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Sunday 9 November 2014



Tuesday 15 July 2014

The Introduction by Christine Murray to 'the king is dead' - Reuben Wooley (Oneiros Books)

songs of the redwet bones / the king is dead by Reuben Woolley

mountain poem

that idea here
safe. hold
on to it . your life
on the next word

the king is dead is a Promethean gamble that pays off for Reuben Woolley, a book that seems to be absurdly minimalist in its expression manages to body-cage and reduce universal themes to striking symbols that set into balance the agonies of existence along with a patient longing for death. Death is a transformative process that has some inherent physical repellence. Its leavings are everywhere, and can destabilise one for moments, or for eternities,


death came early this morning
I know . I saw her
she came strafing
quiet houses . slashing
infants with shrapnel
gutting the sick with bayonets . she said
I am only here
invited . I limit damage
remove pain . I am
the final cure

The body lets us down all the time. It is the site of the vagaries of coming age that Yeats may have hinted at, although he hardly put the cartilage and the blood-bag into a poem. He put a tattered coat upon a stick and allowed us to derive what symbolic meaning we could from it.

Woolley alludes to medical processes and to bodily experience and perception at the elemental level of being. Necessity advises the theme and subtext of this book. the king is dead is imbued with physicality,

I collect
the redwet bones
of recent unbuilding.

from prey

Here, an Egyptian longing to fuck everything and transform here and now into a sacred and simple animal that does not have all these complex nerve-endings and crosswires. I think of Hughes’ dung beetle symbol,

These bone-crushing mouths the mouths
That labour for the beetle
Who will roll her back into the sun.

From The Dogs Are Eating Your Mother, Ted Hughes (Birthday Letters, 1998)

Transformation from the plane of physicality is explored at an elemental level in the king is dead,

we eat
the hearts
of kings we kill . a
curious transformation . are
alchemical gold
black veils
become us well.

The eponymously titled series at the heart of the book explores the rage of human wastage and the necessity of physical and psychical transformation. There is a psychic economy to how mythos and ceremony are presented by Woolley,

& then
the final procession through all these changes
fast & lethal . a song for dawn
when the singer was elsewhere
wasting his stinking mouth
& from his back
the ritual firebird
in the sunshine crack

from the king is dead (iii)

Woolley discusses his approach to necessity and economy in the beautiful mountain poem, there is little left for the poet but the words that form images of phantasmagoric death queues and unearthly processions.

These are of little consequence when the stumbling bird, the carcass, the news-media act as revelators of the mystery. One need not look far because your death walks beside you at all times, best become his familiar, after all there is no eluding him/it  in the final moments of a life,


my deaths sleep with me
I shall not forge · I
do not step lightly
through bones · I name
all the faces
they are my necessary
ghosts · they fall
like fruit sweet
plenty · putrid
beds of richness · I am not
guilty · I just
survive · just
breathe and sleep

This is an excellent debut from a writer that I have become familiar with on social media. I have read some of his poetry and collaborative work on different media strands. It's excellent news that Reuben Woolley now has a first collection. Expect more and interesting work from him over the coming years.

A Preview of Reuben Woolley's 'the king is dead' (Oneiros Books)

king front cover

mountain poem

writing on the edge . an awe
full balancing , each word
tight . no room
for whims . no fears
of falling . finding footholds
hang by fingers . no
crampons , no ropes
alone , you & the wind . put
that idea here
safe . hold
on to it . your life
on the next word

unholy silence

living here 
is no pleasure . the death
of things , the stillness
they do not cry . they stare
with blooded eyes , unseeing
black hills run down
to blacker water unheard , ears 
pierced . the death 
of dreams

they are dry trees , stand
for no flame . no
red licks of bones

we lock these things away 
they will not return with stories
we cannot but hear . blindfold
they will not see
our secrets , our fumbling
games of wet flesh . hoping
for immortality , for
memory . our overwhelming


birds fly
over blooded land . it is
no matter . we
did not name
this place
singing hymns before
the sun . does not
rise . the shadow
makers came
before . stripped flesh
from all the living
stories , sucking 
details from bones . eyes
are choice
for rats & crows
            the nothing
that was done
casts long shade
& fear spreads cells
unseen . we do not
move . we are absorbed
in dark streets . we feed 
the screams of all
the silent children . red
meat hanging to dry . we
lost this game . there is
no replay , no last appeal


