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the online magazine of the Lampeter Creative Writing Centre

issue 3/ MAY 2011

EDWARD BOND • STEPHEN HARROD BUHNER • PHILIP GROSS • MATTHEW PORUBSKY • DIK EDWARDS • TAMAR YOSELOFF • ZOË BRIGLEY • SUSIE WILD • ALAN FLANDERS • PETER FINCH • JAMES MORRIS • ROBERT MINHINNICK • STEVIE DAVIES • ROS HUDIS • JOHN LAVIN • DAVID BRUNDAGE • PATRICK JONES


THE LAMPETER REVIEW

The online magazine of the Lampeter Creative Writing Centre www.lampeter-review.com | info@lampeter-review.com EDITED by: Ros Hudis EDITORIAL BOARD: Dik Edwards, John Lavin and Chris Cornwell, Ros Hudis DESIGNED by: Constantinos Andronis (www.c-andronis.gr, constantinos.alpha@gmail.com) COVER PAGE PHOTOGRAPHY: Constantinos Andronis (www.c-andronis.gr, constantinos.alpha@gmail.com) Š Respective authors


Table of Contents 6

EDITORIAL

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Six Poems - EDWARD BOND

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The Soft Flutter of Butterflies - STEPHEN HARROD BUHNER

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Extreme Epithalamium - PHILIP GROSS

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Ruled by Pluto - MATTHEW PORUBSKY

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The Memory Palace - DIK EDWARDS

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Lee Visits the Studio - TAMAR YOSELOFF

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Gothic Landscape - TAMAR YOSELOFF

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The Bell Confessing - ZOË BRIGLEY

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Anne of the Opening Hand - ZOË BRIGLEY

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Unplugged - SUSIE WILD

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The Rain Within, The Fire Without - ALAN FLANDERS

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Changing My Beddings This Morning - ALAN FLANDERS 4

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Vote - PETER FINCH

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The Mad As Hell Convergence - PETER FINCH

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Wild Wales - PETER FINCH

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Six photos from A Landscape of Wales - JAMES MORRIS

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Antares (for Trevor) - ROBERT MINHINNICK

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Babble - ROBERT MINHINNICK

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Free State - STEVIE DAVIES

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Seven poems - ROS HUDIS

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When she left she didn’t hear from him, she didn’t hear from him - JOHN LAVIN

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Three poems from Beach Motel, a work in progress - DAVID BRUNDAGE

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Fossilized - PATRICK JONES

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It Shall Be Done - PATRICK JONES

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Editorial Ros Hudis

In his critique Joy or Night: Last Things in the Poetry of W.B.Yeats and Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney writes: ‘In order that human beings bring about the most radiant conditions for themselves to inhabit, it is essential that the vision of reality which poetry offers should be transformative, more than just a printout of the given circumstances of its time and place. The poet who would be most the poet has to attempt an act of writing that outstrips the conditions even as it observes them.’ This is surely an appeal for writing that does more than re-map familiar territory. Its a demand for something transgressive – that is a point of departure for the reader, offering him the shock of newness, of astonishment, a sense of being propelled to think and feel and imagine further than before. Its an invitation to cross boundaries. In selecting pieces for this, the third issue of The Lampeter Review, we’ve been drawn particularly to writing that has these qualities of daring and intense imagining. In adherence to this spirit, our first contribution is by Edward Bond, one of Britain’s greatest modern dramatists. We’re proud to be the first to publish these six major poems by Edward Bond, written between 2006 and 2010, including a declaration of his philosophy of theatre – It Is Manifest. Crucial to Bond is the pre-eminence of imagination as a humanising agent. And for him, imagination is linked closely to the unconscious. It allows us to make creative leaps that surprise us out of clichéd thought, that give us insight. The American writer, Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of the iconic Ensouling Language. On the Art of Non-fiction and the Writer’s Life – and an inspiration to our editors - also appeals for openness to these wellsprings of creativity. He challenges the arid and mechanical quality of much non-fiction writing, and the danger of much creative writing being afflicted in the same way, because of formulaic teaching on American MFAs in particular. For Buhner, as for Edward Bond, there is urgent need in our time for writing, in any genre, that - to adapt Buhner’s own words - attempts to extend awareness ‘further than society wants it to go’ - a view strongly endorsed by our editors. 6

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We’re honoured to publish Stephen Harrod Buhner’s piece – The Soft Flutter of Butterflies written specifically for this issue of The Lampeter Review. In 2009 the Wales-based poet, Philip Gross won the TS. Eliot prize for his sixth collection The Water Table. Gross’s work often charts moments of haunting liminality – the ‘in-between land’ where the familiar is infused with strangeness. These moments can be stepping off points into new perception. In Gross’s Extreme Epithalamium, published here for the first time, we are invited to step across that boundary. The Lampeter Review has developed out of the Creative Writing Centre based at Lampeter, Trinity St David, University of Wales. And in this issue we feature a number of eminent authors writing out of Wales. Dik Edwards’ work is often characterised by its global awareness and vision of the literary act as intrinsically a political one. In his major new story, The Memory Palace, Edwards traverses the painful but ultimately redemptive interplay of memory and trauma across the landscape of post 9/11 New York. Global themes and the formative, sometimes ironic, intersection of the personal and political are also present in a powerful story by the award winning author, Stevie Davies. We are proud too, to be the first to publish an extract from a début novel by Susie Wild - Unplugged - winner of last year’s Fiction Book of the Year, Welsh Icon Awards, and two prose pieces by one of Wales’ most significant modern poets, Robert Minhinnick. Minhinnick here conjures vivid physical territories that are also mythic, trans-cultural and poetic. We also feature three poems by the ground-breaking writer, Peter Finch, chief Executive of the Welsh Academi: The Mad As Hell Convergence is his tribute to his namesake, the actor Peter Finch. And we have two pieces from Patrick Jones, whose searing voice asserts the power of poetry as a form of activism and witness. Exploring the creative dynamic of artists or writers from the past is, in part, a journey into the nature of creativity itself. The poet Tamar Yoseloff has recently brought out The City with Horns, which evokes the iconoclastic biography and vision of the artist Jackson Pollock and those close to him. We are delighted to be able to showcase two poems from this, her fourth collection, as well as two poems by Zoe Brigley from a sequence based on her residency at the Bronte Parsonage Museum. With Zoe Brigley’s subtle poems we are again on a borderland between received knowledge and ‘the unspoken truth /of you and I’ – a tension that is both powerfully creative and poignant. Its the traditional role of the small magazine to promote new talent; one hall-mark of The Lampeter Review is its adventurous and eclectic mix of work by established and new writers as well as overseas writers not yet familiar to British readers. One such is the young, award winning American poet, Matthew Porubsky. We also feature exciting work by postgraduate 7

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students associated with the Creative Writing Centre at Lampeter, including part of a long poem in progress, beach motel by the Canadian writer and lecturer David Brundage. His work unfolds some of the capacities of the longer poem to chart the paradoxes of closeness and separation, present narrative and memory, and the long, unruly cycles of our lives. With issue two of the review we introduced a graphic element. In this issue we include six photographs by one of Wales’ most talented and distinguished photographers, James Morris. They are drawn from A Landscape of Wales – a project of 83 photographs that focuses on the ‘man-altered’ landscape of Wales in a way that invites us to reshape our interpretations of that landscape This then, is wide-ranging issue, but with a common thread – that of challenging and enriching our cultural awareness on many levels.

Ros Hudis. Editor

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Six Poems Edward Bond

HOW ELSE SHALL IT BE SAID? Through that window The rot of gold Crimson splodges The shield is wounded Then the tree trunks The flaking planes The fissured plated oaks The wood is not walked Instead the early-winter light shoulders past itself In the field grass grows over the war ditches – withers or is cropped by kine – and the beast draws marrow from its bone The steam of laundry in poor kitchens People gnaw themselves The day comes in its coffin and we shall fill it with ripe plenty We tread the severity of the earth and the wrath of time is upon us Then come – here – now – stand on the white hewn slab – or the cobbles which are wept-marble – of the town square The actor in the white shift-shirt raises his arm high over his head – the red gauntlet of knitted wool – take one more step and he’s gone Freedom and dread are joined and parted by an ache In the moment of birth we are promised death In the moment of the self the shadows are made white and we are possessed by justice 9

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DEMOCRACY See in the city the desolate woman Taken for a tramp – clothes weather-faded - - threadbare She walks with care on broken shoes Her young face worn Her bony arm clutching the sleeping infant boy She leads the young girl by the hand – their narrow pensive wrists About her (the man is dead) the roar and sneer of city traffic proclaiming its importance In shop doorways – stone clefts – and on open streets – chattering mobiles The fire-crackle of newsprint crushing itself The raucous rant of radios The fluttering wings of wounded birds and drunken angels The ghosts displaying wares in windows Her walking is the measured dance of stones Her veins the jagged lines of clear perception: the iron tongue of history She has no hope to beg Passers-by do not see the wind seeks shelter in her rags She is un-regarded Uncared for Unrecognised Unknown She is democracy And carries in her mind the graves of those who died touching her hand – once multitudes – And urns of fear

OCTOBER Last night no cloud Instead the light of the full moon shone through a mist that covered the vast sky from horizon to zenith in one single seamless white sheet 10

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And fell to my feet In October poets say yellow and orange and red I said red red red red red For the soldiers who bled and are dead And the moonlight was a bandage bound on a bloody head and a shroud that covered the earth

THE SCHOOLMASTER’S SHOES The schoolmaster rose early He laid the family breakfast table I do not know if there was bread or coffee or milk Or if the bowls clinked as they touched Soldiers came to the door They took him out to be shot pour encourage the neighbours I do not know if they had shot people the day before or if they joked They ran the schoolmaster along the path to the killing place His bare feet bled on the stones He wanted to see his children again before he was shot So he asked the soldiers to take him back to his house to put on his shoes They did: I do not know why I do not know if his children still slept as he put on his shoes The soldiers hurried him back to the killing place Then a strange thing happened The soldiers beat the schoolmaster and left him for his neighbours to find But they did not kill him I do not know why Perhaps because they had seen his blood on the stones Perhaps because the breakfast table was laid Perhaps because even in the annals of war there must be relics of innocence or all hope is lost But it is strange the things that men do

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THE BOOM-BOOM MAN [ON DRAMA] See when it happened yeah Like boom: it was like a kinda quick ting: like boom Went down the road: come back up Boom-boom: finished: boom: ghost Yer get what I’m sayin? The police secret recording of a young killer shortly after his gang had knifed to death a stranger Precise terse summary and expansive: Shakespearian From the kitchen table to the edge of the universe You see traveller in rags on that dark journey Poets laureate do not use language so well – they have no need Only the rattle of teacups on saucers: the clink of glasses: the tealeaves – sawdust – of words But the poets have killed no one? No but the poets must go to the street where the body is broken and blood wells and seeps: must see the gaping eyes and be knocked aside by the pounding feet There only can lyric and our stone houses have meaning The dramatist must unravel the city’s bent entrails And lock the gates of hell

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IT IS MANIFEST

For days snow fell And now in the full moon’s light the silent night is as bright as another day And the untrodden snow a new world where even the black gnarled withered oak is clad in innocent white We live in a savage age The pre-catastrophe time The savage destroy things before they are made The fanatic stamp their feet on the bars of their treadmill And in the street people plunder the earth to nurture the parasite that will devour their children We have spent our patrimony – legal creative moral – The towers and domes and dwellings are falling and bricks lie like broken hands that clutched at the grass as they died We have sold our birthright to furnish a grave So let us write of the stage – the court of Justice we build to prosper our lives and our cities What is theatre? – in theatre the audience mocks itself – weeps and laughs at its follies – then simpering – satisfied – goes away It forgets that the price of a ticket is less than the debt all who live in this world must pay What is drama? – humanity Drama knows our secret self that each of us hides from our self out of pity and dread And the acts of rebellion we were too young to commit – though we were bound to commit them from the day we are born – but left to lie in wait for us like chaos and crime in the years ahead

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The actors tell us these secrets and act this chaos And bear for us the pity we dread to bear and the dread that is pitiless And wipe out these secrets and these offences with the sky as if it were a towel from our kitchen or a sheet from our bed So that the ageless Tragic paean of freedom is sung It is as simple as that and may be as simply said The actors have empathy for their audience

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The Soft Flutter of Butterflies Steven Harrod Buhner

I never was a good student in school–though first grade was fun. We made hand prints in wet plaster and walked in the woods looking for butterflies and learned the Spanish words for chocolate and hello. That summer was wonderful. I got bright new shoes and ran and played with my friends and we flew kites and the days were as long as forever. But next year, school was different. Our teacher stood ramrod stiff at the head of the class and she was tall and thin and the mole on her chin vibrated with indignation. Her face disapproved of itself and she wrinkled her nose when she talked as if she were smelling something that polite people didn’t mention. She walked all the way to school wearing a backpack filled with rocks to make her posture better and she hit our hands with a ruler if we were naughty and gave us demerits if we talked out of turn and taught us that every word could only be pronounced one way and that the dinosaurs died because their brains were too small and it took a week for the nerve impulses to get from their tails to their heads. I didn’t like her very much and I began to think that school was something I would rather not do. But when I told my mother I was informed that I didn’t have a choice in the matter and that school was good for little children and that go I would. So, the years went by, as years do, and some teachers were better and some were not and I became as unconscious as unconscious could be. I remember the day I began to wake up. Our sixth grade class was being unruly and the teacher was suffering from it and we were informed that the only thing she wanted to hear out of our mouths was nothing. A girl in the next seat asked if she could borrow a pencil. I turned to her and said, “Sure. Here.” And that was that; I was sent into the hall for talking out of turn. It was winter and I wore short sleeves and thin brown pants and the hall of the new school was cold and dim and very, very empty. 15

