Blackbox manifold

Issue 15: Mark Greenwood


Frail on my eye

Frozen hair to head

Lingering on the surface

Trailing crest reddish at ray tips

Tapering to point

Abraded silver lacking glass bladders

Oblique mouth

With no visible teeth

Undulating dorsal

To keep the body straight

Iron in eye

Dipping dark film

Foretelling earthquake

Slippery augur


Lifting breath

Of stirred birds

Rolling underneath bleak gash

Buckled hurl and glide

Weeping frame of dark

Snatch of flame

Tongue to wound

Several sins steeped in shadow

Fear not slander rash

In furious winter rage

Under green plunge

Gargling jolt in forth corrupt

Obscene vile tongue

Poking and writhing

Ecstasy of fumble bitter

Form wrapped in mantle grey

Resting upon the lap

Sigh shapeless in rustic

Dipping into holy tests

Stream reclining to bend

Knotted oak revolve

Spreading breeze

In silent scene

Black shore

Tormented by careless skill

Unceasing murmur close

In secret slow creeks

Running behind as fast as I can

Clutching camera and binoculars

Heart rusting in bellow pitch

Skimming down to wave hands

Heavy barge trail

Breezes dusk and shiver

Weaving magic curses

In damp purple clusters

Heavy storm east wind

Low sky raining pale

Bold seer in trance

Water black dim expanse

Blood frozen

Gleaming tube curve

Floating by

Eternal mask steadfast

Sun symmetry spread

Aching serenity hem

Meek shine

Casting brow divine

Torn and troubled

Full nerve frayed

In cold star gentle

To break sleep and sweat

Supressing breath

Like a dying mammal

Confronting scattered bones

Where the vile worm rests


With a final wave of the hand and three squawky cheers from us and the penguins, Sir Ernest and his crew set off on their perilous voyage’. — From The Diary of Thomas Orde-Lees

devil hole

devil of a hole

thin strips cut of crisp surface

sheer legs crooked

in canvas slacks

peering out of tattered tent

arranging strap settings

in routine of daily work

interweaved spirals

pressed into rope

turning across the wind

leaving the headsail backed

strenuous effort and over exertion


heavenly pole

eighty eight degrees

and running risk of frostbite

black fingers

like stubbed cigars

displayed on bright surface

of white peaks

and silhouettes

hibernian hero

sun of cush

hunting again

with a beard full of frost

in brittle blocks

pony floundering

up to belly in snow

futile efforts pointless

in broadside blizzard

whipping the scurvy neck

into frozen suppuration

once a shiny new cap

once a stiff white collar

once an upright mast


as union jacks flapped

upon closer view she did not look so neat and trim

as the deck was littered with boxes and crates

and at least a thousand dogs:


split lip



owd bob

hussy and samson

to name a few

in dogloo

Mark Greenwood is a performance writer from Newcastle but now based in Liverpool. His first poetry collection White Mice, All Colours was published in 2010 and he has performed his works internationally as well as appearing on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb in 2015. His poems mediate on labour, endurance and defunct working-class rituals using a Northern, punk vernacular. Mark received a doctorate in 2013 from Kingston University for his thesis and 48-hour performance, Lad Broke: The Performing Body in the Event of Writing. He has also taught Performance Writing at Dartington College of Arts.

       He regularly performs his experimental works and is currently collaborating with a number of sound and performance artists including Nathan Jones, a.P.A.t.T and Cavalier Song. ‘Greenwood’s poetic works offer us a slightly misshapen but recognisable recording of everyday experience, of a land that has never quite existed or a parallel place’. Rachel Dobbs, Gambling Man, 2011.