Issue 16: Ian Seed


The shell sits in sunlight, your new flirt buddy.

There is much talk of ‘our mother’. It is true

that the pink scar a child never quite loved

was the badge of thousands of fish.

What’s your real name? Someone

has told the bouncers to be nice. If I could speak

I could show you who I really am, engaged

with the holes in the side of a film strip

of snaps along the sands to the dunes.

Why aren’t you at home? We won’t make you

think for yourself. It’s a free ride to the sky, pretty one

where she pours her curves, but I take you

to a smaller landing, where I’m always hanging about.

Some bum notes. We’re nice boys,

have been going strong down the passage

with little sign of disintegrating, holding

our wet hands to our mouths, despite being made

of rubber with visible bolts and junctions

up the rotten stairs, remaking our city.

There are ‘good girls’ and ‘bed girls’

loved and died the day I was sentenced

still heavy from a dream because they cannot keep

a secret. They wear masks, too. Just do the maths.

Eat six Weetabix for breakfast. Nothing but dirty white

comes down into my arms, ripped open at the knees.

We’ll just have to wipe everything off here, for I shan’t sleep.

You need me to do something to you, a random weave.

Hear her apologising down the corridor. There, just take hold of this.

Making up John and Jane and having them do things

her questing tongue would translate. Carry on, sergeant.

I went out of the hotel into the snow, flecked with black.

There’s something funny going to happen. It’s about to begin.

Lukewarm after a Wet Dream

We read the distance, passage it to optic nerves

the blind man knows, though to this extent

it is put into the mouth, brought into play

as a mere equation. The funnel places its lips

for in fog or smoke from which nothing emerges,

we may speak and give the mouth a name,

a vanishing place, but now we go, colours blurry

and everything else is white paper, open

like an abandoned house, in which we move about,

only to convene in the fragile rain. Likewise

some others are there – the wheel turns as it is turned,

the black and white points of view of people

who walk around the rooms become each other’s

backgrounds. If they run away, all is lost

for there in the sky the dangers of lightning touch the forehead.

The dark woman waiting so long will be upheld. I am on my way,

one sunny step further. Take care that the door opens

perfect breasts bared on the orders of the one who rests

more sweetly. There he is in the bar again. I have given

this dream in full with curved edges. As we turn our heads,

the woman with closed eyes and unknown sleep accepts the dark as her own.

Ian Seed’s latest collections of poetry are Identity Papers (2016) and Makers of Empty Dreams (2014), both from Shearsman, while Red Ceilings published his chapbook Fidelities (2015). His translation of Pierre Reverdy’s Le Voleur de Talan will be published by Wakefield Press later in 2016. See He teaches at the University of Chester.


Copyright © 2016 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.