Blood by Mina Polen

A river floats inside me, goes up and down, heavy and light, loud and silent, rumbles and flows. Listen, the crimson river wants to flow out.

The river is leaking on that corner, you can hear its dripping sound at night if you press your ear on my chest or if you swim in darkness.

A tiny stream runs through the city’s crevices, pulsating. Everybody ignores its presence and bloody smell. The stream keeps palpitating.

A ferrous thick ribbon comes out from each one of us. It coils round us bonding us together in a liquid embrace. You can hear its runny sound.

On humid days, our quivering ruby ribbon rises towards hurricanes, tornadoes and volcanic clouds. It shines and flows, it soars and leaks.

When we kiss, it boils. When we touch, it whispers. When we embrace, it mixes. When we speak, it flows. Our rivers flow. Together. Deep down.


This prose poem is the second of a few by the extraordinarily talented Mina Polen that will appear on this site over the coming weeks. It was originally posted in 6 tweets through Mina’s Twitter account, @minafiction.


Dust by Mina Polen

The dust he releases contains minute skin fragments and DNA. A half dead, half alive dust that creates a map of his presence in the world.

The dust of tears is an infinitesimal diamantine that plagues the world. You can see it against the light: ephemeral sparkly sad clouds.

The dust of desire slides in zig zag over silky surfaces searching for a destiny and an orgasm. It produces very small spasmodic echoes.

The dust of sweat jumps and explodes in confetti of activity, fear and anxiety. It survives in small universes that expand and contract.


This poem is the first of a few by the extraordinarily talented Mina Polen that will appear on this site over the coming weeks. It was originally posted in 4 tweets through Mina’s Twitter account, @minafiction.

Grandma’s Eyes, or 13 Unpleasant Stories, Dreamt Up for the Purpose of Terrifying and Mystifying

1. She found the book at twilight in the silence of the forest. It was bound in red leather. When she opened it, the pages turned into moths and fluttered in drunken spirals, aspiring to the moon.

2. Grandma’s garden has gnomes, roses, a lovingly mown lawn. But her greenhouse is home to a thousand desperate twisted things, gasping, blind.

3. She pauses before the door to the forbidden room. The apple-shaped doorknob is warm, smooth. In her other hand: a key like a snake’s tongue.

4. Grandma sips a cup of tea. A broken wolf stares at her from the prison of a picture frame.

5. The curtains of her eyelids are the forest. Denser and denser into the heart, into the wet darkness, into the house of phantoms.

6. Grandma’s teeth are knives, hatchets, crenellations, the serrated canopy of the endless forest.

7. When she breaks the mirror she swoons into a long, restless sleep. Her lips turn to rose petals, her hair to snakes. Her sex becomes a seashell. Put it to your ear: listen to the mermaids murmuring in an ocean of blood.

8. Red roses proliferate in the Kingdom of the Wolf. Grandma’s skull is a cave. Inside, you’ll hear the voices of the dead.

9. In her heart is a mirror in whose surface you may catch a glimpse of the witch, an apple, a rose bush, a broken sword.

10. In Grandma’s eyes you’ll see a red moon, red shoes, secret flames, the howling storm. She shows her bleeding palms to the heavens.

11. Opening the door to room 13, she finds herself entering a candlelit bedroom. Her double is sitting at the dressing table, smiling at her own reflection.

12. In the Medusa coils of Grandma’s floral wallpaper: the statue of a wolf.

13. An axe, a grin, a labyrinth of trees. The girl, now a woman, writes her name in blood on the mirror of the moon.


All texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

Mad Music for the Bird King

As a fan of electronic and acousmatic music, with a large collection of works by the likes of Bernard Parmegiani, Francis Dhomont and François Bayle, I am thrilled to announce that the Bird King now has his own electroacoustic soundtrack, in the form of The Madness of the Bird King (Sonically Reconstructed) by the talented composer and writer Adam Wimbush.

I approached Adam a few weeks ago, to ask if he’d be interested in composing a piece based on my twelve-part poem, The Madness of the Bird King. Having heard some of his work online, I thought he’d be able to capture the mystery, lunacy and whimsical nightmarishness of the Bird King’s world. I was right.

It’s very exciting to think that the Bird King now has a poet, a painter – the wonderful Diana Probstand a composer expressing his murmuring, murderous, mechanical soul.

The Bird King is a multimedia monster!

You can listen to Adam’s composition here.

