Late October, Cycled home in my t-shirt, thru the industrial estate and beyond. you and I remember well the opening sequence, credits to all those sly cartoons who lived in colours not of their own choosing. what I’m trying to say is the warmth comes not explicable from crisis, to say ‘i was warmed by crisis’ seems wrong, and yet as I walk in a light denim jacket purchased on the day of the kenmure raid, people are still debating who was the OG lady of sadcore, adele or lana del rey? there are two versions of the skins episode where cassie escapes to new york and she runs through an impossibly empty city: one which plays an Adele track and another which plays ‘My Town, My City’ by an unidentified artist which now seems relegated to the half played halls of ancient youtube history, yet also the chorus that would seem to claim for its singer something of a belonging in cold despair. in memory the piano begins when she bites into the apple and starts crying but this could have happened in any dimension, especially considering every time i bite into an apple now my eyes smart, crunching into a moment straight from chris marker and sugar brushed with what he doesn’t know, bright red, i mean ordinary feminine pain, or like, the year 2007 in bristol. i didn’t know what UK garage classics were until i keyed my first car or like buzzed myself athletically through the other door where i would be welcomed as a stranger to victorian milk and honey, reversing the version where you can’t wear that necklace for it has bumped against her sternum and now something of a soul is dead. my friend died but ever since july i have compulsively worn purple. when i get synaesthesia it’s usually for songs, words, general emotions that in relation make up grids or curlicues surprisingly happy to coexist, like if i draw a lilac spiral where your name once is, i feel better, i feel better. it’s a schoolgirl trick of the selfsame like writing out names in our jotters, yours or mine, walking the perambulator back to the moon where exhausted mothers are calling their mothers to war. we benefited from working tax credits and educational maintenance allowance, i asked friends born with particular chromosomes to buy me yorkie bars, i remember the feel of warm summer tar against my skull better than i recall my first fuck tho a kiss was easy, it was like pulling another fish through a big comma soaked in bourbon and the bright lights were on and everyone watching? sometimes i have to go out a room to remember something like what are you doing here, now i have to walk around to even get writing or find eloquence in pavement slopes. where i live now you smell hops on mondays and thursdays the cats are not ginger, i let them nuzzle against my leg in exchange for a purr. tonight there were electrical failures in the library so i decided not to imagine my evening as a series of blocks defined by the hours locked upon flat surfaces. this house has a shed! if i listened to anything it was to the street lights twinkle as mushrooms do when stamped on, baby screeches, we come home with medical certificates and iron deficiencies with mouthfuls of words about aurora borealis and sandstone. thru the periurban and elderberry. i create a sequence and it forges a colour for itself, can’t be changed. i’m wearing a white t-shirt and it’s late in the autumn and i’m telling you this because the sky is purple, it’s 16 degrees and i want to change
Sam Williams’ project, A Soft Landing, is ‘an online resource inspired by the activity of communal gardens and city allotments. It is a space where volunteers are invited to share, learn, contribute and care for themselves and others, through the sharing of material that could be used for nourishment, growth, pleasure, education or healing’.
I like this website because it’s what I want from the internet, a place to share and graft and cut and paste, to nourish and discover something unexpected. You tend a little plot and see what grows from it. I used to live near Woodlands Community Garden and loved seeing the flora and fauna change throughout the seasons, people volunteering, pulling out weeds and planting. Something of A Soft Landing is in this spirit: you might get asked to respond or contribute, you might volunteer yourself. You never really know what might crop up in the meantime, which is why there’s a satisfying ethic to ‘checking back’.
I’m happy to find a home for an ongoing and incomplete series, Meadow Fractals, among the leaf matter and stems of other makers. It features a sestina after Kevin Killian (and isn’t the sestina the most fractal traditional form?), plus some weird and tessellating meadow illustrations done on an MS Paint simulator. Long live Paint. You can find the full selection at a-soft-landing.com (look for the dark grey tendrils).