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The hall lights were turned off during class to save electricity and pale winter sunlight came from the windows at each end of the long hall and the floor was linoleum and the walls lined with metal lockers and the ceiling lights were little square recessed boxes and every little tiny sound echoed as if I were in a metal tube and the alienation and loneliness of the place went through me like a sigh from the mouth of god and left me trembling in its wake. And then, for some reason that day, I got mad. It occurred to me there was something wrong with this place and though I did not know it at the time I was beginning to realize there is a difference between schooling and education. And I just decided that I wouldn’t put up with it any longer and so I walked. I left that place and walked the three miles home, down the endless winter sidewalks with their stark leafless trees and the long, snow-plowed streets, and took the key from under the milk box and let myself into the silent and empty house. And later, I carefully watched from behind the pale window curtains as a blue car, with the teacher and the vice-principal inside, pulled slowly up in front of the house. I watched as they opened the car doors and got stiffly out. I watched as they walked up the frozen flagstones and up the icy steps to the front door. And I remained silent all through the ringing of the doorbell. And I remember later, the 105 degree fever and the bed-and-myself floating in space and the visions and the voices and thinking this was all pretty interesting. And then I went back to school and I was once again quiet and good but some sleeping thing inside me was stirring and not god nor parents nor school systems could keep it much longer in its box. Then my parents moved all of us to Dallas, Texas and it was 1966 and I began to listen to the Beatles and the Stones and Bob Dylan and the sleeping thing inside me began to rattle the lid of its box and sometimes the sounds it made were really, really loud. It was a bad time and a bad place for that sleeping thing inside me to make noise. The suburbs of Dallas were filled then (as they are now) with the Avon-decorated faces of our mothers and the absence of our fathers and a generation of children were growing up displaced persons and some kind of wildness was beginning to creep out of the emptiness inside us. Our hair grew longer and a strange light began to gleam in our eyes and we discovered words like “fuck” and “shit” and “No.” And our elders began to fear us and I found it was possible to be arrested for walking with long hair. Handcuffed and taken to the local lockup, my mention of the Bill of Rights was greeted with laughter. I was denied a phone call and held without knowing if anyone knew where I was. I was told I had no right to counsel and my jailers amused themselves by telling me I would never get out, that they had called my mother and she said for them to keep me, and that I would soon be put in general lockup with “the others.” But, perhaps, if I told them who I bought my drugs from they would “go easy on me.” Perhaps, if I were cooperative they could intervene, tell the judge I had been helpful, and arrange my release (I still wasn’t sure what the charge was–I didn’t know, then, about walking with long 16

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hair). But I didn’t cooperate and even so, twenty four hours later, my mother did show up to take her wayward, fifteen year old, very terrified, son home. They had collectively felt some experience with Texas justice would teach me something. It did. I have hated the abuse of power ever since. And the lid of the box came off and that sleeping thing inside me came out and I have never put it back and I never will. How hard it is to honor these most important of our teachers.

My school, of course, was not amused and informed me I no longer need attend (I was a bad influence on the other children) and I finally knew too deep for words that they were not interested in me as a human being but only in my compliance and I filed emancipation papers and worked that summer emptying garbage cans and saved my money and then, just after Christmas, I left that town, hitchhiking West. I was sixteen and on January 1, 1969 I arrived in Berkeley, California with $50 in my pocket and a tattered backpack with two changes of clothes. The Berkeley protests had been going all that Summer and Fall and the students at the university still carried gas masks to class every day. I met some people who lived in a flat on Telegraph Avenue and they said I could rent their walk-in closet for $25 a month. They kept green cans of military rations under their beds and hung gas masks on a coatrack near the door and after awhile one of the guys said he thought I should take a high school equivalency test and go to college and so I did. That first day of class, sitting right in front of me, there was a transvestite and s/he had long purple fingernails and a lot of makeup and I never had seen anything like that in my life. There was a man with a wild red beard and wild red hair and he told me stories about living for a year in a cabin he’d built in the mountains after he’d left high school and about building a ship and sailing around the world and the typhoon that hit him off the coast of Madagascar and wrecked the ship and cast him, wretched and gasping, on the shore. Then he was found by a beautiful woman and he lived with her until he was well. And later he worked his way back to America on a tramp steamer with a load of green hides and he never could wash off the smell. And I am sure that he, as I do, smells it yet. A boy in my class knew Cesar Chavez and he’d helped him organize the first migrant worker protests in California and he was Hispanic and played the guitar and was handsome and could sing so beautifully that it almost broke my heart and he told us not to eat grapes because of the boycott. One of my roommates was a stripper in the Tenderloin in San Francisco. She made more money than the rest of us together and was putting herself through school to become a psychologist.

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Another was a psychopharmacologist who used to get pure liquid LSD from Sandoz in Switzerland for his Masters degree program at the University of Iowa but all the students injected it instead of giving it to the chimpanzees and now they couldn’t publish their research. And he knew Owsley and sometimes I would see Jerry Garcia walking along the street and James Taylor played at a little venue and only 80 people were there and I had never had such fun in my life. The university didn’t care if I came to class, nor how I looked, and my professors weren’t interested in their students complying or conforming, only in their learning. And I loved it. But then the People’s Park Massacre happened and the war went on and the riots grew bigger and the years got longer and I didn’t know what I wanted to do–or be–so I left and moved to the high mountains of Colorado and rebuilt a nineteenth century cabin in woods. I learned to work a wood-burning stove and to cut firewood and to survive 32 feet of snow over a winter and to put snow chains on my car and how to build an outhouse that didn’t smell and to identify wild plants in the mountains and sometimes to use them for my food and medicine.  But I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life so I went to university again and the teacher in my first class looked like Santa Claus; he had a big stomach and a huge white beard and he laughed a lot. He told us his name was Ben Sweet (Sweet by birth, sweet by disposition) and the name of his class was “On the challenge of being human.” My other classes did not seem to care about the challenge of being human and they taught us instead to think about mathematics and to analyze different chemicals and as the months went by I felt farther from myself. And the only thing that seemed to make any sense was Ben Sweet and the way he talked to us and urged something in the deeps of us to come out–the way he looked, and listened, as if he had no other place on this Earth to be except with us, as if there were nothing more important in his life than what we had to say at just that moment in time. And one day, I found myself thinking that I wanted all my teachers to be like him and realized I didn’t care if I never did learn to “make a living” and I thought, “why not?” So, I made a list of every person I had heard of that had moved me in the way Ben Sweet did and I decided I wanted to meet and learn from every one of them. And I kept thinking, “This is crazy” but some other part of me kept saying, “Why not?” And for some reason I listened to what it said. The paper is yellowed now, as wrinkled as this face I see every morning in the mirror. We both have the marks of years upon us; the houses we’ve lived in and the moving vans and the storage boxes and the mountains of Colorado and the high plains desert of New Mexico and the long nights and all the friends who took a different path and that I’ve never seen again. I take it out and spread it on the table. The childish scrawl of my younger self looks up at me from that ragged, lined notebook paper. The names, filled with their simple hope, straggle over the page . . .

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Buckminster Fuller, Robert Bly, Jacques Cousteau, Robert Heinlein, Joan Halifax, Stephanie Simonton, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, William Stafford, Jane Goodall, Gregory Bateson, Eric Fromm, Frank Herbert, Ashley Montagu, Margaret Mead. I was so young then and the world was so new and my whole life was before me. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross dressed with no sense of fashion; she was plain and tall and thin. Her body was always moving, quivering, so full of energy, constantly seeking an outlet in some comment, gesture of hands, or facial expression. Elisabeth’s face was strong and masculine and she chain-smoked and didn’t care if people didn’t like it. Her eyes were penetrating, blue like some deep mountain pool, and I could see things I didn’t understand far inside them. When she talked to me–or to anyone the week we spent with her–she was fully present; she looked back, she really looked. “How did you come to your work?” someone asked. And she told us, her voice filled with the thick shapes of her German-Swiss tongue. “It was just after the war and I had heard of the terrible things that had happened in the concentration camps and I wanted to see for myself. So, I went to Majdanek in Poland. It is just outside the town of Lublin. “The gates of the camp stood open, raggedly smashed back as if a tank or truck had burst through them. Rusting barbed wire straggled away, as far as I could see, in either direction from the gate posts. There was a feeling about the place, or maybe it was just a feeling in me, as if I were standing at the opening of a huge, dark room–a room that contained some immense presence. “By the gates there was a table and a young woman with dark, raven hair. She had to ask me several times for my name. She wrote it down, then I began to walk, to see the camp, to see the truth of that place. “There were rusting railroad tracks and weeds growing up between them, and abandoned railroad cars were sitting there, the doors thrown open. Inside the first one were thousands of shoes, tiny children’s shoes, quiet now from their running and laughing, no longer a part of children’s lives. I could not take it in, thousands of children’s shoes, all moldering together. Then I looked into the next car and for the longest time I could not make out what I was seeing. Suddenly I realized–it was filled with tangled mats of human hair, hair that the Nazis had shaved from the heads of the people in this camp, hair to be used for mattresses. “There is a shock that comes when you see something that your world has no place for; the mind cannot conceive it and it feels as if the fabric of the world has torn and you have stumbled and are falling through the torn places into some in-between place that you never knew existed. 19

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“So, in shock I stumbled back from the railroad cars filled with hair and children’s shoes and turned and began walking. I don’t know where I was going. “Soon, I found myself in front of a wooden barracks. The interior was shadowed and empty and my footsteps echoed on the rough floor boards. I stood a minute to let my eyes adjust and then I could see the tiers of wooden bunks where the people had slept, one above the other. There was still a faint odor of unwashed bodies–of fear–and of ancient grief . “I walked down the long, central passageway, the tiers of bunks on either side, looking around me. Then I saw–on the walls, roughly carved into the wooden planks–hundreds of initials, and names, and the last pathetic messages to the living. And among those messages, I saw, were hundreds and hundreds of butterflies. Butterflies, everywhere. In the midst of that horror, the children had carved butterflies! “And into that silence came a presence and I turned and found that the young woman from the gate was standing behind me. There was a sweetness about her face and her eyes were calm but there was a great, deep sadness in them, too. “I did not know what to say, what to do. I had never conceived of these things. She saw that in my face and gestured and we walked outside. “‘I am Golda,’ she said. And she told me her story. “She was born in Germany and was half Jewish. Her father was taken by the Gestapo in 1939 during the early arrests. She and her mother, brother, and sister lasted longer; they were taken in 1944 and, eventually, sent to Majdanek. “‘After we arrived,’ she said, ‘they herded us into a line at the door of the gas chamber. My mother, my brother, my sister were in front of me but the room was filled after my sister was pushed in, crying, and the door was slammed in my face. And so, for some reason, I survived.’ She looked toward the crematorium, pointed to the chimney. ‘The ashes of my mother, brother, and sister floated up from there that day.’” Elisabeth looked at all of us in the room, spellbound by her story. “I had never experienced such cruelty,” Elisabeth said, “and my heart was being crushed. But the young woman seemed oddly unaffected by it, so I said to her, ‘But you look so peaceful. How can you be peaceful when your whole family was killed here?’ “Golda looked back at me–those peaceful eyes!–and said in the most penetrating voice I had ever heard, ‘Because the Nazis taught me this: There is a Hitler inside each of us and if we do not heal the Hitler inside of ourselves, then the violence, it will never stop.’” Elisabeth stopped then and let what she had said echo inside all of us. Then, softly, “So I asked her, ‘What are you doing now?’ “She told me she was working in Germany, at a hospital for German children injured during the war, the children of the Nazis who had sent her family to Majdanek. I was shocked. I asked her why. ‘How else,’ she asked, ‘can I heal the Hitler inside me but to give to them what they took from us?’” 20

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When Elisabeth was done many of us were crying, some were weeping deeply. She looked at us in that way she had and said, “Now you are feeling like human beings, not acting like dispassionate scientists.” Then she paused and said again, “There is a Hitler inside each of us, and if we do not heal it within ourselves, these things will never stop.” There was something in her voice that day, some invisible thing that my younger self did not consciously understand but could only feel. And it went into the depths of me and there it remains still. And sometimes when I feel the cruelty in callous and indifferent men, when I hear the velvet violence hidden in the innocuous-seeming words of a mother speaking to her child, when I see the people among us from whom the powerful have stolen the future–and the present, when I feel some rage inside me wanting to do harm because I feel so helpless that I can find no other thing to do, that teaching, in the depths of me, rises up again into awareness and I see that young woman in Majdanek and I feel her eyes looking into me and I hear Elisabeth’s voice once more and I begin to live outside the box again. There is a difference I learned, long ago, between education and schooling. Do you feel it now, in the room with you? I never was able to find it in schools or empty hallways or in the cold eyes of policemen. But sometimes I find it in the soft flutter of butterflies, or the greenness of grass, or in the laughter and running of young children, or in the words of teachers who come among us from time to time–out there, far outside these walls, in the wildness of the world.

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Extreme Epithalamium Philip Gross

Take a world. Flip inside out… so the edge (the one you choose to live on) is the centre, the heart. To live there - to live there together that’s extreme: everyday like a step off the ledge into freefall, or like the flick of a word off the lip of a line to hang there as if weightless; like feeling for the current’s take, in a glasscobbled stillness, straight through the whitewater rip, as boulders swash aside to let you through; like now, as the rain-spattered everyday light on my everyday window breaks; like a shatter of foam in the gravity dance, each droplet holding its own against the earth; like the edge between stalling and flight each stringbag molecule rides. And so may you.

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Ruled by Pluto Matthew Porubsky

When I breathe, I watch my skin stretch. I have just enough skin for the shape that I’m in.

I see you there, in your pink lambent glow, a virgin surface, too far to touch, too pure, too tenuous, innocently eccentric in your orbit with Charon beside, face to face in synchronous spin. The ferryman’s face phases many ways and you’re never positive it’s him, but know death is close across the river. Discovery not of your devise, you hide in an underworld of ice keeping secrets in silent places, keeping silent in secret places your passions that melt in the singing sun as you trace your stretched circle, longing for the distance that freezes you furthest, never wanting for rings. 23

I heard somewhere that happiness is circular, like people rolling down a grassy hill, and unhappiness is in corners. THE LAMPETER REVIEW - Issue 3 - May 2011


So, I sat in the corner smoking a cigarette, watching the smoke spin in hazy rings, and knew it was loneliness.