13 Lines, Imperfectly Recalled, from a Bad Poem That You Think You Read in Last Night’s Dream

1. The cup, falling. Wine, a red halo, a dark constellation, in slo-mo free fall. Blood runs from the corner of my eye, my little eye.

2. Watching from the corner of a room drowning in light, smooth zombies sniff for incense. You stay in the doorway, eating an egg roll.

3. The man in the bobble hat offers tea, tangerines and transcendence. Crumpled suits smile wisely, floating in a ballet of underhanded dalliances.

4. The halo of wine spreads, shifts in space, becoming a hand, a hawk, a fresh idea.

5. A handshake on the other side of your eyes. Chainsaw promises. We apologise for the recent disruption.

6. In the cabinet is a map showing your birth, your heart, your desires. The red ink in which it is drawn is a blood-sample, stolen from you while you slept.

7. The Bird King, a unique monotreme, hibernates in the empty egg of his favourite son. It’s pungent and slightly sticky inside. He loves it.

8. The nine nocturnal policemen whose electrons you stole force you to eat a quark sandwich.

9. Desperate to court scandal, the indigo terrorists transmute themselves into protons and thrill along fibre optic alleyways.

10. The eyes of the moon turn enviously from the flamboyant sun. A dead stone heart plots the next brief eclipse.

11. Your grandmother gives birth to thirteen orange squids. Hands, soft and fat as tentacles, thrash behind shower curtains.

12. On Sunday mornings the cars form gangs. Lawn mowers watch them suspiciously from neat green plots.

13. The ONEIROSCOPE stops transmitting and the world is plunged into a limbo of twitching insomnia.


A note from the author on this, the Oneiropoem.

The ONEIROSCOPE is an interactive Twitter project that reflects my obsession with dreams and their disquieting poetry. Initially I invited people to request single-tweet dreams by replying to me with the word “sleep.” I tried to provide tweets that would resonate with the recipients, by reading their bios and some of their tweets first, if I didn’t already know them. I got some very favourable responses from those who had requested dreams; I was touching some sort of nerve!

After a while, as the project gained momentum and popularity, I thought the ONEIROSCOPE would be more fun (and more of a challenge for me) if people could specify up to three words to be included in a dream.

13 Lines… is an extension of the single-tweet ONEIROSCOPE principle. I tweeted that I was writing an ONEIROSCOPE poem, and that people could request lines by replying with up to three words they’d like included. Eleven people responded, so I decided to construct a 13 part piece (13 part prose poems being to me what sonnets were to Shakespeare!), using the requested words in the first eleven parts and free-styling in the remaining two.

Many thanks to Mina Polen for supporting my work so enthusiastically, and to those who requested lines; without you, the Oneiropoem would not be what it is!

Lines were requested by:
1. @DianaProbst (cup, wine, run)
2. @TheBinkyAnnexe (egg roll, incense, zombies)
3. @RenZelen (transcendence, bobble-hat, underhanded)
4. @bencooper666 (fresh, wine, hawk)
5. @kneeldowne (disruption, handshake, chainsaw)
6. @jeffnoon (cabinet, blood-sample, map)
7. @minafiction (hibernate, slightly, monotreme)
8. @CharlieAlcock (nine, eat, quark)
9. @OpinionGeeks (scandal, fibre optic, indigo)
10. @LainadAngouleme (eclipse, sun, eyes)
11. @sleeping46 (orange, birth, grandmother)

My guest slot on Mina Polen’s blog

Yesterday, the wonderful Mina Polen published an old poem of mine, Brassaï in Paris on her blog. I wrote the poem a decade ago, and it’s included in my collection, The Small Hours (now only £4.49 – plug, plug!).

In previous weeks, Mina published my long poem, The Monsters, A Portrait of the Bird King and the ONEIROSCOPE poem, 13 Lines, Imperfectly Recalled, from a Poem You Think You Read in Last Night’s Dream.

Many thanks to Mina for her generosity, support and encouragement. It has been great to be see my work posted elsewhere.

As for you, dear reader, I urge you to check out Mina’s full-blooded, colourful, elegant poetry. Have a look here.

Moon Faces

Happy Jack Stuck-In-A-Box


Little Timmy Wind-Key


Grinning Willy Clown-Face


Bad Bad Jimmy Nighty-Night


Joyful Johnny Yawning-In-The-Morning


Lazy Billy Snack-a-Jack


Bad-Tempered Simon Crazy-Legs


Timid Tommy Lack-a-Days


All of the images on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved