Playlist: August 2022

It’s almost autumn and I can’t stop listening to The Corrs. Something ringing in the falling rain a leaf-lorn runaway, never gonna stop falling, wish I could play the strings and not cry over a snapped shoelace that Saturday, wish I could never need name this. A fresh nostalgia for Flash player, a bad new year, kneeling in the car dirt of roadsides to fix my bike, the air all gone out of each tyre it’s tiring to be here /  wish I could change. Not into other people but into the person I was, rosy-fingered sleepless rolling cinnamon skins and talking on the internet while in the other town this guy throws a mattress out of a window. If memory serves to fall out with it. Black lace and white corduroy out to the woods I’m happiest on the hill where I see this deer, evidently a teenage stag and I’m calling angel androgynies the very next stray. Fucked up salads of affect, afraid to go outside. Emma says everyone’s a poet. You just go.

Crying in the cobblers for other omens.

Girls in the nineties with strands of dark hair, box-dyed. The electricity all gone out. I was supposed to be planning a workshop, writing a lecture. The universe owns me, doesn’t owe me. 

Across oceans of static, watching you typing…

I cycled past the cathedral and saw the sycamores blush orange as if in real-time metabolising their chlorophyll before me. I google the phrase ‘fall splendour’ in guilty luxuriance. A man on my street pisses against the wall, daylight screams; he pisses for so long I think he will disintegrate in dumb liquid gold. Can’t concentrate on this Zoom call. I’m missing something real of the days before me. Girl in old man bar is singing a ballad. Can you drink a black hole if you can’t drink a Guinness? Colin says Brian says you’d have to suck through a straw at the speed of light. Girl in old man bar is wearing tartan, a velvet headband, recently expired lipstick. I like her.

Singing Eliza Carthy, singing Amen Dunes…

I always want autumn too early and pine for spring. Trillions of magazines tell me it’s not cool having holes in my tights. It’s not cool having ragged cuticles. 

Ten years of sleazy beauty.

A paintbrush yellowing in sordid water.

Forever down Cathcart Road.

Incurable bed mornings of limb ache and long illness, it’s fine like to say it’s totes, bring myself coffee in bed and emails filling me with autumn leaves and the fly infestation fed upon fruit and air…a red car rolling backwards up the street…

It used to be so easy to write these like it never mattered to write at all. The sky is still whey and there are new routes to get to the same old temples. I swirl my tongue in the google doc long enough to know how I’d touch you; the hopescape bristles with city pollution. My friends have been to Greece and Bali, the Hebrides. I have been to Edinburgh for work. Come down the wrong side of the hill among gorse and scramble, the rocks coming loose and my heart gone trash-eating in the nights of bad sleep again, all again, falling awake with the light on, spilled ink in my sheets. I met the same America on Netflix checking my brain, my gag reflex. 

I heard the blood blister in that guitar riff and it was like vomiting behind the shopping mall in Kilmarnock, drunk on bus wine and the Alice in Chains of my arteries…you awake, say the word clavicle, touch my spine…

The Corrs – Breathless

Alice in Chains – Tears

Hand Habits – No Difference

Beth Orton – Weather Alive

Belle & Sebastian – Working Boy in New York City

Sharon Van Etten – Darkness Fades

Baths – Tropical Laurel

Doja Cat – Love to Dream

Adios Nervosa – cloudcover

Drugdealer – Madison

Thee Oh Sees – Chem-Farmer

The 1975 – Part of the Band

June11 – Who is Still Dreaming?

Regina Spektor – Loveology

Playlist: October 2020

Listen for exits

For a brief eternity, nobody was fucking anything that already got fucked and that was when the leaf started falling & another then a whole earnestness of them. Fuck. The way to keep strong is being meticulous about noticing clouds and writing shit down I stopped wanting to rain, I’ll fall asleep smoking. I’ll fall asleep smoking in some movie where my brogues are black as the wet night this all was conceived, draw my red curtains away from the moon that Nasa had a claim on and think about salad days, my nails painted trademark Billie Eilish lime. O salad days pacing restaurants, the rain is on; I remember the leaves swept in the door and they too were victims of a fate in their genes, once green. So I took samples and pressed them crisp between Moleskine pages in the sleep dimension, my writing was automatic and sullen, chlorophyllic, squeezed between menus, I was windswept inside it with the beach pouring out it was heavy. File this under the brush, bush, brush it back into language. I listened to the intricate complaints of the shrubs.