I lick my skin to find the smell of her fresh thighs melting.

I feel something in my blood. I never know where it is, but I can feel it. I can feel it peeking pain around rounded corners. It makes me dream I am awake when I sleep. I walk on marbled floors in domed compasses and people ask me if I am awake or asleep.

Under November’s newly plowed clouds cardinals in the ditches rage red and the rain on the water whispers incantations in cadence with what the wind has said. I welcome the rain that falls from the skies. I welcome the rain that falls from my eyes. It needles blood that flows to my fingertips and tightens the teeth that bite at my lower lip, relieving in rivers raging red under November’s sagging shrouds.

Loves resin lingers in the air staring like a wooden-carved saint dressed in folds curved in muted sleep. I don’t let them speak because they know who I am.

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The scourged scars of their hair like leather whips rain my back and ring memory in my eyes. I watch the way others’ hips move and how their clothes hang and tight to their bodies, maybe I’m bitter, maybe I’m biased, sitting on the hill with scraped knees, thinking of carpenters towers and oiled skin and of how I was betrayed by a kiss at least twice, that I know of, once with a diamond and once with a coffee bean, leading me to spend my evenings smiting matches with wet coals and watching for blood in glass slippers.

Let my tongue follow her hills and whisper mist in her hallowed woods to spring urge through storm. Her lazy play.

When I breathe, I watch my skin stretch. I have just enough skin for the shape that I’m in.

I have seen the card of my sign turned to its face and watched him starve my family in their beds of rising bread and watched him jump on their shoulders to shorten breath. I ran in the woods and watched brown spiders crawling under brown grass and watched maintenance men lather soiled carpets in swirling white snow. 25

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I think he wears a hood, but I was never sure it was him and never really understood.

No, I am not Prufrock; nor will I ever be, but sometimes I feel like him around the eyes and hands, wrinkled with youth. I know I am a fool, truly, knowing less that the beggar and the brakeman, never hearing the singing songs sung, lonely as a prayer of holy water on a coffin, wishing I knew what anything meant at all.

Heartbeats meet where the pieces join in softened silk to fill the air with the fragrant fracture of fragile breathlessness.

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I waited for winter’s mask to descend silent. Now, leaves gather in gutters and grass glints to grey in fretting fall. The way earth finds herself in sight when she should be snowed in shelter, deepening under dark whiteness. Dying in nakedness is nature. THE LAMPETER REVIEW - Issue 3 - May 2011


Your eyes sing like angels’ wings. They throw glitter on my boots as my bottle chimes empty on the bar and I take a breath. In the back of the room, the drunkards dance in circus sways to slapping strings and snapping snares. Reflections seem stronger in the haze. Jaw feeling loose, my fingers fidget to flick flame and the smoke leads paths to dim corners where angels sit on pool tables with holes in their socks. I stare with funhouse-eyes as I rattle my bottle in empty circles of sweat.

Old men and children cry for the wanting of wings and young women bathe their hair in bloodied water while I peek out of my blinds looking for the leprous sores on their souls, and see myself flailing in their limbs and lapping on their tongues.

When I breathe, I watch my skin stretch. I have just enough skin for the shape that I’m in.

With the taste of a missing mouth, I watch angels that steal milk money then wash their wings in gritty glitter, laughing out of focus. My eyes close, black tinting to blue from the sun for setting my eyes so high. 27

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I hold my hand over the glass then drink watered-wine in slow sips, but can never get the taste of blood out of my mouth.

I smelled a ghost in the snow and laughed to my knees, water freezing on my face, flakes melting in my breath, as the blown snow marbled the striped streets singing the drift tops to scaling notes, silently sifting my soul.

Her body flares like firelight in measureless motions, pinking skin in pulses and scratches of heat, wrestling unioned warmth, tips to tips to tips.

With time hanging heavy, I step from the snow with shoulders froze, having molted meaninglessness to absence, as I try to kick the glitter from my boots. scars dim but stings linger, like the pink planet’s spin, to shape the sight of scorpions left to sing archaic anthems, asking the deserted question.

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The Memory Palace Dik Edwards

2.30 pm, New York time, Sept. 2002, Joe Gant got off the 767 from Manchester @ JFK. Joe studied the face of the young woman across the counter in the Hertz lot as he waited for her to tell him where his car was. Her eyes, he felt, seemed full of stories.................... He would have liked to have some pictures. You would have thought there was some urgent purpose to his coming. Lay to rest the after shock of the earthquake that hit lower Manhattan a year earlier in which he’d lost not only his girlfriend Mona but her friend Gloria who had danced a naked samba on his nerve ends. But his purpose as he left Manchester, he was sure, had been little more than to come and see the hole in the ground. Simple as that. Then, on the plane he’d read about a Greek poet called Simonides of Ceos who would in later life explain the use of memory in his work technique by recalling how, in his youth, he’d been at a banquet in Thessaly when the roof collapsed killing everyone but him. The bodies of the guests at the dinner were disfigured beyond recognition. But even years after the event, Simonides could close his eyes and go beyond the chaos and see in his mind the faces of every one of the guests and precisely where they sat at table. This was the loci method. And Joe wondered as he left the Hertz shop if he was getting a bit of that old loci method because he could vividly recall what it had been like when, a year earlier, he’d climbed the South Tower. He sat in the car. A Kia saloon. The first thing he was going to do was drive around to Coney Island. When they were kids they would go to Coney Island, the funfair, in Porthcawl. His father who had died the year before – about the same time as Mona – would have this refrain: just remember boys, in the war I sailed into New York and I came to Coney Island. The unfathomable mysteries of flying. Driving through the rain down the Belt Parkway he felt as if he was still in the air. 29

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Coney Island. He parked the car on the main street. There was a mist hanging low over everything giving the place an eerie feel. There was an event going on. The fire brigade was having a barbecue. It had just started and the barbecue itself hadn’t heated up. Everything seemed grey and run down. People were forcing themselves into a party spirit. There were a few sitting at a table and a band playing very poorly which only added to the feeling of despondency. He walked down the street to the famous funfair. Dad walked by his side in his white nylon shirt open at the collar and cavalry twills – the dress of a foundry man on holiday. His dad was a troubled man. Disconnected emotionally and morally as he walked the fair tracks a handful of years after the war he’d loved. And while the Hun had bombed Swansea he was here on the boardwalk looking out to Long Island. Joe wondered whether some of the coldness – that emotional blankness - had rubbed off on him. Coney Island was a mess. It hadn’t had a lick of paint since the time the Old Man walked its streets. Not like what you remembered from old 40’s and 50’s movies. Had his dad seen this he would have felt his dying. Joe headed for the boardwalk. There were a lot of people there. He wanted to look out and see Long Island but he couldn’t get past the mist. So that was it. The last goodbye. Made it to Long Island Dad and saw you sailing away down the Sound. That would be a better memory than all the proper ones which were measured for truth according to where they stood on guilt’s barometer. He said goodbye to Coney Island as three white stretched limos disgorged half of New Jersey’s mob in wedding gear. Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn. The feel of carnival. No carnival. The black girls who always look so free. Free from all that bourgeois shit less than a mile away across the bridges. Flatbush. The Manhattan Bridge. Chinatown. As he drove up towards Manhattan his heart beat faster. The streets were boulevards except rucked with potholes. Where you cross onto the Island past the mad thrash of graffiti in view of the ostentation of the money district couldn’t be that far from the site. When the towers fell more than 3,000 people died. What happened to all that memory? It was a collective dying and a mass releasing of the energy of remembering. But could even a millionth of that memoir of the thousands tell the true story of what it’s all about? Any of it. His sat nav took him on into the labyrinth. The Expedia package included four nights at The Carlton on Madison Avenue. He pulled up outside and a doorboy came to the car. Before he took it to park, Joe peeled off a couple of bills for the man. His room was at the back of the hotel – what you’d expect. He imagined he was a Hopper painting. One of those forlorn half naked women. He took off his trousers and pants. He sat on the side of the bed. A photo had fallen from his clothing. He picked it up. It was Mona. Taken in her place of work in the World Trade Centre where he’d gone to see her. She looked pissed off. 30

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He’d kept the photo not because of her but because of that friend Gloria who was half obscured by Mona’s head. But he didn’t need a photo. His memory of her face was clearer than any photo could be. He laid down. Recalled arriving at Mona’s high office. (Like she was some plenipotentiary.) He’d stood there as if on sponges and scanned her work place. At first he didn’t see Mona. He was distracted by a plane that seemed to be flying alarmingly close to the building. He looked again for Mona and saw Gloria for the first time. She was looking at him. Then he felt Mona standing by his side saying: What are you doing here?! We’ll have to go out or they’ll sack me! On the landing looking out over Greenwich Village and Fifth Avenue up to Madison Square Park and the Empire State Building, he said: I got a cheap flight. Thought I’d come and... You ought to have texted me Joe. Yeh but I wanted to surprise you. She said: what time did you land? About midday. Why didn’t you phone? I told you, he said, I wanted to surprise you. Yes, she said, but what about me? He looked into her eyes. He looked deep into her eyes; he saw she was looking back at a stranger. (A week later a colleague of Mona’s will be looking into her eyes like this while over his shoulder she will see the enormous front of a jet liner hurtling towards the window she’s looking out of.) She said: let me take you down. They got into an elevator. He said: there was a young woman who seemed to know me. She said: how would anyone know you? I don’t know. I thought she smiled. She was sitting at the back. At the back. Third desk from the left. Dark skinned. In that article about the Greek poet he’d read that the poet – Simonides – could remember all that stuff because he’d discovered the memory palace: when you’re remembering events you put the images related to that event into a kind of architecture of space. Mona said: Gloria. She’s my best friend. I think of her as my confidant in New York. After the catastrophe he’d thought about that moment. Asking her about another woman. But he’d soon steer away from that. And he’d be overcome wondering if Gloria had been one of those who’d jumped. After Mona had led him out of the building he’d taken a bus uptown all the way to Columbus Square where he’d got off and walked into Central Park. He’d sat on a bench and 31

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thought that her attitude towards him was shit. It was hot and he’d fallen asleep. The towers were hard to grasp. A mystery. They played a note in his head as he drifted off like one conjured up on some cosmic tuning fork. And strangely he remembered the tight rope walker. Must have read about it. Between the two. Rigged a rope. With a crossbow. When he woke it was nine o clock and he’d arranged to meet her at eight. He knew that that would be that. But he rang her anyway. He said he was sorry. She said: I admired you; you seemed so intelligent and you could make me laugh. And I think you understood so much. I’m sure I could have learned from you. So much. But I’m afraid you’ve ruined everything. I’ve been sitting here for an hour. (What a way to worm out of it, bullshitting me like that!) Joe said: but I can be down there in no time. Ten minutes. Mona said: my mind’s made up. I regard this as a betrayal. How many betrayals do you think anyone should stomach in a lifetime? He said: I don’t know. How many have you had? And she said: none. Until now. I know that sounds stupid but I’m out on a limb here. To be betrayed in New York is much bigger than being betrayed in Cardiff. He’d got the bus down 5th Avenue and got off at the Flat Iron and went to sit in the park. There was a burger and fries and ice cream bar where people queued in the evening. In the queue was a young woman who looked like Gloria. The eyes. He felt very alone. He sat there for a while and watched the girl with Gloria’s eyes before crossing 23rd street and getting a drink in the noisy bar just by the pedestrian crossing. Later, he walked down to his small hotel in Greenwich Village. Gloria wasn’t dead. She hadn’t gone to work that day. While Joe was slipping into his temporary death in The Carlton, Gloria was downtown in a fast food place she’d gone to with a trick (the meal was part of the package). Gloria is returning from the toilet in the Texan barbecue chicken joint, to the table she’s sharing with Rowdy Bush: 300 pounds of prime Dallas beef. That afternoon they’d screwed in a hotel as near as they could get to Ground Zero. At first he had been clumsy which almost made her feel sorry for him. It didn’t matter to the Texan where they’d done it but for her it was like a Lazarus thing. The downing of the towers had changed her forever. Made her a part time whore. No Daddy. With each trick she died. She should have died on that day except she’d had a hangover after going out with Mona. Her friend though had dragged herself to work and, as a consequence, had passed on to nowhere. Gloria was from Duluth Minnesota. When she was eighteen she’d found a cancer on her back. She’d been staying over at her friend’s. In the bathroom they had an unusual arrangement of mirrors which allowed her to see her back even though she wasn’t necessarily wanting to. It was probably a mole gone wrong; but anyway it didn’t look right. The bad mole had had a profound effect on her. It had made her hate herself. The thought that her body had nourished 32

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something so vile. The cancer was her first scrape both with death and with a raging promiscuity as though in the depredations of sex she might hide from the cruelties inflicted by chance. It was an activity to which she seemed entirely indifferent – she just gave herself to whoever wanted to take her. When she was twenty she’d had an affair with an undergraduate which had led to a pregnancy. As soon as the kid was born the undergrad took off and Gloria left her baby with her Mum and set out for New York City. Gloria’s crying had come on as she left the toilet in that Texas barbecue place. Maybe it was recalling the cancer; maybe it was seeing the young family with the cute kids or maybe it was seeing her fat billionaire’s son with his face greased like a turkey’s ass for stuffing. She’d gone back into the toilet, dried her eyes, swilled her face, wiped it quickly, sniffed deep, put on a touch of mascara and had rejoined Rowdy. Gloria is watching her assailant eating the corn from the cob he held to his mouth like a harmonica. To their left, two tables away a large black couple are tackling his overfull bowl of chicken bits and her rib of beef the size of a kindling axe. They giggled. It was their anniversary. Suddenly Gloria stands up sharply and says loudly to her beau: I WISH I COULD FUCK YOU UP THE ASS AND MAKE YOU BLEED! And walks out. Joe woke. He would go down there today. This evening. Walk. It was four o clock. By the time he’d dealt with his sexual tension so as to have a clear run at things, it would be between 4.30 and 5.00. He’d have a drink and be down there for seven or eight. Tomorrow he’d drive up to Cape Cod. He went into The Carlton bar. Preoccupied as he was, he hadn’t considered that this hotel may run a kind of two tier system of guest grading. That those who come on a cheap package would have a reduced status. There was a fuss about finding a bottle of beer and it wasn’t until he was out in the street that he understood what had happened: that the £4 for half a pint of lager had been a penalty for insolence. As he walked down the few blocks of Madison Avenue towards 23rd Street his mood darkened. He felt he’d been made a fool of. Doubts about his planned walk grew. There could be nothing better to do than talk to the squirrels in Madison Square Park. He sat on a bench at the centre of the park where, he’d read, the House of Refuge for the Society for the Protection of Juvenile Delinquents for children under sixteen committed by the courts for indefinite periods had once stood. Kids who probably died with no memory worth remembering. On an adjacent bench a young couple were locked in a kiss more presentation than passion. The girl looked like Gloria. His mobile rang. She’s on Broadway. Everything seems dark. She’s crying. She feels dirty. She sat in that place and watched his ugly lips wrapped around a chicken’s thigh, saw his hands greasy - all the better to open a woman with until she’d been unable to stand it any more. She opens her mobile 33

