthy obsession, but the truth is I had been homebound for four days and Woodbank House was only a five-minute drive away. Sitting slightly outside Balloch’s main center, the remains of Woodbank House are tucked back, away from Luss Road. Getting out of the car, all I could see was the shell of a modest two-story home. We slowly walked up the slight incline towards the structure passing an unkempt field on the left and a muddy pasture – complete with two horses – on the right. The entire area tasted of abandonment and as I passed the horses voluntarily staying within the collapsing fence, I worried about the state of their hooves after remaining so long in what could only be described as muck. One horse eyed me suspiciously and I hurried along the path. It wasn’t until I reached the thicket of brush and wispy trees at the end of said path that I actually saw Woodbank House. The modest structure I had spotted from the road was only a fragment of the estate – a sentry standing guard against the uninterested. I could only imagine the small house originally belonged to a groundskeeper and his family or maybe it was a quaint guest cottage for friends who tired of the luxury of the main house. Either way, I did not linger but took the path to the right – away from the main house – towards the stables. I didn’t think much of my decision at the moment but reflecting back now, I wonder why I decided to start with the side instead of the main course. It could have been that I was trying to build up to the grand reveal or that my cognitive processes had still not fully recovered from the bouts of fever but if I force myself to really think about that moment I went left I am struck by a feeling of discomfort near the base of my neck. I didn’t argue with my host – the thought never even crossed my mind - I picked my way through the trees and the stables welcomed me with gaping windows.


Consisting of a collection of different sized and shaped buildings, the stables had seceded to nature’s reign long ago. Vines replaced mortar while moss took great care to cover up the areas left bare by paint’s lack of endurance. I picked my way from room to room noticing the way the forest floor spread through interior and exterior without discrimination. Of course, humanity hadn’t entirely given up its hold on the decaying structure. The typical expected splatters of neon, spray painted art dotted every vertical surface; taggers claimed bricks, layering their sigil over one another, all scrambling to own a piece of…of what? A piece of a dying building? No, there is no value, no logic in that statement. There is not a sense of ownership layered between the pinks and whites but instead a sense of sacrifice. The hastily scrawled names and messages were given – offered up – to Woodbank House with each artist leaving behind a bit of themselves in return for…The ruin no longer belonged to a Lord or Lady. It was not the property of an establishment. It could not be claimed by any one individual. The tags competing for space with the moss appeared like incantations – wishes upon crumbling stars – while Woodbank House was being consumed by nature. I stepped over bricks and larger concrete blocks – decay is never clean or tidy – until I made my way up to the second floor of what had been the barn. Gaping holes and creaking beams made my heart leap with every step I took but still I forged ahead until I reached the last room in the corner. It could have been used as sleeping quarters with its two generous windows facing away from the main road but today a family of trees called it home. The missing roof was replaced by the trees thin branches while outside sturdier trees peered in at their cousins’ curious choice of abode. I did not cross the threshold - I couldn’t understand how the floor was supporting the mature trees and didn’t feel like pushing my luck much further – so I stood at the entry - an outsider peering into another world. My companion and I stood silent for a few seconds before turning back. It was time to go see the main house.


The Woodbank House was an 18th century mansion but in 1980 it was reborn as The Hamilton House Hotel. Unfortunately, the reincarnation was destined to be a short and tragic affair. Fire devastated the building in 1996 – shutting it down. And in 1999 another blaze ravaged the remains.1 Walking from the stables, the main house immediately revealed its tragic past. Two load bearing walls stood stripped bare of their companion walls, stark silhouettes against the grey sky. The house resembled the back of a doll house – all open compartments – with the exception of the mountain of rubble at its base. Even the fence meant to keep out intruders had fallen over – giving up on a lost cause. We left the tragic scene and headed towards the front entrance. It felt intrusive to dive right into the manor’s crumbling remains without at least getting a face-to-face introduction. Surprisingly, the front façade of the building was relatively intact. The two-story, five bay wall appeared a little worse for wear with a couple blocked up windows, chipped paint and moss coverings but the nomadic spray painters had almost spared this vertical surface (a rogue white cloud lined in fuchsia floated near the main entry). I ascended the slick, moss carpeted stairs slowly. The front door was understandably missing but it was easy to imagine the impressive stature this building had once enjoyed in its prime. Approaching the threshold, however, the interior had been completely transformed. Rooms were no longer defined or even identifiable. Timber beams melted into thorny brush and chaos ruled supreme. I tried to pick my way into the house but nature had other plans and I quickly reached a dead end. I turned in a circle – spotting the remains of a table leg and a rusted pipe leading to nowhere – marveling at the resiliency of the plant life overtaking the ruin. From my spot I could see the two walls I had spotted earlier reaching into the sky but the majority of the building was missing. Gone. I stared at the overcast sky overhead. There was something melancholy about this place.


