Playlist: December 2020

PART ONE: FLOWER NEUROSIS

 

            There is a place where these supermassive roses might be planted. A harsh place that exists at thin resolution, we have to resample; I am doing the maths to know how 100gb permits her entrance. The process slows because this behaviour is not natural. Her entrance with the roses bundled in giant’s arms, and the long tresses of foam and seven neat words she has tucked in a satchel of crocheted pea proteins. She is attuned to a certain instant where it works that she plants the roses. They are gnarly, monstrous, thirsty. The roses are not sober. And the girl? She stumbles on her third negroni, abstracted, poured by the silent one who inhabits the hedgerows. Vermouth of sun, gin of moon, aperitif of the bitterwort and marshes, garnished with wedges of orange from overseas. These seven neat words I will not tell you with her lips sealed blood sugar, femme confection, a certain rain, a squall.

            The clarity is lost a little when we adjust figures. But the girl is still there, in the corner maybe, bundled from sight with impossible flowers. What do we know of a girl and her flowers? She could be a waitress, a bridesmaid, a funeral attendant — but no, this is extravagance to belie all such professions. The flowers won’t fit in the picture this is. It is not merely to carry. Some say they are hyperobjects, but if so, what of the girl? She is also beyond human proportion; she would live a thousand years. Sprinkle hundreds and thousands of leap years merely upon breakfast, and yet at nineteen does she not look a million? If you were to splay the fine skin between her thumb and forefinger, you would begin to see the star stuff which flows in human capillaries. But at such resolution!

            Of her face since nineteen, the narrator of Marguerite Duras’ The Lover [L’Amant] (1984) writes: ‘But my face hasn’t collapsed, as some with fine features have done. It’s kept the same contours, but its substance has been laid waste. I have a face laid waste’. So when the girl lay down for another of her size; they were a cloud, it rained, the girl awoke with child. But she gave birth to nothing but roses. She was a fixture of the processing plant. Initially, sealed in mousseline baubles, they were not even roses but rosehips clustered among thorned vines. And you would imagine these vines entwined with her spine, climbing them as if the destiny was always her neck. She would speak at night, tapping the fine glass, warming them as eggs. Give everything away: the rose-meat of petals and their pale, inward jam, hatching saps, their crying.

            A cloud always passes, it creases the sky. Cars go in and out at night.

~

The fruit of rose, especially a wild kind
when I write of a Mary Sue
or brush her teeth, when she is more tall
than willow and yet I have set her colours inverse
so in reaching for rosehips she must reach into shadow
and isn’t that all
in the working day of dreams is deferral
of Edenic cinema, she grows in wilderness
also known as the fortress of lossy compression
where trees are shaky with original pixels
and her clothes are torn as mine would be
crying forever by the sea
with my dairy allergy for twilight
‘The blues are because you’re getting fat
and maybe it’s been raining too long’
and if she is me then I am she
rehearsing definitions for litany
via prayer, supplication, complaint
am I a melt vector on cutting board
you call me aslant with the knife tucked close
to cupid’s bow of my lips
‘she was noted for her command of dialogue’
but no one said anything
lipsticks: sweet chestnut, amarena red
tender rose and orange delight
shaking the rosehips all night for Roman god
of erotic love is just rare labour
of the shepherds in pleasantview, saying sorry
or what colour your blouse is, mine is damask
you could press to make attar
so I know how I love
is mother puts glitter on a wreath
of ivy and dying hydrangeas
to hang on the door, entrance Mx
I give you generally acceptable apples
the shop called jazz, they are wrapped in plastic
we look up to see the planets ‘almost touching’
but they are something else entirely
easy, lucky or free. These green diamonds
don’t occur in the wild;
she makes them from slices of apple
glitch effect plumbob
oil of rose is condensation
a playable simulation
novelist in decline
as I lick the sea wall
cast this upwards
to where another hour is ravished
you start to read.

 

PART TWO: SACRED PORRIDGE

 

            Perhaps this would be enough of the rose-girl if she would stop haunting me. I dreamed Bernadette Mayer wrote a novel overnight, it was midsummer, she was 27 and had a fountain pen the size of the Eiffel Tower. Tell me what she was smoking, was it Marlboro or lemongrass? Maybe cloves? I get mixed up, I’m darks and pastels, nobody likes me. Open a beer to share regardless / Crude oil streams from her words. I became suspicious the rose-girl was a fiction of Bernadette’s, that I was stuck in the internet fiction and whittled away. There was a poem called ‘Thorn’ about a penis. Brexit or no Brexit, I was anyway hoarding tins of beans in the hope they would get me somewhere – a similar purpose to breakfast. Recite to me from memory these stats about lactose, creatine, muscle enhancement. I lift my arms to reach you, I am hauled to the new wall painted mint to match the green iris tea of your eyes, it’s Greenwich Park / I am spent with apple pips and cauliflower hallways. I want to be hurled across continents sprightly / put acorn in pocket. I am not her but she is me, here, in a harsh place. You are the smoothest nut! What was the novel? I don’t know, I have this line: ‘the negative capability of raisins’. Don’t kill the squirrels! Sunday you make porridge with peanuts, sour cream, biscuit, honey, drops of chocolate, muscovado sugar, extra milk of oat – why not acorns? The rose-girl watches. Her breath is a draught.

