Void Voices is out with Hesterglock Press on Monday 15th October.
Void Voices is a nightmare in 34 parts.
Void Voices is a fly-blown cacophony.
Void Voices is a love letter from a cyborg.
Void Voices is a nasty feast.
Void Voices is salt on a slug,
Void Voices is a black and red machine that overwrites your memories.
Void Voices is a dumping ground for defective literary devices and other amusements.
Void Voices is a white silhouette on a white background.
Void Voices is a thorn in your eye.
Void Voices is a communion with an undead poet.
Void Voices is a symphony for violins, down-tuned electric guitars, broken synthesisers and wolves.
Void Voices is a glitch in Donald Trump’s face.
Void Voices is an advert for the life you already lead.
Void Voices is a flooded utopia.
Void Voices is a song inside a song.
Void Voices is the Bird King’s doppelgänger.
Void Voices is damp laughter.
Void Voices is #EndTimesPizza
Already made of blood largely of blood more blood than imagination desire ambition conscience memory
I am a readymade in red
In a sequestered corner of the gallery (Do not touch)
Wet, salty, warm
Don’t hold up a mirror to my shameful shapeless face
I’ll probably faint
When I was nine years old I passed out at school
Because of words:
and dashed their brains out on the rocks
Words have held horrors for me ever since
I worry that people will say brains, stab and most of all blood
These words can flip my switch, trip me, slip me over into nothing
Most of all blood
Bl spews from the tongue, ood lands heavily
A corpse sound
My favourite Shakespeare play is Macbeth
I don’t like seeing what I’m made of
Or thinking about it
I remade myself in teeth / out of teeth / from teeth / my teeth / who else’s / they were mine / my dental record was unique / my dental record was my blueprint / you could make me / fake me / bake me / delicious / from just that / just that dental record / worse than DNA / a worse betrayal than DNA / so I remade myself using my teeth as the sole medium / I was a self-sculptor / a red-handed god / a slave to myself / it took ages / the teeth didn’t always want to stick together / the teeth didn’t ever want to do anything / sometimes resisting / sometimes falling for gravity / falling to the floor / enamoured of the ground / grinding themselves into the ground / grinding teeth / grounded teeth / still I persisted / I fought on / clacking teeth together like sharp white Lego / never letting go of the picture lodged behind my eyes / my selfie / my self image / my imagined self / left foot bigger than right / handsome-ugly asymmetrical face / lower right jaw down and out / in surrealist Paris and hot hell London / hands gesturing grandiloquently / signifying nothing / man-chest / boy-arms / I didn’t dare give myself a cock / let alone a dick / a willy / a penis / a manhood / anything short of hyperbole would have been risible
My off-white near-totality
Needed a good brush
I hadn’t flossed in years
(The lies with which I have plied my smiling dentist!)
But it was good enough for now
Nearly good enough
a cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere
a cloud of tiny teeth suspended in the atmosphere
a cloud of white blood cells suspended in the atmosphere
a cloud of neurones suspended in the atmosphere
a cloud of thoughts suspended in the atmosphere
clouded thoughts suspended in the left hemisphere
crowded thoughts upended in the right hemisphere
rowdy thoughts ended in the noosphere
randy thoughts in bed
rancid doubts embedded
nom nom meth
stock characters at best
sick characters in vests
slick characters undressed
Cyrillic characters going to press
lyric characters flowing East to West
lyric poems feverish with beasts and nests
lyric poems feverish with ceasefires and peaceful tears
ridiculous poems farting yeast and treacle years
ridiculous thoughts imparting blighted bleak creaking fears
cribbed thoughts impounded in the tight biosphere
crow thoughts upended in the right hemisphere
clouded thoughts dead-ended in the left hemisphere
a cloud of thoughts depending on the atmosphere
a crown of thorns descending on the lost seer
a cloud of neurones ending in beer
a cloud of white blood cells suspected of murder
a cloud of white teeth suspended in the mouth
a crowd of witches suspended in the moon
a can of worms suspended in your room
a can-can kicking rage
a clown kicking against age
a cloud of words on the page
a blank page
a blank face
a bank phase
a banned phrase
a bad phrase
James Knight (explorer)
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Saturday night with James Knight
When I read James Knight’s poetry, it reminded me of the first time I was taught about death
His house is mostly submerged. Moonlight makes a white reflection on the water, pretty as a skull. He paddles to the loft window and gets in that way.
The loft is a mess. Mum and Dad sit on a pile of poetry books in a corner. They can’t read, but they like the sensation of lofty words against their bums. Most of the floor space is covered with parts of dismantled mannequins. A little bird nests in a cavity in the wall. Life isn’t so bad.
There is a camp bed. He lies on it. He needs to sleep. Mum and Dad are muttering to each other, but he’s used to that. He closes his eyes.
At three a.m. the singing starts again, smashing through the window like a brick. Mum and Dad become agitated, start howling. He turns over and tries to stay asleep.
His house is mostly submerged. In the early morning light, the bit of it that isn’t in the water resembles a grey wasp. The mannequins amble around on the roof, building their laboratory from debris that floats by, catching at it with cracked hands: branches of trees, plastic bags, dead dogs. They haven’t been fed properly since the flooding began. They rely on human blood to keep them going. He provides it. Not his own, of course; he goes out on his makeshift raft, scouting for the injured, the diseased, the weak, the dead. It’s arduous work, but well worth it: the mannequins are always very grateful.