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unaware that the three and a half pounds of corrugated flesh on the top of her spine can retain the most trivial experience of her childhood for a whole lifetime but often can’t hold onto even the most important telephone numbers. What she needs to do is phone Michael Tenorio to come down here in no time and get that cock sucker out of there and kick the fuck out of him and then take her home and wrap her up tight for the night and tell her that everything is OK; that she will now be safe. But she cannot remember his number and it’s not on her cell phone – not in a way she could recognise - and this is now all so fucking miserable that she goes through her contact list and finds the first number she can’t remember putting in there in the first place because if that’s the game we’re playing, if most of the names on her contact list wouldn’t help her in an earthquake she may as well, in view of her failure to remember the number she wants, ring any number whose owner she can’t remember. Just in case it’s Michael. This one says MB. Joe says: who is it? She says: OK, I was trying to get Michael Tenorio, can you help me in that area? Where are you? he says. Well, I’m walking up Broadway from the Wall Street district. Are you a friend of Michael’s? No, he says, I’m not even from New York. Oh right, she says. OK, I’m sorry to bother you. She rings off. Who the fuck was that? Joe rings back. She doesn’t answer. He gets up and begins to walk down 5th Avenue, past the flower sellers and fruit vendors wrapping up for the night. Gloria walking north on Broadway, stops in a Greek takeaway and picks up a coffee and drinks it slowly as she makes her way up the street. Joe wonders who Michael Tenorio might be. Maybe some kind of gangster. He wants another drink. He has it and continues to walk down 5th Avenue. He’s surprised at how unlike New York this New York is. It’s not so big. The Flatiron was a real let down; one of the first skyscrapers it was hardly a skyscraper at all. No doubt the towers were huge. But maybe for him the memory of the size of the building was because it took 3,000 with it. He was an insensitive bastard. Who would come all the way to New York just to look at that hole? He was no different from the masses who found cultural and emotional identity in the hysteria of headlines. Gloria walked sipping her coffee. She came to Washington Square. She entered the park and sat on a bench. It was still quite early evening and there were students hanging about in the twilight. She didn’t much like the park mostly because of all that student stuff. Students to her were phoney. You couldn’t trust them because they thought so much about themselves – they always made sure you knew they were students. She felt so alone. All these kids were a world away from where she was. You couldn’t imagine a student having to put up with what she put up with. A black squirrel suddenly appeared before her. It looked up at her as if asking for food. Or maybe love. Something to belong to. She was crying. The squirrel remained for a moment or two 34

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and then scampered off. And there was Joe. And now he’s back in Mona’s office. He can see the layout exactly as it was. Gloria at her desk. And bizarrely he recalls word for word what he’d read in that piece about the poet: that what Simonides had never acknowledged was that his first and truest love had been in that fateful chamber. The death of his girl had kicked off the loci method in him. And now here she was. Those eyes. Joe would have ignored the park altogether if he hadn’t seen them. Excuse me, you….I.. She looked at him with alarm. She said: leave me alone. He said: can I…I’m sorry this is I know…I’ll go now, it’s just…can I ask you – is your name Gloria? Do I know you? Well, kind of. I think I’ve, no, I know I’ve seen you before and I know where. It was in The World Trade Centre, he said, not long before the disaster. If I close my eyes, I can see everyone in that office on that floor on the day I was there – exactly a year ago – and exactly where they were. You were sitting at a desk – third desk from the left at the back as I looked at you. And you looked at me and smiled. I was there to see my girlfriend Mona. Mona. Yes I remember Mona, she said. She was from England. Joe was silent. Gloria said: You want to know why I wasn’t there that day? After a pause he said: No. I’m just glad you weren’t. Gloria said: what you want me to say? Nothing. He paused. You weren’t there so... She said: Don’t ask me about it. Are you alright? Can I help you out? he said. No, it’s ok…shit. Did someone just call your cell phone? Was that you? MB! Mona’s boyfriend. I was trying to get someone I know on 123rd street. I couldn’t remember his number. I thought I had it in my phone. Anything I can do? It’s a long way up. I can go home. Can I sit? Aren’t you disgusted? What do you mean? Why? That I wasn’t there when it happened. No, I don’t... I could see the towers from my room. I was on my bed with a hangover. I was with a French guy. When the first plane hit. I remember it well. Joe was silent. 35

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Later, he lay on the floor of his room in The Carlton. He could hear her breathing – a soft pouting of breath. Bubbles in larva breaking. It was as if pockets of air trapped in the terrible dust of that day of doom were held within her. After agreeing to stay with him she’d said: But I don’t want you to think you can excavate Mona’s grave with your dick. Before she’d got on the bed she’d told him about that afternoon. About the billionaire and the pain and misery he’d put her through. And she said: men find in the buggering of young women a way to come to terms with their own deaths. Joe was silent. She said: You know, I nearly died before. Before the planes came. Cancer. Joe said: shit. Gloria took off her top. Look. There was a small indentation. She said: feel it. Joe gently circled the small caldera mapping where once life and death fought and for a bewildering moment he experienced his father’s touch upon her relenting skin. Though he’d become aroused he was also horrified. She said: what are we here to do? Listen, no please, you don’t need...; we’re not here to do that. I just want to help you out. She put the top back on. No, she said, you know. Here. In life. Oh, he said, you mean on the planet. I don’t know. And if we couldn’t remember anything it would make no difference. O right, you remembering me. Yes. That makes the difference. It does. I’d felt guilty. Mona’s death. It was because I’d come to see her a year ago but it’s you I couldn’t stop thinking about. Then Gloria said: Hey, this whole city lives inside that memory. Drip fed the guilt. No, he said, I don’t feel guilty now. You’re not dead. No I’m not. The next morning he left Gloria sleeping, collected his car and got out onto West Street that ran alongside the Hudson and drove south toward the site of the World Trade Centre. He was scared to be there when she woke. Sometime during the night, Gloria had said to him: it’s weird, I don’t remember you at all. It’s ok, he’d said: I’m not very memorable. She’d laughed. To his left he saw the meat packing district, the place of so many scenes in episodes from cop movies and TV shows. He imagined some Italian kid who’d made the wrong friend in grade school who had then got him mixed up with organised crime and the kid had fallen foul of some 36

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mob boss who’d had him whacked and he turns up one morning before his 25th year, hanging from a meat hook with a hundred sides of beef in a cold locker. Joe in another dimension. An ostentatious Lincoln cut him up. See? I could have been killed then. In that moment. It’s fate and chance and accident that drives our lives forward. Except in this case a crazy freak of memory and forgetting has put back together what needed to be put together and that’s different. And that means something. Gloria had forgotten Michael Tenorio’s number. Memory had abandoned her. Except that was a kind of technical memory. The memory that made him remember Gloria was an emotional one. Had to be. Like the one he’d searched for looking for his father through the mist over Long Island. As soon as he could he turned left off the parkway, went down a block, turned left again then turned left up the next street and rejoined the parkway going north. Joe stopped the car outside The Carlton, gave the keys to the door boy and walked to the front of the hotel. The boy put the keys in the ignition and then paused as, for an instant, the memory of some moment he’d once registered made him think that Joe was about to tip him. It was an error of perception. Memory without the loci method. What the boy saw as Joe entered the lobby from the street was that he had crossed two of the fingers of his large left hand as though clamped together in a moment of passion. Like the dying towers. Except for Joe they were braided as though to present a weapon against some egregious wickedness.

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Lee Visits the Studio Tamar Yoseloff

What beast must I adore? – Rimbaud

She said that we screwed once – must have been drunk, she was so ugly she was beautiful, her pogrom face, its broad Ukrainian plains, sausage lips, but legs that could kill a man, a body that moved like oil on water, sliding through the door before I could kick her out. * The work was nothing much – sub-Picasso – we were all doing that kind of stuff. But Jack had something, a gesture, a freedom, I couldn’t say, couldn’t take my eyes off his huge, broad hands, worker’s hands that could lay rails, bend steel, break a girl in two.

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Those big canvases filled with the junk in his head, loopy birds and twisted women. I guess I fell in love. * She stood before The Magic Mirror like it might swallow her whole, her bird lips fluttering as if to speak, small bird shoulders shaking, she kept staring at my hands, and I wanted to grab her, hit her, kiss her, don’t know what, she had me so shook up, she was like a cold jolt of Russian vodka – straight. * The real deal, more of a man than those Euro poseurs, with their waxed-back hair, perfect manners, smooth strokes. He’ll wrestle me to the floor until I’m black and blue, leave me wanting more, throw me out the door. I’ll keep coming back. I said you’re sex on legs, yes, he said, I am.

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Gothic Landscape Tamar Yoseloff

And still, this dream, the one I’ve had for thirty years: dark knot of trees, pulling myself through undergrowth, my arms and legs slashed by thorns. Black like nothing I’ve ever known not even your knitted blacks, paint spooling on the canvas, somewhere beneath, a body, a face; not even your tortured nights, bottom of the bottle and no peace; not even my empty nights, feeling the tangle of our bodies that first time when you whispered do you like to fuck? And now I’m old, my taut girl’s body replaced by a maze of wrinkles and folds. A gorgon, a harpie, awaiting death. Until death, this dream: I’m crawling, my knees cut and bleeding. Blind. But I have to keep going, I know you are here, I know I am too late – what I will find is the 40

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wreckage of your body, blood flooding the ground. I wake, the bathroom mirror horrified by my face, its gnarled surface a witch’s hollow, a haunted forest.

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Bells Confessing

At the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Yorkshire, England Zoë Brigley

Alone in the archive, I handle their belongings: a tiny book written in meticulous script; the hair bracelet; a snuff box from Brussels; the perfume that belonged to their mother. When the church-bells toll, they are up there in the tower: their mouths opening to speak while the audience gasps with hands full of rope, and the taste of honeyed candlewax. Up on the slate roof, a nest of pigeons is murmuring never-told secrets. I recall my own riddles: the unspoken truth of you and I, our silent closeness that is for me a sweet, blank victory. But in midnight dreams, they confess a word with every bell-toll, and beg me to recount it all— to tell their stories, my story, and I do.

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Anne of the Opening Hand ZoĂŤ Brigley

In the overgrown garden, the winter days pass as the long black column of a funeral train: the hands of the mourners sheathed in white gloves, their blank fingers pale and missing the nail. Beside the blighted Scotch firs, the boxwood swan, and the castellated towers of the bleeding laurels, he considers the risk of encounter, whether it is safer to admire me from this distance. Out there in the wilderness, his hands strike poses: trees and shrubs under a gardener’s shears. They readily assume the shapes I give them: the swallow and warrior, the lion or goblin. He reaches the garden gate never saying a word, though the branches on the window sound a round of applause. All that is left is a hand waning, reaching across this parting hour.

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Unplugged Susie Wild THE COUPLE WHO NO LONGER SPOKE TO EACH OTHER Lesson one had been difficult. He had never been a great believer in relationship counselling but had finally conceded it might be time to give it a go. Especially given the lack of access to chat rooms where other hot women would flick their nipples and moan while he banged away at his keys. The woman counsellor was exactly as he had expected. Frumpy, and dressed in hippy clothes. Long layers, long hair and long earrings. Her name was Hilary. Apart from the excessive mammaries she looked like a he. She had asked them to write down how they were feeling onto flash cards. Suggested writing them as if they were typing status updates. Allowed the use of smileys. They both drew blanks. Hilary tried not to roll her eyes. She asked them to say their names out loud. She opened the dictionary at random and asked them to read out definitions of words. He got: adipose, adolescent and beef. She got: cleft, cliché and adverb. They were none the wiser. Hilary moved the couple so that they were facing each other. Placed the woman’s hands inside the man’s. Limp. Snug. They hadn’t held hands for over a year. Their hearts jumped in panic. They let go. Try ‘hello’ suggested Hilary. In the end they managed a wave. The sort of wave you give to someone who has waved confidently, loudly at you, but that you are fairly certain you don’t know or don’t remember. Then they had waved goodbye to Hilary for the day. A wave of disappointment. A wave of relief. Now it was time for the homework. He looked at her. He needed some sort of sign. He had no idea how to work out if she was okay without requesting an emoticon. He was like someone with autism trying to garner emotional response. A first time parent realising a ‘smile’ was in fact just wind. He finally got the Facebook poke function. That is what he wanted to do. Poke her. Shake her. Not in a violent movie way. Gently. He needed to do something to stop her looking blankly back at him. To fill in this white space. To stop this quiet. The lack of information was killing him. He was going to collapse from under-stimulation. He wanted feeding. He craved news. He needed to know what Stephen Fry had for brunch. His wishes were not granted. The only tweeting around him was coming from the birds. Actual birds. Hang on. He’d not seen any of them for a while. He turned his head and tried to locate the tweeting creatures and in that moment of distraction she reached out and poked him. ‘Poke’ she said, and then she laughed. ‘Poke’ he said back and he laughed too. When the laughter subsided the blankness returned. He didn’t know what to do next. Neither, it seemed, did she. A pregnant pause gave birth to more. Then, much like the first time it happened again. ‘Poke’ she said, and then she laughed. A hollow 44

