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“I could find no symbols in the body of work. All my letters have given up.” – Richard Makin, WORK (Chapter XXXIII)


We are unorchestrate — dark columns in the great fugue, intersecting spindles of light, neural ganglia.    

            Or, misdoubt, the art of setting stage or disrupting a unique pictorial event: birdlife clinging to an old man in the square. Saints fly down. I’ll make up my own mind about the crew.

            I’ve got the bag with the meat raffle (image capture via mercury and silver iodine). The fact that there is red ink in the well, and the packet contains a rose-coloured seed, is reassuring. A selection of thumbnails will now retell the tale.

            I could find no symbols in the body of work; the last time I looked it was made of words. All my letters have given up. 


The entire family has been memorialized, a tribe crammed full with coincidence. He didn’t see the other ship until it was too late. Enlarged artificially, of all the rumours in the building, this is the one.

            It was so funny and so simple. What makes the adventure impressive is the way it’s constructed: a great wave, over the tip of the ear, between thumb and index — this is a production being manufactured as we speak. She moulds her characters out of silhouettes, space archaeology: the film cracks, the land splits open to reveal a chalky outcrop et cetera. . . . She carves these shapes out of herself.

            The instructions read bring a picnic, measure the critical distance in shoals of fish — that is, perform an interruption. I woke up three hours later. She’s playing a tam-tam made of crow skin, plucking at her hair, pulling off her shawl — any attempt to sustain motion, any substitute for doing nothing. She says your feathers must be caressed back to face the right direction. 

            Everyone knows something about us — either the truth, so far as it’s accessible, or some exaggerated whisper. I felt so ill I took to my bed and never looked back.                       

What about authorship, beautifully composed for the human voice? We now have a full cast of bodies. Books cling to me. I am subjected to an electric current passing between the two cells on either side of my own. 

            Nobody will actually speak. As I get older, the logic of suicide makes more and more sense. The sole of her foot pressed against mine. 

            Folk have become shy of placing.

It is not I. They bark, surrounding. I wrapped myself in a damp blanket. The sky tilts at an impossible angle. One wall is glass brick, through which shines a dazzling white light. There’s a new kind of etiquette on track, the comedy of happenstance.

She writes to say that she sits overlooking. Between her and the sea is an ancient pine forest; the sun strikes the surface of the water like a damnation. He is looking at the same surface. That’s where the classification lies, exposed to a copper plate. 

There’s always slight alarm when I do this. Let’s move along a bit, set to the music of an occasional guess. In the parlour he observes the cogs of a spinning wheel, a machine sewing up a torn face. (Please recall that you don’t get paid for my privilege.) I stop and wait; inside me is this metronome. You can choose from any one of these situations: build twice a house as this and so forth. 


Our chief component is a benzine ring with attacked carbon; I work around her. The atoms are the same proposition as water. (I love the way those rasping clarinets shift in and out of focus.) I knew there was something. I find a big stone and a new kind of metal we’ve never heard before — its outline shines with a silver gleam. She says everything is formulaic.

            In one scene a giant table descends from the sky, laden. After the deluge, random information will emerge at first. It’s vital to remember, there’s a stricture binding her heart.

Keep it simple. People are snared in a relentless cycle of distraction and self-regard, an undeserved attention to the minutiae of their banal and unproductive lives. It was quite a serious situation. It was their fence. It was a good job no one got killed. 

            No, no, no.

Ah, but extend this idea to kindred. . . . I have established an arc between the two electrodes, anything for the sake of fidelity. The liver has become quite warm. And that’s about it, his life is an inexact discipline. 

Discourse invariably arrives at the neutral (before he went blind, at the age of eight). My politics are never.

As it happens, he isn’t fit to make utterance today, having been overeaten. Any identical objects are made samer still. The brain is removed and the inside of the skull scoured clean of flesh. Nothing grieves me.

            Behind the fridge was found a muscular tube lined with mucous membrane connecting the throat to the stomach. It had been there all along, and appears to regenerate itself.

            There are the humans and there are other vertebrates — the idea is to cultivate memory (this doesn’t work). You must get bored doing something all the time.