Carefully making my way back, I circled around the building, like a hunter stalking its prey. I still didn’t want to dive into the building’s wounds. I got glimpses of my final destination through windows and impromptu holes in the wall and finally it was time to go in. My companion and I stepped over the fallen fence with ease but the next part of the journey proved a bit trickier. A small mountain of rubble steadily rose in front of us and we had to pick our way up through timber, boards, metal I-beams, bricks and larger chunks of wall. I tried to gracefully scale the treacherous path but really I scrambled up with a prayer on my tongue and my breath held in my lungs. I don’t know how I made it to the top without a scratch but not wanting to question my good fortune, I finally faced the scene I had avoided this entire time. There is something very eerie about looking into that kind of ruin. Three cavernous spaces exposed their injuries to me as I looked down. White light flooded in from the gaping windows but shadows stubbornly stuck to the corners and ceiling. I was surprised to find the roof still intact in these bays – it had fallen or been consumed in the rest of the house. “If I were homeless, I would totally come live here.” My companion seemed unaffected by the goose bumps prickling along my neck. I didn’t respond to his assessment but instead turned to go. I did not look back at the house; I knew it was watching us – marking the departure of another idle visitor. As we made our way out, we spotted four boys peering at us from behind a large tree trunk. They scattered like mice towards the stables, whooping and hollering but I quietly walked back to the car.

1 McLean,

Marc. (2017, Jan 25.). Historic Balloch hotel Woodbank House is listed as a ruin. Daily Record. Retrieved from: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/historic-balloch-hotel-woodbank-house-9691013


Yolk T. E. Parsons

Dumbarton Road. The cluttered hardware stores, filled roll shops, pubs with high frosted windows. She passes with the laden bag, dipping into charity shops, flicking though the rails. Fatigue is in her like rot in an ancient tree. The wind lashes her as she trudges toward Partick Cross. She blinks slowly, eyelids scraping parched corneas. Ahead of her a young man in trackies and a loose jumper steps from a number three bus, rolling in the wind, struggling with a strained carrier bag and a single bottle of Corona. He tries to pry the top off with a lighter, stumbles out into the road. Horns blare. He switches hands, raises the bottle now to his mouth and staggers back up the curb, gnawing at the bottlecap, staring at her as she passes. She feels fear, pity, a fleeting envy of his living so flagrantly wrong. All week passed in meetings, in the back rooms of churches and community centres, throat caked with pastry flakes from lukewarm sausage rolls. Black, bitter coffee sloughing down her gullet, the effect near amphetamine, as she hears tell of first pints with dad in the stands, teenage blackouts, chiding mothers who saw it clear, litres of vodka hidden in the shed, cars contracting themselves around flesh like a can crushed onto a wasp.


Men with great overhanging stomachs prowl the collapsible tables at break, stuffing in scotch pies and custard donuts, holding the small paper plates daintily, at neck height. An old woman pulls her into a musky hug and holds her there. This way ever since the last day. Neil reaching to the back of the airing cupboard, dislodging the bottle there like a tonsillolith. Her throat serrated from screaming, storming toward the off-licence. The stinging halos of the cuffs, the policewoman who slammed her head into the front seat. Waiting for dawn, making believe she was some ascetic monk. That the hours flowed over her like a calm, clear stream. The glass reflects the blinding light, in every building, catching the windows of the new student builds, kebab shops and Italian restaurants. She moves across Partick Bridge, the light on the river catching her, taking her sight in a red flash that dissolves into inky ephemera. The traffic roar elides into a slower rhythm, something muted and squelching, and when her vision returns it seems to pass through its own negative – greens and purples, shadow colours. What asserts itself is shocking in its vivacity: red and royal blue and beige-yellow storefronts, carriages, coats and hats. Barrels loaded on carts, stacked haphazardly; haggard creatures pulling them along: their wide and fathomless pupils. Policeman buttoned up to the Adam’s apple in deep blue linen. Shop signs painted right