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laugh that he echoed. ‘Poke’ he said, jabbing his finger a little harder than before. ‘Poke’ and so it continued until their poking became playfighting and ended the way playfights always do, with a kiss. He racked his brain. He couldn’t remember the last time that had happened. The kiss or the playfighting. She could. The kiss was a year or so after everything had happened. It was a quick kiss, over so quickly you could almost think it hadn’t happened, which is exactly what they pretended. He pretended so well that he couldn’t even remember it. She looked at him blankly. At least he thought that she looked at him blankly. He never could read her face unless she said ‘sad face’ at the same time as turning down the corners of her mouth. Or unless there were tears. Or those little sniffs that come before or after tears. The annoying ones that keep him awake at night, or interrupt his reading, or are caught when passing the bathroom door. He had been reaching behind her for something – wine? Tea bags? – and she had been texting him, asking him to go out and get some milk. As he moved her head out the way of the cupboard he had brushed his lips over hers, pulled gently on one of her curls, looking surprised as it sprung back into place. She had parted her lips to invite his tongue in, or to say something perhaps, but he was already turning, picking up his keys and heading out, going to get milk. It hadn’t happened again. The play fighting had been much longer ago. It was how they had started. It was how they’d continued. Until they’d got too old for that sort of thing. In the same way they’d got too old for drugs, drum’n’bass and four-day weekends. For more than one festival a year. For more than one night out a week. For hangovers. For not having children. For not considering the tax-benefits of marriage. For not settling down. For not settling. So they had, like beer, like dust. WHOOSH-BANG The last time she had stood on the beach there were fireworks, real and human. Bonfire Night was her favourite date in the calendar. Better than Christmas, birthdays even; especially when the weather conditions were at their most favourable. When the rain has stopped falling, and she has been coaxed out from hibernation under the duvet for the whoosh-bang fun of the fireworks display. When she stepped out of her flat to find that the weather had returned to a glitter of frost, snug layers and I-can-see-my-own-breath cheap thrills. The crunch of leaves underfoot. An explosive azure. The afterparty of sparkle shooting into the sea. Fire flowers falling like lemmings from up high, up there, a suicide party amongst the stars. She couldn’t always articulate what it was that she liked so much about it beyond ‘Look! Pretty.’ She knew that it had sod all to do with the reason November the 5th was celebrated. A failed attempt to blow up Parliament. Politics. History. None of that.

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There was something about the whole thing that still made her BigKidExcited, she was giddy with the bright lights and the noise and the crowds and the bonfires. She liked to stroll amongst the groups, and stand in a transfixed tripping reverie, admiring the efflorescence, the silvery spikes and sprays spreading out across ink blue, images that seemed to burn on the retina, that were still there flashing if she closed her eyes. It was perhaps akin to the loveliness epileptics feel that can make them force their fits in quick succession just for that moment of high. Standing there, outside, the air so cold it felt like your skin was bruising in it. Your purpled face could just peel back and reveal a new you, some strangely exotic new fruit. All that ooohing and ahing, that exhilaration coursing through your veins. The prancing pyrotechnic posies. The delicious smell of gunpowder and burning wood. A wartime sense of togetherness and that bang bang bang of gunfire and explosives and with each bang came the rushing thrill you gained from not being dead. A dodged bullet. A gun pointed at your head that shoots flowers. Colourful blooms that fill the sky and your heart with joy. That cleaned the messy scribbles of your life slate back to black. It was when she felt most alive and romantic. That anything was possible. Anything at all. Now it was a feeling she wanted and needed to get back to but then, the last time... well, it was the worst possible time to have run into him. She was always slamming into him at the worst whooshbanging of times. It had been her undoing. It had driven her back to workaholic mode. Anything to fill the time. To stop the gap, the gaping hole of not being with him. Slamming into him was like rubbing that newly peeled layer of skin in salt. Caustic. The experience cut off her eyelids and burned her up, spinning, flaming. It exploded a buzz of noise in her head that drowned out the fireworks. It made everything hit her harder, the sensations of cold, of bruising, the wind knocked out of her and whipping all around them, her ears rang at the sight of him, eyes smarted from the touch of him. She knew she should turn, should run fast away from him but she was fixed to the spot. A Penny for the Guy. She was acutely aware of his every molecule, she sponged him up, she shadowed his movements. She vanished with him. Now she was vanishing from him. She took in the view, for perhaps the last time. Below her the dunes faded out towards the sea. From plush lush splodges of deep forest green to sage and rosemary, less foliage, more tracks. The gorse barely flowered. Jellyfish strung the tide line into a gleaming jewel necklace – topaz brown, ink blue. The sun machine drying them out to shrivelled discs with burst bellies; stingless frisbees. The only natural things she could see, glinting like disbelieving eyes amongst a clutter of plastic tit-for-tat; the banned landfill, the dumped-by-night. She sighed and stubbed out her cigarette on the pavement. Got to her feet, gave the bay one last glance before she started walking inland and uphill. She was moving to higher ground. She didn’t know if the sea levels were actually rising by any dramatic level. She didn’t know what to believe anymore. She needed a change of perspective. A strong, solid base. She was real-life 46

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defriending her job, her home, all but one of her friends. Unplugging. It was risky, especially in her line of work. It could take years to build up her contacts, their trust again. She doubted she would ever try to. She wanted peace. Was tired of followers and following. News was a tricky business. There was so much information released so fast, and still so much untold. You had to root through, wriggle between the sentences, the said and not said and find the truth, the uncovered angles. Retain as much as possible. She hadn’t switched off for years. Even on holiday she couldn’t risk avoiding the newspapers, not keeping up with those trusted bloggers on her smart phone. She read broadly, deeply, shallowly. She was as ‘well-informed’ as time constraints allowed. There was never any silence, only a tinnitus ringing, a peripheral buzzing, distracting her every thought and move. Who to follow. What was trending. Be first. Be fast. Be faster than that. There had been no time for people. No time for intimacy. Her life had been peppered with flings and returns, exes for whom she should have known better but whom knew her well enough. Time-consuming game playing and relationship niceties could be done away with. She played an open hand. She wore no masks. She had thought that enough. It wasn’t enough. Since him a wall had been built up. It had become easier to have nothing. To fill a world with work. To avoid the emotional, the personal. To compartmentalise a life and then trash the untended, unwanted aspects. File them away in deleted. Update her virus protection. Clean up her discs. Keeping busy, filling your days and nights with work left no time to deal with anything else. To have to deal with anything else. She loosely kept in touch with friends she saw less and less of via the social networks. Happy Birthdays had shrunk from gifts and weekend visits, surprises and parties to a line on a wall. A virtual cake for a lucky few. She didn’t actually talk to friends on the phone any more. She didn’t send cards or write letters. There were no real life Tweet-ups in her circle. She didn’t know who had split up, who had got together apart from the few who felt compelled to make relationships Facebook Official, and ditto break ups. Revelling in the receiving of sympathy virtual cakes, hugs. Obsessive-compulsive stalking their exes’ lives, photos, possible new love interests. Playing the who is best of without the other game. She had a love-hate relationship with social networks. Facebook was always making faux pas. Always suggesting that she reconnected with inappropriate people – ex-lovers of the NO LET’S NOT be friends variety; estranged relatives; the flatmate who ran off with a big chunk of her savings, her clothes, and her latest boyfriend. She didn’t like who she had become. She couldn’t concentrate on bigger things. Like so many of the populas, the new generation of bedroom boys and girls, she couldn’t remember how to hold a face-to-face conversation. Even on Skype. These days she had the attention span of a flea. Her eyes usually flitted between her iPad and Twitter, the rolling news. Now they ached, bursts 47

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of capillaries and white noise. She craved blindness. To be struck dumb and deaf. Instead it was her writing urge that appeared castrated. She didn’t want to debate and discuss. To read the papers, to bleed more words. The layers of bad news upon bad news. She had finally had her fill of bad news. The tweet that sent her over capacity. News became histrionic, all drama, no depth. Something to avoid, to abandon, to reject. It was then that she had seen the message. The note. A suggestion for an alternative. Not a cult. A retreat. Many retreats. A retreat backwards, a return to a time before she, before society had lost their way. No obligations. No high fee. ANATOMY It had started again. The palpitations. The fever. The dizzy spells. ‘Man flu,’ she’d have called it. His wife. His ex-wife. He could hear her laugh, full of mirth and misunderstandings. The fingers mimicking the shape of quotation marks in the air. His breathing quickened. His chest constricted. He knew it was so much more than that. He knew he needed to type faster. He was finding it harder and harder to breathe. Hard to actually get the breath. To make the breath. To remember how to breathe. He googled symptoms. It wouldn’t be long before he couldn’t inhale air. His throat was tightening. His skin was itching, he could feel the rash spreading down his legs. He could feel the heat rising from the angry bumps beneath his trousers. She appeared in his head again, the ex-wife. Taunting him: –‘That lump is not a tumour, that’s a spot, honey, and it needs a squeeze. Ew.’ She’d make ‘he’s loopy’ signs at the dog. The dog nodded in agreement, walked off in disgust. At the start of the relationship she had found it initially worrying, –‘Why are you breathing like that lovely? Please don’t die on me,’ and then amusing and a little endearing, –‘That’s not a rash, that’s sleep marks! That’s from the way you slept in your bed, silly!’ Finally she had treated him with contempt, making an elaborate show of typing the symptoms into online search engines and proclaiming: –‘Right, well it seems to me you are either my heavy breather telesales stalker or...’ –‘Hmmph! Or?’ –‘or you are an aardvark.’ –‘You aren’t taking me seriously.’ –‘Am I not?’ Nothing and no-one could reassure him. He hated hospitals; they made him even more anxious. He wouldn’t see a doctor. Couldn’t keep a doctor. After serial ‘doctor shopping,’ where he switched GP every single time one disagreed with his self-diagnosis, frustrated he had eventually declared them all jobsworths. Hated hospitals. Had started drinking heavily again. To numb the certainty that he was dying. He painted less and less, drank more and more glued to his laptop screen convincing himself of all the new diseases he was sure he had contracted. The alcohol48

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numbing began to convince him that his vital signs were vanishing. His pulse had stopped. He was dead. It drove him to chain smoke. –‘I thought you’d quit?’ –‘I am either dead or I have lung cancer. What is the point?’ –‘You don’t have lung cancer.’ –‘Throat cancer then.’ That look. Exasperated. Bored. –‘You are more likely to get throat cancer from giving blow jobs. Last I heard. British teenagers are rife with it.’ –‘You’re safe then.’ The sound of the kitchen door slamming. Her computer waking up. The iPlayer advert. The theme tune of her favourite soap. Other times his ailments were more interesting, rarer, the symptoms harder to garner, harder to prove. –‘But you never leave the house. You have to have swum in tropical swamps to contract that. And swallowed maggots. How much have you drunk today?’ –‘What’s that got to do with anything? I’m dying here. Hello. Don’t you care? D-Y-I-N-G. You best go shopping. Buy some more black. Prepare to be a widow.’ –‘We are all dying, from the moment we are born,’ she’d retort. Whispering ‘Finally,’ under her breath as she pulled on her coat. Eventually she vanished. From his life. From his head. He felt himself vanishing with her. He checked his hands, feet were still there. At the ends of his arms, his legs. That he wasn’t dissolving. Shrinking. Puddling. His bones felt brittle. He was both the liquid in a vessel and the glass container. He was breakable, in a second of distraction. Dropped and smashed. Gone. Others took her place. Not lovers, just his dwindling circle of friends. Some indulged him, some didn’t. One fleeting visitor had a profound effect. ‘Clearly what you need, old chap, is some good old fashioned rest. Complete bed rest. Better air. Less staring at screens. Maybe some mountains to look at.’ The next time he thought he was dying he’d googled the suggested cure, rest and mountains, unplugging. Next thing he knew he was packing manically, heading for the hills, a copy of Gray’s Anatomy clutched under his arm.

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The Rain Within, The Fire Without Alan Flanders

Outside, Rain breaks the silence With a thousand silver feet Tap dancing Down the window pane. Inside, Night breeze Flirts with the bedroom curtain Then weighs it down, Luring the damp Past the wooden sill. Stealing across the room Like a thieving apparition The draft stops, then changes direction With the slightest commotion. Across the room, Wet pine logs lay Supine across an iron bed Of andirons, Succumbing to the needs Of a hungry fire’s tongue Splitting bark, releasing vapors From ancient resins. 50

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Reflections of fingering lights Reach and contract to life Like lava flows or melting wax Across the mirroring sheen On the polished oak floor. Worn red brick fireplace walls Blackened by countless infernos before Hardly seem strong enough To stand before the Bacchanal With flames twisting as one But destined by youth and extreme To wear, then burn, themselves out. The drama that unfolds Mixes with bed sounds Imitating swans lifting themselves Above the water Leaving a telltale scent of sex behind That blends well with the smouldering fire. The sun rises to find Fresher air moderating An earth drunk on wet clay Seasoned with fresh mown grass. And the indiscreet rain Exposed naked as an imposter, Nothing more than a thunderstorm. But those who felt it Lay still, Exhausted, Beneath damp sheets. Hear the last drops outside Fall as beads of sweat Into the rain barrel Straining pregnant, full and wet.

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Changing My Beddings This Morning Alan Flanders

The morning we left Our love making On the fitted sheet, I changed the beddings And took the soiled linens To wash away the proof Of our ever being. As I removed them From the dryer, I found Your blood stains dark as ink, Like spilled communion wine Imprinting the fabric With physical and spiritual memory As a string of rosary beads. Reading like a codex Stitched by threads Of your DNA, and some of mineThe laundered sheet A remnant of us, I sleep upon Remains unclean.

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Running my finger along The flecks like a detective Investigating a crime scene, I wonder if anyone should be charged? On such circumstantial evidence, Can it be determined how our affection died? Murder or a more natural cause? Upon seeing the evidence Do you remember your confession: “What will your next lover think?” And I collaborated as a willing witness: “It will all come out in the wash.” But the verdict is in. The stains in us and on the sheet remain.