            Genes are irresponsible. An international trade barrier has been lowered into place by a crane. 

            I have explained this to you, so you should be able to understand; I was solitary back then and did not heed the hiss of the pendulum. When the dead person is mentioned, the patient will sometimes exhibit uncontrollable grief. I will now awaken the homestead, the redoubt — overwhelming impartial being.


He’s a nine-percenter, a salty deposit at the interstices. Nothing’s my fault. So we cannot be sure without further investigation that the gift of prophecy would also follow this pattern. Comparisons are off-putting:

            [ . . . ] that they shall come [ . . . ] Who will [ . . . ] he will [ . . . ] 

            It sloshes about in its cradle of bone, precariously supported at the rim by a corona of metal antennae. Elected sniper for one day, I fetch a crossbow. The origin is doubtless film. The economy collapsed.

            ‘Bring dan-De-li-ons,’ the Lord screamed.

I began with my own unfathomable attraction to certain words. You can reveal everything that’s to pass by studying the subject’s physiognomy; his remaining kidney is piqued. The others were persuaded to leave their organs behind, their behaviour was refreshingly messianic.

            The sought after herb has blanched flowers, ‘a matted cottony pubescence’. Others have cleft palates and a solitary row of teeth.

            Back with you, head-keeper, up against the wall: ‘You are not the same person,’ and so on. . . . They are planning to get rid of me at about the same time. 

            This has appeared under a number of rubrics, but I’m still relating events as they happen — I’m changing nothing; it’s still razors. There’s an old-fashioned light at the end. We were wading against the tide. 

            Just get this funeral over with, please. Put your head back on your shoulders.

There were two solutions. (Her grandfather.) I chose the bed because there were no people anywhere near it. 

            We are situated in the panic room of a sealed argument. Scale is based on the night sky.


Landscape with twisted river mouth. (Where’s your glittering now.) The number is seven – the tail end has broken off, what’s called a coda. He hustles the boy out and bangs the door to. They used a garrotte made of barbed wire at the cabin in the forecast. . . . He is about to burst. I have learnt where all the rejected mail ends up. 

            I spell out entire sentences on the roof of my mouth with my tongue, where no one can read them. The head already has my name, my race. He’s probably touching, snout to earth as we speak; I warned you we were close. 

            Now we are going to sit for a while and wait. He’s tied up and then there’s nothing, only his column remains, abruptly awful. It’s like that with me, the stony path at the turn.


[Mirrored to twist her yearning face toward camera.] No fellow spirit leans upon her today. The chairs are from somewhere else. I’m summoned, from a base meaning augur; pass me the drip-tray. Not one of the ants fell off the stick.                 

            These days his face is much the time buried in her cunt. After several hours of this, we may never hear from him again. Day here means state.

Shadows less sharp — go to the top, move that little bit closer. Boy holds a pebble, a feather and a fossiled thing from the years — pupils dilated, scattered teeth on the beach, male and female. He does not even turn around to look.

            That’s it, think of yourselves. 

I am unsureness personified; I got bored withholding. When I ask for his sigil, I get the evil eye, parallel rows of cuneiform impressions, all very intimidating: puddles of mercury, the light behind the crane, isolated clouds. Now here comes the big vegetable me, balanced between two plagues. I’m not here next week, or the week after (poverty of mimesis et cetera). We are in love, yet still this struggle: pathos and defiance, who have followed me about all my life. 

            He has reduced memory to a squatter form. The chosen shape is a pyramid atop a column with convenient slit, waves crashing beyond the harbour. Then there was a spell of monotheism, but only for a couple of days: I’m too expensive.                         

            There was nothing to watch over, in spite of any indications or expectations to the contrary. The dominion originally expressed is not. He would never dream of using me to his own advantage, his own language. 

They withheld my sedatives, I’d figured out how many it would take to discontinue myself. The new autarky has sleeper agents all over the landmass. 

            One moves to the rear of the vehicle to empty his flask. (This is merely a series of observations of how things are.) See, you have a collision of S’s.

            ‘Oh look children quick, he’s down on his hands and knee, admittedly. . . .’