I grow arms
& legs . a face
will appear & I
shall learn speech

if bleeding is needed
I'll open
the veins , bead
this orchard red
it will grow bones

is my graveyard . 'm
behind these stones
with new lips . I grow
skin for these rites , coming
in profusion , renewing
dead earth

the king is dead (ii)

hero , you have sold your golden armour
for a night’s lodging · priest,
a lady has taken your robe for a pillow                         
the ventriloquist’s dummy
has stolen his words

& all our eyes
have been pierced
by the same silken thread

we will make
the same mistake again , all of us
when the time
comes again

those of you
who chew your food slowly
against the coming of the rats            
the king did not go short of food

the flowering tree
has been corrupted              
& the other parts of the body
fell off
long ago

'the king is dead' is available from Oneiros Books, here

Jonathan Butcher

 The Crawl

 Entwined with those cold winds, edging our way
 home; stoned, and wrapped up against the world that
 has yet to inflict its climatic evils upon us. We held
 our collected breaths, our lungs heavy under the onslaught.


 You, stood on the corroding brick wall, that surrounded the
 sky-rise flats, the lights of which stared down upon us like
 a thousand disapproving eyes. Each one however, seemed
 as blind as the last, raising their eyebrows at our

 every move.

 We left those squalid rooms of peeling tiles that curled
 at the corners like sun blistered, peeling skin. The walls
 as blank as they were damp, yet as inviting as the
 abandoned super-market, that our idle hands could never
 leave alone.


 At the bus stop we leave tags and crumpled Rizlas, the
 shelter at this time offering cover from the passing blue
 lights and neighbourhood watch. Our sly laughter offering
 a welcome distraction from any mis-interpretation, our
 hands never bound.


 As the breeze settled, through the transparent screens,
 that were shattered into tiny fragments like mud stained ice,
 we once again halted the orchestration of this shambolic
 parade, and again remain the drunken conductors of
 a soulless chaos.


 Hold Back

 The cut glass slices through the sole of my foot,
 through this dawn that carries its own stench, like an
 abandoned, un-manned sewer that drips its condensation
 down stained, broken windows.

 My back slightly bent from the powder's onslaught, that

 leaves its scars, each one a fond momentum and which are often
 often displayed to retell stories; a convenient replacement for
 unnecessary words.


 Another blind stare of anxiety; to hold onto those scattered
 thoughts becomes far too laborious; they fall like dice into
 gutters that reek of rotting carcasses, floating like pools
 of oil down cracked urinals.


 A painted solace, that offers the same repetition year in-
 year out. I hear the flesh stretch itself forward, no time here
 for false names, and again, I once more reiterate- I'm sorry,
 it's nothing really personal.



 Now even this chair has become stagnant. Myself,
 its ever compliant mould, I grace it with my presence
 each morning. My fatigue never extenuated enough
 to the point of collapse.

 The jagged keys remain as filthy as yesterday, their
 fading letters like a fisherman's rope, encrusted with dead
 skin and blood stained dust, that still seems to creep its
 way into my resisting lungs.

 That concentrated breath, that is focused upon each
 morning in this empty space. The bustle of voices and
 screaming lights delays my sensors like radio static,
 a situation you would avoid, like conversations
 with coppers or landlords.

 Over the clashing chatter my brain scrambles, a different
 picture each time, the limited light straining the vision.
 Each face here remains void, watching the clocks slowly
 climb that greased mountain, never reaching its summit.