In recent months, I’ve also been reading Sean Roy Parker’s Fermental Health substack, which has got me excited about blogging, and even food again. Do have a read! 🌱
July was such a busy month but one of its delights was working on the design for this book, With the Boys by fred spoliar. I’ve been so buzzed about upcoming SPAM releases (more to be announced soon) and what better way to kick off our 2021 roster than with this vivid purgatorial rush of a book. The cover design is a collage layering of illustrations, colour effects and old woodcuts (including those vomiting sun battle scenes which divide the book into sections and contribute to the faux ye olde vibe) which gesture to the book’s primal scene (imo): the confrontation with the boy laying down >insert meme here: “you winning son??”< as the OG basis for all the boys, are we for or against them, might we let them rest? As fred reminded me at a recent reading in Crystal Palace Park, “masculinity is no joke maria” and this book explores how the cascades of climate crisis, austerity, property relations, ‘fake news’, ongoing colonialism, racial capitalism, transphobia and pandemic are all bundled up in the ancient, ever-mutating violence of patriarchy. The demands the boys place on us and those placed on the boys, we understand them in a camaraderie of the here-and-now that is our future ancestral citation, cracking a cold one for the world that is burning ice and going online. With the Boys is a book of post-internet poetry, an adventure story, a lyric dalliance with historical epic in synchronic form. It’s a book that refuses linear models of transition, progress and accumulation, and ideas of history as a totality; a book that finds residues of love and care among masculinity’s ‘trashfire’ (in Al Anderson’s words). I want to think of it partly in the realm of Keats’ ‘negative capability’, the idea of lyric identification as doubt, the pluralism of the boys as a quivering flame or rippling plasma, capable of being more than what essentialist gender ideology would deem the boys. Your ‘brain on elegy’, your ‘stupid hurt’, your ‘buzzcut chorus’ and ‘apple products’ – humming, ubiquitous, they belong to all of us, in a way.
There is something about a (re)birth in this book; fred has called it ‘a purgation’. Something been set on fire or released, the way of touching abysses of sleepless thinking and facing up, fuck, to the impossibilities of work and not-work. To morph, mourn, join together, be commoning or calling out, be warm or hard or wet or sore, be there and gone. One thing that resounds is the refrain, the sonorous sense (something Verity Spott commented on at our recent launch, and something I love about Verity’s work also) of lyric in the book as a musical sprawl, fever, affirmation. For me, this is totally synaesthetic and electric, ‘a crucial magenta song’ and ‘like aleatory dance departing’ in the sacred gatherings of the rats — the animals that survived 2020 (their epic and terrible year) and will go on thriving beyond us. Like, we are not supposed to be here. Like, we crawl over the language that won’t want to hold us and we throw out this ask. Are we to be comrades? Sometimes you read fiery poetry that enflames and hisses (kisses) and makes you want to attend the protest, make the call, offer your body to the line (the book’s closing poem, ‘kludge time‘, was written in response to the recent Kenmure Street anti-raid action), and With the Boys summons this fire, but also sings in the muscly erotics of its cinders. These cinders which catch in the breath before and after the poem, which can’t be reduced to this or that reading; which burn with occasional satire, twinge and catch of meaning.
You want to say the boys are a folk knowledge, they are song, they are the startup code that ceaselessly reboots until lyric glitches in ‘fertile crevices’. They are a compost, the dregs of bad schooling, an institution of historical impotence, a gesture of care and play (‘I push you on the swings’), an orientation towards the vibe, a grammar of suspension ‘stopping by the interchange‘, a big fucking ‘nova‘ that hopes to find you well. Hi, hello, hi. *WAVE*. Everyone in some sense knows them. They are obviously so much more. I’m this hush-breath away from saying the boys are a hyperobject. You decide. The boys are shoegaze distortion all over capital’s weeping, the road less travelled, dazzling and pregnant and ‘wilding’. They will do your makeup and hum the ‘harmonic law to / love to leave to love’ — bright pink and chartreuse. You better have a go at them.
With the Boys is available for £8 from SPAM Press. You can get in touch with the editors for review copies or to stock in your bookstore at spamzine.editors[at]gmail.com.