            This gives you a bit more flexibility and a hint of what’s to come. This is what I’ve noticed, just by peering outside: odour of fish-glue and floor polish, gimlets of strained light, impoverished flesh — he would never forget watching her body turn blue through a lack of oxygen.

It was like a human treadmill, the linguistic strategy of orientation in space. (Not really: centipede, hybrid dog-leg.) He outpersonates. When we were growing up, he was the only one who could become truly angry. You speak an estimate of my life, it’s good that I did not let myself be influenced. Origin is a stabbing blow.

            Don’t you dare touch anything that resembles this – a tense expressing the simple past, with no guarantee of continuance. We tried to reinvent this place once before: you took a lift from the top floor, straight to the molten core of the earth. 

The other points and laughs for ten minutes straight. For him, this is a matter of philosophy – at home, shapeshifting every form, all day bent buggered over his crucibles. 

            The cache included Browning automatic rifles, gas canisters, bombsights, 90mm anti-aircraft gun directors, and 345,000 units of the 30-calibre M1 carbine rifle. On this occasion he’s allowed to keep all his finds, the fossil and the other relics; critical economic policy files have been reduced to punch cards.

            This is endless. What if we agree to call this particular segment mythopoeia.

I think he always longed. My father was found. I kept vigil and never slept. Logos was stamped on most of the products.

Grains of glass. Splinters of mirror, a silvering — what’s called the tain. I don’t know what happened next. Make her sound like a revenant: shed scales under foot, the crunch of volcanic ash behind the vestry door. . . . She recoiled a step or two as the stranger advanced, and clutched my arm in silence.

            Now I’m rocking my head backwards and forwards, clearly structure is collapsing at the subatomic level. I think she’s vulnerable to one or two of our components, to the inconsistency of paper, refracted light. 

            It was the longest disturbance; I once fell straight through to the base. There’s a new domestic blowtorch on the market. 

He rejects this uncompromising scene (my original ‘unpromising’ now seems preferable). They concluded that from the direct union of soil with his body, a human personality could not fail to result.

            So much for anatomy: nerves of septum and larynx, hard palate et cetera, much ringing in the ears, screams in discord.

            ‘I am signal earth,’ he says, ‘there was one survivor, two dead and a droid smashed beyond recognition.’  

            I’m appointed assassin. Film is again.

            ‘Why are you scrambling me? Any white flower will do.’

            ‘This is no armistice [trembling with anger] — it’s a capitulation.’

            Morse it was, tapped out by hollow metal object. Ibis, cobra and jackal are tattooed across his shoulders, just the silhouettes. Do you not remember.


Study for plate wash, heightened with white wine and gouache, depicting a young man pulling on a rope — another man up a ladder and a lady at the top of a house, arms out the window, as if to say, ‘Where have you be?’ . . . She sings a song about how tired she is of wanting.

Another insists on concealment. He cuts down a branch heavy with pollen — this goads my first objection. And at this instant he says I for the first time. 

            I felt as if in trance, a rather workaday supreme being. It would compromise my task to be near you, even for a moment.

            ‘Do you know exactly where we are, Landgrave?’

            I don’t know what it means, to be supervised, governed: strictly speaking, you can’t be anatomy if you’re dead. Concrete things steadily increased, at the cost of Volunteer XII. 

            I’ll never forget the day the patrol came back — for a long while we sat and watched their savage chewing at raw flesh, but the background hum is always there, just above my skull. I think we need to gather together, as in the old, fingering the keys. This is a group that isn’t technically mad, you understand.  

            The drill was found miles away. There’s a memorial that repeatedly floods, too close to the surface of the river, a corridor with pinpricks of light. I steal the image, I stole everything.

She is understate, past care. She is lost current. Leave the pebbles here, leave them be.

Such velocity. He guesses a path through the forest. I exist slowly and nothing interests me. 

            He seems to have died twice, and has now been shunted to the outer beacon — the reverse, with surfeit of eye.

            ‘I is cursed. Who is your postilion?’

            Clusters of sharp spikes are set at intervals along the spine.

Slow torches flicker in the dark. I am sometimes associated with customer — I remember that evening very well, as if it were happening.

            To this day, I’m convinced that she is still in the backyard. I write; I think this arrangement can work. When it’s blue outside, it is very blue. Origin is kept awake.

