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Breakdown

In memory of Sandra Bland and Philando Castile

 

#1

 

Remember back in the heft of 2001?
7,227 items were delivered

 

to an old C&A in Oxford St –
Landy sets up

 

a conveyor belt
industrial shredders

drills, saws
clawhammers
the violence of it

and in them he puts
his jeans
his socks
old shirts
a stuffed toy bear
family photos
his car
artworks
his passport

 

he becomes       unidentitied
             un-thinged

 

by white-gloved handlers

 

who place his belongings
             gently into the shredder

 

or throw them into the trash compactor, joking
             as if they’re on a production line

 

and they are, in fact, on a production line,
             and then he is mediated by blades

 

and then, when he is
             six tonnes of rubbish

 

it’s as if he has never
             lived

 

all he can feel is his body
his blue overalls

 

shock of cold air
             on his neck

 

his eyes open

his mother’s disappointment

his father’s sheepskin jacket
                          gone

how could he
he did

afterwards,
             his scalp is a buzz-cut tingle

 

his feet are holograms
             he has never felt such

who is the self where is he
he is there and he is not there

he is disappearing
             the way men are always disappearing

 

in novels, and in pregnancies
and here, in the gallery

a man looks into
his own life from outside
dissolving –

He makes a book
             lists all the things
                          300 pages

a life

he exhibits
                          words


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

grew up in west London. She completed an MA in poetry at Goldsmiths in 2009, and is currently in the final stages of a PhD in Life Writing. Seraphima writes poetry and creative non-fiction about family, migration, conflict and music. Recently she’s been published in Magma, And Other Poems, SouthBank Poetry and the Rialto, and has performed at the Troubadour, Vortex Jazz Club, Ledbury Poetry  Festival and Poetry in Aldeburgh. In 2016 she was longlisted for The Poetry School/Nine Arches Press Primers competition, and in 2017 was selected for the Jerwood Arvon mentoring programme working with Pascale Petit. Seraphima is a member of the collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen.

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