Friday 11 July 2014

Candi V. Auchterlonie

chance : she dreams : events homeless : time’s thoughtful appraisal : bramble weeds fisting : cycling: dormancy  maddening fours : bestiality : no, but it is only mankind with mankind : a great divide, the evolution itself : a different sort has become the largest sort : antlered hands : reaching for it all : et al : so many languages to say one thing: something we cannot say : mossed : worried world : dandelions breaking concrete down : crows feet : murderous clouds : a peaceful way : I read about trees growing ears : a dollop of grey : rust in her metal teeth : she catches radio songs : swallows them down : dolls partitioned into pieces and scattered throughout the reclaimed woods : houses are woods : houses are woods : there’s a forest in your room : there are foxes hiding in her hot hair : there are beasts waiting patiently as a storm at sterling crescent dusks : how to make it into nothing : this dull quiet too bright : the walls were eggshell finish : waiting for cracks to emerge : for renovation : reinvention of colour wheels : for the world to let in : for sizzle : for forks and knives : for taking back the day : for the wild oak to ride out the ultimate brackish wave : the six news : wild repetition of the same headline : names like tasteless fuzz on the tongue : cosmic freckles : this madness is a looking glass : is green sea glass : is madness alone : and pockets inside of pockets : and doors behind doors : and windows within windows : and hallways that turn into rooms : and rooms into other hallways : and bare flesh without lines : after all : there are are still children : we know : we know : we can’t lead them without weapons : without trials : without tribulation : without tribes of separates : without degrees of differences : without currency exchange : and social security this and security for that : we cannot lead with less : a man made motto : heard about a boy in the middle east burned alive: taken across this figurative and literal border to that : we cannot get it back : no : and that’s simply that :


directions : intersect : lost and found : paper pulled from hand : so many ideas into that : we could run : run with that : there was always some puzzling piece gone : there is always that kind of frustration : of others : of else : of sense and wonder : don’t mention it : a strip of camera film : a sepia negative that captured his galaxy eye : that is it : snaps : trappings : butterflies : dragonflies : moths : all in nets : pinned to cork : boxed behind a glass display : a hundred days : could turn page to a hundred years : just as well : you pinned the wings : you tried your hand at capturing some essence : iridescent dust on your thumb grounds that dead : no ghost : what makes something what it is : and not what it isn’t : I want flight : I search the airport at night : for a free ride : a way out of all that I’ve built up : a blue seam to pull : that would burst into blue cornflower : a hill that can truly scream : wake the cemetery of its slumber : and dance these bones : I imagine : prague : egypt : colours and textures and scent and light I’ve never experienced : I imagine some great chase : some losing it : and some secret memories : that I’d carry round my fingers as stones : to remind me where I’ve flown : though : poor artists stay home : home can be ancestry : I was new zealand : I came off a boat from europe : our children died with sick lungs : one of our young men jumped in front of a train with intent : no blood carried beyond that man : no essence pinned over cork : but a single archive about a tragedy : or was it bravery : I say brave : to admit your death : when the world says you’re well:

Thursday 10 July 2014

A Review by David McLean of Abattoir Whispers (Oneiros Books)

Abattoir Whispers
Michael Mc Aloran
Oneiros Books
review by David McLean

This is one of Mc Aloran's best books of prose poetry. The text, as often is the case, providing almost metatextual commentary on the thought, fragmentary since it is operating without the standard illusory surface effects of the allegedly “internal” psychic language that create the aura of normalcy that surrounds the drooling about seagulls trees and suffering that passes for poetry with the beastly poetic das Mann.

Temporality is often responsible for the internal commentary, perhaps Mc Aloran's superego (good luck to him).

I inhale the birthed treachery of the air, I inhaled it, as if coming up for breath from having been drowned, skull-death of obituary, dragging it kicking and screaming from the beginning…no I do not wish to leave, yet I do not want to stay, either, something has shaken the fruits from the razor tree, they sparkle upon rent soil in the moonlight,

Origins are important in poetry, as in philosophy. One wonders what the passing by of the last god, in Heidegger's Contributions to Philosophy, would look like, would feel like. Would it be the spray of light that hits the broken brain in a nascent psychosis? The steadfast reticence that stays silent be gibbering to itself? The ground upon which one “stands” before leaping into awareness of Seyn “is” the void. And so often in poems the fucking void is the problem.