on the brickwork. No silver nitrate distortion, light spots, mistimed exposures. The mud of the causeway, mud caking the wheels and the hooves and the hems of dresses. The museum ahead, half-made, wreathed in scaffolding. Below, the river moves unchanged. The clamour of voices, horses’ cries, hammerfalls. There is a sickly pulsing in her throat and she stoops over. When she looks up, through gold static the world is rushing on as before. Breathless drivers at the wheel of saloon cars. Pedestrians crossing the road staring at their outstretched hands. She crosses before the museum, down into Finnieston, turns back on herself. At the front door she stops, fumbles with a key, levers her way into the hall. Up three floors she staggers, the sheer drop to her right like a yawning mouth, toothless, a smooth marble uvula. The storm door jams up as she opens it. She flaps at each panel until it gives. Contorts through the inner door with its glazed glass panel. She collapses on a chair at the kitchen table, before a great mound of unopened mail, takeaway flyers. Her hip is tight wound, pain diffusing down her thigh. For ten minutes, she lies back in the chair with her mouth agape, eyes glazed over. Her strength gone somewhere she cannot follow. She stretches for the DAB radio, gracelessly jabs at the button. The paralytic bark of the


DJ holds her, yet she rights herself, both palms flat on the table, pulls herself up like a swimmer out of deep water, treks to the sink as ‘Moves Like Jagger’ comes through the speakers thick and sludgy: music to soothe captive fish, pumped from a speaker behind the false coral wreath. Cups piled below the faucet; plates, oven trays and blackened saucepans on the worksurface. She stands before all this and reaches out her right hand, four fingers extended, thumb tucked. Her eyelids gently closed. Elbow hyperextended. The palm rotating back and forth, out before her above the sink, moving as if to tease her way through the thin membrane that holds the yolk of the present in, to rupture it, let it permeate all that has gone before: intermingling whorls of time sinking, slowly sinking into atavistic tidal pools.


colors sleep like smell Timothy Berrigan

The soda bottle smells voluptuous in limes rendering replicas of consigned yearbooks cooking clouds. You sleep smothered in morning. When someone is buried we don’t notice any difference in the ground. Common sense is better known as class warfare. Astroturf becomes a technical term. Settlements are currently brimming with waterparks. We arouse the authorities posting public notices as love letters. Will the combustible carcinogens applying CPR please stand and go to the back of the line. All the while watercolors endure the desert. I sleep next to you but not nearly enough. All the while simple circuits sit in fields feeling sun shade. All the while you’re sweating in water frozen seltzer makes an unmade bed on the sidewalk. They call this feeling a commotion. Entropy is often referred to as sequin serialized.


Between moments pills begin to flicker. What’s a breeze without branches. Far enough off pixelated and granulated begin to feel the same. What other than shadows are edited by hand. A parkway has softer concrete. There are more words to describe trash than the wonder of watching gold slip. One more clarification before we get to emptiness. Try to assemble something that gives a credible sense of silence. When you begin to piece things together there’s a less there. Butter is equal parts anticipation and sunlight. They said paintings don’t move but I don’t think that’s correct. Give vagueness your time. A wonderful gift is still bought don’t worry. My orientation is a plain set of materials and industries, textured light, and other intensely visual qualities. There was a moment when we were crossing two oceans. We start in the future and end up going sideways. The cables and seaweed are tangled into a defunct ball.


Plastic flower beds grow in Duane Reade. Sinks and faucets are out of proportion. A portrait dies of thirst. The sky flocks vocabularies. Coming and going okays stylistic effects. Watching the book the skylight was better. The orchard apples and seeds violins. A fact is so enamored with itself don’t you think. A chiffonade of clouds spell out: today isn’t the half of it. It’s more accurately a constellation made of pockets. The high and low for today means more than one thing. Long Island is a diptych of fallen water lilies and silent movies on the other side of a second. Today’s days are stylistic effects. It’s a poem when something breaks. The next word begins all but bright again. An envoy opens as waves chiffonade. I suppose a physician is waiting and an egg yolk pausing. A monastery has its own permanent condition in fact. The envelope opens and scabs full of flowers inside. An italic light blips a wrinkle before a window. The fact follows the program and the program the fact. Plate flowerings stay strewn while confetti grows into khakis.


