Issue 16: Iain Rowley


‘Why leave the sea? To carry a gift – the gift of life. But it is to the earth that you preach fidelity. And forgetfulness of your birth.’ — Luce Irigaray, Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche

bullet point pressing

for consent to be distant

surveyor contact

hydrophobic glass-eyeing

take a little reed

be taken into high block

click dura mater

outside the potential space

cracked-crazed paradise

stone from sharp insolation

surveyor measures

the moral ground on the hoof

inflamed horse’s tail

forget the Hippocrene

subjective dry mouth

plucking ropey saliva

rotten egg ructus

with his stagnant projections

             O daughter that was

             a cautionary account

                           transition into

                           a watery stage ‘aah’ing

                                          covers vestibule

                                          against grave linear speed

                                          joint decompression

                                          minimal striated tone

             still shudder to think

             Mnemosyne must preserve

an after-image

bubbling on the smooth surface

an oval window

ruptured by naval patrols

carefully balanced

reproductive budgets shot

belly burial

pit for aerojet agents

perchlorate short shelf

life carrying miscarriage

            entertain only

            the impossibility

            of a driving on

            without a trace of damage

            to work for ending

            its accumulation

                           hydrostatic force

                           evenly distributed

                           no crushing blood tide

                           or being engrossed

                           in a mystique of the land

                                          but closeness to an

                                          element spread before the

                                          synthesis of stars

                                          what breath is this O daughter

                           guide her alongside

                           dorsal thermoregulate

            for another’s sake

            anticipate impressions

of lipophilic

toxic crystals cord exposed

            in Watsu cradle 

                           ripples across fretless neck

                                          fibrous strings buzzing

                           hard data dioritic

                                          aspiration gives

                                                         in to supple rebonding


                                                         double notes of a warbler

                                          no place certainty

                                                         splash-happy syncopations

                                          in Erewash Meadows

                                                         before the diversity

                                          of native contents

would succumb to a species

of domination

            strain to rest assure

            what seems terminable is

            kept in bearable

                           range of a newfound expanse

for merchant service

her substance keel-hauled and flogged

            the numskull master

                           will taste his own medicine

            I wear a mop wig

                           judgement inflicts upon him

                           the ‘sweat’ deck-jigging

                           we jab his nates with pen-knives

                                          IV lines will change

                                                        into grape-vines through airs of

                                          Orthian ardour

                                                        dropout spontis wage a war

                                          black flags by free ports

                                                        set sail for sources of wealth

                                          beyond the fat years

                                                        strip gourmets of Kobe beef

                                          from cows emptied out

                                          by special forms of massage

                                                        raid privation pools

                                                        built in the banks of the spree

                                                        don’t spend infinity

                                          in the pinch of decrees to

                                          pipe down bottle-feed

                                          on premium fleshy pink

                                          such a fancy price

                                                        imagination avails

                                                        itself of the lost

                                                                      at first sight a white speck

                                                                                     scatters the sunlight

                                                                      the total shape too far gone

                                                                                     mimesis reflex

                                                                                     make ventral arch stretch the tongue

                                                                                     pulse conducted through

                                                                                                     steadily rising contours

                                                                                     of a signature

                                                                      I can’t really remark on

                                                        scent of cassia

                                                        generated as received

                                          where there is desert

                                                        a caravan passes through


                                          leaving signs obstructive tribes

                                          can’t identify

                                                        runoff percolates into

                                                        underground cisterns

                                                        stored for serving points of flight

                                          finding the Fertile Crescent

                                                        raises the venous

                                          return clearing waste products

                                                        palms lapping softly

                                          against slightly parted thighs

                                                        and what high relief

                                          what face is this O daughter

                                          in the tympanum

                                          dolphins’ beaks meeting

                                          above the veil and waved hair

                                          from a multi-leaved

                                          acanthus cup comes a head

                                          and winged torso

                                                        dive in vagus-inspired


                                                        know the solution hitting

                                                                      the back of the throat

                                                        can’t make any inroads through

                                                                      amniotic density

Iain Rowley is a poet and essayist with a particular interest in Modernist and contemporary innovative aesthetics, Marxist-feminist and new materialist currents of thought, and figurations of the body that contest technocratic governance. His work has recently been published in Intercapillary Space, and another poem is forthcoming in Tears in the Fence 64.


Copyright © 2016 by Iain Rowley, 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.