*

Between myriad Tuesdays, I became a psychiatrist of seashells, pressed to my ears their exquisite misery. 

*

Time was a month of afternoons and then rivers of weeks and the sexual appetite of the hours then none. M. said in emails it all feels like soup. In no time I drink echinacea tea and wait for you in black velvet trousers, my pretzel crossed legs. The black velvet night is missing from other suns. There is no time. My chest is clearing itself of the leaves and a mysterious spore they call viral but is it just metaphor, is it the just continuum of falsehood, heavy as my tongue in your words and letting the owls out is only fake news. A black velvet night full of owls. The way to keep going is smoking at the window notwithstanding the smoke, I mean lean out like me and catch it. Someone drops loneliness pills from high windows, highest, like the song about throwing pieces out a twenty-storey flat…Your browser does not currently recognise any of the video formats available. And yet that song and for the love of bread and jam and here in our crumbling houses. Seedless. My brother does not understand tenement lust, the trend for it, but a tower-block remains in our town. Black velvet surrounds us, slapped between lunar slices cut from the nightmare of twenty-twenty. It isn’t your vision. 

*

At five, he would drink all day diluted wine and snort at jellied nature. I love receiving your comments and photos and learning what is an amethyst deceiver and those in history who wanted us killed. If I am held down by world, I had a cold shower and lived in the hades of a woodlands that didn’t belong to me. Smell of tomato all summer in the glow of my window. Smash it all over your clavicles, the insides of your thighs, between your toes, the secrecy of your neck. Flesh of a very red vitamin C. Imagine owning the woodlands. Not to eat, I typeset all night to the sound of sentences, insects, let them lay me down later, I am all this humming snow. What sleep is it that comes three hours at a time, at a time without time that is never quite dark and five hours late. If the clocks go back. You say it’s impossible to write in these times and you are right, as anyone is to say of the impossible I feel it, here and closing in and peeling the skin from my cuticles. Not this. Backwards. When you ask what I’m doing, I’m quietly bleeding. In the hazard assessment, failing to be meticulous is not this. Failing violence. Touching green. I have a good kick at the heart and the head. The men are all down. Held down. You and I get so tired. 

*

I want to know how she dies before the novel even opens. Lain down in the grass; the spine is split, our folds are torn. Because you say nothing I go into the orange department and juice my feelings very slowly in rapture. Waking up is to know not what happened. A blade is working in spiral formation – a blade tornado. What would rip us from orange and up, up to our tower block office at home? Dream pith all over the air around us, sticks. Walter Benjamin is very anxious about this, that you should not write dreams down before breakfast, should not attempt to narrate them. You break fast to break with your dreams. I dreamt I wrote copy for an orange juice company, who wanted their ingredients relayed as sonnets. It seemed impossible that orange juice should be so teeming with things other than oranges. The names were beautiful: canola oil, sodium citrate, beta carotene, cellulose, sucralose, Neotame, potassium sorbate, yellow #5, yellow #6 – and what could be seven? What could be less than seven! We are, we are…In the mix, at the end of the nineties, “soft drink turned a girl yellow.” I remember this as though I had been in hospital and the walls were all yellow for how much I stared at the pale and acceptable middle-class blue. Where was this, surely not in the news. I paint my eyes girl yellow, the colour of soft ghosts; I practice quietude, then sugary schemes of rhyme.

