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“Overnight, passersby became so many death vessels” – Richard Makin, WORK (Chapter XV)

As Iain Sinclair has observed, Makin’s “writing is that it is. This is prose you must learn to experience before you begin to interpret […] the pages in their beautiful and delirious abstraction are ordered poetry.”

Richard Makin’s Work continues the “work” of Mourning by taking stock of “the minutiae of the view, the dissenting details,” and dealing with the processes of passing, disappearance, & death. As David Vichnar has pointed out (see here), Makin’s is writing born out of “the obsession of the I that wants to die without ceasing to be I.” In the excerpt published below, one finds the similar pressing, disconcerting and richly bewildering tone that fills the pages of Mourning, and also something more.

Work is forthcoming with Equus Press in 2020.



It sounds as though. And then on the last day, someone said.

            ‘Nobody tells me. Grace.

Chisel at the skull, and then more. We were both converts. He says I am unable to make a response right now. (To leave a formation or group by veering away.) Its tongue is torn in several places against the bodily frame, mortality by figures, whichever the sooner.

            She tries not to think of futures; weve seen a number of examples of salvage closing down. Shes seen extremes, while he is the very measure. They declared loudly that they did not wish to undertake a spectral journey.

            There is no speech here, he plays on long into the time of their inevitable defeat. And then she says, do you think theres an after-lung?

            Your irony has been savoured up to the present day, and doubtless beyond. 


Night comes to dawn. I wish Id been there, to see it through though doubtless he would have proved the obverse. His base being narrower than the apex, he is presented to view: a counterpart in opposite aspect, for example, a wallpaper frieze with chickens on it.
I had longings back then, but the head would cave in and come back to itself, start all over again. I don
t want to know the story of those fucking songs: a forked twig, a memory at risk, that helpless boundary scored into the earth by your withered hand. He cut himself off with his dirty knife, and thats it. Hes later found stowaway, crammed toward the stern of the vessel.

            The bursa had split. Quantum states or wave functions change sign on inversion through an origin. Uranus orbits between Jupiter and Neptune, at an average distance. 


Wall-to-wall interior. Style is probably accident, dress code supernatural. The translation reads the incoherent young men sip at bittersweet kava. . . . Perhaps we should have brought each other something to show, rather than render the outcome more complicated than it needs to be.

            We should be enjoying each others medium; were not doing anthropology here. He is the most ancient of the gods and first overlord, statistically.

            The constant in my personal law of repulsion tethers gravity to mass. Steer clear, somewhere high over the rain, way up within the tenor of his voice, gorging upon the liver. Move closer the memory bone theres been a run on the confessional.

            He has the unsettling yet welcome premonition that one day he will have to stand up and be confessed. A fresh rope is woven. For him, everything loses solid appearance, how else could objects be relinquished? If you stick this out long enough, everyone else will fade away to leave you manifest, shed visible in the light.


Overnight, passersby became so many death vessels. Now shes got the alphabetizers in this means roadkill at the closure of an epic continuum. And todays recall: blinding white stars, where the metallic lines strengthen the hydrogen bands falter, based on your spectra.

            Street cleaning back then was unknown: severed bone, sinew, viscera, subcutaneous lard. . . . I remember struggling on up to my shanks. That time was a bad time for everyone, he with his outright persona, me nursing masked twinspur: racemes of bell-shaped flowers, shades of pink and each with two short spurs. . . . The yellow-collared, also called breathless or eye-thing, is a species in the family. We are native to the northeast and have not been introduced.

            This process recurs around a turning-point, within the boundary of the incontestable mile. Were all left standing; this is his farewell game. He is waiting. Sound is trapped at the dilated end of a semicircular canal in the ear, while his outer membrane collects pollen. The archive is molecular, trade historicalfootplate memories of the Settle-Carlisle. The inquisition included questions on metempsychosis.

            Who founded wallpaper.

            In particular, I am denoting a substitute dug-in at the opposite end of a carbon double bind, combatants on opposing sides of the checkered board (the trans of a stillborn). Can we conceive of a criminal bloodline?

            Questions of foreshadowing import the trick is to corral our peculiarities, form being pinioned by its given name.