The void is not a place. It is not a cozy resort for “madmen” to sneak away for a quiet linguistic wank before breakfast. The problem of meaninglessness is not that there happens to be a shortage, a defective supply of meaning. The problem is more fundamental.

I am the aborted sun, I am the disfigured sneer, I am the slash-hook of my emasculation ejaculating the blood of one thousand ruptures, as the winds subside, someone has locked the door to this barren room,as I no longer exist, nor have I ever been, a smear of blackened bruised flesh, draped in the nightscapes of this foreign absence…

To be in the world is to be dispossessed, dislodged and indeterminate. The Greeks looked at the world with wonder, as children might. We look at the world, Heidegger says, with foreboding, we are fucking worried about it, or as Mc Aloran might say

I am nothingness, I ejaculating into the void with streaks of dissipating words, my death, my death my starry death I am alone, no not else, ever else, the violence of existing, the ferocity of birth,a cold stone hearth in which the bones of a child rot unto idiocy, I too am that idiocy, that murder, that abortion, the time taken to un-learn, to forget, dragging as if to speak were enough, as if a whisper could caress, so sayeth the walls, those eternal walls, I collapse I reach I am blind, paralysed, paralysed by dread, beginning now and forgetting for all time, somehow the speech never catches up, as if I ever listened, the maggot of time selects, easing throughout the flesh to subjugate muscle, dragging a million possibilities along with it -as if it mattered

because there are more important things to think about than beginnings and ending, there is the sullen glory of all the empty:

I devour my own shadow, I scrape at this flesh that I cannot bury, I observe my scars in wonder, I cannot then see, I suffocate on the bile of my dying, something grips me, viciously and I expire, void of my ineptitude, I am this flesh, this meat, this absolution, this waste…I smile…

The question asked here is not the leading question of western thought, but the basic question, what is being, here reformulated as it must be, “What is this shit?”. Not, “What are all these horrors?”, but, “What is this disgusting?”.

I lock the door to my own self, swallow the razor key, inhalations of razor blades and the stretch of the sunlight upon spent bones, laughter is death, my shit is death, my cum is death, I laugh at death, my absence, fruitless either way, I have ceased in my dreaming, my longing, I am dead for all time, either way…

This book might in fact document the process whereby one becomes divine, and becomes the sterile progress of the last god as he passes.Anyway, you should get the book which is on sale here:

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Martin Freebase


Out into the street, dragged, under your nose
they, you, us, killing thing-fingerless gloves
executed, dressed all nice and fancy-black leather
all others, admired touch, which a velvet
burned the pretty words, some very subtle things
tongues nailed up with your shadows, pretending
on the courthouse walls, I rolled you down.

Look, dead prophets, a buildup of layers
once flowed as your boredom laughed
never owned, me the views, to be real
by the love song from everyday life.
Now they are silent, large landscapes
staring into the distance , all sepia tones
and dead little fleck, light upon your breasts
like the rest of us, your rawness.

Fields, still comes through, never more beautiful
with good intentions, I watched and waited
changed so much, as your scarlet see-through blouse
because they were blessed, danced through the streets
with such insight, repeat ourselves, with flowers in your ears
and understanding, building upon the other.



sitting on floor, casting long shadow
with the smell of bodily pronounce
physical exertion, the end-slaughterhouse
propped up all around you, with flamboyance
can possess, between your legs, voices
hear the music, anymore; you hide it under your seat,
poison everything, with mercy and born
they will never fade, inhospitable cradle
smoke, holding Bacchus down
Valhalla, with one foot-on your soul
I didn’t realize, the downsize of truth
the full extent of the down here, the awakened flesh
of your injuries, and the beforehand starts,
the postures of exhaustion, spits freestyle
they fall out empty and get paid
onto the floor; are themselves exhausted
I pick through them, the guilty confessions
everything appears like a slippery nipple
flattened, shortened and bastardized.