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Vote Peter Finch

Democrat booth at the South Carolina State Fair, beyond the Funnel Cake stand, next to the chickens. Well we ain’t got her elected yet but we’re certainly gonna try. You folk registered to vote, sure you are. Well yes, maybe, I say, but not here. You can tell other folk tho caint you you sure can. Gonna give you this here bumper sticker. Put that decal on front. Republicans’ll know we’re wuppin em, that’s the plan. But in the event Judy Gilstrap goes down. God fearing Eric Bikas, owner of popular local tourist destination Aunt Sue’s Country Corner on Highwy 11 in Pickens he wins. Didn’t see him at the State Fair wasn’t there got his votes by other means. Given a testament at the Gideon’s stall next door. Man in a white shirt like a Mormon said the Church of England’s fucked. Didn’t use that word, I put that in. You a republican, I ask? Sure and even if I wasn’t I would be. This is the south and the Land of the Free. 54

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Not one dark face in the entire fair and only a single sign in Spanish. Tacos El Paraiso $2 White folk in shirts and tattoos and cowboy hats. As far as the eye can see.

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The Mad as Hell Convergence Peter Finch

Peter Finch takes on Peter Finch. Google can go to hell. Mad as anyone I want you to Get up right sit the hell up Open them mad as hell anymore Yell I’m going to I can’t take I’m not going I’m not going to Hell as hell I’m not going to take not going to take Open the windows Depression, inflation, and the oil crisis I’m not I’m not I’m not I am not anymore

Mad as oil I want to tell you Anyone is going to sit right up yell I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m Open the hell the windows the depression I’m mad anyway anymore anything Open the inflation, mad as anyone Everyone yell hell hell hell hell I’m the oil crisis sit up I’m not mad at all

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Anyone can be mad hell I am I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m Open the inflation Open the depression Mad oil mad crisis mad everyone Yell anything mad mad mad Mad mad mad mad mad Hell I’m not mad Sit up I’m oil I am that’s all

Hell and depression Pression oil pression mad Anything infla deep add Any open sit and sit and sit And sit and sit and mad Hell mad mad mad Mad mad mad mad Mad mad mad mad Hell hell

Inflate anyone depress ind Fla ress ery ression add Ris isis iris ress ad ad oil M m m one ight sit Man maddddd llllll lll Ad ad ad ad anyone going ression

Mmm mad mad mad mad mad Mad mad mad mad mad mad Mad mad mad mad mad o hell

Things have anyone Take the hell got to change Mad change any change any 57

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Flation ression mad initiation Oil hell mad things Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm Mmmmm mmmmm Mmmmmmm mmmmmmm ell

Anyone mad change mad oil mad Pression mad ression Anyone anytime mad Hell mad change mad anything Flation mad yell oil mad red mad Hell pression mad mad mmm mad Mad mad mad mad mad mad Mad mad mad mad mad mad Mad mad mad mad mad hell

Oil invention and mad mad mad mmm Hell any mad anyone I’m not Mad mad mad mad mad mad Mad mad mad mad mad mad Mad mad mad mad mad mad Mad mad mad mad mad mad Mad mad mad mad mad mad I’m mad as hell I’m not going to take Hell Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad that’s it mmm

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Wild Wales Peter Finch

Dining For salmon Berwyn eaten the river Ireland full a leg tasted never the turn let fection only exception inferior here for at we Llangollen very ale cottage in the neighbourhood of mutton

Serpents On the to I on the making returned a which of which short asked could If lines are I good two old archdeacon and poetry verbing I am mightily of the voice small men mostly

Genius The family Llangollen birthplace works Goronwy 1722 parents they ever he celebrated became natural benefit at where College ing guished gave guage after in Wales the embarrassments were always the brightest ornaments

Poverty In life of ludes like lude of English Poetry courses change more century called styled were posed monk verses visions visions visions rank long eateries and France Incarnation moralities spoken Doctor holds some interludes allegory display in modern manners yes no have to agree no single shoe rope belt sack blouson trousers

Rivers and from precipice cataract upper pass through waters romantic hollow bourhood with wood penetrate pice on dingle Rheidol one the about the to children and nearly stroyed 59

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at however nature but last (always last) and position into is frightfully terribly and soak showers neverending Heaven they the which and thing were from for hindity morning well as farewell giving in won’t hold vile old gentleman I was very becoming little village of ing who Capel rather English man I was I I myself prayed paradise paradise was steep more steep than ever and then a benighted translation

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Six photos from “A Landscape of Wales” James Morris

“If you have not seen the Wales that is the subject of these photographs, then what obstacles of preconception have you put in the way? For this is how it is, untainted by an idealizing, a rhetorical, a sentimental, a proselytizing imagination” Jim Perrin. This project of 83 photographs focuses on the occupied or man altered landscape of Wales, the smallest country within Great Britain which can be viewed as England’s first and last colony; a relatively poor land struggling with its identity and economy in this post-rural, post-industrial age. It has, at various points in its history, been the world’s largest exporter of copper, iron, slate and coal. All this is gone and Tesco and tourism are the major employers now. The series explores the contemporary environment and the layers of history evident in that landscape. It reflects issues of man’s intervention in the landscape that are both specific to Wales and universal. The work was published in 2010 with an accompanying essay by Jim Perrin. The exhibition has toured Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Ffotogallery in Cardiff and is currently showing in Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno until May 7.

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Antares (for Trevor) Robert Minhinnick

A few years after it happened I started going to Beachy Head. High cliffs, white cliffs looking south. And I’d go in summer, really late on, because those June nights don’t get properly dark until after midnight. I’d go to see Antares. You know what that is? Antares is a star. A red star. In the constellation of the scorpion. Most times, I can’t see it. Nobody can. It’s too southerly, even from Beachy. But sometimes – yes, if I’m lucky, if it’s a perfect night - Antares is there. So I just look. I sit on the grass, that bitten down grass on the chalk, and look out into the night. The night that’s like the ocean. Yes, as big as the ocean. And those June nights full of cockchafers. Big bugs, scary at first, but just clumsy. Flying around at the edge of things. Back and forth over the precipice and into thin air with the sea three hundred feet below. The sea milky with the chalk. So at night, it’s a white sea. Then low down, if I’m lucky, there’s Antares. There it is. A dusky red like a pheasant’s eye. Red as the dust of Morocco. A star red as chilli oil. A glimpse of Berber gold. And I think, Christ, I’m alive. Alive! Alive in all this, with these bugs divebombing and the sea a white mist and the June night hardly a night at all. And a star like a ruby, yes, a ruby in the navel of the night. Because I was sure I was done for. I was gone. Finito, I’m telling you. Over and out. I couldn’t believe it. When it happened everything seemed in slow motion. I could look down at myself and see myself in the water. On the black swell. And my boat disappearing, with no-one on board who knew what had happened. Yes I looked down at myself – a man overboard, a man waving, a man calling. In the black swell. 68

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And soon one red light on the stern was all I could see of that boat. That’s all there was. The boat chugging away and me left behind, shouting, waving. Just that one red light on the horizon, down low. Not even a star can get any lower than that, I thought. But Antares can. I’ve learned that now. Because there it is, tonight. Antares on the southern horizon. And then that red light vanished. Christ, I thought. I’m done for. This is it. Here I am on the shoulders of the swell. Thirty minutes max is all I have. And the boat disappearing out of sight. Gone. Gone absolutely. But what I’m trying to say is, that light vanishing was a good thing. Because it meant the boat was turning. The red star had vanished because the boat was coming back for me. Me on that big swell. In the white line of the wake, out in that immense clean blackness. No wave breaking, just a world of black glass. And I suddenly knew, yes, that they’d missed me. That the boat was turning. Because the star had vanished. Because the light had gone. And that’s why I come up here. Just to look out at the ocean and out at the sky like another ocean And sometimes I see it and sometimes I don’t. Antares, that is, the red star. The star of the stern.

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Babble Robert Minhinnick

Babel? There’s not much left. The tower’s gone, as you might have heard. Instead there’s a crater with mud bricks at the base. But there’s a mosque. And when I was there, a pyramid of shoes. A great big heap. It was prayer time and the men had taken off their shoes – sandals and trainers and some black Clark’s. And all the men were inside the mosque. The mosque with the blue minarets. But outside the mosque was a well. So I stood against a wall and looked at the boy, the waterboy, the servant of the well, and watched what he was doing. He seemed a happy child. Oh yes, he laughed a lot. And I wondered, when have I ever laughed like that? This boy put a stone in a bucket and lowered the bucket into the well and filled the bucket and raised the rope and poured the Babel water into plastic bottles and jerry cans. Then he did it again. And again. Women brought him these containers and he kept filling them up. Yes all the time I was watching, he did that. This laughing child. This boy pouring out the silver water - because it looked silver in the sun - and the drops he spilled darkening the dust around the well. The dust of Babel. And all that time I could hear the prayers from the mosque. Those voices like water, voices murmuring like the green Euphrates which was just over the hill, flowing there like it had always flowed. And I thought, yes. There has always been a waterboy. Ever since Babel was built, there has been a waterboy, lowering a bucket, raising a bucket, weighting that bucket with a dark river pebble. A pebble from the Euphrates. A river-riven stone. 70

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And I also thought, maybe god is in the well. Maybe god is down there. Not in the mosque, not in our churches. But down there. In the well. Where the dark eye of water is the eye of god. Yes, leaning against a wall in Babel, that’s what I thought. Maybe an idle thought. Maybe a foolish thought. But it certainly crossed my mind.

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Free State Stevie Davies

Well, of course it was a long time ago; she is forty years old now. But perhaps I can jog your memory. It was the night we stopped for curry in that place on the corner of George Lane and Oxford Road. You had Tikya Kabab; I had Kosha Mangsho. As authentic as you can get in Manchester, you assured me. The music on the tannoy stopped all of a sudden; there was an odd kind of hush and you were startled, you turned round in your seat. An announcement in Bengali. The announcer’s voice was breaking; he was weeping. I had no idea what it meant but you of course did. You seemed stunned. I thought: a bomb alert? Has someone important died? The woman at the table next to ours was wearing an orange sari and a thin band of gold round her neck – it was picked out by the candle in a brass holder on their table. Her expression mirrored yours. Her fork was suspended on its way to her lips. All the candle flames bent one way, repeating one another through the body of the restaurant, on to infinity through the wall mirrors. Her face took on a look of anguish. Was she happy or sad? I have since felt that hers was the kind of rapture that sees its own destruction coming. The waiters came charging from the kitchens and broke into cheers. And the owner stepped out proudly behind them and announced to us all in his immaculate English, ‘The state of Bangladesh has been declared! The Bengal nation now exists!’ Yes, you remember. So up we got and cheered too and wildly waved our napkins. You danced me through the restaurant and spun me around and around. I didn’t know the rights and wrongs of the matter: you never spoke to me about it. I lived in a bubble. But my sympathies were always with the rebel against the tyrant. I exulted with you. What will happen? I whispered as we sat down and continued with our curry. Will there be a war, Hassan? 72

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Jubilation troubles me these days: I’ve lived too long to trust it. It always has a shuddering aftermath. I didn’t sense this then. My head was in the air. Oh I trust not, you said. We want to avoid that. At all costs. A war would be the saddest thing. I hope Pakistan will just let us be and accept the people’s right to self-determination. And I queried: we? us? Up till then, ‘sixties idealists, we’d managed to sidestep questions of nationality. You were saturated in Englishness – after all, your entire education had been secured here - but at the same time we saw ourselves as citizens of the world. Pie in the sky, you say? Yes, I suppose so, from where we stand now. We took hands across the table and looked into one another’s eyes. I was sorry for everyone who did not live in our little world, our tribe of two. In the aftermath, three million Bangladeshis were to be murdered by Pakistan. By and by the diners finished and left, pumping the waiters’ hands and congratulating one another. You went over and spoke to them in Bengali. I remained seated by the window, tasting their bliss at one remove. I shall remember tonight, I thought: a moment of liberation. A fresh group of revellers charged in and there was a new burst of hilarity and rejoicing. One of the newcomers had brought a transistor radio: a crackling roar of applause was relayed from across continents. A speech by Mujibur Rahman, leader of the new independent state of Bangladesh. And then the strange faces appeared at the window. They seemed to have no bodies to them. They were just heads, looming forward, leering, out of the dark. No street light on that corner; in the restaurant just the candles. The plate glass window stove in. The explosion and the fleeting faces of men bawling, Allahu akhbar! Then the silence. The cries. They took us into the kitchen and the owner’s mother picked glass splinters out of my hair. Gave us tea. She said, Do not fear, we are in God’s hands. It is a miracle your lovely face was not slashed to ribbons. God is good. She cupped my face in her palms, a gesture of cherishing. The police took our statements. We stared at each other in shock. But I was young then and there was a sort of glittering excitement about it: I was part of your revolution now; I had been in the line of fire. I supposed myself to be one of your us, Hassan. The gods had granted you and me immunity: we were unscathed. We were the folk pledged to make a better world. It was coming. Coming fast. The clock speeded up its tick. The red carpet – do you remember this? – it was thick with glass shards. Thousands of splinters picked up the light and gleamed. All the candles were out so they’d turned on the electric chandelier at the centre and it swung in the wind. No one was ever arrested for the crime. 73

