Issue 29: Alan Baker

Two Celebrations of Geraldine Monk

“stain-cults of fine bohemian isinglass”


Geraldine Steps Out...


... into frescoed sunshine and gargoyled rain

to google phrases and metamorphose the river's glamour

to musical morphemes. She sings strange sciences,

admires lobe scarps and possible poltergeists,

romanesque rotundas, pursues lines of resistance,

manufractured moons over enclosed lanes leading

to a world of letters. Wilfully wandering in Pinstone Street,

sees scripts in oily pools, calligraphic strokes in sunsets.

She stretches melody to a point, like a garden gone

behind glass into some imaginary realm to find The Word

and bring it back. It's always the Word which is always,

in the end, the breath of all of us.



Macabre in Prague...


... and haunted by sounds some consider

shibboleths for tongues untried

from infancy in the chants and litanies,

spells, songings and strangerling language, she turns

the key to the kingdom of undreamable

ornate interiors, memento mori and ice-cream.

A language-free zone for tourists, crumbled tombstones

and keyrings. The voice-patterns, polyphonal, of passers-by

blow the dust from cirrus, airplane trails and modulated verbs:

lingua bohemica with a rich morphology, dipthongs

and consonantal clusters and an elevated alveolar trill

raises spells to the level of poetry and poetry to the charm of spells.


[Alan Baker was born and raised in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and has lived in Nottingham since 1985 where he runs Leafe Press (publisher, in 2011, of Geraldine's Lobe Scarps and Finials) and is editor of its associated webzine Litter. His most recent poetry collections are Letters from the Underworld (Red Ceilings, 2018), Riverrun (KFS, 2019) and A Journal of Enlightened Panic (Shoestring).]

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