            She is so huge you would miss her. All December the faint scent of her pea satchel follows me so I know I couldn’t possibly have corona. Plunge my nose in vegetal folds. I would be the aura of plasma around her sun, that’s all and merely. Does it rot? The size of these roses, really, is impossible to measure. Expect several hundred metres or miles, stumbling in the world of error where we go to buy bread. Is it for months you have been a tile, a talking head? You are very delicate and I stroke your nice hair, which loosens through the screen to meet me waterfall. I climb to the top of the beanstalk we braided from eating well. We read Lee Harwood in the rain, As Your Eyes are Blue, and drink mulled wine. I guess I am riding horses to catch up with the size of these roses, blue ones also, fat and mellow. Jackie Wang calls this ‘outlaw jouissance’; a phrase I wrote in my notebook, quickly. The line gets whipped! I think about Cy Twombly. The horses are all kinds of colours, but mostly the pearlescence of inside seashells, or mollusc aurora’d in a way that seems Björk or genital. I suppose the rose-girl arranges them nightly as saints do, genial; I suppose it is like Sylvanian families. Sometimes from copses of rowans, the tops of the miniature or minotaur trees, red-berried painted I read her Sylvia Plath. My poison voice must catch the wind exact, ‘The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea / And comes from a country far away as health’, as health shall be a human dimension, unrhymed, the rose-girl considers. She is the only one of us who has seen a corpse flower, in a third-floor apartment where somebody important had smuggled the seeds from Chicago, where was she. The corpse flower is not a singular flower but a cluster of blooms, and so is she. It all stinks, I say, so I don’t have corona. If you touch the flanks of these horses so smooth your hands will vanish in gossamer, they become other materials, still smell like hay. This viscosity to friction feels good, it’s lush with endorphins — why don’t you try it. The water is warmly you and me, like the sea; it comes from the eyes of the rose-girl, crying.

~

There’s still time to shop, you collect from store
towards a possible come on let’s go of the literal
it stings, who you would be in the dream
not the enemy’s eye
or the unripe banana
                                       I stayed in bed til mid-afternoon
writing feel-thesis, correcting citations of Clarice Lispector
it’s Christmas, you know
I don’t have corona
on the phone to Avanti the songs are played in such intervals
of 45 seconds as to make you hate
the very nature of a chord progression
is desire’s deferral and will you secure a seat for us
at motion sickness
what is necessity feels like
                                    Velocity is I am washing my hair
with tar shampoo and cider vinegar.
Come close, wish soon,
revese December.
Should I call someone?
It might be you,
explaining multiplication to me, you carry the one
and the two, and then I never do
            read my old diaries
smelling of blood and sleep deprivation
acrid bulimia, spray of A7
garlic mussels, scarlet muscles
my brother says he will donate his plasma
for medical causes, have I fear of needles?
                                    Lady bird shell collect
bathroom dust, antibodies, I am clean
and typeset like the stars. You open my coat
because of this Reynauds, too cold
to unbutton. My anhedonia
is cyclical, I stick little poems to the wall
they go like

once upon a midnight weary
came the lovers on a ferry
they were drunk and very old
but never had they had a cold
over the hills and overseas
they could be you or even me 

                        It’s like the Friday of 2019
I read Hannah Weiner’s clairvoyant journals
from low-res pdf festive darkness
                                               crying in trashland
and couldn’t stop tasting purple for a week
of otherwise phantosmia, what I smelled was
the crushed illustrious rose of infinity
pinned to my bittersweet nasal cavity
as I am to watch corpse flower time-lapse
resemble green diamond, they erect an umbrella
and a rare titan arum bloom
beneath you
                        typing at the library am I
bike spoke, a concept strike
for closing the erstwhile windows?
Click to know mood…
We keep going
We leap in a pool of pure negroni
and my lungs keep coming up blossom of orange
and call you
                        “Hey everyone
welcome back to the room, you can open your eyes now”
Like probably I have told you before
about the band I am starting, a synth-punk
deathcore revivalist outfit called Yoga with Adriene
I have her permission, she says
May all beings be happy
Move from a place of connect
Present and awake
Love your neighbour
Things get better, they have to
It’s a revolution of the muscular laxation
of the life you find cored
                                                If you have apple belly
thick-skinned of futurity, there will be a chorus and verse for this
that goes like scream
Motive, Trust, Floor,
High, Kindle, Salve,
Soften, Strength &
Harmony
                        My thighs are burning brightly, it’s the end
friend of my Norwich or Brighton, Manchester, Glasgow
and some kind of New York resemblance
is ‘cracking America’ at the top of your list
I have never been to the south coast
of an average celestial body
yet watering your houseplants
I won’t go viral in the night with pills and tweets
There’s no cheating in yoga, you make it your own
as I do cartwheels on a leap day of acid comedown
they say I do it too fast
the flight gets in and distant cat miaows
as I do kiss you
a lot they say
catharsis is found in the blues
and green laps up the rest is stretching
if you can only find it
like the sweet spot asana with arm across chest
I am become rowan tree, flexing queen of the prom
you pluck fruit pastilles
from inside me the sea,
    first try is easy.

 

PART THREE: TENDER ALPHABET

 

A. will write in the time of commute
B. prefers spearmint toothpaste
C. is inside of me
D. the size of Paris cumulus
E. is all you can eat, ecstasy
F. who I love
G. has grown
H. the hendecasyllabic I fail to write
I. doesn’t rightly exist
J. sends endless emails
K. is a joke
L. for loosening jewellery
M. with dark sweet cherries and doubles
N. conspicuous passionate weekend
O. checks the notification
P. of classical pleasure
Q. minds the gap
R. is a rising rat-souled singer
S. supposes the cognitive deficit
T. exists in lyric saloon
U. then driving me up the highway
V. to frangible lust I am
W. of shimmer lamb
X. into cowbell rhythms we go
Y. yellow warning of wind has been issued
Z. is a property of citrus

 

PART FOUR: FLOWER SHOW

 

In The Besieged City (1948) by Clarice Lispector, ‘the flower was showing off […] it too was untouchable, the indirect world’, ‘exhausted’, ‘What is the flower made of if not of flower itself’.

OPEN LOOP (
BOUQUET ( )
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ) )

The flower exclaimed a soft orchestral impression of breathing. Adults no longer snack in movies. Spent five hours on a train, six on Zoom, three in the outside air is nice. A time-lapse corpse flower, the music being used, pace of light. Heat syncope of the sea, we dive. Someone is hired to recover her pearls or pears. My skin is peeling from sanity gels.

A fault language of shiningly happy teenagers. Rosettes for the nuclear pony. It’s all total showers today. Condensery of lemonade gemstone, sertraline, the lapwing massacre in a Sufjan track / so I am endlessly sorry.

 

 

PART FIVE: NATAL SMUDGE

 

When everything started to wilt, the moon was too late. Untouchable stem of a name, yet the rose-girl knew what to do. She swallowed the world like a gobstopper, a lightbulb, a tulip. The arrogance of sundown was only that it knew how to try.

