Issue 2: Ian Seed

Even as we arrive

As yet incomplete, the misery of refurbishment

provides what she wants in the form of a world sheet

whose building blocks grow thickly as in a church.

(She worked first as a model, not a local one.) The point

particles reduce the immense valley to a characterless room

without the protection of extra dimensions. Three

children sick, she wrinkles her nose and orders noodles.

When the calculation is done, the elegance and flexibility

of her approach – the sky low and black over the country –

makes me shoot up taller than the other boys. Throwing

such a ball inside the hose proves testable. The wind

comes in from the sea like a machine gun. Isn’t that far away?

An ant crawls inside, very complex, covered in the sweat

of four deserters from a children’s ship which is my dream.

Naked, tied to a bed, in another context it might look grubby.

We arrive at the source from different directions as tiny,

vibrating objects. Come here and warm yourself. Early on

when I played the event horizon, I could split and combine

on the street with my companions, well-spoken ladies,

black holes or fuzz balls, emitting and absorbing fifty

voices together and then two or three at a time, enough

to eat in any case.  That morning we got up with the rain.

She grabbed my umbrella as I walked along the street.

‘The road is not far but where does it end? I’m leaving you

this lifeboat’. There were orders to follow, the ones

I thought had disappeared with the loss of our ship.

Lunch was brought in. We thrived on multi-tasking

though we were both afraid of the water, now empty.

Artificial paradise

He raised his pencil so that its shadow fell.

Dreaming of a perfect happiness, he died

with the brain of a child.

He can remake himself where there is silence.

He rises to his feet and draws the curtains open.

Can you see the blood on his mouth?

A seam runs through each of us. On our errands

we move to no purpose. Instead of unfolding,

the events add nothing to our story.

He fingers the pencil with a mocking smile

shimmering between loss and disappearing again.

He has no idea where you are. He dreams of an image

that would be the automatic singularity of this world,

his legs weak beneath him. On the edge of Milan

they stubbed out a cigarette on his butt-cheek.

No one intervened, though there were eyes in the dust

which came from their shoes walking away.

The tang of burnt flesh where he dreamt

of a world functioning without him. Under the eyelids

the real subject of the story is fog.

You have to pay for any kind of dirty behaviour.

Abandoned in a doorway she becomes blurred, dissolves.

She reeks of cigarettes and piss. What the hell.

But should we rescue absence and emptiness

on the miracle of a whim where technology

is caught in its own trap? Laws, institutions, work, security etc

but I didn’t come here to talk politics, I came to get laid

before leaving for the station, the coming of despair

quickly stifled up the alley past the hotel.

How can we talk to our teenage children?

Their shadows ripple on the cobble-stones

among the glass and cans. The sound of high heels recedes.

Yet somehow he got back, flowing in all directions

came full circle returning to himself, to his past

like a dress rehearsal for a play he would never be in.

Under the window, almost invisible.

Ian Seed is editor of Shadowtrain books and webzine: His poems, fiction, translations and reviews have appeared in magazines such as Green Integer Review, PN Review, Shearsman, Stride, and Tears in the Fence. His first-full length collection, Anonymous Intruder, is published by Shearsman books in 2009:

Copyright © 2009 by Ian Seed, 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.