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The police were sympathetic but I heard one murmur as they left, How can you tell them apart anyhow? It was March 26th 1971. Look, I circled it in my diary. Every time we met, you know, in that way, I would circle the date. I know it doesn’t prove anything. All right. I didn’t say it was evidence. This is not distasteful to me; it should not be distasteful to you. It is a fact. We walked home through Birch Churchyard and along the lane. The daffodils were blanched in the moonlight: it was cold and crisp and there’d been a light, unseasonable snowfall. What happened was that you picked me up and whirled me round in the middle of the lane, with the last snowflakes falling on our faces. We made Lily that night. She was your last, best gift. It’s odd how these spinning moments stay lodged in us. They are silent promises or tokens. Of something perfect. Something over there that is coming near. The gods throw a shooting star. A planet passes close by on its ellipse. It comes near, it goes away. Catkins hung from the trees. I saw them the next day when you had breathlessly told me you must return at once to your homeland. Your life over here had been less than authentic, you confessed; you were ashamed at your betrayal of your parents’ trust; ashamed all round, so sorry, you were so sorry. You would always remember. You said. When I retraced our steps, the froth of delirious snow had melted. Of course beginnings and endings are hard to tell apart. Yes, I’ve thought of you since you married the wife your parents chose. Seen you every day. How could I help it? Her darling face was my whole horizon. There was nothing else. That’s how it is with a newborn babe, isn’t it? Sometimes I was so tired and ragged that when Lily did let me sleep, I’d go under quite deep and come shooting back to the surface, awakening to her face (yes I had her in my bed, always, until she went to school) but seeing your face. That is how it is with families. * Yes, I agree that reminiscence is gratuitous, if you want to put it like that. You are curious about the photo: I am coming to that. When Lily was ten – this is an odd thing – she and I got caught up in the beginning of the Moss Side and Rusholme Riots. No, you probably didn’t register these, why should you? By that time you’d been in Dhaka for years: I knew you were an important person in your country. She and I had been shopping at Blood’s – you know, the old ramshackle junk shop in Rusholme? A long, narrow shop wedged between a curry house and a kosher deli where they sold those delicious snacks – Yidi’s Schmaltz Herring, turkey hotdogs. We liked to sample everything, from every culture. Couldn’t eat much of it now, being a veggie. Anyway, Lily and I would often root around 74

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and find amazing objects at Blood’s, old toys from people’s attics she and I would take home and repair. She was always wonderful with her hands – so deft and delicate. I’d leave the most intricate work to her. As we were rummaging, I caught this peculiar humming or murmur. At first I thought it was in my head. The weather was sultry and our clothes were sticking to us. Migrainous weather; a weird qualm went through me. As I glanced out of the window, I saw groups of young black men swirling around on Oxford Road. Shouting that God was great. Next day I took the bus to work through Rusholme as usual. Glass everywhere. Every window smashed or boarded up. Shopkeepers were brushing up but, never-say-die, they’d set up stalls outside on the pavement. It happened to be Degree Day at the university and I saw youngsters in mortar boards and their mums in hats – and I felt the incongruity of it all, the discrepant worlds we inhabit. We were all afraid. It was my fault: I should not have left Lily alone in the sitting room that evening with the television on, while I fried fish fingers in the kitchen. She saw the riot police charging the boys, shouting Nigger! Nigger! Nigger! Oi! Oi! Oi! and Go home Paki bastards! She wouldn’t go to sleep at night. She asked in a whispery voice, Will they come and knock our house down, Mummy? Will they send me home? She didn’t mean the rioters. She meant the police. No, no, of course not. You are home, my love. You are safe. This is your country. It was about then that she asked straight out for the first time, Why is your face different from mine? Where is my daddy, Mummy? You never replied to my letters. You never received them? Really? Of course your family knows nothing of her existence. Lily is not someone they could countenance. I understand. But she does not and she blames me. I have allowed her to blame me: I am her human bridge. When it comes down to it, that is what I am for. She lives in Norway with her partner and children; teaches; rarely visits. But - the photograph that whetted your curiosity. Well, the Joy Bangla was trashed during the race riots by a gang of white youths from Moss Side. They daubed DEATH TO PAKI BASTARDS!!! in red paint on what remained of the windows. A great irony. The restaurant simply ceased to exist; after a while the place was boarded up and reopened as an estate agent’s. Cut-price trips to Asia and the Middle East. Perhaps the proprietor hadn’t the heart to start again or the insurance wouldn’t pay out. It may have come under the heading, ‘Act of God’. I don’t know what became of the family. Perhaps, like you, they went home to Bangladesh.

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And that was the picture you saw belatedly last week on the internet. It appeared in the Evening News the following day. Me and Lily standing in front of the space where the window had been, peering in.

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Seven Poems Ros Hudis

Elegy. You who are pushing towards me through these words ( the shiver through cathedrals of sweetcorn, sky heat-scraped white) I draw you close as a taste– salt in the folds of beach rocks where sea has grazed and gone - you have only died to arrival in the present tense; you rise in the print after print of these hollows of you always behind me as I go forwards looking backwards to where darkness blossoms like oil.

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Yesterday they re-buried Victor Jara and I remembered Allende’s face on placards under London rain the communion whitewash of a stadium - headlines: Estadio Chile bleating with five thousand men driven in like goats stalled in that glaring womb each man was born to the midwife generals their forceps splitting all boundaries (Solidarity was a habit we’d worn by day stitched up by night) as they tortured Victor Jara his palms ripped along their fault lines someone recalled shots - thirty incisions into muscle tissue liver heart strata the singed rose of arteries in the Cordillera de la Sal

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Ward Night You on morphine now and you know its their last. best shot and without it the beach of your bed is dry gravel, with no drift of hope through the window, through the framed pond that is sky or concrete tower. Night – the lights switch to half life, a forgery of dusk that never reaches darkness, where the cycle of tests ticks on muted, remote as if under skin. But you on morphine now and the night it lifts up will come a shell at your ear when everything else drops away. Up close the sea drives its lungs and you are the interface between its keeling ache and the wind. You want to go to bed in your bones: a yolk rocked in a calcite rib,be an undertone at the livid core of a tornado sky, or the yellow sheet dawn irons, dumb and prolific.

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Sometimes the night it lifts up is like an executioner’s cool husk suppressing your eyes. All exhaustion of seeing gone nothing but what you hear finally – the sift of last traffic down the city’s s slip-face, the swell and relapse of your own lungs and you know that one back-surge will fall no further than this.

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Colorado Book of the Dead. My Colorado sister sends me a link to Ancestors.com; I think of her desert hair, her face abstracted against the Garden of the Gods, where the paprika rocks split open a space for Pikes Peak to engorge and the Hogbacks front the dry wind .She tells me these rocks are prisoners of old skins, the slough of mountains, alluvial fans, dune fields folding down into their scaffold like a surrendered lung. Somewhere, in that wide frame where I have parked her, is the beat of fake cowboys – Bill Munny, Jacobite Jack, play-shots on a ride from Denver and the half-mud, South Platt river, never deep enough, never a match for Route 287 that bitter, insatiable road whose promise is Texas, sweating in its carmine dust, thighs open, but always with a price, always brokered on a loose horizon. And on this other horizon - this keyboard I have not yet touched down - nor numbered the uninvited dead who slope by for no reason but that the mind, paused, sheds a Cadillac trail like a corpse road, for their grave, night-baked feet, their croons of redemption.

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Disclosure

When the consultant made his entrance into the talcum-sweet dusk of my corner in the maternity ward, when he shone his bright,verbal torch into our faces and said that in his considered opinion (and I considered where unconsidered would have taken us) our baby was a Downs and how sorry he was to bear such tragic news, I looked at our freshly labelled daughter who was busily engaged in getting a full supper out of my breast, and wondered at how quickly two words could dissolve the constituency of motherhood. I hung for sometime on a cliff-edge outside the borders of this constituency, hearing the sea break its bones against granite and the backlash panic through a gale, as if losing oxygen. Meanwhile our daughter unfolded her repertoire of instructions for mealtimes and more mealtimes, as babies do, and studied us, thoughtfully with her eyes flecked like a sea gull’s egg, her almond eyes as the nurse described them, pointing out that thus shall you know a Downs. With one hand I held her, and with the other I clawed myself back. But only to find that now a charter of precaution and exclusions was glued to the glass nest 82

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where our daughter eyed us with joyful expectation. Nowhere did it say welcome, nowhere how beautiful the neat arcs of her mouth, or babble like light rain with which she woke me at 2.0 am among the heart scraping cries of other babies. Talking of beauty, that was the time an acquaintance brought in a leaflet on plastic surgery for the child who was a Downs, because to fit in we must have beauty, which a Downs does not, and anyway we can do anything these days, so why not that? It listed the defects of a Downs: epicanthal folds, slanted palpebral features, a flattened nasal bridge, an undefined mid-facial region, a down-turned lower lip. It was like a geography of some lost, unmanned island deep in the Pacific. I saw epicanthal folds dipping and surging like the arch of a whale’s back near shore, steam, trellised with dawn fire rising from palpebral features, how they might glisten like mica, a long bridge of white rock that laced through the quiet forests of the mid-region, the plunge of their branches towards the sun. 83

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Boundary Think of what white fabric could wrap: fences like slap-stick pins holding down a boundary where a pit shears away. at a certain time on the hem of any city on the quietus of afternoon a white seam is heeled in. I was turning this photo taken 1944 in fields near Kracow: my Kosher great aunts their shadow biography clutched in armfuls of rye who were probably felled into pits on the dead land between dust lane and pine woods their bodies settling like laid off snow, or here this Sunday in bracken and fume-sick reeds a teenage prostitute three days strangled, the smell of injured grass in her cunt’s dark-room.

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Flayed Ox ( after Chagall ) I have not been blessed. and my hide has been shredded like rind. Raw as a tongue I plummeted from the sky gagging to lick back my blood bath. My hulk is engorged the roofs shrink from me draw bandages of snow across door slits that smell of inside where portions of my belly simmer with onion and prayer. But the wind of my fall has ripped the shutters and the shocket flails in a loosened sky that has upturned gravity and bruised the light of wet cobbles holding the little streets together in a fist of child’s blue. My bones crucify even the cockerel.

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When she left she didn’t hear from him, she didn’t hear from him John Lavin

There’s a girl in the garden staring up at a February sky called Jay. Called Jay by parents – one of whom is dead from cancer; who died after a long and protracted battle which had, to begin with, come like an omniscient bolt from a mythical God, the kind of bolt that can go either way in terms of either making a person believe in mythical Gods as actually in all probability existing or that can make a person more cemented in their already existent belief in the general random and utter meaninglessness of life - who were artists who became graphic designers who became very comfortably off indeed and who had picked Jay for her name at the time for no other reason than it was as much if not more a boy’s than a girl’s name; for no other reason than it was voguish among their circle to do so; their circle which was composed of other artists and borderlinerecreational drug users like themselves. Yes, there’s a girl in the garden staring up at the sky called Jay who is given an incredible combination of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics and food supplements every morning followed by a smaller but accumulatively significant number in the evening; a girl with red dye in her grey hair and a complex balance of too, too many prescribed drugs in her iris-eclipsed eyes; in her iris-eyes which take in eagerly the clear and wistful sky; which take in eagerly the sky because it is a component of the morning and this particular morning feels almost certainly like the first morning of spring, which is something she can’t remember having experienced in years, something which calls to her somehow through the delicate chemistry of all those counter-balancing drugs to a part of herself beyond even her illness, to a pre-illness state which makes her smile and feel like there is hope for the future, even as it discourages her by giving her an insight into how wrong her brain must ordinarily feel in order for this moment to feel so 86

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extraordinary; how wrong it must ordinarily feel to almost constantly feel this pressure she feels pressing onto her crown as though a person were kneading her skull like it was pizza dough, as though a person were using their thick, work-hardened fingers and thumbs to press down so deeply and unremittingly as to almost certainly have some purpose even more sinister than sadism, a purpose which sometimes breaks through the drug-fog and reveals itself as a thought process that makes her want to stab herself in the brain with anything that comes to hand because it is a thought process which is not her own and it terrifies her; how wrong her brain must ordinarily feel in order for her to be only allowed to go out on her own and have some sort of semi-freedom by virtue of her consenting to the prescription of a vast combination of counterbalancing drugs which numb her to such a degree that she can ordinarily only dimly perceive a spring sky, or a book she once enjoyed, or a boy in the street who she might in a former life of talked to and fallen in love with, or at least slept with. There is a boy she knows though; up on the other side of town; living in a block of sheltered housing she once lived in herself. His name is Matthew although she has a habit of perplexing/ amusing/ freaking out the social care workers where she lives by sometimes calling him ‘The Matthew’ because she thinks of him as being a little bit like her Messiah by virtue of the fact that he talks to her as though she were still in her pre-illness state, by virtue of the fact that he depends on her and she is so sick and tired of always having to depend on other people. He loves her too. If things had been different, if she had stayed well then she would have wanted someone to love her who was quite different to Matthew, someone who would make her want to be impulsive for a reason, someone who she would want to make love to because she simply had to; not out of a kind of abstracted curiosity. And yet in his room when the two of them look out of the window everything outside of the window remains outside of the window and she feels and feels sure he feels too that they have each found a place to shelter in the other. Before she became ill Jay once spent a year, her gap year, doing volunteer work in a children’s orphanage in Bulgaria and she often remembers that time now with a hyper-clarity even as she either forgets or misremembers almost everything else. It’s the summer she remembers most, especially June and July when it was hot but not so hot that you couldn’t even leave the orphanage because of the heat like the way it was for most of August. Days and days spent playing in the broken up road outside the orphanage’s entrance porch where the youngest and/ or least confident children painted and made bead necklaces and papier maché balloons with hilarious faces with Jay and her friends and the art materials Jay and her friends had brought with them from England. Going for picnics under an old tree in a nearby sunflower field and lavishing the children with crisps and fizzy drinks and weird almost unbelievably sweet coloured cakes all of which cost almost literally nothing for Jay and her friends to buy but which would have cost the children or their teachers or their parents so much that they would never have even remotely considered buying such a large and many coloured feast.

