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Commiserate — April 2016 — Tessa Berring

April 3, 2016

Take Out Now – April 2016

Tessa Berring & Ryan Van Winkle

FullSizeRender (1)Tessa says: This making of a poem was fun – the way my words came back from Ryan surrounded by or broken up by his words, how we began to develop themes and imagery, how kittens, clocks, and a body suddenly appeared when I least expected them…
Above all I enjoyed the intention to simply ‘write a poem’ together – no other motive or agenda beyond letting language emerge then pushing it to and fro to see what might happen.

Take Out Now

She thinks prayer is an empty bucket,
an empty bucket for God to fill.
But all her buckets have hairline cracks
and God leaks away with her pistol,
all gunslinger & no horse. Or maybe
prayer is more like a pistol.
Don’t load it, float it –
watch it sink, evidence
of a very simple crime.
Guns and God-slingers – oh It is easy
to close one eye, take aim. Easy,
to take two hands & make a frame.
Easy, to press my palms flat in prayer.
Harder to ask, to fill the borders, to shoot.
He thinks prayer is like solitaire –
a game decided as the shuffle ends.
He calls god a deck of cards, pushes
the chips forward – all in.
As if we could hold the unicorn,
as if we were saints,
or angels wearing holsters! –
as if we were virgins lapping
up the gods as if the gods
were poison, as if we dare to risk
the lot with a miniature lead balloon
bringing us down – sinking.
Be quiet! Prayer is a slab of ice,
a cold cabinet, a sliding door,
the mysterious outline
of a body – something sweet,
a kitten mewing at your breast,
a chocolate puppy wagging
for the stick, a six-shooter,
chamber spinning,
the click-click-bang
of Russian Roulette,
an emptiness, a clock.
A clock? Take out the clock.
Take out the clock then take
out time, take out now
and take out never, take out
before and after this happened –
then look at all the horses
still lunging through sawdust
look at the dung beetles
looking for owls.
Look at the warm grease
lathering the windows,
ice melting, the sound
of a prayer’s faint hum —
no gunshots, no burst balloons
nothing
to tell a tale.
Bio: Tessa Berring is an Edinburgh based artist and writer. She studied cultural history at Aberdeen University followed by Sculpture and Drawing at Edinburgh College of Art. Her work emerges from both an exploration of the phenomenology of objects, and a playful love of text. Her poems are published in a selection of print and on line journals, and she exhibits her curious objects/installations regularly within Scotland, and further afield.

Commiserate — February 2016 — Dave Coates

February 11, 2016

Snapchats of Rain – February 2016

Dave Coates & Ryan Van Winkle

queenDave says: The last time I worked with Ryan on a poem was just after I’d had my application to take a PhD at Edinburgh University accepted – this is one of the only poems I’ve written since then. In between all the thesis-writing, review-writing and, y’know, wage labour, the only poems I’ve been able to write are these little haiku-y things. I like how little space they take, how they feel like they could just go on unimpeded forever like wee flowers with deep roots, that they do a bit of shaking off of the old poet-ego thing. Ryan knows how to give those wee herbs a heartbeat. Cheers pal.x

Snapchats of Rain

in the daily puzzle
we hustle our edges
we build a story

*

this chest, this mind was yanked out
not exactly wanting to go

*

you live a hundred deaths a day, she says – grass,
birds, your mother –
you only get one of your own –

*

so much life is departure
even standing still, ghosts arrive

*

like teeth, she says, take care
of what god gave you

*

fire in the water and
the water was warm
as a stubborn calf in june

*

bring me my timeline of quiet
bring me snapchats of rain
dear friend, whither now our filters?

*

i take a picture, i make a fire
with my own two hands
wood finding use, again

*

accidents of feet and knees
this door, this path, this rain, this wind.

*

all this business about yesterday
when there’s still fuel in the tank

*

don’t be afraid, he said.
He said, here’s how to stay
permanently surprised.