I’m sorry about earlier, the murmurs. Everyone seems to have found out except me. Metal oxidizes in the air (viz. your cycle spent in the rain). I am just testing. In this version — a previous seance — we have evidence of memory. I seem to pass my life always talking at one stage or another; sometimes I feel that by writing this narrative it becomes real, a series of scapegoats. 

            Piper down in the street, aeolian, insisting upon the immediate. Origin is an edge, enclosed.

Funeral tomorrow. He telegraphs: long way back, wrong passageway, please forgive. . . . They granted him six to eight to live, our trooper with the insensible orders. This polygonal fortress has been made vulnerable by weakening of its foundations, undercut by glacial action.

            We are probing a wound, enquiring. I am here denoting a person or thing that performs a specified action or activity, e.g. sprinkler. I am here denoting a person or thing that has a specified attribute or form. Origin is to know again.

            She writes back: ‘Give me Balkan snipers over this any day of the week.’

            Which path I say. My words were vague (the androgyne). The body and its organs was central to the ritual work of ancient civilisations. Suddenly I said I personify that benediction which the eclipsing curve of birth cannot quench. 

By contrast, he chooses the number seven, who signifies an emerald table. The less complicated option is infinity. The planchette scratched across the surface of a metal plate. 

            ‘I could then reconstruct exactly the method by which the diamond had been abstracted.’

            He’s clearly new to this job. In the adjoining room his lover lies in a trance. He refused. They tried hypnosis: he knew God as a hidden and at the same time supra-personal erection. She insisted; he still refused.

            I can no longer breathe the air they breathe. What lingers between us and the wall? And the eyes too are removed— you have hidden them in a special place, where nobody will ever find them. 

Distant crack of untimely brickbats. Here’s today’s challenge (the two pieces of music have been annoyingly interwoven). I’ve just been walking along the seafront and I am totally blind. The other says dust particles; the correct answer is air. 

            The ninth letter of the Greek alphabet has been transliterated.

I have to prove. I have to prove I am my only mother’s son. The defeated army flees to the north. This whole unforeseen and tragic tale had made him scream ten times over on the way back. 

            ‘Her father has invented a new kind of pipe. He had all these windows. . . .’

            My, doesn’t it look funny seeing people walk around over there, wailing.

Shard heap in desert, blockage at left lung, acute pain — voiceless alveolar stops, shorthand radio. They had torn out his tongue and sheared off his left hand, the more useful of the two. It was feudal. If the alembic shatters, his blood will spread across the floor and you will not have anything left to bargain with. Consequently, there are two persons in him, the person assuming and the person assumed.         

Dull ache below rib cage — hour upon hour the ration of air, inhaled beyond certainty. The hub dropped out. If I can only find the long walk, I shall deliver the reading from memory, and thank all present.

            The location of the pin signals an armed location you must travel to. Things happen, don’t they.

            ‘The mechanism is a receptacle for capturing and storing. Wait for me.’

            This creature had a spring-loaded retina. 

Blood is the obvious. Your job is the apparent undone. We must burrow into our own age, see if it translates into something useful at the skeletal level. 

            She’s now famous for being a victim, all sorts of shapes, infinite patterns of torment – brink of hole, no shilly-shallying before the end. We are about to be torn through the mill; I love this place. Origin is reduplication.

            No better authority could be imagined for a ghost, sorry.

He is attempting to hawk a used anecdote; the remaining branches are decaying. Coptic is now extinct she says. Who could be more suited than I to set the public record straight.

            ‘So what’s your plan.’

            The advert contains some of the symbols needed to cope, i.e. a kind of trap. 

            ‘Child, child, I am repeating myself. . . .’

            A tunnel was dug to conceal the assailant’s approach to a fortified place. Origin withdrew. 

            This suggests a person licensed to teach in a mediaeval university.


It rotates thus, the plane of polar light, beam swung out from the old liver-switch – note the Martello tower, flickering Super 8. . . . The country you discovered strikes me as enormously hoglike. True schizophrenics lack the superego element present in paranoia. 

            ‘Up, Pockets!’

