Issue 29: Ian Seed


Folded, cold, in thick disguise, she shakes

her head, bends over him, where he has taken

residence on the path, eyes half-closed:

‘I do not kiss statues. There will be

no more garden. You must learn to

welcome me, you who are deep in dreams.’

I run downstairs, not touching the banisters,

following her following him deeper

into the garden, now full of dry, split

leaves, some floating by in the current

of an icy stream, their sorrow pulled away

under a mossy bridge. He has crossed

to the other side. There remains

only the story of the way, where we lose

ourselves in the spaces as they appear

slipping through our fingers, open and bright.






This betrayal does not mean my promise

did not exist. You take the key, still there

under the stone by the back door. Lost

among the lumber we turn defenceless,

make a search of the room again. A fly’s

flickering against the window testifies

to its dream of elsewhere. In dim light

you kiss me, in this place we have entered

so rashly.  The slant sun’s silvering

dismantles our memories. In your breath

in the cold, is a picture of the world.

There’s a feeling of something different

on the other side, where every piece

of the story would fit, where from cut

to cut the stills of the film of our lives

would become like our tears believable.






Deep on our island, we dream of being

discovered by a long and perilous route.

It never ends: the sea journey, the story

told just for the darkness, even if later

nothing adds up at the edge of the waves.

Before us dissolves the boundary where

water meets land. Our lives no longer have

a shape, only an endless stretching away.

The more we speak of them, the less real

they seem. The old times have to wait,

though the same report, the means of return,

line our faces. They can only deepen

like a final judgment from a distance

which closes. Yet at sunrise, voyagers may

emerge in a slow light beyond the brink

while the water breathes at our feet.



[Ian Seed’s collections of poetry and prose poetry include The Underground Cabaret (Shearsman, 2020), Operations of Water (Knives, Forks & Spoons Press, 2020), and New York Hotel (Shearsman, 2018), which was a TLS Book of the Year. The Thief of Talant, the first translation into English of Pierre Reverdy’s hybrid novel, Le voleur de Talan, was published by Wakefield Press (US) in 2016. Ian’s translation of Max Jacob’s collection of prose poems, The Dice Cup, was published by Wakefield Press (US) in October 2022. Most recently, he has a chapbook, I Remember, out from Red Ceilings Press.]



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