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Watermen

It’s Saturday and two men arrive at the door in the uniform. Thames Water.
We’re checking the whole street, can we check your pipes. They walk through to

 

the back. Their boots are very large in the flat. A dog stretches her neck and smells
the air around the genitals. They are sorry. We are sorry but we have

 

some bad news. We have detected some contamination coming from one of
the addresses on this street and it’s you. Your clean water and your waste pipes are

 

misconnected. Your waste pipe is going straight to The new river opened in 1613 to
bring fresh water from Hertfordshire to London. Don’t worry it’s not your

 

fault and we’re not going to fine you. But it is illegal and you have to fix it. What it.
You’re it. Your waste pipe. Your water pipe. Our waste. Our pipe. Your waste

 

pipe is misconnected and your cistern is flowing into the clean water of the New
River opened in 1613 to bring fresh water from Hertfordshire to London. There

 

are two types of sewer private and public. Private sewers belong to the customer. You.
You are responsible for the pipes that belong to you. There are

 

public sewers that belong to us the water company. We are the water company. Also
there are highway drains and gullies. And you know, swans. Are you related

 

to a plumber, No. Are you friends with one, No, Then you’re going to have to hire one.
The men leave. I haven’t been yet me neither you go. I didn’t expect the

 

shame of ownership to be so closely related to the shame of having a body. (But it’s not
mine none of it’s mine) In 1946 the water supply to New River Head was

 

truncated at Stoke Newington with the New River ending at the East Reservoir. We
do customer shits straight into the West Reservoir Water Sports Centre is a

 

water sports and environmental education centre which is located in a picturesque
corner of leafy Stoke Newington. The centre provides the

 

opportunity to take part in sailing and kayaking for adults and children under the
watchful eye of expert instructors. The centre is operated by a charity social

 

enterprise we take our dog there there’s swimming lessons. Your daily sewage
discharges direct to the new river. Did you know that it’s neither new nor a

 

river. You just need to connect right, pipes. Good practice, good pipes. Do you have
relatives? If you need help you could contact the sewage network action

 

programme. SNAP. Would you like their number, No. The design and construction is
often attributed to Sir Hugh Myddleton. I walk my dog along the

 

new river path and do it properly doing good practice. I bag it and bin it. Any bin just
do it. She eats the swan shit. Nobody asked her to do that she just does it.

 

The new river path is not a public right of way but the owner allows access. The
owner is Thames Water. The shit bullies. SNAP. Let’s go I need to go this morning

 

after coffee and think about strangers coming round. When I was little I came
downstairs to find police men in the living room a cat sniffing the air around

 

their genitals after there was a pub-fight. There was a piece of my college artwork on
the wall and I thought please don’t let the police men look at the

 

pink print of my belly and leg. The man in the home wrote a poem about it, it was
about the difference between being at home and at work. It went when you are

 

at home you are not at work and when you are at work you are far from home but
sometimes men come into your home and they are at work. The relative

 

impurity of the new river is naught point nine. You’re welcome for our contribution.
We live at number 55 point A. I do special direct transmission to

 

the swans and the geese and the one dead moore hen of the New River that opened in
1613 to bring fresh drinking water from the river gods to London.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is a poet and multidisciplinary writer. She has worked as an archivist, lecturer and practice-based researcher with readings, performances and sound installations featuring at Segue, New York, dOCUMENTA 13, Whitechapel Gallery, and the Serpentine Galleries. She teaches courses on Oulipo and Poetic Practice at the University of Essex. Her collection Go to Reception and Ask for Sara in Red Felt Tip is coming out with Book Words in April 2015.

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