Sunsets in the suburbs are quieter. Faces in old photographs make the one you do. Everyone keeps talking as we pass roadkill. Capillaries and pixels critique America after delays to their flight. Your apartment encourages epiphanies and sandals. Religion is largely organized around blood pressure and vitamins. Oceans drown in broad existential questions. Under blankets we weave pauses and font flowers. An opening opens without anything having to happen next. From the sky it all looks like filaments or spaghetti. We approach a restless night with boxing gloves of lips and strands of loose hair. Skyscrapers salt and pepper stars and sky infatuated with the very small dot at the center of your eye. The orange capability of syrup in a snowfield is a mixture of volume and ourselves. We architecture norms of gold, god, loose hands, and city squares.


Seltzer nibbles calendars made of water. Brand name and description paper mache mountains, mouths, and months in August. The room yells love is gentle ransom. Cuts fade an organic color and parents confuse commercials with lullabies. You receive a summer postcard saying you’ve made too much of me. Coalitions of velcro unlike velcro lick water. Inside voices are made up of hills protesting the requirements of mountains. The sound of Alka-Seltzer is blue eyes dripping tinfoil. Birds file for acquittals. Once it’s here it speaks from that point. God happens to be overpaid by all the calculations. You keep going and if you stop you are lost. Moths demand recognition for more than just fucking light. Infinity floods the calendar. Colors in spite of the contrary smell like sleep. Product and weight talk with a limp, come into the room, and turn the lights off while children are sleeping.


A window fan at the beach is only permitted in the cafe. The floor is a wedding ended. Snow touches your skin and melts. Distant fruit weeps this juice. Atheists are praying all over the place. You break the bank without any intention of putting it back together. The light controls the shape of the sea. Large percentages of DNA end up in recyclable paper products and restaurants near freeways. The perfume computers more and more products. An alarm clock red sign says we pay taxes on hope. Please keep us in your holidays. Laughter lessens blood’s weight. More and more coherence is reliant on experience. The shape of your lips are morning in a togo container mixing with rare oxygen. A window fan still praying all over snow touches your skin only to become reliant on paper products. The wind comes up as if it had somewhere else to go. Bank tellers are fortune tellers. Sleeping you drool rates of perception. Occasionally there’s woods in the water.


Folded leaflets sheet and shape petals made of deepening emphasis. Bliss both domestic and miscellaneous ripens in our sighs. Open to the possibility of accidental elements we don’t see any. Open to categorized coherence the windows let in the unique motif of a mosaic in motion. Luauing curtains drape mathematically. The rose becomes piers while we citrus. The vacuum Xeroxes wishlists and carpets. The room becomes a picture of itself and we the opposite. Folded leagues of shelfs format petals while flora and fauna deepen in varying forms of encouragement. House keys hang on the sun. Walls and wills house dreams and series. The liquid light remains seated. An unrolled carpet and you think desert. We lay on it rainforesting. Only in time does it exist. Flora and fauna open to distant possibilities. We lay on without seeing any.


Scott Coubrough


Maria Sledmere, Dichroic Cloud Over

Untitled Vista


Untitled Jarlath Mulhern

There is glass and crockery poised as, Spilled blood in glacial time beneath our feet. And when your lips opened so did the maw A velvet ballroom, peopled with painted clowns , magazine men Dancing to the tune from a glacial moment, (S poised feet.)

pilled blood beneath All pieces of men scattered upon a floor Again like this; Again, Like this Again. The hotel is all insentient charcoal audacious brass The occasional photograph that screams What are these walls but vassals of wrath? For captive souls in chariots

BY DEMONS DRIVEN.


where it was you meant to travel Callie Gardner

a high availment: giving yourself a sign in blue. don’t be the person you don’t want yourself to be. easier to make a mark and eat from short supply. i want to be next to the world in another way; better, and less. how have the small mountains been weathered? and so, by what winds will they cross the desert? it’s a bad idea for them to share histories in the red valley, wearing down its ancient sides. it’s time to become a pilgrim, to leave your shoes on the floor of that most ordinary dwelling and measure out with holy steps your way to a small but permanent sin you have committed to. the old figures of this landscape contain all the elements within, and so some seasonal colourings persist, even here, where finally i have no body. what a glow emerges from the place where i might otherwise have been!