            This is comparable to a pit-stop. The surrounding nations behave like narrow border regions — he is horrified, pirated; he cannot learn to use words exactly as a normal person does. (Gin and sperm-cake solve everything.) Is this the same man of whom we were once a part – he who is paid, yet refuses to task? He is back-formation, from salvage. That must have been worth seeing.

            Sound of one-head clapping, dog panting. Shakedown, supine.

I’m just watching how things develop. We don’t have far to go; it’s on the increase. I’ve been away for a few years, leaching all hope. 

He had a reputation for short stays. Beyond the boundary marker I glimpsed a raft of erections. (We had gone in search of her father’s arse.) My own descent was broken by a sonic net.

            If I run downhill I lose all my moments; it’s a catch twenty-two simulation — but one cannot listen to both options at once. 

            Approach control is come dawn. I wrote the message to F, which is encrypted in document C–ZO#2 — any code has to be scrambled, beyond recall. I’m at the end or the beginning. 

He arrives carrying a large green sack over one shoulder, her with asthmatic lapdog – arm in a basket, feather the iris. There are four newcomers here, parent. 

            Matt-black jets strafe the pebble beach. I don’t get paid for nothing, porous information.

Distant lights. The good burghers drag in massive boulders and deposit them haphazardly along the crust of the sea. I was sentenced to three-and-a-half minutes (you’ll have to make do with unbroken news today). Folk tried to shade that delicate head, skull fragile as an eggshell.

            ‘How can you see where the muzzle is, or the crown of which you speak?’

            This was no incentive to go forth and die for a cause. What do you want down here I asked.

            The barkeep looked toward the men’s room, and the drinker nodded. 

I thought you had stroke. The sense has now passed over to the other side — a tax too on lees of wine, blue with vomitings, a bouquet of burnt copper and those metal-green flies. 

            ‘You know where the grain store is boy, the silo?’

            We are in place of. She is bruised, he bloodied. A third of the way to the molten core, and we’re still making good time. What is he waiting for, eyeing our leftovers? 

            He has been adding her up, secreting: defoliate, orange-pink with glistening cerise interior.


Masses swarming everywhere today, spectacularly bored of owning and waiting. Their spiny skin can be swallowed as food, but some parts become highly toxic when threatened. Origin is a covered trench, spadework.

            Countable nouns have been discovered across the continent in limestone caves. (A mental covering spread over a horse.) The future rests upon a single notion that will not reach its fruition until after the armistice.

No, there’s nothing on your face. Yet his remaining eye blurs: eczema of labyrinth, increased pressure within the orbit, gradual loss of sight, blue-grey haze veiling the pupil. . . . Our next station is a form of badland tenure, but we’re making good time. The judge urged his beast onward. 

            He knows; I could weep. The egg white suddenly crystallizes. 

            ‘You’re doing it too. Stop now, stop.’

He carries with him everywhere a large velvet duck (we’re putting as much pressure on people as we dare). Exhausted, battle-weary sappers remotely trigger the spring sunk into his spine — now objects are dropping from his open throat and onto the track. 

            It’s said he yet speaks, the flesh part of an indispensable. I’ve given in to you — there’s too much foliage, yet we can see nearby where he is hid; it’s a miracle. Dispatch your adversary — keep strictly within the limits of a notional taste, don’t sacrifice any of those fragile nerves. 

Do they vinyl? It’s childproof because there’s vinyl. Other countries were found to have no twilight at all. At this a magic feather — which he can manifest at any moment for protection — is introduced into the narrative: a flightless bird, fast-running, whose tail barbs resemble.

            In an alley near the river I retrieved the spirit of John Dee. A ring of surrounding muscle served to guard the aperture.


A suture. The giant strides made by two bodies. 

            I can think of nowhere I would rather be; it’s always worth checking. Today every detail appears contaminated.

            A tree or shrub with large waxy fingers, or thereabouts.

            Dog panting. 


            An early hook for pulling off a horse. 

            I lost all three of you in that ravine. 


There’s a pistol at the bottom of his canvas sack. It glistens in the moonlight, as if flecked with mother-of-pearl —splinters of mirror or bone. Other objects include a femur stripped of flesh. 

