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R.L Raymond

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E.L. Kriford

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Barcelona
 

is marble-top wedding cakes,
smooth and complete antique
physique like the hairless
summer legs strutting up the moon
or the shaved palm trees,
(peaks cut into pineapples,
and the mosque-head fire hydrants
and the almond-smell cigarettes and the bronze
skin; every street is a palace
guarded be legions of angels
curving into gargoyle-strength
and lion-beings holding up
cupcake fountains and imperial pillars
striking the sky and its infinite riches,
its infinite sun up there with the fluttering

cockatoos and biscuit-feathered wood pigeons
in the cloudless sky, round the full trees;
this must be the Catholic quarter of Heaven,
marzipan bricks shining
like a beautiful land-cruise
docked at the sparkling Mediterranean.

 

Peeling the Banana
 

after Seamus Heaney’s “Blackberry Picking”
 

It grew in a far-forgotten
island, jungle-green
and all its infinite growth.
A crescent moon,
cradle of the tropics,
jolly paint-smear smile,
Lampião’s gun
(he was a Brazilian bandit
who shot so fast
his pistol became a lantern
in the night
against the scary enemies),
the contours of the speeding lights
at night
while half-asleep
on the car journey home
from Grandma’s. Then,
the outside turned
yellow, new-found gold,
and with a gentle shaking hand I

crack
open the shell of light.
The inside flaps out like
a spaceship’s tripod,
or decaying leaves.
The new centre of the flower,
the weeping and drooping stamen.
Bite turns to chomp.
The end is now knobbed with seeds
but flat like the desert.
Not a mountain peak.
Not a minaret dome. 
It’s gone in thirty seconds,
the skin turning brown. 

Sebastian Groose

Edinburgh to Dublin, First of September MMXVIII
 

I: Anxiety-machines
 

The gate closed on me.
I was in the anxiety-machine,
one within the other greater
one, capitalist or public,

 

belt to knuckle off tray with laptop
rolled along cylinders conveying
the breadth of human movement,

the hum and breath and indescribable orbit

 

of skin to bone to muscle, a belt of it
every second, the cross of impossible gaps
for the big little things of love and human
response or exploration, hills of tourism.

 

How strange to live in a golden age and know it,
desperately seizing the moment like a digesting

Midas; to love your friends while constantly
leaving them and country, bodies gone for months.

 

II: Portrait of K
 

Young Fathers were in the queue.
K spoke to me when the queue went awkward,
intercom announcing all to come forward
for different vessels, probably older. It’s very ambiguous  
said the board-pass-man. They made fun of that.
Friend of M’s, though not to be mentioned –

 

fell comfortably to a sort of silence, deliberate nonchalance
to be recognised, but not as super-fan;
to be distant from my thoughts. I wonder if K
remembered my erratic seizure-spasm
excuse for a dance at their concert at the Yard

in support for LCD Soundsystem,

 

small when several rows up to the noon’s
stage. I was fatigued from the train
that morning from London – All Points East
– bumped into D, this by Father John Misty’s
orchestral sneer, hours earlier. He was stumbling, stoned, beerish,
alone. We traded relevant gigs, bands we’d seen, how I’d travelled,

 

then I exited and stood under a colossal Samsung screen
(think a temple) waiting for two friends lost in the field and crowd.
D kept wandering; I wondered why I didn’t attempt
the natural. We nearly made eye contact but I looked at my phone
so he was the looker. He disappeared in the crush of people, movement
between stages, the rotating multi-event of music. Liminal whateverywheres.


And now to catch my plane, fatigued from a month’s festival work.
Imagine me, S and M colliding, asteroid-like,

together on similar coincidences. Re-Analogue,
them. Six stars. Hard to chop the top half, your versus,
if wanted. Any of them would prickle if they heard this,
a feeling to bite back to submission – does K remember

 

me slipping past, trying to ignore the cultural projection of his soul
rather than the real thing, me stammering Excuse me in the Poetry Club
and his I’m busy, snapping back? It’s funny,

those parasocial fixations, namedropping to an art
when you’re a nothing hellbent
on poking the universal fabric.

III: The Snowblinder, Fifteenth of December MMXVII
 

There was also the time K performed spoken-word.
Brief piece on love and touch. Two women sat at his sides after,
this in the upper rafters, shadowed by his anti-audience.
M and H gave thumbs-up from below. This was when I was a stranger –
we had performed together but only in temporary bursts,
the residue of grit and scum at the bottom of adolescence’s near-drunk cup
stuck in the teeth of an anxious mind, 

 

so I cried in the corner behind the toilet door,
a place where the corridor veered to nowhere. This happened silently on my part
(no poet was worried, don’t worry). Why? I’d come alone
to a hall’s worth of the veteran artistic, expecting something predicted,
so unfounded. And while K found (or made, desperately scavenged,

maybe; I don’t know the mechanics of whatever veers to this flank

of decadence) the kindling of a threesome

 

I dried tears, danced through the heaving until I could ask M questions with the pretence of artistic business.
 

Coda
 

So aye, K spoke to me
in a cloud of confused people, near-year after.
They call the queue proper.

 

K gestures for me to go in front. I
stumble and end up horizontal
to the required position.

 

My documents get checked.
We go down stairs. I could pick
tenuous topics out of the fabric of my limited art-world

 

to start conversation, though don’t risk the averse glare
that comes with fame, however focused, compacted to a crystal lens
that makes the world twelvefold, maybe more.

 

We wait for the plane to prepare.
Propellers fan from their missile centres
like a dark flower. It screams to movement –

 

I see the country of home rise to a map,
its field of metal ants. Time to pulverise the past. We’ll meet again,
K and M and D and such letters, creative circles upon circles looped

 

like the Venn diagram of a fishbowl,
but only once my past self’s dead
forever, lies the other way, conveyed.