Excited to announce a collaborative exhibition with artist Jack O’Flynn and curator Katie O’Grady, happening until 8th August at French Street Studios in Glasgow.
The Palace of Humming Trees is a collaborative project between artist Jack O’Flynn, writer Maria Sledmere and curator Katie O’Grady which took place from April to August 2021. This collaboration will be showcased in an exhibition at French Street Studios, Glasgow, featuring new works from O’Flynn and Sledmere which travel through poetry, sculptural entities and dreams of impossible possibilities.
This project was formed in a concert – along mixtapes, Tarot readings, zoom calls and shared research. We present it here as multiple sensual journeys; to an exhibition of hyper-foxes and tenderly crumbling foliage, through a publication of lichenous illusions and rummaging thought and in a selection of music and voices which trailed our imaginings.
Intertwining themes of ecological thought, world building and re-enchantment we sought to un-ravel the question: how can we act and think in this present moment to ensure positive change to our relationship with the world around us? The action and thinking which we wandered became located in small and monumental formats – enacted in the everyday and in how we create and build the future. We were enveloped by uncertain certainty, whether apparent through non-human thought, the possibilities of visual art and poetry or the endorsement of magic. Living in a world brimming with unease by climate crisis and extreme inequality – brought upon by extractive capital, far-right strategies and carceral logics – we wished to communicate a different model of awareness that could refuse these structures and re-imagine being a Being.
Exploring this sentiment O’Flynn and Sledmere have created a body of work that opens a portal to a forest of vibrating thought. One of galloping states, lockdown meanderings and a lyrical suffusion through language and art that prompts how we can think and imagine differently.
Please enjoy this digital showcase of The Palace of Huming Trees and, if you can, come to visit its physical iteration at French Street Studios, 103 – 109 French Street, Glasgow. Open July 30th to August 8th 11 AM to 5 PM (closed Monday and Tuesday) with a preview on July 29th 6 PM – 9 PM. Book to attend exhibition via Eventbrite here and to attend preview here.
More info at the exhibition website.
The exhibition also comes with a book of poetry, illustration and essaying, The Palace of Humming Trees.
Available to order for £12.99 – Contact details for ordering available on the website above.
Excited to announce a new installation I’ve been involved in as part of A+E Collective. From The NewBridge website:
This online installation explores the relationship between sustainability and dreaming, offering a space to collectively share our dreams and have discussions surrounding these broader topics. The Dream Turbine was conceived by A+E Collective in collaboration with Niomi Fairweather and Jessica Bennett, as part of the Overmorrow Festival.
A turbine (from the Latin ‘turbo’, meaning vortex) is a device that harnesses the kinetic energy of fluid, turning this into a rotational motion which can generate electricity or otherwise ‘work’. From windmills to waterwheels, turbomachines are a crucial part of our energy history. The Dream Turbine is a speculative, participatory turbomachine for stimulating, processing, converting and sharing sustainable and postcapitalist imaginaries.
From Earth Day to early summer 2021, A+E Collective will be taking to cyberspace and installing The Dream Turbine at The NewBridge Project. In solidarity with The NewBridge Project’s values of cooperation, adaptation, environmental and social justice, The Dream Turbine hopes to promote alternative, non-extractive ways of thinking, desiring, memorialising and living through various ongoing crises as individuals and collectives.More information here.
A+E Collective website.
Dear Town Square
My horse disappeared. I had contrived to love the rat
with cheats. Have you considered the ethos
To save your game, pluck acid out of the water;
is communism good code to love you
For bread? In summer I chose the orange grass
with yellow grass, the blue inedible magic flower.
In winter the white grass, blue grass of spring
a verdant seaweed and moondrop flower
Will you take me to school today? I want to learn
the inevitable lesson, in the law of spring/summer
Green-grass fashion, will you describe a toy
flower, sift me from hill, let grow?
I put the wild-grown light in my hunger
I put the coloured grass under soft expense.
I cantered hard across the dream salad
of somebody’s laughter, I lost you
Pinkcat, gathering these flowers afield
before I fell into clement spinach.
If hurricanes come, bless a watering can.