Turning over, see the supermassive rose in her belly.

Superstitious gemstones include violets and opals, sleepflower, nightshade; don’t @ me if you think they are cruel or kind. Marlene drops cranberries from the wall and you piss twice as hard in Scarborough Fair, are you sad, buy me blue cheese, there is vigilance in the dead. Rosemary for memory, thyme for a life you led, who sells it. Marlene says she misses Alisha, that’s not-me. Pray you arrive here safely, smudge of tarragon, mushroom photography, lines of flight.

We, after Sophie, after Frank, say Ask for everything!

Regarding conjunction, something about publishing, spirituality, knowledge and authority figures. There will be tension with Aquarius principle. A slip of paper. I was born at 06:20, in a thunderstorm.

[Oh yes! x]

The rose-girl had an overture: she tore wedding pearls from her branch-sized clavicle, let them scatter from the tub where she lay and the tub was a cloud, the pearls were snow. At the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, she was a divorce child with her hair in two plaits we would climb up to kiss at the nape of her neck, that’s it, I play all my aces so we won’t die. These cards are beautiful, we turn them away. There will be no dying, not here or now. I thresh the rest of my skyluck, lager, my skylark. I’m lucky the mirror is showing up nowhere. Sometimes it is Freud’s voice, or an oil pastel. The foam from her brushed-down hair. Of the past you have given me everywhere, Andromeda, minipops, electronic renaissance. In writing the poem I am playing the cello, I am playing the cello of poem to death, why not?

It’s up to you
It’s down to you

Don’t be so mournful…

 

PART SIX: SCENTED AND GENEROUS

 

I had a dream about the diary with the days mixed up. Each day had its own fragrance:

Cognac, cannabis, dill pickle, mown grass,
libido enhancer, sweet vanilla, jasmine,
ylang ylang, who shares all, heart notes
of shrub, blackcurrant, oak moss, popcorn,
peppermint candy, lavender, ginger
castoreum, chypre, neroli,
understory, wooded and tonka,
ambery, orris, top note,
emily brontë rose, cinnamon,
hot shit, gold dust, brine of ocean,
roast aubergine cologne
near airstrip pheromone,
oil pipe explosion, special cinders,
vetiver, slots into psyche, balsam,
absinthe, cassie, frangipani, saffron,
strawflower aka immortelle,
black liquorice, lactones, myrrh,
sassafras, fruit loops, chocolate ice,
pamplemousse or french for grapefruit
martini and rockrose, peony,
tobacco, peppercorn, petitgrain,
scottish myrtle and soft fir,
nutmeg, new car, coffee brew,
pine needles, indole, musk of course.

 

Pitseleh means little one. Elliott Smith sings, ‘no one deserves it’.

I’m turning a petal to see you better / that I am someone’s difference.

Dear Alisha,

            If we were to wed in the childhood memory where you circle the prairie with diet cola and you always know what to do, I see the cherryade reds in you, sanguineous of first degree and alacrity pitching your letter. The post office is closed. I eat more peanut butter than Elvis and nobody stops me, I get it from Aldi. The day feels closure and we edge towards lockdown, I’m texting, Starbucks is open on Christmas Day, will you bring me something? Again, like the time we ordered starlit capitalist fuck lattes and dusted methamphetamine before shift; we were exquisite, fruit toast, the nourishing glitter in our hair was ace; we served 200 covers, sixty quid in tips, and you were scarlet in the uniform poem called A Scarlet Letter. Not the one or the many, just any. I knew this already. We had written them all! You have to have dashes of green to make red, tell Hilary, which is why I am writing to you from my rowan tree, fred asks is this a rowan bush, I say a rosehip, I don’t know what to do; the inchplant is coming up fast, it will ingest the television, I look forward to it. Brockley Station, Nina Simone, stomach cramps, star flood. Must learn how to climb / the branches brightly.

            Write to me of conspicuous passions, such as aging, or the fairy fountain with permissible agelessness. Crystal arpeggio. The various glacés of Rome, ornamental corpse flowers, pistachio and your deep, carnal desire to dance. I brush all the sea-foam from the rose-girl’s hair and she would collapse in panic. What the heck is in this carpet. Can you send me again the dimensions, dots per inch in terms of the plant, or planet? There is much to do. I am sewn a yellow word and kissing you cherries to lemonade, black to blues. Needing earth for it, rich stuff, thoughts on allotments. Omnidawn is the word, when the camera pans out and one million people have streamed this song, the credits come up. O blush, Love’s refrain in summer! 500,000 ampersands, can you imagine it? My new grand dreams of porny conjunction…

You taught me how to shoplift the various accessories of girlhood; I’ve given it up. See how my brows disapprove!

            December is cruel, the dark green foliage of tinsel and shrubbery, poinsettias, it’s kitsch. I learn a blue-grey song on guitar but it sucks. Mum makes paella for xmas eve etc. Pantone named yellow-grey the colours of 2021, Katy is raging as I might too; I had a poem about this from before f-sharp, it was all about cycling, snapped ankles, absolute melt. Get to you. The way you arc your arms just so is centrepiece: everything will be the same as the sum of it was, serving us dinner. Cryptocurrency, wrong-name, Tony Blair of bad air was trending, you do it last-minute, pronounce it soft, you wear a blue velour lace thing, fka misty. These are the suburbs where doors were slammed, and these were offered cookies. Fuck a lawn. But you dip your feet in scant oasis, you break off a piece of the dark chocolate donut. I have dreamed of this. Stillnesses are not without purchase. Another spam mail arrives, dear pal

I am going out to buy us blowsy hours, belong and casual distortion. Black forest gateau and log of the roasted poem, emitting steamiest lines, pleasure days, no breaks just ganache is that thick language. We lay together, birthday of shadow work, wrote sunlessness. I draw dark green liner on their eyes like vines. Wish holidays longer. We enter the alone wood with natural lights they are strung they are simple, leafage pressed between them. 1800 dpi, virus gone, unmute the sea. You are warmly invited.

