Tag Archives: HappenStance Poetry Pamphlets

Kirsten Irving’s What To Do

  
 
 
Kirsten Irving is one half of the team behind hand-made magazine Fuselit and collaborative poetry press Sidekick Books. Her first full collection, Never Never Never Come Back, is due to be released by Salt in 2012.
 
 
 
 

   
 
 
This pamphlet is full of characters in trouble. The energy that drives the poems won’t settle for resolution, only the sense that however bizarre the action or injury, it has you by the throat and isn’t letting go. This is, as they say, something else.
 
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
 
Nancy Archer steps out
 
Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.
          Aristotle
 
 
Dreading my period. It’ll be more of a plague
than ever. But more than this
I dread putting my bubblecar eye
to the window of the club where I know you sit
 
in love, or joined by something stickier than the floor.
Honey and honey, I want my shot
but if I take my thumb and dash your heads
into the Bacharach-piping jukebox
or stake you with a huge incisor
and write liars in your combined juices,
it will be a half-cough of revenge, the kind
that doesn’t quite clear the throat.
 
That’s not to say I won’t.
The moon’s a thumbnail. Guess
I’ll sit on the bar stool of the cooling tower
until I work out
what to do with myself.
 
 
 
 
Note
 
‘Nancy Archer steps out’: Nancy Archer, for sci-fi film abstainers, is the cuckolded eponymous heroine of Attack of the 50 ft Woman. She uses her new size and power to seek revenge against her philandering husband and his mistress, Honey Parker.
 
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
 
Meanwhile, down in the town, the good people
drink on

 
The gypsy on the hill is jabbering jelly again,
turfing slugs of words from his mouth, none of them
real words. You’d think that, working here, he’d try to learn.
 
Their ale is moreish, edged with honey and cardamom.
Never mind that me and my stone and my greying sling
are up here losing to a storey-high golem,
 
to Monday’s metal dinosaur, his chrome tongue
a poison whip, his tail a razor rattle,
to the mid-week spectre of my dead darling
 
who sucks at my neck, lisping for the blowhole
of my life force, whose own force
is close to crushing this little foreign skull.
 
The townsmen swig, while tengu swarm the rough grass,
while hags, their faces thick with poisoned hair
come snapping, scuttling like gigantic roaches
 
towards the beard of sheep, sheep unaware
that an army that could help them helps itself,
while their skinny page flings pebbles at the air.
 
Folk toss tales round the inn, each mouth a gulf
that takes in booze and mocks the foreign kook,
and me, I only know their word for wolf
 
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
 
Laura
 
Tell her, as you scramble from the lorry,
as she tries to slam the door, that you may be a liar
but you need her—her—to rule
your body, that you didn’t just roll
from a musty pit and oral
straight here. You’re short on allure,
so stomp around the garden like Lear.
Clown for her, rail
against the idiot you were, the lore
of your mistakes, the Erroll
double you left in his lair,
feral, tight, chest like a rough-strung lyre.
With your last reserves, tell her this: Your areolae
soft, hairless, your wet moss. I really think, Laura,
that you can save me. This, all this: it’s not real.
 
 
 
 
from What To Do (HappenStance, 2011).
 
Order What To Do.
 
Visit Sidekick Books.
 
Visit Fuselit.

Jon Stone: Six Poems

  
 
Jon Stone was born in Derby and currently lives in Whitechapel, London. He’s the co-creator of Sidekick Books, a publisher of collaborative poetry collections, as well as underground arts journal Fuselit. He was highly commended in the National Poetry Competition 2009 in the same month his debut pamphlet, Scarecrows, was published by Happenstance, and has just finished exhibiting poems alongside the work of artists and architects at The Gopher Hole in Shoreditch. A full collection, School of Forgery, is due from Salt in early 2012.
 
 
 
Christina Lindberg: A Collage
 
from the trailers for The Depraved, Maid in Sweden
and They Call Her One Eye
 
 
When waiting and wanting aren’t enough,
you’ll see scenes of a girl – young, frightening,
growing up. Previously only whispered about.
 
She’s not a little girl anymore. She has
new interests, her own terrible kind of body.
You’ve seen her in 23 nightmares,
 
alone on a motion picture screen, everything
there is to know about love. Her nudity
is a weekend you are urged not to attend.
 
Her speech is unpromotable, a film
of feeling and sexual activity. If you are
embarrassed, put on a new awareness.
 
Forget revenge and the hard, naked truth.
She has so much to give: mercy, cruelty,
beauty that would make a shambles of you.
 
In the clutches of her, disaster is experience,
Stockholm a penthouse, the 1970s innocent.
There has never been another coming.
 
When waiting and wanting aren’t enough,
you’ll see what was left of every blow,
every cut. Shameful, you’ll see all of her.
 
 
from Scarecrows (HappenStance, 2010).
 
 
 
Kuebiko
 
I’ve come up his hill’s knobbled back.
Wise Kuebiko sees everything from here:
the red kites over the fringes of motorway,
the red kites over the soft skulls of foxgloves,
the teaspoons over the soft skulls of breakfast eggs
the yolky mouths over the remains of breakfast eggs.
 