The rats will carry me gently
For every yield of our life, soft rain
the average shipping cost of corn and onion
Or a peach tree dies in the sun
as soon as we receive the foiled mushroom.
It’s Aries season and here’s a poem for Colin Herd’s birthday last week.
This Place is Rammed
The canteen was a dream canteen. No, it wasn’t on Mars!
I sat beside Colin Herd in a supervision that seemed to exist
horizoned on the kind of table I want to call cherrywood
is the word for anything darker and
sweeter than pine. He asks
if I’ve been writing lately. A poem, “The old
acid pit of the heart.” I turn sideways
to offer him a Ready Salted Walkers Crisp.
We talk publishing. I am courageous and yet
worry about waiting for lunch.
“O happy birthday!”
it occurs to me
that I am a day or so late.
I know he’s an Aries because
everywhere in the dream I see red.
It’s so busy. We’re not even
just a vibe. The packet
of crisps is obviously red. The flames
in new-lit candles. The irate cadmium
aura of waiters, who should get better pay.
I’m wearing red corduroy flares
like in the Bob Perelman poem
we heard last spring on Zoom. I’m showing
a loss. Is cherrywood red?
I’m stuck in my chair. The sound of the crunch of
the crisp is red. Colin’s drinking
a bright red thing with Campari & grenadine
Denise would approve of. Everything
is totally youthful. Will Colin eat
the big slice of blood orange?
Tell me a glorious story!
the orange in the middle of daffodils was a song and when I saw you thru the blossom portal say all is well, you weren’t saying much but when I saw you thru the well with pennies, when I threw in the well my pennies well are they heavy? I made a wish on the topic of better, getting light or better, patterns on the vase aren’t like pollution or lightning storm at the top of Blythe Hill, but I noticed the temperature in California is 26 degrees right now
is it always the mild wet winter of narco swing and blithely fixing your bike to be rare in comparison, zero rate exempt from tending the flowers. I want to be a raw kind of feeling you peel me from bed I am become rosemary or behind the wall is a spring it gives, who delivers, there is pollen to breathe or not to believe I am warm dry summer as a mattress tastes of
wanting to embody the reading, its sweat I listen back, the baroque life of water, agua viva and what cherished of haunting, not this, or more classical forms behold, memory dream on the back of march and not taking the air for granted, blisters and songs I would listen to what if I just get sick what if I am nausea after all
reality I have a cheat code for bearing the rain like Proust didn’t have to, I hate food, what name do you give these creases, I am less than and tenderly to live in grey now where seagulls are more specific or can you say a herring gull lands on my arm at night or the formerly known as movement
alights at the scene where you ask for more sauerkraut please, let’s pull over, at the very least did we come here shining delete the bell is a girl or rind or grapefruit or very becoming after word marvellous today is beautiful about today it wanted to change our lives but who would assemble that statement, not for police who look in the beehives but scintillation is like, everywhere we study of illumined tinnitus, toothache, their white light crushes but did I establish
taking the painkillers of chefs, being squeezed out of the area, I dream a fat free cottage for sale and is it your birthday I’m scared of the sound of bluetooth the bad grammar of science daily the refutations of rainfall where your city is better, blood-soft atmospheric I’m simmering gnocchi as we speak
the mile-deep plants beneath the ice of Greenland, birds-eye, closing the door, I fall for the novel corona warm salmon it is a cold-water wisdom dish in the arctic sponge cake taking my place off
the flowers! you held them outside the shut nightclub and from subatomic world you were lovely? I remember the irl as like endless page refresh not knowing which leaf would shake first or press water to go back, up, the ana-cathartic condition of touching my spine obsidian, you know everything
as some of us are in the gutter some of us are looking at mars I’m looking at you elongated and some of us wear musks of various species like white black or red musks my favourite is the red offering and to wear it with chilli tobacco and smoke out my window to spicy clouds will only work in lockdown