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~

Mermaid Chunky – Gemini Girls

‘Til Tuesday – Voices Carry

God Help the Girl – Down and Dusky Blonde

Sunflower Bean – Moment in the Sun

Phoebe Bridgers – Graceland Too

M83 – Karl

Tomberlin – Hours (Katie Dey remix)

Gia Margaret – apathy

Felicia Atkinson, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – And The Flower Have Time For Me

Massive Attack – Black Milk

Björk – It’s Not Up To You

Cocteau Twins – Orange Appled

Yaeji – When in Summer, I Forget About the Winter

Laurel Halo – Blue Notion

Sun Glitters – Somewhere, Nowhere

Robin Guthrie, Harold Budd – Beau, As In Beaumont

Lana Del Rey – Summertime The Gershwin Version

Joan Baez – The Rose

Karen Dalton – Ribbon Bow

Lucinda Williams – Met An Old Friend

Pinegrove – Morningtime (Amperland, NY)

Elliott Smith – Pitseleh

Vashti Bunyan – Here Before

Zoee – Used

Julianna Barwick – Inspirit

Pelican Tusk – Not What You Meant

Neutral Milk Hotel – Where You’ll Find Me Now

Cloth – Old Bear

Lawn – Rats

Mush – Revising My Fee

Big Thief – Not

Joanna Sternberg – Don’t You Ever

Belle & Sebastian – I Don’t Love Anyone

Bloc Party – Waiting for the 7.18

serpentwithfeet – mourning song

Magic Island, Zoee – Agony (Yung Lean cover)

Anna Burch – Can’t Sleep

Kelora – Ultramarine

Albums of the Year 2020

a white piece of paper with colour swatches painted on

Friends, I was so close to not doing one of these this year, but my bad case of archive fever was too strong to resist. For the first time since the depressive loops of my early 2010s, I’ve really struggled with music this year. Yo-yo’d between extremely intense relations to music (listening to Grimes’ ‘IDORU’ three times in a row in spring’s post-cycle endorphin twilight, crying to Mogwai in the supermarket, thrash dancing to old Boiler Room sets alone in my bedroom, knocking everything over, basically living inside Phoebe Bridgers’ ‘Garden Song’) and a very numb sense of trepidation about listening altogether. Have gone whole weeks without listening to anything except ’10 hours sounds of a meadow in june’ on youtube. Have gone whole months without noticing new releases. Music has anchored the year in strange ways. I think about the man in my block who kept singing/screaming Oasis’ ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ in the shared garden, and did this several times throughout lockdown 1.0. I was so concerned. Boards of Canada albums I fell into, haphazardly studying. The conditions of lockdown, not to mention PhD and other pressures, have slowed down my output of published music writing, but I continued to diarise my listening habits and it was a pleasure to write on occasion for GoldFlakePaint, Secret Meeting and other places on new releases from Jason Molina, Phoebe Bridgers, Katie Dey, Superpuppet, Fair Mothers, Modern Studies. As ever, you can dive into the music journo archive here.

What follows is a selection of albums I’ve managed to dip in and out of, form some kind of bond with or which otherwise stayed with me. One of music’s main attractions this year was its provision of sociality: whether through late-night Instagram DMs or seeing everyone’s Spotify listening (pale vicarious experience of sonic simultaneity as commons), running Pop Matters workshops with the inimitable Conner Milliken or losing myself in heartfelt comment sections, music was a kind of touchpoint for contact when other kinds of talk or response seemed impossible. That you could screenshare FKA twigs’ ‘Cellophane’ video and all silently hold in tears while free-writing together on Zoom, that you could send some kind of bedroom performance to a friend when words were scarce, that you could buy stuff for Bandcamp Fridays and feel like you were doing *something* for artists while our livelihoods were otherwise being stripped away by lockdowns, recession and endless government (in)decisions. That you could send lyrics in acts of solidarity. That you could sit round a fire in the Trossachs and listen to ‘Farewell Transmission’ with smoke in your eyes or be in Hackney with a heatwave and Lucinda Williams; that you could cycle past psych buskers on Kelvin Way, or lie on the floor with Grouper recordings from 2018; that you could breeze down Sauchiehall listening to ‘Gasoline’ in a world without cars; that you were lucky enough to see your cousin, Hannah Lou Clark, play The Hug and Pint before lockdown; that you could micro-analyse Angel Olsen remixes with Douglas, lamenting another postponed gig or remembering an old one; that you could walk yourself into autumn melancholy with Grace Cummings, longing for the wind and sea; that you could read Amy Key’s excellent essay on Joni Mitchell’s Blue and remember the first of January, sober as a trembling bell and listening on repeat as everything refused to wake, and wine. Admittedly, I may have missed many significant things. Tell me!

Previous EOTY lists:

2015
2016
2017
2018
2019

In no particular order:

Phoebe Bridgers — Punisher

Angel Olsen — Whole New Mess

Waxahatchee — Saint Cloud

Savage Mansion — Weird Country

Yves Tumor — Heaven to a Tortured Mind

Sylvan Esso — Free Love

Mogwai — ZEROZEROZERO

Minor Science — Second Language 

Caribou — Suddenly 

Moses Sumney – græ

Grimes — Miss Anthropocene

Open Mike Eagle —  Anime, Trauma and Divorce

Run the Jewels — RTJ4

Protomartyr — Ultimate Success Today

The Kundalini Genie — 11:11

Sparkle Division — To Feel Embraced 

Juliana Barwick — Healing is a Miracle

Arca — KiCk i

Pelican Tusk — Rhubarb’s House (EP)

The 1975 — Notes on a Conditional Form

Porches — Ricky Music

Fiona Apple — Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Martha Ffion — Nights to Forget

Gia Margaret — Gia Margaret

Mary Lattimore — Silver Ladders

Jason Molina — Eight Gates

Sufjan Stevens — The Ascension

Fleet Foxes — Shore 

Keaton Henson — Monument

Half Waif — The Caretaker

U.S. Girls — Heavy Light 

Katie Dey — Mydata

Kelly Lee Owens — Inner Song 

Eartheater — Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin

Oneohtrix Point Never — Magic Oneohtrix Point Never

Jessie Ware — What’s Your Pleasure?

