Issue 2: Alan Halsey

Skips & Charms against Recession

white persimmon


without permission


‘on our which modernity depends’

and if whether yours or mine it merits

any more than a word defends

or any other language inherits


After falling asleep reading Defoe:

He said, he wou’d send a Man

with ev’ry Poursuivance of Squeeze and Snout;

and, where we now doubted,

we wou’d find ourselves doubled.


This says what I think it

or does it mean that nature aborts

‘an errant operational culture’?

If you listen carefully

you’ll hear the cadence of codenames

erupt in such a caustic acoustic

you’ll wish you

could forget you’d been warned.


A shifter such as ‘Britain’

in Spicer’s Holy Grail;

in Morganwg’s Triads;

in a speech by a Scottish PM.


Intention – Retrospect – Judgment –

‘yesterday when urgent desire

threatened to eclipse them’.

The author’s other works include

Newts & Nymphs: Essays on a Private Pond.

He is said to have said

‘There’s a receipt for everything

and everything in its receipt’

is the 21st century’s true motto.


One whom One whom One

a Slight yoyo


The language

landscape of parenthesis watching

(a version of Pastoral)

(a shifter such as ‘Britain’

when Demetrius

by order of the emperor

as Plutarch tells us

made the voyage

thunder & lightning

the locals said a daemon

of great power was departing)


Apostrophes make no apology.

Despite the initial resemblance

between the Anglican Church

and Agatha Christie

fate can be denied.

Shelley’s bubbles burst

on Watts’ ever-rolling stream

and Heraclitus weeps.

There’s still dormant respect

in a morbid aspect.

The author’s other works include

Morticians & their Mortification:

The Imaginary Conversations

of Lucian, Landor & Beddoes.


‘she is Rimbaud’

‘a bit less and the rest or a similar’

‘That journey was a thousand years ago’.

What would we say

if someone went to Poundstretcher

looking for the key to the Modernist code?

And if he found it? Should we send him

or her to a convent or convention?


Re logoclasody

Dear Gregory

the Logos is certainly

an ordering principle.

Your message

came with the message








Never did a nerve

have such an ending

as in the quest for the Sangraal

where as so often in the wordland

inaction is the key.

Some days Parson Hawker

couldn’t tell a copse

from a corpse

even though

considered as timber

woods are if not misprinted

deeply verbatim.



          restless spectre



                 made of


                               until it was


                 by a heart quake






Ho! for the Sangraal! –

Sir Galahad drives on.

At Recycling

‘Leave it there, pal’

quoth Sir Tristram.


It wasn’t as things turned out

a beetle in his matchbox

but his indisputable real world

which on the day of publication

changed beyond recognition.

And it wasn’t what he once

mistakenly called ‘feathered water’.

Nor were all the guilty

innocent in any common sense

if there is one. These lines

confuse three people but weren’t

they all confused from the start?

The reader is advised not to try

to name them. Dear reader, relax.


[Insert a portrait of the poet

in pastoral pinstripe. Remember

that a forthcoming article remarks

he is ‘nearing sixty’. Are those

laughter lines heroic couplets?

How many times has he

stepped in the same river?

Write his obit and say

in less than 500 words

why he thought that way.]


I looked over yonder

& what did I see

but what I’d been told

all the white knights

in the island of Britain


searching bad debt

for a quid pro quo






silent corrections.

The distance

I thought

it doesn’t


The author’s other works

are too numerous and scarce

to be listed here

but he sometimes remarked that

hum when erased leaves an

as well as bling and bled

not to mention ility and iliation.

He also often wondered what

R had done

to be heaped with rocks

refuse rubbish ravage ruins

& Resurrection.


it’s not as if meaning means

the imaginary something

something like ‘menagerie’

a hinge of exchange or henge

that hangs in the air and the air

as if obliged hangs itself

Alan Halsey's Lives of the Poets was recently published by Five Seasons; Term as in Aftermath: Poems 2005-8, is forthcoming from Ahadada. Marginalien (Five Seasons 2005) and Not Everything Remotely (Salt 2006) are gatherings of earlier work. He is currently editing the collected earlier poems of Bill Griffiths for publication in 2010. He lives in Sheffield

Copyright © 2009 by Alan Halsey, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.