            ‘What is he doing.’

            ‘What has he done.’

            ‘What is he going to do.’

            This recipe takes two hours. In the end I decided to keep the cursed gift. I thought about making a pencil sketch of the scene, then immediately changed my mind. This event somehow fed my addiction to infinite choice.

            I eventually settled in a chalk-white town streaked with rivulets of rust, any number of longitudinal collections of nerve fibres in the brain. Origin is handed over voluntarily.

            The sea was phosphorescent, seeds of light kindled by the oarsman’s stroke. He’s now locked himself in his quarters, scrawling. 

A woman hands me a box with clouds and a painted sky. The aforementioned city was once China; I feel nauseous. This is possibly the earliest example of unrequited love in the history of literature, an account of devotion never purged. Still very poor, I journey there: carriages at midnight were pledged. Origin is stripped of hair.

            Who can be so blind not to see that selfhood has nothing to do with our actions. We lost three of our companions on route.  

Inside is a black ribbon bound to an invitation card. On the floor is a bar of soap bearing an address and a telephone number; the nearest galaxy is the Magellanic. And so ended the most disastrous war in the immutable course of history.


This is the promissory new start (it’s all down to experience, not the psyche). She stopped me in the road.           

            When we arrive at the agreed rendezvous there’s nothing, just an empty space between two buildings. Hurrying past is a young man with an ashplant; his left hand, as though paralysed, is locked against his chest. Upon the ground —this is more like it — the membranes that once joined tentacles to ribcage. The retina has detached, cannibalism is in the air. I’ve ringed the thumb whirls with red ink, in case transmission scars the imprint. 

            He receives a good beating for this (said bat). He’s hung upside down from a metal hook; it was like an abattoir. Sovereignty is exclusion. 

            And furthermore, he tells me there is a yellow plaque whereby his son met an accident with fate.

            Evidently the truce is no longer observed. Disruption was caused by what the bureau calls migrant inertia, a magnificent oxymoron. A number of species are red or yellow or marked with white spots and stripes, size varies considerably — there are four rows of sharpened teeth. I could hear the lift ascending.

            No, this is me, there can be no doubt; I don’t undertake such things lightly. I have not yet broken my fast. Silence and withdrawal are now revolutionary postures.

A man lying on a bed is tapping out Morse code, to confirm to himself that he is still in the room. 

            ‘Have I infected your transit?’

            Without warning, he loses a wing and is hobbled for life. A man passes by carrying an arm. This suggests an extremely small amount (compare with atom). 

Citizens local, siphoning fuel. I forgot his name. Estuarine and freshwater deposits are best exemplified. The song on the jukebox corralled Ava Gardner in a wall of sound (the killers, junction be, night of the iguana). Cinder-block structures were thrown up on the outskirts of town; I’m reminded of the extramural charnel pits of mediaeval Paris. 

            I sat on a terrace all day drinking beer in the sun — which does not mean that to destroy is to create, but that destruction is in itself an absolute value. Suddenly they burst in; it was agricultural. On all sides of me clicked meters and dials, and an instrument for measuring time by the stealing of water. I’ve lost that generational thing. 

You were lucky. I have done my fit of wandering, the accursed share. Columns of data scroll down the glass partition.

            VOICE: ‘Do you know what this instrument does?’

            (A cylindrical thing of concrete.)


The boy beneath the floorboards, at rest in a wooden conduit built of many years. This chapter consists of an introductory paragraph and nine houses, wherein the triumph of the deceased is described in highly poetical language. I search for him beneath the surface as water rises from below, tearing in desperation at the rotten boards, hurling them upon a stained mattress. At last I find him, nestled in a cavity, asleep or dead. Gently I lay him on the floor and lay a hand for heartbeat, breathe air into his lungs — he wakes and I, gesturing to the heap of splintered floorboards pierced with rusting nails, whisper ‘Look at what we had to do to find you’. . . . The boy is beautiful, in profile, skin so pale, translucent. He smiles. He is the promised man we have been promised. 

I have been sitting here for hours and nothing has changed. He perches himself on one of three stools facing the control panel. A parley, an improvised conference, is due to take place between the two factions; the talk is protracted and unnecessary. Origin came from behind, from saddlecloth, from hood.