Perfume Genius — Set My Heart on Fire Immediately

Field Medic — Floral Prince

Braids — Shadow Offering 

HAIM — Women in Music Pt. III

Porridge Radio — Every Bad 

Christian Lee Hutson — Beginners

Soccer Mommy — Color Theory 

Four Tet — Sixteen Oceans 

Lawn — Johnny

Lomelda — Hannah

Bright Eyes — Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was

Pinegrove — Marigold

Adrianna Lenker — songs / instrumentals

Duval Timothy — Help 

The Pictish Trail — Thumb World 

Tomberlin — Projections

Tennis — Swimmer

Laurel Halo — Possessed (Original Score)

Alex Rushfirth — The Moon in the Clouds

NNAMDÏ — BRAT

Autechre — SIGN / PLUS

Superpuppet — Under a Birdless Sky

Bartees Strange — Live Forever

The Avalanches — We Will Always Love You

A.G. Cook — 7G

Playlist: November 2020

drawing of

Surf Rock
for fred and kate

Lioness chained to hillsides of lavender        the sun 
is streaming oversea entirely conceptual homeland
5G howl                                      like how a fractal glint
constitutes one or more endings                and is just 
never never never never never 
lavender exactly                   who unimaginable loses
when fox does                                    borrowed snouts
language of flowers          fuck this                       howl 
again five dimensions


Is you said to me a common placard
stands vantablack in the manacles           jason cries 
his heart broke in your jaw              I swam all night
to the motor show                  roseate perfume of the 
problem                being born out of lobster wedlock
to be ravaged by the neo-marxist programme of
naming us wasp                and other wasp sadnesses
it is for me as I for you           better at swiss twilight 
when               I was community 


In the womb                  wept effort of what insomnia 
does
from the latin meaning wandering
                             policy of “rural lust”        I will swim 
I will swim through hedgerows I will swim I swim
this isn’t the song turn up your sleeves we enter the
chess in brightness mode I wanted the heat the reat
                                     skelped by autofictive descent
another coxcomb 
texts you back                                                    O lariat 


At that altitude paying the rent              in pale world 
and even if she has lost control 
what a car does                          in green light heaven
obscenity pedestrian    the ground here opal silicate
owing you a crush moratorium
cheques out after all
                                     this is just a modern rock song
adjusting   styles pane of my old wound, new wound
at clydebank the skycastles at four o’clock who are u


Harvest season was accordion sonnetry I lifted my 
volta skirts for assholes feeling perennially strange 
in melancholy chord progression of certified orange
is this out of the question              lazily in the grass
lexie and cecil and ariel               open your mouth
be lucid 
corduroy when stevie sings 
harmony on thursday morning exhaustion I thought
             just swish would do it


Could be 1995 
how will I get there                            painting the ice-
course with fairways                          is all that I have 
boygirlboygirl varieties of noodles
                                  bunny calls it cloudheartedness 
be mute in serious leaf together 
is falling 
                          the same as time at all / it got claws 
hi can I have some more bourgeois heroine pastry


Okay to just swim and arrive here                 my salty
fiancé is a type of fish         did you enjoy The Shape
of Water and other films to which I might fuck 
glitching in the real world 
                          darling is a missing numbering
merely the sun                  streaming feminine voices
never never
a century of the Laurieston & all of my guinnesses  
are oxygen                                         saw another fox 


And wherever you are I suppose the squirrels are 
listening
as bartender came home w/ three crystal ocean
we stub the ashes out
we stub the ashes out                                     it’s him
that I am smashed mezzanine      phoning my dad 
                                                          big blue energy 
another song about the suburbs   /   mineral & gem
sometimes I can’t believe


Red lions and lionesses are not metaphors but love 
laura no lies            & lilac passion in the first place 
I wrote about you in my notebook: we might not
even be awake in the world is still in the kitchen 
scratch at my socialist lichen 
                         second paramore whose kisses are 
madness         my counsellor said yeah 
I like those mornings also 
London fog, London fog  

~

Oneohtrix Point Never — I Don’t Love Me Anymore

i_O — Castles In The Sky

Quirke — Luxury Red Pence

Mogwai — Dry Fantasy

Salem — Red River

Songs: Ohia — Lioness

Silver Jewels — Federal Dust

Johnny Flynn — Lost and Found

Keaton Hensen — Ontario

Life Without Buildings — Sorrow

Drop Nineteens – Winona

The National — Dark Side of the Gym

Weyes Blood — A Certain Kind

Marika Hackman — Playground Love (Air cover)

God Help the Girl — Pretty When The Wind Blows

Porridge Radio — 7 Seconds

Elliott Smith — True Love

A. G. Cook — Beautiful Superstar

Bat for Lashes — Peach Sky

Lemongrass — Sayonara

Tennis — Tender As A Tomb

The Avalanches — We Will Always Love You (feat. Blood Orange)

Golden Mean — Midnight 

Phoebe Bridgers, Rob Moose — Punisher (Copycat Killer Version)

Angel Olsen — New Love Cassette (Mark Ronson Remix)

Belle & Sebastian — This Is Just a Modern Rock Song

(NEW BOOK) neutral milky halo

neutral milky halo loops around the pixelated tempos, imaginaries and myths of this fraught, contingent moment. Poems of weird ecology, cultivated address and tendering detail; poems of disorientation, hospitality, sounding and shimmer. Poems seen through screens, reflected on or refracted from glass; poems seen-through and poems making visible the otherwise shadowed. Poems that envelop the animal, the flower, the technologies of writing and other means of resistance, expression and growth. Weaving the everyday ‘scenes’ of the anthropocene — from starry cosmologies of new gods, months and seasons, to kissable forests and the ice cream trucks that haunt our quarantine — neutral milky halo draws fragile yet glistening socialities for dreaming between ‘thick’ futures.

Pamphlet / 184 x 140mm / 44pp / Mohawk Superfine papers & sparkly pink end papers / ISBN 978-1-913749-09-5.

Cover design by CF Sherratt.

Available now for £8.00 from Guillemot Press.