*

So what is the meaning of soft in your work, is it ordinary eggshells around the thing itself, is it orange peel, goldfish, autumn maple. I tread lightly on the question of being at all. These terms are so loaded. K. is reading novels where people casually set off fireworks, they do it all the time: they grab them from supermarket bins and set them off in the carpark because why would you wait. A catherine wheel for Asda and my blues is spinning, my blues in the washing machine, O rocket, a felt sense I could hug you then and the blues left a stain on the radiator. Dashes sparkle. We sit in old meadow in mud and the dogs roll over each other. We are not drinking cocktails. The transience of dalmations. What is the meaning of soft. Softness as a kind of value. I wish I could learn precision in language but it goes running over my senses and to be soft is to experience aphasia. Say in the meeting we stammer and get to the question, late morning before this, zoom before zoom, arranging the clattering scale weights and spices. I slept with Bachmann’s Malina under my bed. A blue skirt stain on the radiator. Blue heat rises. Dad says, “have you been listening to seashells again?” I fantasise gas flames.

*

Conch, scotch bonnet, wentletrap, simnia, drill and murex. Rose and sharp-rib, American carrier, Gulf oyster. Marmite mushrooms frying on the stove. You know there is a shell called ‘Coffee bean trivia’. In Brighton you could buy trays of them for a fiver. I bought Guinness instead, a half pint for you and I on the last hot day of the year. There was a kind of listening to sunlight. Softness as what could be damaged inside us: organ spleen, aura lamina, the shell of our bodies. Your cells soft mint as the cure. People are cycling to work; I barely leave my sofa. Various adrenalines assemble inside us. So far the shells have daddy issues because of the sea. Scrub hard and anything shines. I am under the influence of rainbows, umbrellas, a rim of salt. 

*

I was fired from the orange department for wearing this blue on my sleeve. In the atrium standing there with Styrofoam coffee, swished blue from my dreams; compliments from the manageress and frowning at the meeting that never would last, and something we didn’t say. ‘Divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions’, writes Jackie Wang. I sat outside Perch and Rest with lemongrass steaming from a cup I had purchased and the leaves blew into my face with rain, they were soft and important, licked and wet.

*

We were about to make love but one of us took concussion from the piece of citrine beneath my pillow. 

*

I dreamt rabbits were climbing my beech tree the way goats do in Israel. 

*

A small porcelain jug of milk, a blue jug, was all I could glean from the orange department, after my passing. Carried it home in cardboard, I passed through the walls. It is all because the clocks go back and a crack on the wall. Anhedonia, that I hold breadcrumbs and nothing left to imagine. At the late-night snack bar, composing these empty sentences. Do we get paid for the hour we lose? A soft wound is still a wound. “I would like truffle fries, I would like oysters…” This is something I once seriously wondered. Pools of oil in shells, a meltable system. You break crockery and throw it at the sun. It goes like fuck; it is fucking you brightly. There are still exits, listen.

*

Thee Oh Sees – Goodnight Baby

Little Comets – One Night in October

The Cure – Underneath the Stars

Oneohtrix Point Never – ECCOJAMC1

Moses Sumney – Neither/Nor

Massive Attack, Young Fathers – Voodoo in my Blood

Bicep – Apricots

Autechre – si00

HEALTH, 100 gecs – POWER FANTASY

Animal Collective – Bridge to Quiet

Pharoah Sanders – Astral Traveling

The Raincoats – Only Loved at Night

U.S. Girls – Velvet 4 Sale

Jenny Hval – Conceptual Romance

Tomberlin – Floor

Sharon Van Etten – Let Go

Julien Baker – Faith Healer

Julia Jacklin – CRY

Sun June – Karen O

Soccer Mommy – crawling in my skin

The Weather Station – Robber

Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders

Jason Molina – I’ll Be Here in the Morning

The Mountain Goats – Rat Queen

Bright Eyes – Miracle of Life

Admiral Fallow – Dead Against Smoking

Adrienne Lenker – heavy focus

Kevin Morby – Valley

Lana Del Rey – Let Me Love You Like a Woman

Four Tet – My Angel Rocks Back and Forth

Julie Byrne, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Love’s Refrain

Playlist: July 2020

landscape painting with green triangle

lime green triangle

 

and Spicer says, ‘don’t worry I will tell you everything’. this is the dream where you appear as a lime green triangle and there is nothing I can do _ lime green isosceles learning spelling looking at the great internet for hours, very lightly _ lime green isosceles learning your angles /