*

And here’s how to shiver
here’s how to get cold

*

seagull feathers at the church door
a little heap of antlers

*

there’s a little space left
between two well-loved
books. a many-hearted shelf

*

there’s a little piece
waiting to be placed

Dave Coates is a poetry critic and PhD candidate. He writes poetry crit at DavePoems and on Louis MacNeice and contemporary Northern Irish poetry at the University of Edinburgh. In 2015 he won the Best Reviewer award from Sabotage Reviews.

Commiserate — January 2016 — Ghazal Mosadeq

January 6, 2016

Qué perra es – January 2016

Ghazal Mosadeq & Ryan Van Winkle

1449867030Ghazal says: When Steven Fowler asked Ryan and I to collaborate on a poem for the Enemies Project, I was in Linares, Mexico. So this piece is shaped by back and forth emails. We decided on the theme of distance, travel and time and used some Spanish and Persian words and sentences  I wrote one passage and emailed it to him and waited for his passage to come. The final piece is one long poem with a more or less unified voice rather than two pieces corresponding with each other. This poem was performed on October 25 in the Rich Mix Centre, London as a part of the Camaradfest II in which 100 poets collaborated in pairs on 50 poems.

qué perra es

They say we age slower
if we’re traveling fast
as if time is a stupid dog
chasing after a train, as if

As if is slayable
when it comes to time
so there is el tiempo del sur
and we have immovable time
so I ask ¿qué perra es?

But they say it’s Mexican time
Ten thousand taxies ahead
Making us age like a. should I say?
I just need to know: ¿qué perra es?
It was a hot night and it made me
want know the time
in Lisbon, in Tokyo

They say, ‘he wouldn’t give me the time
of day.’ They say, ‘I wouldn’t piss on him
if he was on fire.’ They say you must know
‘when to hold them, when to fold them’

But what I want to know
is how will your eyes flutter
when the dealer calls
and you must show what you’ve made
of a lousy hand.

You say it was just a burglary
Attempt, but I think you may have gone too far
By shooting a midlevel engineer
and a top baker and not finding
the 23 pound of black tar heroin
under the armchair and not even knowing
how to get home from there

*

To master Time is to master living.
To master Time is to master dying.
To master time is to disappear
in Monterrey on an independence day party
nine and a half years ago
To master dying by timing living
she masters living

*

Often I ask a question in a language
I don’t fully understand
the response always returns
at the speed of a back-handed ball
dizzy, unsure where on the street to turn
left or turn right but it is clear one must
make a turn somewhere

pas man be samt-i paayeen peecheedam
and that’s exactly what I did
va chand soal porseedam
as one should
¿qué perra es?
¿qué perra es?
And tiptoed around centro historico
so I just turned from
Isabel la Catótica  into Regina
All  in less than 5 seconds

*

Zanini Rallebol
wanna ne ne
wanna na na
Tu veux ou tu veux pas
don’t you na na me with your tongue
don’t you ne ne me with your eyes

*

I have a big old
fashioned bathtub
I hardly use, once
it was my birthday
and I hoped
I could mark it
so I lay there
and counted the lines
on my skin as they appeared

once I walked into a
grand boudoir
and that’s all I did that
day, pacing the floor
barefeet tickled on carpet
naked on starched scratching sheets
licking a pewter candle stick
all the possible comforts, all
the possible violence, all the tourists
clicking pictures, keep shuffling.

VIDEO:

Ghazal Mosadeq is a writer and poet (winner of the Bayhaqi Short Fiction Prize, shortlisted for the Khorshid Poetry Prize). Her debut collection of poetry, Dar Jame Ma, was published in Iran in 2010, and her second book of poems, Biographies,  is published in London, UK by Susak Press, 2015. Her fiction and poetry has been published and translated in magazines and anthologies in Iran, Canada, United Kingdom, Poland, Greece and Portugal. She is a PhD research student at University of London, Birkbeck College.

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