(NEW BOOK) the weird folds: everyday poems from the anthropocene

Announcing a new anthology I’ve been working on with the wonderful Rhian Williams and indie publishers Dostoyevsky Wannabe. Copies are now available to order…

Edited by Maria Sledmere and Rhian Williams and with a foreword by Tim Morton, the weird folds intervenes in more traditional canons of nature and ecopoetry to offer a poetics of the anthropocene which is thoroughly generous, queer, sensuous, formally innovative, relational, occult, fugitive and critically sensitive to the mediations of technology and culture which shape our encounters with the more-than-human.

BOOKSHOP.ORG
WATERSTONES
BLACKWELL’S
AMAZON

NOTE: If cover images are missing from any of the above links, please be aware that the books are still available for purchase.

Pages: 296
Dimensions: B Format
ISBN: 978-1838015619
Cat No: DW-001-97
Imprint: Dostoyevsky Wannabe Originals
Publishing Model: Tailored

The Author

Edited by Maria Sledmere and Rhian Williams and with a foreword from Timothy Morton), the weird folds: everyday poems from the anthropocene features contributors working at the intersections of lyric, cultural critique and hybrid forms. The contributors in order are:    Pratyusha, Kashif Sharma-Patel, Jay G Ying, Sarah Cave, Samantha Walton, Rebecca Tamás, Daisy Lafarge, Jane Hartshorn, Francesca Lisette, Max Parnell, Calum Rodger, Miranda Cichy, Alice Tarbuck, fred spoliar, Iain Morrison, Gloria Dawson, Vahni Capildeo, Sascha Akhtar, Fred Carter, Katy Lewis Hood and Therese Keogh, montenegro fisher, Nat Raha, Mike Saunders, Jane Goldman, Harriet Tarlo, Rosie Roberts, Lila Matsumoto, Colin Herd, Paul Hawkins, nicky melville, Kat Sinclair, Nasim Luczaj. 

Praise

This vital gathering tells slanted anthropocenic truths, re-cognising the manifold everyday as a crucial space-time of enquiry, excavation and entanglement. Performing kaleidoscopic arts of noticing, the works within these pages render traces of a changed and changing planet with tangible immediacy. Here is poetry as a barometer of the times.

-Mandy Bloomfield, author of Archaeopoetics: Word, Image, History (University of Alabama Press, 2016)

These are poems of the future glimpsed through its shards and fragments here and now – they are unhomely and familiar, revealing a skewed new normal: they are fieldnotes from a world to come.

-David Borthwick, Lecturer in Environmental Literature at University of Glasgow 

Anthropocene is the impact human beings have on the planet, while the trillions of cells making each human body are composed entirely of the fire, soil, air, and water of the earth. In this anthology, the poets are voices for a war the planet is having with itself through its human bodies, and I am very grateful for their reports. I wonder if it is unfair to think of poets as war correspondents, but this book proves we are possibilities for so much more.

CAConrad, author of While Standing in Line for Death (Wave Books, 2017)

The Overlook

I remember burgundy jumpers

I remember the sleeves of them

I remember the wet feel of wool in my mouth

I remember sucking pencils, taste of lead

I remember when tall people gave me badges, they said FUCK ESSO

I remember how the oven door never closed

I remember lighting the back with a long match

I remember the feel of it striking

I remember sunrise from bus stops

I remember it all morning

I remember they supposedly fucked on the green

I remember the security cameras, all six of them

I remember bottles of cider the size of a baby

I remember being cold

I remember being so cold I thought I was dying

I remember being this cold every day for a year

I remember when the bottle smashed in front of me

I remember wearing everyone’s clothes

I remember when he fit his fingers around my thigh, at the highest part, and they touched

I remember the colour of sunsets and ocean spray

I remember cranberry juice

I remember that song 

I remember listening to the sound of a tape click over and over, softly

I remember using too many purples

I remember being told about liking petrol 

I remember the first cigarette, menthols by the sea

I remember when someone said poppers were moreish

I remember how she did her makeup, turquoise glitter gelling almond eyes

I remember shoplifting bourbon 

I remember endless packets of gum 

I remember an abstract notion of madness 

I remember the expense of American candy

I remember the headless cyclist my brother saw, but I wasn’t there

I remember a series of accidents

I remember the muscles in my legs were so weak I could hardly walk

I remember illustrious textbooks

I remember falling over in the deli, very subtly

I remember when he pushed me over

I remember black coffee

I remember safe foods

I remember being sick 

I remember eating three pieces of cake 

I remember throwing away

I remember the chord progression to the song called ‘Angels’