Today Im busy fashioning a new art with a randomly chosen inner faculty, and for no other reason than this rarely yields a result. The other entries slip by, the whole bad stock of individuals; I refuse to have my own skin inscribed in that manner, and thats that.

            Besides himself, they have no protector. Dusk split the ranks of our foe in two, one on the counterscarp, the other penned in the floodplain. A major victory can be obtained by positive measures aimed at a decision, never by simply waiting on events. Ground may be classified according to its nature.

            There was moonlight any doubters are reminded of my misanthropy, played out to tupperware and discount cucumbers. I am exhaust. He employs the help of the dead to destroy an array of stakeholders.

            Here comes matter, thrownsiegecraft. Semi-circular bastions stud the circumference of the fortress; the time for parleying is past. We resorted to zonal man-marking. I thought I was going to die.

            Well, yes, all this may look mighty superstitious, but form is never set: antiphonic wastage in a vibrating fork of timeet cetera. . . . Sappers undermined and demolished the city wall; I am out-chanced, always. The room was thick with smoke. I remember watching, higher and higher.


He finds himself alone and quietly taking his meal; the scene is anomalous, yet obviously assembled with loving care. Im encased in my theme by the narrowness of his experience in recent days we have turned to numberless crimes. Now its raining. A dog barks. I start like an alarmed bird (the heron). I am suggested, I am suggested by flight. I am suggested by the guttural. I am suggested by a blind rush into the unknown. (Town mourns three deadet cetera.) I could hear the sluice of blood in my head, a tide that poured from me to enter every object in the room, every object with its own pulse. There was this robotic voice.


I bear a name given to various speedwells, a creeping small herbaceous of the earth. We have suffered influence; one day I will return home. There was this robotic voice. It would be nice, wouldnt it, if we could watch something together every night. Some who arrived were less than visible.

            The illustration shows a building balanced on stone piles at the museum; all the labels are written in an exquisite copperplate hand. There were fossiled teeth and an abandoned rib. Variations were used as a supporting base for war games; the stones lifted us the above the ground. Origin is the limb of a tree.

            And back to my wonderful plague kitchen. In a harbourside warehouse, spangles of the same light are cast across the whole sphere: blue-flowered, posterior sepal wanting flower calyx, with transformation of outer members. . . . Just after closing the shutters, something knocked at the window four storeys up.


It is still busy pecking at its liver. Ill-starred fortune has befallen us, because I gave not. We are wormwood, he says.

            Error frequencies occur at the close of an enemy interlude (i.e. one lifetime). Its all changed; Ive reduced things a bit to conjure more space. I remember the costumes from different films. And something had fallen from the ceiling, crumbs of feverI should have come headless.

            ‘Do you want sound.

            This account harbours a completely indifferent meaning. (You know how in films they do sleepwalking, psychedelic stuff.) Long ago, a rune had been carved into the very centre of the stone. Long ago, runes had been carved along the circumference of the mill wheel. There is that word circumference again.

            A rune is a symbol with mysterious or magical significance. And now he asks, whats the point of a conductor and could the wireless operator not be replaced by a large metronome?

            At the station he showed me his drawings of fossil teeth, all the dead crocodiles. Some he had coloured in a fanciful manner, alongside a typeset legend. The paper was lined, the feint pale blue.

            ‘No, you dont want to do that, and Im sick of telling you why.

            Im good at doing nothing he mouths, ambling past, hound in tow.           


This is a favourable location to billet the garrison. I am inhabited. I am inhabited by the peal of a bell. I once held a photograph of father boxing, nautical pugilismI termed it. He did not mind. A trireme is something different. 

            I am inventing my own reverse: stay close to whatever comes through.

            The shape is a lozenge held between distant points, with impartial screaming. A rhomboid acts as modifier, a charge in the shape of a solid diamond, on which the arms of an unmarried or widowed woman are displayed. Its a grand game this, a very satisfying game.


A brace of words, swung either side of a pylon. Meanwhile, a neuroscientist on the radio was talking about the appeal of anaesthesia. I obtained purchase on the arc of the key and turned its wards from left to right; within I found an area of ground sealed by the encircling walls of a fortress. I could not fathom mine eye, and several times had to turn away and look out of a window into the garden within the keep.