Lavender Town Maria Sledmere

Inside high frequency, a revolving door of glass & vanish. Conditions vary. Mapless, I wander thru fog. There’s a girl in me that screams for release; her throat is full of myth. Myth shrieks. She joins a minor key, calls the agency. Such is seductive tone in plaintive hymnal odes to the dead A mescaline sunset pasted w/ old world aromas and yarrow of meadow the mind’s astringency glitches Beat to beat the neverland easy. A wide cultivation of illicit vitamins, orange seville and neroli. Such cool notes flavour the air a shuddering. Too sweet, they leave me. I walk around without aim, resist the soporific. My thoughts are thin clouds that dart before me, fading to bullet hole skies, bleeding heliotrope. Veering. Hidden inside the corrupted game a piece of calorific media Against massive intimations of pain, the generation waned with great beauty. Tourists drew symbols in the tinted dust, a sacrificial act of something. I fact checked-out, doled money on moonstones. Precision of script. All latent desires flash in translucent windows, a dart. //missingno. I knew a convulsive scene, not all it seems. This happened before, remember you opened the door but I walked ahead of it. Remember I walked. The evolution of seizure splits thunder from geometry. Can you hear our little creatures. Their shrieks // of egg break free. Imagine if I scored the barrier for you. My body as key. These claims. ~ A shadowed locality pinned into nineties. What if I bounced too high? Suburban purples invite fresh dreams over rows of gardens, then do the work of preserves. Hence radio, hence ghost-type. The jarring passage through vaguest dread, a jarred viscosity. Inside binaural, the illegal orchids flourish. Make meat of the brain. Botanical appetites parallel adult immunity. Place my desire on a spectrogram, wreck childhood and lure of viral innocence. Inversion of time: its linear melody twists into cycles. Repeat climate conditions, magnify pixels. The contours refrain, refrain. Digital ashes whipped by storm and sin. Was it here I lost my kin?


18-3838 ~ ULTRA VIOLET Katy Lewis Hood


spooky tour guide Dan Power

got his face paint and an undertaker’s hat is he meant to look dead or like a ghost? this castle is made of sandstone he tells us and if you trail your hands along the walls you can hear the individual grains of sand falling like rain to the ground like stroking a dog and uprooting layers of mangy fur in places tourists have caused this castle to shrink by over twenty centimetres for this reason he tells us not to touch the walls the sun just setting through an arrow slit makes the place look dead makes us look like ghosts


Short answer: yes; long answer: Colin Herd All hotels are sucky My name all of a sudden is Puddles or Pepsi Max Cherry or Yes In My Backyard There’s a coat out there for everyone patterned with lambs or birthday cakes in the right size The kind of pancakes I bought were studded with chocolate and arrestingly doughy, urban Barred Owls Eyes-in-pictures followed us around Peppermint is good but I’ll see what it looks like I’m trying to be an app there but not there I’m trying to do a me flouncing out at the merest hint of trouble all robot-with-a-baby-in-its-tummy How many people enjoy walking into a room full of nobody they have ever met It’s an awful thing to say it reminds me of orchestrated displays of happiness & I’ve never ever never ever been moved by a monarchy


For Sarah, After a Meeting Dominic Hale

briskly with assemblage of steps_breathy bypass pelting levels, appointments and several yet a close, so with a wynd inviolable chime tonight presume umbrellas, dividual this syntax is_in flinty influence of a usual capital city, much a deep web lacks and all the planets in_this_form_ you say yr head is a celestial body each a tack over more traffic over more impossible language_skip recycling tap Display & Brightness soften up collision of a week_scathing into our accumulations. I’d recollect John James, or Schuyler, Barbara Guest, averring the unmotivated detachments of Atlantic salt, a certain porousness should never be put out so here this afternoon am I not a proto-looney tune_dillydally quiet carriage, sluggish, lazy, stupid, and unconcerned, and isn’t it brilliant, and isn’t it, grace of casual fluctuations in the fruit bowl which is the winter city, which is the multi-coloured air living so the last night feels like a past life unquote, where all James Murphy’s friends arrive together_ uneliminated as I’m high and lippy, shimmying reaction of SpaceX stock, wry Orion’s belt


home again_home again_jiggety-jig home again_home again_no more frying as the stock market skyrocketed into a closed window— partial indents in that nightly sky without nausea that’s commitment, not the exactitude of superior brutality, abraded noise, harsh postures, but the care of what is fallible, the generosity of the mistake the one registered in the outskirts in that hair’s breadth another month sketched out thinking about a paragraph, about a thing uncut the system capitulates and soon, vantage on what and where we’ve been, and where we are, and where we’ve got to go one rare cloud stapled to the document Stalin’s in the slipstream the president has died a death blame the shoulder_orient the joint, nationalise a semblance of a gridlocked song as figures in the peppy cerulean collate under a discreet weathervane, carry straggling their damages_attending to the corridor, a current lane combed out of that other world if anyone might recognise and better still, for what it is for S.B. 23 November 2017


