Issue 9: Samantha Walton


The solid ground pities you

you with your skull sunk low in wine,

& thick-haunched bee with the notes you collate, which repay you 

with otherworldliness in moments, hypertension throttled & heart stung

as you pace the park, shoe knot a circuit of promise which leaves you, 

& the restive galaxy, pushing on a string

It's a base today, in the doorways

people are waiting to grind themselves to noise

& women are reduced to proxies

metonyms for disposable morality 

deferred for modernity's sake,

open to nerve-ache, flood & to the West

& its infections

Sunlight is streaming through the antique glaze,

& My love for you is galling

you state, over lemon polenta cake

I'm paraphrasing now, but it’s something like, 

I am a bore-hole, & must be plumbed for minerals 

& despised

Why not just say – the water born from the rock is cool

but you have been raped by industry 

& in many ways unnaturally encased

Old injuries beep down the blackened feeding tube

clarty data, filings & distractions 

for service providers comatose on cash

behind the blinds which have been pulled down all around

We pay up, & the soles I touch with my feet which 

correspond to the street

really are responsible for the global tarnishing &

prophetic rumblings of the tectonic plates beneath


Employing sharp tactics, the thistled glare 

berates us, love-struck & pompous 

as we descend, leaping from the peak

Face-off with magma

Wet earth leaching & the

almond scent of gorse,

a slipshod embrace, an ill-starred precipice

In motion with rock, bud, mineral

all things animate to 

clasp our anklets, make us ashamed

But I am not the dull natural lover disembodied

your soft blue anticipation

impenetrably curtained & prophesised 

by old anthologised dedications to 

the naked flame.

I am not the unlived hollow arm

taking flesh limbs & hooking you

sunk in my own wares or dangerously bangled

Night is a black cloth scarified with false light & diesel

but the pestilent air we breathe

is sweeter than the dream of transport

Our course the refraction of each other in each other's eyes

Cosmic punctuation! We re-join the dots to cut out dead Gods

& place our white hearts in fabricated chaos

Culture-clean & mosaicked with thoughts tired & unthought

We are there, stuck & peeping 

at the hapless cycle of an ash-hawking sun

Samantha Walton has published two chapbooks: tristanundisolde (Arthur Shilling Press 2010); City Break Weekend Songs (Critical Documents 2011) and is working on a third collection for publication in 2013. Poems have been published in the Cambridge Literary Review, Hand + Star, Other Room Anthology, the Aubin and Wills Almanac, Scree and other small magazines and journals. Samantha’s read in the UK, Ireland and the US, at festivals in Surrey, Cork (SoundEye 2011), London (Greenwich Cross-Genre Festival 2010) and Scotland (Alloa Poetry Jamboree 2012), and has a recording on Archive of the Now. In 2011 she co-organised ConVersify, a three-day poetry conference and festival at the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Poetry Library. In April and May 2013, she will be Poet in Residence at the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, working on intersections between lyric poetry and the life sciences.