            ‘They just repeated over and over, until.’

            [Drums fingers on zinc tabletop.

            ‘I am foreblinded.’

            The extent of rupture is gauged by the rejection of transcendence, the others are just barking out the cards robotic.


An ashtray: correct. An uncertain lament. Everything seems futile. And a wall of windmills, hence the name which attaches itself to this part of the island (dog). I think that’s enough for the time being. 

            Then the locals do that thing with a spare atom at full cock. She whispers something about the collider hidden beneath the earth. 

            ‘Whatever they do to me, I shall wait for you.’

You just have to remember to listen, and never trust anyone. After only six days the patrol returns, exhausted. We decide to change course and take the road to F, pitching camp before dusk. Infrared out in space reveals clusters of hut circles invisible to the naked eye: our adversary no longer enjoys the tactical advantage of superior elevation.

She’s confined. Now she can no longer be bled, no more sanguinary nights. She nurtures a tension — cartridges are distributed and the nightwatch alerted. No one suspects the significance of this drill, clumsily worked into the plot. For example, do they speak while carrying out these actions? 

            We have sundered the element — ironing was done, the ceiling polished. The ninth star in the constellation is Iota Piscium. Where are we going nowhere she said.

He settles wherever he finds himself. He has fond memories of the rows of a year past. (You’d be horrified.) They didn’t even ask us how we got here; all day it was the collapsed this, the dead that. . . . In a photograph on the dust cover the author looks benignly belligerent. The probe was deliberately burned up in the atmosphere of Venus.

I walk. I hail a hansom cab. I suffer the promised audience with the consul. I’m not moving again. We slid headlong into a ravine. We all perish.

Clear blue for sky tomorrow. . . . Let’s make our way back: fuckwittage, chiromancy, spontaneous ignition — black magic, then renewal. I was rented, sex for pelf (those were the days). This is where the objective conditions of historical consciousness are reunited.

            The wave passed. It seemed to me that I was under water for several minutes (really it was seconds). I looked forward. The blast had torn out the great sail — we mapped the surface using radar to penetrate a dense blanket of cloud. 

He had a roaming eye. We were Irish on account. I needed a crash course. Life was interesting — it was all about. It escaped. High in the air, rags fluttered to leeward. From the crow’s-nest, I failed to catch sight of your fluke. Look at that gathering crowd. 

            You’re searching for meaning where there is none. At this point we oblige by transforming repetition into a sequence of memories.  

Now they’re advertising the cyclone vacuum, an iron basket for combustibles placed in a beacon, a lighthouse — a small pit or hollow, in particular — any of those tiny air sacs of the lung.

            Bony socket for the root, scar-like gravity trapped in the hand. . . . I keep forgetting. (It’s all lovely, everything’s lovely.) I will see to it: the names repeat themselves, the names are always the same. 

            Nerve & Venom. 

Even then she gazed up at the mass, at the line, at the colour — she was poor, moreover, degradingly poor. When people ask why grandmother left the adjacent island, I say hunger.

            There’s been no drop in the wind speed at the dogs. After work I felt sticky (i.e. beyond the walls, connected with a university but not under its direct control).

Extranet. A torch, generally. 

A kerosene lamp swings from the rafters. We are back at that cabin in the woods; it has begun to snow. This may be a lost cause. Two diffuse luminous patches appeared in the southern sky.

Anvil front moving in, funnelling the prospect. Many changes in our tactics have been augured. We are trekking west through a winter landscape, a trail of covered wagons, shreds of carbon on a white field. 

            Origin, in a sense, is a parley between people and their traders — from word, from comparison  (see parabola).

            Many of our number perished. 

I made some calls — a constant, low-level murmur of conversation, seemingly from inside my own head (the amygdala). Fingers crossed, said my counsel.  

            Motion is surprisingly easy, a good day to be under sail. She was lean and sinewy, brittle. The night is so dark there’s not a star to be seen under the whole sky. 

            Child with toy, makeshift, with helium rictus.

© 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
"It is the business of the future to be dangerous" // A.N. Whitehead

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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
September 2020
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