Kate and I have come up his hill’s clammy back.
Old, wise Kuebiko hears everything from here:
the rill and trill of skylarks at Grimes Graves,
the long, sure breath of flint mines at Grimes Graves,
the long, sure, breath of the coffee machine at regular intervals
the unwrapping of plastic packaging at regular intervals.
 
Kate and K and I have come up his hill’s saurus back.
Bent, old, wise Kuebiko puts up with everything here:
the plague of Cinnabar caterpillars on the burdock,
the plague of joyless coupling in the bedrooms,
the grind of screw-tops opening in the bedrooms,
the grind of steady sunlight in his straw hair.
 
 
from Scarecrows (HappenStance, 2010).
 
 
 
1910
 
Egon is “wolf-handsome”, “young”, “a talent”.
Everything he’s done tonight was bought
with borrowed crowns – Burgtheatre, billiards, restaurant.
He’s broke now but surviving on a current
of affluence. He is no sansculotte;
his manner is too grim, his clothes too decent.
 
Those skinny things he lures in from the street
fixate upon the steep expanse of brow
and beneath it, all his features in a knot,
while his hand, on its lunge, reels wildly about.
He seems designed to intimately thaw,
then braise like so much meat the homeless heart.
 
Who, then, is this contortionist who’s packed
his shoulders in, drawn up his hips’ ridge and climbed
into the canvas, this shock of half-stick-insect?
Whose body is this, remote and derelict?
Who is this wastrel, hook-spined, puppet-limbed,
this goblin who ogles a girl’s near naked act?
 
Could be they were him but he, hating them,
cut everywhere their bodies joined to his
and banged them up in his sanitorium,
these sheets being windows into each white room,
and each day does his rounds, surveys each face
to make sure all that’s left in him is him.
 
Could be all he sees each morning, shaving,
is Egon – up-and-comer, friend of Klimt –
and, traumatised by, ultimately, nothing
perfects the mirrors that will hang like dinner gongs,
ringing with the proofs of inner torment,
and lets them enter him, scantling by scantling.
 
 
from Scarecrows (HappenStance, 2010).
  
 
 
Dōjinshiworld
 
“Interestingly, while males are the main consumers of commercial manga, females – particularly ones in their mid-20s – dominate the market for dōjinshi … ‘When the characters are a man and a woman, the whole thing becomes too much like reality,’ explains 28-year-old dōjinshi fan Kazue Kobayashi. ”
          Eric Prideaux, writing in The Japan Times
 
 
We came to. Nanao had slipped off her waspish disregard,
letting Shunsui scoop her up and tell her: “Nanao …”
Off came her glasses. Down came the rude disguise
of her hairpins, his hairpins, her hakama, and how.
 
We came to. Soi Fon, prostrate before Madam Yoruichi,
was tensed for the smack she’d been earning, slump
by slump. Madam let the promise hang like a cherry
then lit the nervous bulb of her protégé’s rump.
 
We came to. Love had broken out in the Seireiti,
sloshed into the parched alleys as if from an overturned
vat or cauldron, a broth once-stirred here to stir
the phalanxed hearts until each was hopelessly churned.
 
What had always bubbled now shook the saucepan lid
but more than that, what was never ever on the cards
came following fast. Everything male and supple snared
in everything supple and male – shinigami, arrancar, vizards,
 
captains and lieutenants – as naturally as Rangiku
finally spilling from her top or Kurotsuchi hauling
his daughter by her braid, a mass baptism or curing
in salt sweat that our mirror-world would find appalling.
 
We came to in a sprawl of books and pamphlets
that had poured on us as if they were one hotly flung,
intricately patterned haori. There in that flotsam,
we at last knew what to do with the other’s tongue.
 
 
 
Beach Swifts
 
know of nothing beyond the deep blonde flannel
stretched out and somewhat play-rumpled,
one edge sodden, one smudged with growth –
 
only the tunnels and tracks in Abergele’s
hot salty lip, or Rhyl’s, or Westward Ho’s,
the polished or pickled head-size stones
 
heaped, sometimes scattered, the beach
hoisting its seaweed skirt about itself
as waves scrum, bundle and dogpile, until,
 
spurred by some inkling, they loop
or scoop or jink degrees too far,
face down new winkle and limpet beds
 
oddly cluttered with chimney pots,
while their brothers and sisters steer
into a blue map that never stops unfolding.
 
 
 
Cloud Swifts
 
know of nothing beyond the Iguazu Falls,
whose 88 metres of halberdhead are planted
in a gorge called the Devil’s Throat –
 
only the cliff-face whose vertebrae
are bright with mist where they hook to it,
their scraped together saucer-nests,
 
the bubbling green grasses like hairs
in the oxter of a colossus, the whole high cove
where they’re safely sealed in until,
 
obeying some principle, they fall, coming
to equal the water’s velocity, to turn it
from sheer wall to stitchwork of scissors.
 
Then, with a pulse of will, each might
pass through, into the white, white cloud
breathed from a deepening wound.
 
 
 
Order Scarecrows (HappenStance, 2010).
 
Read more about Jon here and here