Critical Bastards | disjointed star

My audio piece disjointed star is included in issue 13 of Critical Bastards. Contributors were asked to respond to the concept of WORK, issues of creativity in everyday living and the usefulness of art, which were raised by 'A Fair Land', a public project in August 2016 in the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Contributors: James Merrigan, Fiona Gannon, Renee Helena Browne, Rebecca Dunne & Eoghan McIntrye, Christodoulos Makris, Jonathan Mayhew, Michelle Hall, and Sue Rainsford.

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Phonica:One | January 20th 2016

Phonica is a new Dublin-based poetry and music venture with an emphasis on multiformity and the experimental. Conceived, curated and hosted by Christodoulos Makris and Olesya Zdorovetska, it aims to provide an outlet for the exploration and presentation of new ideas, a space where practitioners from different artforms can converse, and an environment conducive to collaborative enterprise and improvisation. It was a pleasure to read at the first iteration of Phonica, especially alongside such diverse and engaging performances. I read from my novella The Terrible Dark, a project I started making notes toward three or four years ago. It's the story of a set of twins, Ana and Adm, who believe themselves  entrusted with overseeing the end of the world. Part of the reading consisted of a very linear scene: we see Adm feel sexual longing toward his sister, a sensation that prompts a kind of emotive break.This break was represented by a section of 'unrefined' prose, essentially an earlier version of the novel that is part poem, part erasure - the way I would keep my  fiction writing if I wasn't obliged to cushion it with syntax, grammar etc. During the reading I dipped the pages in water, as well as the notebooks I've been keeping around characters, plot etc. This was an attempt to keep the content fluid, as all this work is still in revision. Also reading and preforming on the night were Christodoulos Makris, Olesya Zdorovetska, Maurice Scully, Linda Buckley and Nick Roth.  

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Two poems on Leopold & Loeb

In Chicago, in 1924, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb murdered fourteen year old Bobby Franks. Many aspects of the case were deemed fantastical: the murderers were still teenagers themselves, they were from wealthy families, highly intelligent and romantically entwined. Such was the notoriety at the time that Sigmund Freud himself was asked to travel to Chicago and examine the young men, though his health prevented him from doing so. The prosecution argued Leopold and Loeb were moved by what might be termed today as bourgeois melancholy or capitalist discord. Attention was drawn to Leopold's studies of Nietzsche and the philosopher's criticism of moral codes, namely that legal obligations did not apply to those who approached "the superman." They believed themselves entitled to end life of one lacking intellectual prowess, and that they were capable of carrying out a flawless crime. In a staggering coalesce of science, philosophy, poetry and prose, defense attorney Clarence Darrow made a twelve-hour long plea that his clients not be punished with the death penalty: I would not tell this court that I do not hope that some time, when life and age have changed  their bodies, as they do, and have changed their emotions, as they do ­­that they may once  more return to life. I would be the last person on earth to close the door of hope to any human being that lives, and least of all to my clients. But what have they to look forward to?  Nothing. In all the endless road you tread there's nothing but the night. They were not hung, but were sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1936, Loeb was slashed and killed with a razor in a showroom fight with another inmate. Leopold was released after 34 years in prison, and died in Puerto-Rico in 1971 following ten days of hospitalization. His corneas were harvested: one was given to a man and the other to a woman. Elements of this story can be seen in Donna Tartt's The Secret History and Alfred Hitchcock's Rope, each of which make evident the especial cruelty of taking a life for the sake of a crime expertly executed. The poems below follow two wavering threads: Leopold, an astute ornithologist, had already achieved recognition as the nation's leading authority on The Kirtland Warbler, an endangered songbird. The term ... Read more »

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a poem about writing

A few pages pressed together -- unsequenced -- unbound   my kin my coffee cup my breath partial-grown   In my belly I keep a drawer and I feel them rustle, come unsheathed.  

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Slenderness

You have been to me a word that matches its sound; like slenderness. You have filled up my mouth with hiss and whistle, You who are of Old School svelte. I need machinery and man power and fuel to touch those parts of me you stimulate with your long long S’s, that are damp and odorous like the air found under a bridge, like snakes of Ozone. You are warm but always damp with S and S and S and the Sound you make I cannot fit in my mouth, Though I make of my throat an arc and of my torso one long, expansive tent.

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Your White T-Shirt

Your white t-shirt a discovery, in making the bed. Its coolness comes up almost damp and it has a flat hang in my hands, its smell the tang of your sleep, a smell made next to me in flipping limps and making stains.   The bedroom has been shaded since noon, when the sun off the patio peels to bake instead the rough grass, and your t-shirt has lain here sleeping without us, in its series of crinkle-and-fold.

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Lemongrass

Between shirt and neck - where your shirt takes a breath, there is a smell of things grown far away. I pity you this absence of heat, so that your long-time glow comes undone. I pity you this wide berth of buildings smeared with clouds as they set to tiering. How sodden are our days to you?   Here, with the wind coming in. And the all-over chill that follows, a quiet hum like a breath caught and looped, looped, looped to continuity.   There must be no magic for you here at all.  

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Avalanche Tumble

For Tom Mannion A body like a field that doesn’t stir, in any degree, by means of wind or being peopled. To be someday eligible of dancing I would set to colt-like shaking all my memories, in their tiers so well conceived, Like avalanches that decide to in procession tumble And grant me an encore, perpetual.

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