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She remembers one boy the most whose father had used to beat him and whose father wanted him to come back and live in Sofia with him. The boy wasn’t quite old enough to smoke but there was no stopping him and so she used to sit out on the steps and smoke with him in the early evening before she and her friends went into town to eat pizza or cold cucumber soup or a meat casserole-type dish that came in an individual pot with an egg cracked into it at the last minute. Yes he wasn’t old enough to smoke and she used to sit out on the steps with him in the evenings and talk with small words because he knew some basic English but she was still finding Bulgarian almost impossible and so a lot of things they said to one another were conducted in an ad hoc kind of sign language. A lot of things they wanted to say to one another were very deep and difficult and eventually they began to know each other so well that they were able to do so whilst barely speaking the same language. He talked of the time when he would be old enough to do what he wanted and how what he wanted most in the world was to come to England and see her and she knew even as he said it that it would never happen, that he was caught in a trap, a poverty trap by virtue not only of being brought up first by an abusive father who wouldn’t let him go to school and then by an orphanage who sent him to a relatively well-intentioned but ultimately academically poor school but by virtue of him being a Roma gypsy in a country where Roma gypsies were not given opportunities; a country where he would never be able to earn enough money unless he got into drug dealing or some other form of organised crime. When she left she didn’t hear from him, she didn’t hear from him. He had been forced to move back to Sofia, to live with his father. She heard it through the one of her friends who kept in touch with the orphanage administration. The heat was dizzying that August. She walked out to the tree in the sunflower fields with him one day and got sunstroke almost immediately. She was sick two maybe three times. He held her hair for her, which was dark then and long enough to reach the small of her back. They stayed there in the shade of the tree until the evening when it was cool enough to make their way back to the orphanage and all his friends and all her friends looked at her strangely when they returned to the orphanage although nothing had happened except that he had stroked her hair with tenderness while she leaned against the tree with her head pounding while the sky and the sunflowers shifted in and out of focus.

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Three poems from Beach Hotel, a work in progress David Brundage

you lived in the big city by the lake i lived far away in country where snows come early and winter nights hang long but once in a while i would visit spiders and satellite tv in beach motel

eden trattoria eden trattoria pizza pasta galato pastry and krombach beer dark ornate font on white canvas canopies shading hungry mouths still succulent from summer’s discrete withdrawal here below beach motel watch nubile bodies half sunned half shaded southwards to the lake parting waves intrepid few most bathing dry dark glasses drawn tight hair white runners scuff and squeak past wrought iron terrace merlot and garlic in mild moist air down to broad rock turret where wide chalky boulders lean haphazard symmetry framing silent sails and clouds too dimensional to enter 89

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the picture toronto tower sews east shore to sky space craft somewhere in between eden trattoria i’m going to eat you before i leave

humber bay park east framing

the old black telephone crackles as you say meet you halfway air fresh this time by contrast i walk west under intricate willows black squirrels humber bay park east framing streetcar island and business block cement shopping cart dame outside on the run solicits smoke then lets go back to knitting watchful eyes more of this said motel matron overhead cranes grand palisade marina del rey wrong way iron fence droning shut holistic centre polish alliance branches 1 to 7 man in baker’s dozen asks for susan susan doesn’t work here anymore sold the place old toad mouth stands on ladder back at beach motel unscrews lightbulb doesn’t look an owner does he you walk east by the old stone heritage mansions red brick walls with flowers

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polish consulate tammy’s spa polenza meats and dirty yellow brick apartments cracked toilet someone left curbside pictures of pope john paul 2nd ratty frames evangel lutheran church says gratitude makes minds great strollers mobilicity doorway-men deep smoking street-corner-boys passing talk lawn-sale shelley berman 33 black squirrels in wild would be dead meat why did i ever come here she thinks in polish 24 years and still no inner english auntie says grandfather left us last night we found him this morning cold as a fish cat perched on terry cloth flipper feet something of lilt and shuck to your gait like sailboats you don’t see on the horizon students stagger sofas gimpy chairs jack’s milk olga’s lounge cheques cashed brokers and bars laundromat clean my childhood five hundred miles and different speak from humber bay yours calling here like circe

miles end road let’s walk on the boulevard’s south side you say knowing i like to see the lake miles end road

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falling to lakeside parkette table-top checkerboard squares outdoor chairs lose yourself in water sometimes at noon i stop sometimes at dusk shake the red blue white cop car trolling snapshoot write sign on oak tree no feeding squirrels except the two north-curb road-kill man descends thinking i scratched his new paint isn’t this public i say yes but he and wife guardian angelize seal-rite fretful fingers finding marks driving toronto transit commission subway hope abandoned all to graffiti too bad you stayed there he says bikini-clad hookers shameless recalls some rumour long before they submit to amend plan C-65-86 motel strip redesign 1-49 ha’parcel mixed use call etobicoke planning for information you should have stayed at four winds at sunnyside i see you take size half invisible in that other world you brought

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Fossilize Patrick Jones

“No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from earth- these are those who did not defile themselves with women for they keep themselves pure�

Revelation 14

an inbred arrogance threads through time into arteries and brainstem cortex passed on like defunct dna to wither thought capture moments in amber and strength reason into belief as the child digs in the soil, she finds remnants of another day a far off starlit day whole worlds trapped in collapsed mud and clay, crushed breaths tourniquetted in time a pompeii in miniature lives frozen for us, to imagine and escape into for a day, 93

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statues standing still in sheltered soil dormant dancers move again, shattered bones hold the pain as innocent eyes catch glimmers of a then, that helps us to understand the now with, with the if as flint fed forgetting cloaks the churches and sandstoned serenade evades the synagogues as the mulchmoorland peat is held off limits by mosque tannoy and imman indifference

fossilized mannekins preaching death forever rocks ciphering codes to kids flies in amber mouthing words that strangle tongues stone surveyors of an ancient living landscape that avoids their petrified gaze only watch through a slit in the hood a burhka’d iris of all that’s real

as the child’s hands dig into history, illuminate mystery with a hammer and chisel and searing vision to make that historical incision freed from the sectarian straitjacket of religion their exploration 94

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our future their knowledge our past their malleable minds rising through rock and stone their digging our windows their evidence our wonder their riverminds flowing through time their clarity misting our eyes, into into, a revelation;

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It shall be done

(inspired by the Turkish writer Umcu Mumco) Patrick Jones

if the bullets diminished what the mind inferred and the beatings break what the fear could not

it shall be written it shall be spoken it shall be marked it shall be given

to those who still feel and believe that ink spills blood and should not die in vain, yet feed the veins with the inkfisted glory of our international alphabet, always and ever it shall be written it shall be spoken 96

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it shall be marked it shall be given, for those who attempt to silence the shalls, the incandescent verbs that blaze and break, for those whose belief is shall not, will not/ should not /must not, and those whose language is bombs and ground manoeuvres whose adjectives and nouns never match, always clash, like ‘ friendly fire’, ‘ collateral damage’, ‘failed asylum seeker’ and ‘civilized warfare’ whose only grammar is the full stop who sends stamped orders to innocent victims, who blot out the meaning with aerial bombardment and night vision attacks with veiled codes and cowarding rucksacks it shall be now it shall be then it shall be tomorrow that the syllables stammer their way into us, not with blade but voice, over us, one with us, the vowels cocoon our throats and coat our tongues with thoughthoney so we will speak, sing, write, eternally, an alphabet of peace, justice and equality and freedom shall be our book and responsibility our library no victorious speeches from safe balconies no orders from above no cages of commandments just the pages of the voices, the stories, the love the love just the bookshelves of humanity standing like witnesses on the stand speaking in beauty and dignity seeing hearing bearing 97

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it shall be written it shall be spoken it shall be marked it shall be given, it shall it shall it shall

be done;

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Contributors

Edward Bond was born in 1934. He is an English playwright, theatre director, poet, theorist and screenwriter. He has written some fifty plays including Saved (1965) This production was instrumental in the abolition of theatre censorship in the UK. Bond is widely considered to be one of the major living dramatists, but he has always been controversial on account of the violence shown in his plays and the radical nature of his views about modern theatre and society and of his theories on drama. Stephen Harrod Buhner is the author of 14 works of nonfiction and one of poetry. His most recent book is Ensouling Language: On the Ant rt of Nonfiction and the Writer’s Life. He lives in the United States, on the high plains desert of southwestern New Mexico. Philip Gross is Professor of Creative Writing at Glamorgan University. The Water Table won the TS Eliot Prize 2009, I Spy Pinhole Eye was Wales Book of The Year 2010 and Off Road To Everywhere was a Children’s Poetry Bookshelf Choice. Deep Field, a collection centred on his father’s aphasia, is due in November 2011. www.philipgross. co.uk Matthew Porubsky was awarded the Henry and Jessie Jacobs Prize in Poetry from the University of Kansas in 2002. His first book of poetry, voyeur poems, published by Coal 99

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City Press, was the winner of the Kansas Authors Club Nelson Poetry Book Award in 2006. His poetry has been published, or is forthcoming, in poetry journals including Sierra Nevada Review, Coal City Review, freefall, The Journal (U K), Little Balkins Review and Flint Hills Review. He lives in Topeka where he works as a freight conductor for the Union Pacific Railroad. Dik Edwards, who was born in Cardiff, is a highly acclaimed, radical playwright with more than twenty productions to his name, including Franco’s Bastard, Utah Blue, and The Pimp and a collection of poems, Walt Whitman and Other Poems. His last production was of Casanova Undone in Copenhagen in 2009. In September 2011Manifest Destiny, for which he wrote the libretto, will be produced in London on 10th anniversary of 9/11. He is director and founder of Creative Writing at Lampeter, Trinity St David, University of Wales. Dik Edward’s work is published by Oberon; his website is www.dic-edwards.com Tamar Yoseloff is the author of four poetry collections, most recently The City with Horns, published by Salt in 2011. She is also the author of Marks, a collaborative book with the artist Linda Karshan, published by Pratt Contemporary Art, and the editor of A Room to Live In: A Kettle’s Yard Anthology. She is a freelance tutor in creative writing and has run a number of site-specific poetry workshops in venues such as the Fitzwilliam Museum and Tate St Ives. Her blog, Invective Against Swans (www.invectiveagainstswans.tumblr. com), explores the intersection between poetry and art. www.tamaryoseloff.com Zoë Brigley, originally from Wales, now lives in Pennsylvania USA. Her poetry collection The Secret (Blooddaxe 2007) was a Poetry Book Recommendation. Her writing has been published in the Times Higher Education, PN Review, The Manhattan Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Wales and The New Welsh Review. Susie Wild lives in Cardiff and is one of Parthian’s Bright Young Things. Her first book, The Art of Contraception, won Fiction Book of the Year in the Welsh Icons Awards 2010 100

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and was long-listed for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2011. Literature Wales recently awarded Susie a Writer’s Bursary to continue work on her second book, a novel. Her Kindle Single novella Arrivals is out now. http://susiewild.blogspot.com/ @soozerama Alan Bruce Flanders was educated at Oxford and Hollins University and teaches American history and English in the United States. He is currently working on his PhD. in creative writing under Professor Dik Edwards at Trinity St. David, University of Wales. Peter Finch is a full-time poet and psychogeographer. He was born in Cardiff where he still lives. Until recently he was Chief Executive of the writer’s society, The Welsh Academy, and later the literature development agency, Literature Wales. He is known for his declamatory poetry readings and his alternative guides to his home city - -Real Cardiff. His latest collection of poetry is Zen Cymru, published by Seren. James Morris was born in Wales and brought up in England, returning to Wales in 2004. He studied history at university but taught himself photography as a means to explore his interest in landscape and the built environment. In 2003 he published Butabu, an exploration of the unique vernacular architectural landscape of West Africa. In recent years he has looked more broadly at the impact of human intervention and presence in the landscape, and what we can understand from observing it, working both in Wales and abroad. In 2010 he published A Landscape of Wales. His work is exhibited internationally and has received awards from Design and Art Directors Guild, The Graham Foundation, European Union, Arts Council Wales and Welsh Books Council. It is in numerous collections including The British Council, Museum of African Art NY, Princeton University, Victoria and Albert Museum, Aga Khan Foundation and National Library of Wales. www.jamesmorris.info Robert Minhinnick is a poet, essayist, novelist and translator. Born in Neath, he now lives in Porthcawl. He studied at Aberystwth and then Cardiff, University of Wales. He 101

THE LAMPETER REVIEW - Issue 3 - May 2011


is also an environmental campaigner. He has published seven collections of poetry as well as several volumes of essays and was editor of Poetry Wales from 1997 until 2008. Minhinnick publishes a collection of stories, ‘The Keys of Babylon’ (Seren) in October this year. In 2012, his ‘Selected Poems’ appear from Carcenet. Stevie Davies is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Swansea, her home town. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the Welsh Academy. Stevie has published widely in the fields of fiction, literary criticism, biography and popular history. The Element of Water (2001) was long-listed for the Booker and Orange Prizes and won the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year. Her new novel, Into Suez, set in the years leading up to the ‘Suez Crisis’ of 1956, was published by Parthian in 2010 and longlisted for the Wales Book of the Year Prize, 2011. www.steviedavies. com Ros Hudis is a musician turned writer, currently studying for an MA in Creative and Script Writing at Lampeter, Trinity St David. Since starting at Lampeter, she has had poetry published in Peony Moon and The Lampeter Review and has had work accepted for a future edition of Stand Magazine. Ros co-edits The Lampeter Review. John Lavin studied English at the University of Wales, Lampeter, followed by an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Wales, Cardiff. After several years working in the mental health sector, he has returned to Lampeter, where he is a PhD student. He has a story in the new Parthian anthology The Month had Thirty-Two Days. He co-edits The Lampeter Review. David Brundage’s poetry has appeared in pensianante de’ saraceni, Paris and The Fiddlehead, New Brunswick. It has been broadcast by CBC radio. He has had ten plays produced. Cross-Canada Writers Quarterly and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts have recognized his short stories; a recent one appeared in issue 1 of The Lampeter Review. 102

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Having grown up in Montreal and spent several years writing in New York City, he has subsequently been rooted in Alberta, Canada where he teaches creative writing for Athabasca University. Patrick Jones is a poet, playwright, human rights activist and filmmaker. His work includes the poetry collections The Guerilla Tapestry and Fuse, the CD of spoken word and music Commemoration and Amnesia and the plays Everything Must Go, Unprotected Sex, The War is Dead long live the war and Sing to Me. He has also directed short films and videos for the bands The Manic Street Preachers and Lethargy. His website is www. patrick-jones.net

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THE LAMPETER REVIEW - Issue 3 - May 2011

The Lampeter Review - Issue 3  

The Lampeter Review has developed out of the Creative Writing Centre based at Lampeter, Trinity St David, University of Wales. And in this i...

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