            There seems no reason to doubt that you were aware of this quixotic veneration and its roots. I dont know why.

            ‘Look, its George video!


So, we cant go on doing this, or we can? An aperture for free egress and ingress flips open: the majority are for slaughtering the more honest, law-abiding citizens. She must be waiting for someone or something, leaning into low winter sunshine, against the traffic. What about the urinal.

            This ruined the movie. I wouldnt have let them do it. On the gate it said eel pie rules.


Savage manoeuvres to the death: we began to creep toward the station in a dead straight line. Ground may be classified as accessible, entangling, delayed, precipitous, distant, or having narrow mountain passes.

            Very crude lives we were back then; come the spring thaw we captured a large communist. He stood in front of the sun and stretched out his arms and I said youre like an archangel. I have no wish myself to be blinded he replied. I suggested a definition: a thermodynamic quantity is equivalent to the total heat content of the average spleen.


It was amazing when they showed that couple jumping off a cliff we could see them at a distance miles away, two specks descending against the setting sun, quite aesthetic, all things being equal. I was feeling quite guilty. The multitude peer into remote antiquity to discover a golden age which never enlisted.

            They sent a fucking steam train. You can still hear a slight twist of English; theres something about the way hes standing. A fine powdery substance, typically yellow, consists of microscopic grains discharged from the male cone.


Its funny, theres always some nocturnal thing, I can hear it in flight, wings vibrating in the humid tropical air. . . . He wasnt interested in money. . . . Goodbye. . . . I always put the seats back before I leave I dont know why I do this, but I do. They strap something around your body and you explode.


Equipage with postilion clad in moleskin. How can I expect them to withstand if I dont enter the fray myself, stubbornly refuse to give tongue? Bring me the scribes head. I refer above to the selfsame window from which the poet defenestrated all those years.

            This means you are definitely going to lose, fear has come full circle: win the day of a lifetime et cetera. The ocean trench is over a mile wide, and its the same depth as the last that suddenly appeared.

            His ears are going too fast. He is too good to throw awry, at this precise moment.


She says the more densely packed the particles, the further sound travels. She has experimented. The working parts are called ultrasound, vibrations in an elastic medium. She has no spectral class. She is everywhere.

            What an old face: blue-grey eyes, skin the texture of hessian it was a frightful gash. This phenomenon collides with the somatic mode, a lost nomadic life. In the perfect eye, all the refractive surfaces are spherical, i.e. the action of throwing someone out of a window. Small stones, pieces of bone et cetera bore symbols with magical significance and were used in divination, raids on the unkent.

            Its not my job to lead a life, prizing forth, breathless for want. Youre not an author, youre a surgeon, an anatomist, and those pencils are scalpels and bone chisels… Come back alive were his parting words. I am denoting paper printed with faint lines, as a guide.


They lead lives of quiet separation, in a chaperoned box. Supernal refers us to the sky or the heavens. Origin sits a fraction above medieval.

            But, to begin making my own decisions.

            He cannot rise above the mass of appearances, the seemingly infinite neighbours and other folk of waning calibre. The answer to this question of the self are the polymorphous tricks and deceptions of its being.

            Use has retreated steadily and is now restricted. Once a year the skin is shed. Speech occurs where the lines cross, actually.


He is doing shock tactics all the time. Beyond the perimeter what the occupier calls the limeshe has his own performative realization of the material under study. He has recently worked on the fallen.

            Im so aggressive, Ive spent the entire weekend being aggressive. A team bypass is needed, benighted anthems; I came to you, because we needed one another. Now Id like to know where the threshold lies.

            As we speak, a substitution is taking place.

© Richard Makin

About Equus Press

EQUUS was established in 2011 with the objective of publishing innovative & translocal writing.


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"Modernity today is not in the hands of the poets, but in the hands of the cops" // Louis Aragon
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"Poetism is the crown of life; Constructivism is its basis" // Karel Teige


“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?…we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us” // Franz Kafka, letter to Oskar Pollack, 27 January 1904
May 2020
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