Taxpayers’ Money close that tab for good, clerics. how much twds our pharma partnership, drug rep to the flicked stars. i don’t give it about wellbeing figures, my rosebuds are beyond the pale, rheumatic in a laptop case. you never said i wanted to work, earth crashing out of the obsolete disc drive. the illuminations clash spectacular this harvest festival, the great coke nearly killed you. seasoned chemtrails sprinkling an avid valley, disaster in the consulate, rental breezes innovate the details. the most vulnerable in our propriety. what do you want from me, all the prospects of our sea level


Propane Lane legit living for the hyperloop Del surrender to the dead ender_ endoskeleton of prospering theoretics (gimme gelatine blocks of time# just a couple more gimme Tesla this was when sparing you A dime for getting the fuck on w/it, bamboozled in silicon valley_ cresting a wave of profit motives the rotary dub, but it’s my personhood https:// THERE IS NO THREAT exercise, exercise, exercise i’ve hit back, espresso slacking in the new town, w/young fathers_aphex_green clouds of aphids from the gradual Trees on-the-cuff downsize the world is running the program____ gasp in2 the panic zine screenshot of grenfell coursing historic, velcro ripped apart full pelt attention spanner, desiccate th free-return trajectory corrected & purified where will it end


and_and Movie perfection# where will it upend postponement drone_w/ elan_must we, must we be moving onwards and outwards memebase, make a mouse a meme hourly bankrupt, declarations of relevance_LAN_enhance slips off the arum leaf This is to inform you that $13,864.05 has been deposited into your bank account this morning. i recall talya driving us, pacific palisades and all shall be Well_and .mannerof things@ susurrating%/pyre inflation bait one-up the hardest sell, when im in bits across the Bruntsfield links && ! defined (_GLIBCXX_HAVE_COSHF)# define these are tracks for the close and th rhyming sharp_when the folder is empty just to tap it down, an echelon not contactless_, wld be, a sorted day


Speedy Poem after John James, i.m. 1

pacing outer speedy can of fanta panting and enchanted in bristo square careers fair slant months from the business and the fringe summer visitors itemising clutter how do i scroll cinematically sending draft how do i especially impinge commending you for the safety of loafers


speedy city kabanos and hendrick’s in or out of dagda quandaries of leaving the language surface undercooked no one breathing interestingly he’s just come back i positively love him 2

flower of the continuum faffing in the cinema quids in needing speedometers rhyming boats like tiny clouds like texting exiting the pokémon center after the expiry of a former august


canvas tote benchmark gusting wending park email from oli message maria attachment from luke said it’s hope into practice messy routines into messy interstices leased to what’s memorable bless me and bless you talking particulars in memory of my failings the colours alternate myselves imaginary farther off exhale this in particular saying this particularly happened earlier frazzled checking the rota


singular jugular getting shirty skyscraping hard safeguarded jot the pick `n` mix in welcome shade i feel it fade into a sleight of common hands you’ve got to hand it to you gone careering on 3

and effortlessly radiated and absolutely gutted particular through lanterns and replaying a blinder hide from timeline wending mall shook out of the inbox flocks and tints


reticulated later double-click click instant messaging irl fluent sea fluent sky when and why text me if you know i won’t reply millionth sentence listing the distance pixel after megapixel minutes w/a pinnacle


Profile for Gilded Dirt

Gilded Dirt #3: Vibrant Ruins  

Issue #3 of the visual/poetics zine Gilded Dirt. Themed 'VIBRANT RUINS', the issue explores themes of waste, ornament, vibrant matter, dream...

Gilded Dirt #3: Vibrant Ruins  

Issue #3 of the visual/poetics zine Gilded Dirt. Themed 'VIBRANT RUINS', the issue explores themes of waste, ornament, vibrant matter, dream...

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