You fit into this story, though you’ve probably forgotten it. Pay attention.
His house is mostly submerged. It wasn’t always like this, of course. There was a time, months or years ago, when the house stood proud and dry on top of a hill. Mum and Dad would scamper out in the morning, rolling gleefully down the green slopes and then running to the local town, where they robbed, looted and murdered until their laughter paralysed them. Mr Vogel usually brought them home, in the back of his hearse. It could take hours to rouse them from their jovial stupor.
His house is mostly submerged. It suits the mannequins. They sit on the roof, fishing for dreams. Some of the filth they find would make your hair curl. They laugh silently, giving nothing away. Their favourite titbit is the dream you had on Christmas Eve. Yes, that dream. You should be ashamed of yourself, you dirty bastard. Mind you, we all had a look. Some of us went back for seconds. We were a bit starved. The mannequins tolerated our grunting and giggling, but we could tell we weren’t welcome.
Dreams are water-borne diseases, like typhoid and cholera. If you want to stay healthy, avoid thinking about rain and dry your mouth before you go to bed. Above all, incinerate your brain and ensure there is no water in the room. Even a small glass on your bedside cabinet could be a carrier.
His house is mostly submerged. There are eels in the walls. They bulge and thrash when he touches them. The wallpaper is their skin, glistening malignly. Mum and Dad don’t seem to have noticed them, but sometimes one of them will make a comment like, “Funny old walls!” or “The wallpaper’s all lumpy, look.” The eels in the walls feed on the memories seeping slowly from Mum and Dad’s hands and feet, as they drain away a week every day. No wonder they’re so fat!
The eels in the walls are most active at night. During the day, they coil into knots, doing algebra in their sleep. Theirs is the mathematics of amnesia.
His house is mostly submerged. You probably already knew that. What else is there to say? You lead an uneventful life, curled in the belly of the loft, awaiting birth. The umbilical cord is an eel. The placenta is an octopus, a giant sack of blood and slushy meat.
He owns nothing except the skin on his back. His bones show through. But there’s no reasoning with him; if you try to give him money or a meal, he laughs and swims away.
It’s the same time it was before. Mum and Dad are still howling. You should go back to sleep. Try reading some poetry.
I am made of magnetic masks, smiles, surprise, sunrise, light in flighty eyes, flint, glinting winks, mouths, teeth, clouds, thieves.
I am made of blood and stone and rusty nails and blue light refracted in water and smashed iPhones and laughter and eyes and forests.
I am made of fuck that and hiya and after you and what a load of crap and what do you think and what did you say and yes please and see ya.
I am made of Paz and Eliot and Michaux and Breton and Mansour and Pizarnik and Harsent and Blake and Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti and Plath.
I am made of Schoenberg and Saariaho and Slipknot and Sex Pistols and Stravinsky and Sciarrino and Slayer and System of a Down and Scriabin.
I am made of nothing and something and odd things and lost things and broken things and imagined things and silly things and vision things.
I am made of putty flesh and dubious liquids and hardness and slop and jellies and tautness and silk and dead leaves and mists.
I am made of unremarkable and weird and nice and psychotic and autistic and fun and supportive and boring and complicated and forgettable.
I am made of devour and gulp and search and stumble and make and unmake and fuck and sleep and listen and whisper and forget and remember.
I am made of falling down and swimming through and walking in and staying away and flying by and sitting out and jumping over.
I am made of adversely and perversely and happily and luckily and drearily and stupidly and hopefully and morbidly and tenderly and slowly.
I am made of check shirts and slouch beanies and stiff ties and slick suits and no hair and NIN t-shirts and smart shoes and nakedness.
I am made of glitches and mirages and tricks of the light and illusions and delusions and confusions and contusions and lightless nights.
I am made of burning furniture, car headlights, riot police, scarred spaces, the sea, horror movies, vampire cats, mirrors, mannequins, mud.
I am made of typed words, scrawled words, spoken words, words set in stone, quicksand words, made-up words, anticipated words, worm words.
I am made of tittered tweets and loose threads and botched posts and larval poems and egg texts and hopeless monsters buried in rows.
I am made of Photoshopped punk surrealism and stuttering feeds and scratches on the black screen and junk poetry.
I am made of @echovirus12 and @chimeragroup0 and @badbadpoet and Russian doll avatars and a snowman and a smeared blue skull.
I am made of a little boy setting fire to a tree and a man with a goatee lighting a cigarette and a clean-shaven man putting a log on a fire.
I am made of mannequins and Mr Punch and Jack Ketch and Eve and Max and a sleeping man and the Bird King and Medusa and a nameless narrator.
I am made of dirt, dust, diseases, dystopias, dynasties, disasters, dressing rooms, dishes, despots, diptychs, districts, debts.
I am made of he, she, it, they, us, we, no one, someone, anyone, anyway, anywhere, any, many, money, honey, humble dumbness, numb fun.
I am made of mad cast-offs and sad glades and fast frosts and fronds and fins and moons and moans and makeup and waking up.
I am made of eye a maid of eyes not afraid of my my my not afraid of waves silent at night silent on the shore before I was made.