 

                                                                       \ if you appear to me lime again, full-flesh of note

I know a great red splash will appear on the side of the morning, best side, coffee breath not four hours on call, or shepherd style. So how a triangle holds me like every brushstroke, something gestural in lieu of a writerly end. July, july, like who is writing?
(so nice
out of your window the mews were, smoke-warm lung
just one
accident) is a landscape even real? where is my juul, my eye?
There is this line in Katie Dey’s ‘Bearing’ (mydata) which goes, ‘I am warm by her username’.
None of ever disembodied; always a record of brushstroke, beautiful people on the pavement outside and bouncing a trite kind of fungible language, who goes. To shop for that same geometry. It tumbled out of the wow so luminous. this dream I kept having about going for half a Guinness with you / and all pretty drunk on aphid dependence
is jangle
is jangle                     expensive impressionable air!
look up from the mic it’s there, like yellow flower
went in tesco wearing a mask
felt lux of outside
purchase protect like
there is so much of so little bread in the world
‘But I write
you tomorrow, I always say it in the present’, says Derrida, of a bookleaf letter.
Look who’s shining back, sarments of a username. what is the use value of
removing the bees from the kelvin meadow? sweet carb, sometimes
I am barely iris
growing sideways
and the milk is sour trochee / streak of copper
want to draw us a room to live in
depth of field, dappled motion. Like a ramen hack
all it takes slight pinch of telling you everything. like we camp this close to the website
with duckmice, star anise . . .
growing sideways
that season I got everything early. and it was all good, kind to me
very bloodful much dawn, little saltish, waking only to sleep again to vague
dreamnote will you go
sent up to Parkland or like
a sluice of weather, let me swipe it from yr brow. wild
reclaiming the word for thyme vibration
abundant / gold sounds / this
you is more / Disentangle
prettily the screen again, hair in fist and first / make space for your
space it_ Don’t worry I will tell everything
by the sheen of my wrists a bracelet
of upstroke acoustic lines of steel, latching sun.
Best side, coffee a short breath upon pale-coloured air is how have you slept,
synchronise “morning” for warming, always already
I had that poem about the warm London air and
wanting to kiss us, where did it go
the poem
cut thru a land &
dumb smoke without snow as it was in Glasgow, then
lemon balm smoking a natural data by summerised fountain, four
in the not now morning
O wow like salt lakes
look at us float!           no money
you can or can’t say swim
you swap pronoun for leaf
Like
leaf is barely iris
leaf is barely eating
leaf is barely anyone
I was so happy to just say afk :                                    )
breathe me / is only the accidental priceless picnic
of being barely alive like
somebody taking a polaroid, here in my doll’s dress
I-i mean leaf never felt sick as america, except to say sickening!!!!
the worry of telling you everything, that’s practice
so much I would crisp by it, hot swear
everything bluegrass
nude in the
locket of
new soft animal shapes
“golden green, red blue”
These are just lights! growing sideways
you pull up slick at the station, leaf coming
before say come
round the corner you
narrate my emails
deleting erotic gasoline, plainsong smelled of triangle
caught you in chord. lime green over Laura Nyro
say what I held in my hand was just
neat spliff
or tiny bird
the heather all over the heather
wild I keep wanting to say it would never go
just about purple
best thing I ever saw or heard
no name of a name
learning to spell say oxeye by the layby
eat three almonds, live in Japan
to jumpstart
liked songs make wonderful life / it’s coming

~

Aye Nako – Sissy

Tacocat – I Hate the Weekend

The Kinks – Rats

Orange Juice – I Guess I’m Just a Little Too Sensitive

R.E.M. – Crush With Eyeliner

CAN – Moonshake

Khruangbin – Time (You and I)

Klein, MONG_WOONG – V3

PJ Harvey, Thom Yorke – This Mess We’re In

U.S. Girls – Rosebud

King Krule – Stoned Again

Sonic Youth – Bull in the Heather

Thee Oh Sees – The Axis

Sun Ra – When There is No Sun

Fire-Toolz – It’s Now Safe to Turn Off Your Computer

NNAMDÏ – Glass Casket

Thanya Iyer – Always, Be Together

Christelle Bofale – Moving On, Getting On

Toro y Moi feat. Old Grape God – tron_new_rose_hifi_v2

James Blake – Are You Even Real?