I remember the virgin who wanted to know

I remember telling her 

I remember being in class and infinite and nothing 

I remember the feeling of three tongues in one mouth

I remember pissing against trees

I remember pieces of crisps stamped into carpets 

I remember the invisible bugs on her palms

I remember selling bracelets of luminous, plastic materials

I remember light-up trainers

I remember hot soup 

I remember vodka for lunch on a Wednesday

I remember they knew my name on the bus

I remember coming online and seeing you 

I remember this

I remember holding them

I remember being told I’d fail

I remember failing

I remember failing to fail

I remember taking the train alone

I remember glossy pages

I remember wanting to be warm enough to bare my limbs

I remember nothing but

I remember the river was all that I was

I remember walking my dog the morning she died

I remember a rainbow

I remember the bruises

I remember the bruises all over my breasts

I remember biting my arm not to cry

I remember weeping all winter

I remember the welt 

I remember he bit the inside of my thigh

I remember feeling dumb

I remember the empty train

I remember being illegible

I remember losing my grammar, my handbag

I remember that winter it snowed forever

I remember counting tips

I remember we said sorry to each other

I remember it happened again

I remember holding your hand so hard

I remember it not being you

I remember fireworks from the library

I remember that friend’s apartment

I remember hot water and lemon

I remember backcombing my hair

I remember messaging you the morning he touched me

I remember not wanting

I remember stupid bowls of muesli 

I remember the smell of linseed oil, white spirit

I remember being thinned, and thinning

I remember the lyric 

I remember the clarity 

I remember yesterday

I remember the time you drove all night

I remember the dream where my hair was three times longer

I remember we made it to the beach

I remember being told my kissing was good

I remember gold stars 

I remember so many stars

I remember gasping 

I remember being so thin the air passed through me

I remember that too, the wind

I remember thinking that girl took crack

I remember the word capsule take shape in my mouth

I remember asking for it

I remember not having asked for it

I remember getting it anyway

I remember being turned over

I remember the river inside me as 

I remember that picture where I stood in the river

I remember wanting everyone inside me, I was so hungry

I remember a dress code

I remember the unreal election

I remember the absence of insects

I remember the first time, you said 

I remember we should have done this sooner

I remember the hot bright sense

I remember falling out of the hour

I remember the view 

I remember he didn’t come

I remember coming home

I remember not wanting to

I remember the burning look in her eyes

I remember being sorry for something I hadn’t done

I remember dropping it boiling on my arm

I remember stripping off in the kitchen

I remember the phone call

I remember the gentle white lie I carried around all year

I remember a series of elaborate bandages 

I remember more than a friend

I remember avocado emoji

I remember I knew it all

I remember telling them

I remember this one cool trick for making it pop

I remember your irises amethysts 

I remember my blood

I remember the word ember 

I remember saying a sunbeam

I remember red velvet 

I remember you well in the Ibis Hotel 

I remember the size of a blouse 

I remember she said, it’s worse over there

I remember a hip flask of whisky

I remember a docile reply

I remember falling asleep with the bass underneath us

I remember Arran

I remember Luss

I remember wearing skintight jeans 

I remember graduating into the falling leaves

I remember falling up stairs

I remember the clots

I remember my fingers in your hair

I remember being golden

I remember doing it again

Remember I wasn’t there

*Written in response to a writing exercise during Tawnya Renelle’s workshop on Memoir and Memory.

Playlist: October 2020

Listen for exits

For a brief eternity, nobody was fucking anything that already got fucked and that was when the leaf started falling & another then a whole earnestness of them. Fuck. The way to keep strong is being meticulous about noticing clouds and writing shit down I stopped wanting to rain, I’ll fall asleep smoking. I’ll fall asleep smoking in some movie where my brogues are black as the wet night this all was conceived, draw my red curtains away from the moon that Nasa had a claim on and think about salad days, my nails painted trademark Billie Eilish lime. O salad days pacing restaurants, the rain is on; I remember the leaves swept in the door and they too were victims of a fate in their genes, once green. So I took samples and pressed them crisp between Moleskine pages in the sleep dimension, my writing was automatic and sullen, chlorophyllic, squeezed between menus, I was windswept inside it with the beach pouring out it was heavy. File this under the brush, bush, brush it back into language. I listened to the intricate complaints of the shrubs.

*

Between myriad Tuesdays, I became a psychiatrist of seashells, pressed to my ears their exquisite misery. 

*

Time was a month of afternoons and then rivers of weeks and the sexual appetite of the hours then none. M. said in emails it all feels like soup. In no time I drink echinacea tea and wait for you in black velvet trousers, my pretzel crossed legs. The black velvet night is missing from other suns. There is no time. My chest is clearing itself of the leaves and a mysterious spore they call viral but is it just metaphor, is it the just continuum of falsehood, heavy as my tongue in your words and letting the owls out is only fake news. A black velvet night full of owls. The way to keep going is smoking at the window notwithstanding the smoke, I mean lean out like me and catch it. Someone drops loneliness pills from high windows, highest, like the song about throwing pieces out a twenty-storey flat…Your browser does not currently recognise any of the video formats available. And yet that song and for the love of bread and jam and here in our crumbling houses. Seedless. My brother does not understand tenement lust, the trend for it, but a tower-block remains in our town. Black velvet surrounds us, slapped between lunar slices cut from the nightmare of twenty-twenty. It isn’t your vision. 

*

At five, he would drink all day diluted wine and snort at jellied nature. I love receiving your comments and photos and learning what is an amethyst deceiver and those in history who wanted us killed. If I am held down by world, I had a cold shower and lived in the hades of a woodlands that didn’t belong to me. Smell of tomato all summer in the glow of my window. Smash it all over your clavicles, the insides of your thighs, between your toes, the secrecy of your neck. Flesh of a very red vitamin C. Imagine owning the woodlands. Not to eat, I typeset all night to the sound of sentences, insects, let them lay me down later, I am all this humming snow. What sleep is it that comes three hours at a time, at a time without time that is never quite dark and five hours late. If the clocks go back. You say it’s impossible to write in these times and you are right, as anyone is to say of the impossible I feel it, here and closing in and peeling the skin from my cuticles. Not this. Backwards. When you ask what I’m doing, I’m quietly bleeding. In the hazard assessment, failing to be meticulous is not this. Failing violence. Touching green. I have a good kick at the heart and the head. The men are all down. Held down. You and I get so tired. 

*

I want to know how she dies before the novel even opens. Lain down in the grass; the spine is split, our folds are torn. Because you say nothing I go into the orange department and juice my feelings very slowly in rapture. Waking up is to know not what happened. A blade is working in spiral formation – a blade tornado. What would rip us from orange and up, up to our tower block office at home? Dream pith all over the air around us, sticks. Walter Benjamin is very anxious about this, that you should not write dreams down before breakfast, should not attempt to narrate them. You break fast to break with your dreams. I dreamt I wrote copy for an orange juice company, who wanted their ingredients relayed as sonnets. It seemed impossible that orange juice should be so teeming with things other than oranges. The names were beautiful: canola oil, sodium citrate, beta carotene, cellulose, sucralose, Neotame, potassium sorbate, yellow #5, yellow #6 – and what could be seven? What could be less than seven! We are, we are…In the mix, at the end of the nineties, “soft drink turned a girl yellow.” I remember this as though I had been in hospital and the walls were all yellow for how much I stared at the pale and acceptable middle-class blue. Where was this, surely not in the news. I paint my eyes girl yellow, the colour of soft ghosts; I practice quietude, then sugary schemes of rhyme.

