Blackbox Manifold

Issue 12: Lawrence Upton

Characters in their own stories

Characters in their own stories intermix

on avenues of danger, those not in

the frame invisible.

                                Now, and then, one

flees from us, becoming unreadable

from a point of view. More’s discernible

of those who stay, skewing interpretation.

We have fun at carnival, consuming that

which might have grown fat, fearing death. That fear

animates each. As we stir at our own fear.

Some of us. Fragmentary godlike words

collide in test chambers where exponents

of lies and terror clamber round others,

anthropomorphic inhumanity,

clinging. Indolence provides the ground cover,

overwhelming fences, bridges, thoroughfares.

Stories get muddied, muddled; directions

change in direction in their fat middles,

adjectives turned eponyms. Apposition

personalises fragmentarily.

Time for Herod to ponder Truth. We must

get moves on. Before we know, we’ll be back

at beginnings, every sphere windfallen,

every name half-lost; waiting

preparing the dead

the thing about preparing the dead

the way we prepared them!

was that they were less prepared than ever

when we were done

their insides were contained and muffled

their mouths were left inoperative

had they known, they might have felt discouraged

they were books of a single page, and that uncut

do you read me? / No / No? / No

Pickled in their own piss

Wrapped up in their own sticky blood

We prepare ourselves or let go the dead.

We prepare, ourselves, the dead.

Two graveyard poems

self   of friends

one selves; and, then,

regains, in timely

measure, growing

in importance, importing

ephemera and processes

taking down such barriers

as exist, fragmenting

parts played up and out

let us prey upon each other


ambiguities of inquiry

not   to react

inertia holding

a vacuum polarised

a set of expectations

glancing at his watch in shadow

glancing at his watch in shadow

an expression as deep in appearance

as it is shallowed in emotion

head nodding its numbing routine

as the way he committed data

from recollection to the hard world

news from blood rushed through a brain

being shown forth elsewhere, sand grains

on a promenade before rain water

pushes them into the gutter

down the drains and thence into ocean

where in due course they round more than once;

and so with this idiot chasing time –

as he smokes too rapidly for breath

and begins coughing, which lasts some gasps

Lawrence Upton ( poet and graphic & sound artist Recent publications: wrack (2012); Memory Fictions (2012); Unframed Pictures (2011); and Some commentaries on Bob Cobbing (2013). He co-edited Word Score Utterance Choreography in Verbal and Visual Poetry (1998) with Bob Cobbing, with whom he also made Domestic Ambient Noise, spanning 300 pamphlets totalling more than 1800 pages and taking over 6 years to complete (1994-2000).

20 + text-sound compositions with John Levack Drever.

Second solo exhibition (“from recent projects”) September 2012, London. Made photo, synthesis (for solo viola) on commission to Benedict Taylor (2013), now being premiered (Subverten CD).

Convenes Writers Forum Workshop (since Cobbing's death in 2002). Visiting Research Fellow in Music, Goldsmiths, University of London.