Porridge Radio, Lala Lala – Good For You

Immaterial Possession – Tropical Still Life

Sharon Van Etten – Malibu

Silver Jews – Animal Shapes

Modern Nature – Halo

Fair Mothers, Faith Eliott, Esther Swift – Monochrome

Magnolia Electric Co. – Josephine

David Bowie – Wild Is the Wind

Karen Dalton – Little Bit of Rain

Christian Lee Hutson – Northsiders

Portishead – Deep Waters

Elliott Smith – Whatever (Folk Song in C)

Sparklehorse – Sunshine

Joan Baez – The Wild Mountain Thyme

Strangers in a Bar

img_1796

We decided to meet in a bar, one where old men gathered for their daily brew and crepuscular women exchanged knitted secrets in the shadowy corners, around time-gnarled tables. I knew you instantly: the Celtic heritage of your red hair, unkempt even now; the cream-coloured Aran sweater, too warm for this time of year—though you were thinner perhaps and therefore colder. Half-way across the bar I could smell your cigarette smoke. I could feel the way it was before, in your fingers, stale and yellowing, chemical; the ash splintered deep beneath your nails, the black clot in your lungs which throbbed as you coughed. I remembered it, the way you would sit up in bed in the middle of the night as if struck by lightning, the thrust of it right up your spinal cord. I would bring you glasses of water; I would stroke your arm as if my fingers were falling leaves.

A pint of Guinness sat in front of you, barely sipped. You were reading a book, wearing glasses. I had never seen you wearing glasses. What was the book? I try to recall it. Frank O’Hara, perhaps, a handful of scattered street poems; maybe something by Whitman. You always had a thing for the Americans. It was part of your mythology, the dream of the road, the need to leave the homelands. You hated this city, but still you were here. You had returned.

I pulled up a barstool and for a moment you didn’t even notice me; didn’t blink once from your reading. I grabbed the glass and swilled some Guinness down me, the froth of it coating my lips. It came back to me, old friend: that black, hoppy, toffeeish stout. There were all those nights: the sticky surfaces of bars, voices that rung cacophonies, inane words snatched from strangers. Outside, the brisk March wind that billowed my hair in your face as you smoked and smoked. I tried to deny the way I loved your smoke. I could’ve sucked it in all day, like you were giving me wisps of your soul. Sometimes, when I pass a smoker in the street, I have to cross the road—the tarriness smarts my eyes.

I suppose I was hyperaware of everyone around us. What would they think? Would it seem strange now, to see this thinness of a figure stealing their way to a table and taking a man’s drink? Would they notice at all? We were always conspicuous: it was the black lines drawn thick beneath your eyes, the fox-coloured shock of your hair; my silence, my obvious adoration. The swirling limbs and all the dancing, the clubs we were thrown out of for being violent. You wouldn’t see it now. If someone took a picture of us, we would be two strangers in a bar. They’d have to pick out the way I turned towards you, hoping for your notice. The drink would seem my own, anonymous. How could they know of our entwinement on any number of sofas, the graffiti of our names we sketched on the tables of trains, the countless coffees and cokes and sticks of gum shared as if mouth-to-mouth in our indivisibility?

I watched your eyes follow left to right along the page, so engrossed; as if looking for treasure beneath the lines, behind the lines, at the end of the line, the final line. Maybe you were waiting to finish a chapter. I longed for you to acknowledge me, to make my interruption.

How could they know, the way we would meet every day, in bars like this, and our spirits were the same? The spirits we drank and sank and raised? How could they know?

Just then, you folded the corner of your page. You reached over the table and clasped my hand, the one that still touched the Guinness. I saw your lips raise a smile, the eyes the same, sea-green aglow.

You said: “Hello.”