*

So what is the meaning of soft in your work, is it ordinary eggshells around the thing itself, is it orange peel, goldfish, autumn maple. I tread lightly on the question of being at all. These terms are so loaded. K. is reading novels where people casually set off fireworks, they do it all the time: they grab them from supermarket bins and set them off in the carpark because why would you wait. A catherine wheel for Asda and my blues is spinning, my blues in the washing machine, O rocket, a felt sense I could hug you then and the blues left a stain on the radiator. Dashes sparkle. We sit in old meadow in mud and the dogs roll over each other. We are not drinking cocktails. The transience of dalmations. What is the meaning of soft. Softness as a kind of value. I wish I could learn precision in language but it goes running over my senses and to be soft is to experience aphasia. Say in the meeting we stammer and get to the question, late morning before this, zoom before zoom, arranging the clattering scale weights and spices. I slept with Bachmann’s Malina under my bed. A blue skirt stain on the radiator. Blue heat rises. Dad says, “have you been listening to seashells again?” I fantasise gas flames.

*

Conch, scotch bonnet, wentletrap, simnia, drill and murex. Rose and sharp-rib, American carrier, Gulf oyster. Marmite mushrooms frying on the stove. You know there is a shell called ‘Coffee bean trivia’. In Brighton you could buy trays of them for a fiver. I bought Guinness instead, a half pint for you and I on the last hot day of the year. There was a kind of listening to sunlight. Softness as what could be damaged inside us: organ spleen, aura lamina, the shell of our bodies. Your cells soft mint as the cure. People are cycling to work; I barely leave my sofa. Various adrenalines assemble inside us. So far the shells have daddy issues because of the sea. Scrub hard and anything shines. I am under the influence of rainbows, umbrellas, a rim of salt. 

*

I was fired from the orange department for wearing this blue on my sleeve. In the atrium standing there with Styrofoam coffee, swished blue from my dreams; compliments from the manageress and frowning at the meeting that never would last, and something we didn’t say. ‘Divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions’, writes Jackie Wang. I sat outside Perch and Rest with lemongrass steaming from a cup I had purchased and the leaves blew into my face with rain, they were soft and important, licked and wet.

*

We were about to make love but one of us took concussion from the piece of citrine beneath my pillow. 

*

I dreamt rabbits were climbing my beech tree the way goats do in Israel. 

*

A small porcelain jug of milk, a blue jug, was all I could glean from the orange department, after my passing. Carried it home in cardboard, I passed through the walls. It is all because the clocks go back and a crack on the wall. Anhedonia, that I hold breadcrumbs and nothing left to imagine. At the late-night snack bar, composing these empty sentences. Do we get paid for the hour we lose? A soft wound is still a wound. “I would like truffle fries, I would like oysters…” This is something I once seriously wondered. Pools of oil in shells, a meltable system. You break crockery and throw it at the sun. It goes like fuck; it is fucking you brightly. There are still exits, listen.

*

Thee Oh Sees – Goodnight Baby

Little Comets – One Night in October

The Cure – Underneath the Stars

Oneohtrix Point Never – ECCOJAMC1

Moses Sumney – Neither/Nor

Massive Attack, Young Fathers – Voodoo in my Blood

Bicep – Apricots

Autechre – si00

HEALTH, 100 gecs – POWER FANTASY

Animal Collective – Bridge to Quiet

Pharoah Sanders – Astral Traveling

The Raincoats – Only Loved at Night

U.S. Girls – Velvet 4 Sale

Jenny Hval – Conceptual Romance

Tomberlin – Floor

Sharon Van Etten – Let Go

Julien Baker – Faith Healer

Julia Jacklin – CRY

Sun June – Karen O

Soccer Mommy – crawling in my skin

The Weather Station – Robber

Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders

Jason Molina – I’ll Be Here in the Morning

The Mountain Goats – Rat Queen

Bright Eyes – Miracle of Life

Admiral Fallow – Dead Against Smoking

Adrienne Lenker – heavy focus

Kevin Morby – Valley

Lana Del Rey – Let Me Love You Like a Woman

Four Tet – My Angel Rocks Back and Forth

Julie Byrne, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Love’s Refrain

New Book: Chlorophyllia

Chlorophyllia: a pamphlet of poems written in April and May 2020 in the midst of lockdown, feeling falling, light sensitivity, the body as plant life and panic. Released as part of a 5-part series alongside Carolyn Hashimoto, Suki Hollywood, Ruthie Kennedy and Emily Uduwana.

~

Chlorophyllia is a glassy architecture for gathering the leafswirls of those moments of seeming contingency, the offcuts of correspondence, and nourishing them in the hothouse of lyric hyperbole. Maria Sledmere offers up a pamphlet of weird dialectics and conversation: where dreams eat into ~reality, where herbal remedies glitch in the feed they’re found in, where green and blue meet zanily under the breeze of ‘Jolene’, where sleep is yet daylight’s constant longing and language is photosynthesised. Elon Musk crawls out of a Deleuze and Guattari parenthesis, Keats is filtered through Zoom mosaics, there are glimpses of Neptune rain and the speaker craves IDM aquaria. As increasing time spent online comes to dominate our unconscious with surreal imaginaries of face-reacts, screen freezes and the syncope of laggy encounter, poetry becomes a way of laying out those confusions of voice, scale, desire and bodily grammar.

~

Maria Sledmere hits the reader with a monsoon of language played at once in major and minor. It’s a blissy elegy with room for the amphibian and the paypal. For thinspo trees, waging snowstorms, missing bees. For solace and subscription. Here, loss concerns the heart-eye react as much as the dinosaur. Snowstorm is a person. Everything finds itself unshakeably sensory, and that whole heavy load — of being at all, of being here — is packed sleek into a Tesla. Chlorophyllia is an oil essential to any engine.

          — Nasim Luczaj, aka [underthunder] and author of SWAT SIGHT

The poems of Chlorophyllia love a green thought in a green shade almost as much as they pant to leap in daylight. What does the enforced reproduction of the shit we’re in mean when ‘Continuance is lightfast’? Lyric is truly sound against death but how do the interruptions feel when to persevere – the shimmy of life itself – only serves to hold up the wicked ceiling, the needles underfoot? Fuck extinction. Memory was always lossy. The desert is wherever we are. Find your friends in vernal places, ask each other ‘what familiar year is it / Another encore of the air.’ 

          — Dom Hale, editor of Mote and author of Time ZoneFirewall and Scammer

Now available for £2.00 digital download from the wonderful OrangeApple Press, edited by T. Person and Meredith Thompson.