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Three Poems

#DROWNINGNOTDROWNING

 

to find me, plausible and aspiring in a relevant dress and full of promise. oh internet,
oh tumblr, at twenty your sunniest meme is a church i enter, mouth full of feigning: i
will be well
. to find me so, industrious and suffering. sweet bean or sesame, darkest
soy, an oyster sauce i squeeze from me. my pores are little sepulchres: my face is
thick with foreign bodies. my face is foreign bodies. you don’t know. except you do.
i do not know about anything, weary and sleek at three a.m. what is it to be so heavy
with lustre that you can’t even? in my vault of suspect valentines, a boy whose kiss
is an absolute brat and it wants what it wants. he said i had become intense. he lead
me not into temptation. in the night, when the body is its realest zoo, couldn’t we all
use a few of those flavourless mercies? and by mercy, a kind of white-people tea. you
drink it off hot and without sugar. me, when the heart turns watertight. me, at half
the speed of me.>> <<to find you, i won’t. days of lulling wound, i know, when
hands cannot comply. youth is being in the world and the serpent under it: better
to have not been born is the penitent subtext of all our comic fonts. oh internet, oh,
blog of blogs. atypical silk of self cut, and a softer filter over us. a squealing dream
at night. i’m unzipping a damsel. i’m climbing in through her face to say yes. and i
thought if i could lay my shadow in a stranger’s lap, could stretch myself the length
of my light reading, i would be sane. i would drain the blank page like solemn milk.
i fail. by theft, by thrift, by pills, by mania’s several devices. to find you. if anyone
could. if i could reach back through the rabbit for the hat. paranoid, and nobody
wants to fuck that thought. nobody wants to deal. what does it mean to go
under? to become: sclerite, the spiny element in me. kelps and corals, colonial
forms, good sea-stalwarts all. down through fleabane, limonium, and sweetest
vulgare. a red finger gropes for light: gorgonian, ghostwhip, plumrose. enemy.
anemone. down. through thresholds of fatality. where flesh is a territorial
fauna. the sea has mouths enough.<<>> to find us, and you might, in whatever
preening days remain to you. not immersed, submerged, of our own crocodile
doing. and when it is time to peel this weakness from us. when we are all body,
gorged with form. then you’ll see. oh dear one, oh internet girl on the internet
who never made it. i would give you my growing if i could and none of its pains.
the mind is not our fault, at fault. the wreck and the reef. the wreck and the treasure.

 

 

HYENA! IN ANOTHER JANUARY

 

low is a mood and a sound

the mood makes. our days

are a kind of cow-slow

inseminated sloth, and all

those moon maidens who

write about the moon. did

i not tell you i was ill?

drawl the hopelessly dead

like the bourgeois losers

that they are. hyena’s

moon will not shine, is

a kind of stitch this! is
a kind of what used to be

called a gorbals kiss. say
that out loud, like a pound

of mint imperials, as quaint

as breaking glass.>> was

there something specific

you wanted? as in: ever?
do the likes of you
desire? beyond, i mean,
a bland appeal to nervous

muscle. our little days
of doomed recuperation,

luciferian pursuits. moon

like a soaped mouth: oh,

i’ve gagged more than i’ve

spit, she says. no more.

hyena is both sacred
and taboo. her mien
of waxing ransack. has

redly circled every

crummy calendar
mischief.
across the carpark,
loping. where dealers
go to percolate
apothecary mottos
into bingo calls: doctors’

orders, unlucky for some,

thumb screws and crutches,

alive, alive-o. every day is

halloween, caught in her

cauterizing stare. solemn

coward, star of her own

cold loathing.<< but

seriously. here is a gull,

wings spread to a storm’s

foretelling. all you can

prescribe is a kind

of legal coma, or a kind
of legal curse. streets

contain hyena’s vatic

dread but barely. auricular.

oracular repose. hyena

conceives through the ear,

immaculate with caffeine.

her children born all

still. moon maidens, listen,

i’m on to you. belligerent

flirts of occasion, sonorous

and circumstantial. you

were dumbing

the candles down to

a flicker, an inward

electric lie. i saw your

long eyelashes. aloof,

assuaged with saying

a slow blink. bovine

and fake and low.

is for scarcity, for
being scared. the moon,

with its stethoscope’s

testimony. an abscess,

and ulcer, a blister on

the lip. hyena’s moon

multiplies dissections

in the cutting room.

short of the waste
of her substance, use

her. we know you will.

 

 

I AM TOLD

 

that dry land is not a myth. i am told there are women

who come with the neatness of an undertaker’s sneeze.
i am told about myself. by poets, mainly. in the freeze-

dried stickling of their lauded forms. days of equivocal

spleen, dear god. today i am sick, itching, slick with my

obsessions. i have learnt eruption from the gulls. a way

to make my whiteness mob. my body sings its curvature

of dirt. is pasty and assailable. i am told to speak up, to

voice all the unsaid sinews of this hurt, the heart one

cartoon bicep flexing. one big rubber muscle. i am told

we can live on thirty pounds a week, what to do if my

symptoms persist, of my imploded promise first. alms

for the poor, and how i let him down. a girl is dicking

around, mudlark at the limits of the criminal. i hate

the cocaine cosiness of her to death. smugly wayward.

one day, diva, you’ll be barefoot backstage, fixing your

own hair. you’ll be mariah carey advertising fucking

crisps. hyena will not wait for the law to have mercy,

nor to be adored. i am told an animal cannot suffer.

hyena is the suffering tongue, stuck out. her dead

name. her deadly name, i mean. love, conditioned

and conditional. the pigs in their dalek glide behind

farmfoods, steady rain, and kfc, with its ugly

confederate albinism. the stink from extractors, all

day long. lips meeting with a voluptuary blush. i am

told about love in its low-hanging dopamine: tedious.

hyena, annulling a nervous blush by opening

a vein, by picturing the key, confirming the prison.

which is literal and everywhere, by the way. her

desire is a double negative. bare with promise. i am

told how brave, in spirals of grimacing ecstasy,

a guardian interview leaking our feels. oh please,

enough. i am going spare. i mean. is a poem ever

more than a high-pitched whine about legal violence?

ticking of the endometronome is a skew-eyed pain

out of sequence. fuck. i am told it gets better. i am

told to take up yoga. i am told to live what

i love.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is the author of numerous chapbooks and eleven poetry collections, most recently White/ Other (87 Press, 2022), which was a  Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Fran is the out-going Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow at Cambridge University (2022-23), researching feral subjectivity through the lens of the medieval Bestiary. A collection of essays relating to dirty animality, queer failure, and trash-feminist practice, Vulgar Errors/ Feral Subjects, will be published by Out-Spoken Press later this year. A collection of poems inspired by the Cambridge University Library and Parker Library bestiaries, The Dire Hyena's Knot, will be published by the 87 Press in 2024. Fran's other work includes the chapbook Forever Alive (Dare-Gale Press, 2022), and the critically acclaimed collection Hyena! Jackal! Dog! (Pamenar Press, 2021). A further collection with Pamenar, 'a disgusting lie' (further adventures through the neoliberal hell mouth) is due later this year. Fran is an Associate Editor at Culture Matters, where she most recently edited the mammoth anthology The Cry of the Poor (2021). She is a member of the new Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, and she edits the Soul Food column for Communist Review. She is the co-host of the cross-cultural poetry podcast Social Yet Distanced, and she is currently working on a poetic riff on the Unabomber Manifesto, worryingly entitled Industrial Society and its Future (The Musical).

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