Please join us on zoom for live readings from Pascale Petit, Sudeep Sen and Rosie Gardner on Sunday 14th November at 4pm BST.
This is part of our monthly award-winning ‘Live from the Butchery’ series, hosted by Helen Ivory and Martin Figura from their home (an old CoOp butcher’s shop), and IS&T publisher Kate Birch.
Please register for the event here: eventbrite.co.uk
The day will come when papers
will only tell leaf-stories
of blackbirds’ quarrels with sparrows.
Their pages will roll back into trees
and the front page will be bark.
Tabloids will be hundred-winged birds
singing earth anthems.
I’ll settle into the buttress root of my armchair
and watch ants swarm
to text me secrets from the soil
of all our lost species.
I’ll be surrounded by phones
that light up with chlorophyll,
vibrating like workers in their hives –
an apiary of apps.
I’ll touch a vanda orchid
and it’ll open
easily as hypertext,
everyone will hold leaves
intently as smartphones
to hear them retweet birdsong
This is my homepage, where I belong.
This is my wood wide web,
my contour map
with which to navigate
a new internet –
rootlets sparking towards rootlets
where resistance is in progress –
fungal friends working in darkness,
their windows blacked out.
My body carved from abandoned bricks of a ruined temple,
from minaret-shards of an old mosque,
from slate-remnants of a medieval church apse,
from soil tilled by my ancestors.
My bones don’t fit together correctly as they should —
the searing ultra-violet light from Aurora Borealis
patches and etch-corrects my orientation —
magnetic pulses prove potent.
My flesh sculpted from fruits of the tropics,
blood from coconut water,
skin coloured by brown bark of Indian teak.
My lungs fuelled by Delhi’s insidious toxic air
echo asthmatic sounds, a new vinyl dub-remix.
Our universe — where radiation germinates from human follies,
where contamination persists from mistrust,
where pleasures of sex are merely a sport —
where everything is ambition,
everything is desire, everything is nothing.
Nothing and everything.
White light everywhere,
but no one can recognize its hue,
no one knows that there is colour in it — all possible colours.
Body worshipped, not for its blessing,
but its contour —
artificial shape shaped by Nautilus.
Skin moistened by L’Oreal
and not by season’s first rains —
skeleton’s strength not shaped by earthquakes
or slow-moulded by fearless forest-fires.
Ice-caps are rapidly melting — too fast to arrest glacial slide.
In the near future — there will be no water left
or too much water that is undrinkable,
excess water that will drown us all.
Disembodied floats, afloat like Noah’s Ark —
no gps, no pole-star navigation, no fossil fuel to burn away —
just maps with empty grids and names of places that might exist.
Already, there is too much traffic on the road —
unpeopled hollow metal-shells without brakes,
swerve about directionless — looking for an elusive compass.
No day can be void of
Mystery when you were once
A child. He tells me
I wake in disbelief to a
Familiar hell: the green
Quilt, flat white sky, maggots
Continuing inside my eyes.
I shut them again and burrow
My fists into the sockets,
Like I used to do
At family parties.
The black gives way
To a mandala of pink shrimps,
With eyes of their
Own, multiple and
Chlorinated, flanked with
Liquid mercury. There she is:
She’s curled on auntie’s couch
In a pink dress, like a
Female maladjustment, like a
Little pink shrimp.
With smaller fists
Pressed into a smaller head,
Her black gives way to
Chlorinated angels flanked
With multiple green quilts. She
Knows the curl of
Time and self just as I do, for she
Is all I’ll ever be.
I sit with her a while
Before getting up.