like forgetting to mute in shrine of noise be sufficiently cooked thru a planet does taste like the species of a sex of deer is it tender or am I to make this with butter and yellow as yellow does a lot for itself for orange and musky everyone
unlock with your face, where is nautical the ID
I want to know twilight
black midi – John L
Aphex Twin – Acrid Avid Jam Shred
Felicia Atkinson – Lighter Than Aluminium
Yellow Swans – Limited Space
Lee Gamble – Locked In
Aïsha Devi – Mavda
Porridge Radio – Pop Song (Clarence Clarity remix)
NNAMDÏ – ART SCHOOL CRUSH
illuminati hotties – melatonezone
Remember Sports – Tiny Planets
Kississippi – Indigo
Savage Mansion – Wig Wise
Squid – Paddling
Dry Cleaning – Oblivion (Grimes cover)
Jinosaur Jr. – I Ran Away
Indigo Sparke – The Day I Drove the Car Around the Block
Fugazi – Afterthought
Drop Nineteens – The Dead
you want snow, personally want to know will it end? The snow was a space it kept filling until the light went down and there was no song, just white in a sepia, sepia song. Was friday night, first night, and you could get a wine right now, a wish right now, you could fill it with wine. I do it all the time and there’s another card to prove it. Notifications softly accumulate in organic bright square. I have to stay awake; there are these bordered gardens I walk on the boardwalk I’m bored of walking I do it all the time; we stop sometimes (pensive) we watch each other not-smoke over the Zone. You want snow and I fill a glass of it, crisply; gushed from the tap but I still have precision, white grapes sour my organs hurting. We’re in the milk bar in some novel, some game, is it Clock Town? I am always taking you to Clock Town where the moon’s tears shimmer and there’s always a love affair to intercept with letters. Dearest…I meant, putting these shiny earrings in for you, quartz chips, I lost one? There is a proverb, a space; you fill it. Don’t fill anything right to the brim unless it’s coffee, I’ll drink it, overfull the stars and so on only as old as they think they are! We’re never too young for clubbing, the air is infectious you go out with mittens you glow — I am taking pictures of Kelvin Way, the avenue, the sorry trees. Likes of likes fill up like snow, like pc4pc like another moratorium on the heart react but you are bees. Drape inwards where the nape of a neck is pearl. We are weeping in the reading and we never were too young for this. Her version of treble mix in blackbird, favourite, a yellow call. Stereo. Some things a poem keeps secret. We’re in the milk bar and I am the tender of bar, a bar of milk (chocolate!) that gets you high, highest on wednesday’s the hump day pack it with double the sugar. Let’s grate hours upon hours, shredding plainsong, blackbirds, milk. The calorific value of daylight is only that you live it, don’t let anyone tell you they can harvest good will from the sun, it’s all watts, you know, I always fancied myself gentrified sunbeam for lunch but only on vicarious fridays, like I’m in love and it’s caused by coffee, something S. said once in a poem or essay, it’s easy, you take off your clothes and go swimming in the ice melt, SPACE, it’s sentence. We’re never too young for air, I’m greedy for oxygen like it’s 2014 and having moshed for sufficient number of hours in the outdoor crowd of this gentrified field I will take this body to the oxygen bar. You have the summer bod, the winter bod, the hot bod, the boy bod, the girl bod, the professional bod, the Zoom bod, the new bod, the non bod, the gains bod, the ghost bod, the fire bod, the ice bod, the willow bod, the swim bod, the shame bod. We sat in the oxygen bar anyhow, C. spent obnoxious amounts on a bottle of water that lasted forever, BPA-free, we cradled it all morn like our baby, she was, the clarity in that! Sparkling, milking, added vitamins. It is friday night on my desk there are innumerable pamphlets of poem, wires (no liquorice), f.’s glasses, a pink slab of crackle quartz, a coaster (forever unused) that says ‘please don’t leave’ inside a heart, melatonin pills (I will take one later), the bottle cap from a bottle of nye’s Classic Hooch, a lukewarm of tea (green), three-way pencil sharpener, hair clip, an orange pomander candle which I am horrified to say advertises itself as ‘Harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects’ — so in any case you won’t catch me throwing this fire in the sea! Special aquarium babies we are. It contains limonene, geranyl acetate – the candle, not the sea – and asks to be disposed in an appropriate disposal site. A film called Dive in which I am force-fed squid in the back of a taxi, now where have we seen that one before? A. has a vegan fridge a white shelf a row of spices. Tell me where do we all go lay rest our candles, how to elegise that which symbolises elegy, say prayer. Is this merely to blog or to bathe in pond life, gentle aquaria, I see through other glasses the reflective lettrism of darknesses unknown to us! And you’re still reading! Snow person melts into people. There is melt poetics. I clip back the starry excess to say wait here, we’re on the brink of something is it the beach in the email the long bright stretch of waiting, white sand, gold sand, brown sand, blue sand under the moon (!) how long it’s been I hope you’re okay and other famous online statements the daffodils wilt too soon is sun they want so much blush pressure it’s barely gone february, melt and blush. A year ago today we all kissed I did cartwheels the vodka was long and delicious, the room was huge, our hearts acidic. Monopoly for dogs. Sharing a space, you hold. Is it to never feel correct in the body, what is correction? Not lighter fluid or erasers, not rubber bullets, silver bullets, see that spray you put in your tea or under the tongue? It’s sultry. Tip-Exx the sky of its sentences: And the man at the station asking about rizlas; I wanted to be inside the movie somehow; grunge boys in their teens wearing mum dresses. On the phone elsewhere I cry on the way to vaccine because of the wind is alarmist and two days later my arm is bruised but something is glowing we call it glitchflu. More like, what do we have energy? I am carelessly humanist transition I walk on pavements I pin my life to the side I kiss your brow I am kissed regardless the stars are yes say here the waves a glissy sensation a wine or is it the dawn so aeropressed. How long? I want a dial-in thesis, drive-by thesis, dive-bar thesis. Double shot — What exists? This is going to argue [that] I don’t dare ask to hold my breath I am falling from air, extra shots, impasse, salted caramel, the jag didn’t hurt a bit but all night the ache and a glandular longing to be again born on the brink of full moon the wires and coming along the Clyde coming up was almost the sea or when the air hit my face it was a whip it was west; I saw you in the loch in july. There is a bird and curlew, bless you, how many times we had to admit this was happening and pangs for an X and cutely go as it does then stain us. How easy to forget a persona. The shape contains us. I was even incubated as a baby for what, for not being able to breathe or die. What remains is the sand and the wind alacrity then scrap matters for how a throat hurts get so leafy. Breath. Swipe here a useless space. E. says I look languid I am wearing all white my hair hurts my breath hurts the glass is apparent, scalp clip, red-lipped to say you are blocked and so far outside and the subtleties in difference between silence and mute. Ecru! Career poetess of the sea except. How to protect yourself and others. The comment section filling with memory snow as the sky is a mattress, let’s bounce from it. There is time after time after time last seconds ago the edit came down from the rain and your tongue and shining. Don’t say it? Don’t say it at all? The arrangement of tulips a mathematics what do people in American movies really mean when they say Do you want to come over we’ll do some trig? Mothers not mothers arranging the vase it is glass the atoms are careless. You see the one yellow tulip had flopped down in the window this is the yellow we are a very strong yellow a limp yellow a lip, equilateral, let’s count stripes or feel inside they are silk, the trestle, assemble the trestle, the trellis. I’ll grow across pink suns to see you, extra life of the indolent, a quoted splendour; the dinner we coated with rain, with lexical deference, with delta waves, with petals, equations. Pass me cigar. I am propped against sunset. The smoke is to say
Hannah Diamond – Hi
SOPHIE – UNISIL
Janelle Monáe feat. Grimes – Pynk
CAN – Waiting for the Streetcar
Jeff Buckley – The Sky is a Landfill
Silver Jews – I’m Gonna Love the Hell Out of You
Judee Sill – Down Where the Valleys Are Low
Zella Day, Weyes Blood – Holocene
Porridge Radio, Piglet – Let’s Not Fight !
Julia Holter – Sea Calls Me Home
Dorothea Pass – Container
Cocteau Twins, Harold Budd – Ooze Out and Away, Anyhow