Issue 19: Jonathan Catherall


the insects came whirring

only one in a suit and       by biofeedback can we

teach teenagers to control their emotions?

you alight on this one verb and suck

              1.  cut into sections

established the border there     our own

aftertaste of what’s been                voided

and rotting fruit         I wish

you’d be more exact          exacting

you after all are human         a fragrant

summery pudding        the light

is multiple      bifurcation

is your middle name    

              2.  notched

engraved in the distance

there’s a writhing to maintain

where each segment articulates

pulse stutter or nociceptor

response forming into curlicues

or other lures so that the brush

against cloth and abscond

with a second thought

              3.  adapt

a motion-sensor    following a light-track

glow-w   and retracing the     leaves

behind a tremor   and back    formation

of the    mathematical    of the

nervework     the incorporation

of written materials    shavings and rinds  

the loose    chewed news     a-flutter

and reset   permission to calculate

the series    and reset     to within an inch

of your life   going back over    going

back over     going over    uneven territory

avoiding the dip     after lunch

going over   legs waving   befuddled hippo-

campus     legscrabble    perhaps   

it was that rose-delicate prawn I ate?

              4.  a brand new day

alight on a finger or finger a palm or shoulder

over a thousand times our own weight

righting writing a rout do we really

have to go over this again? we’ve already

or already gone over this ground this oscillation

this subject to new information a working

mandible hypothesis froth over a palpable

absorption itself protrusion again an overextension rerouting

itself protrusion of grubbing mouth spaces

clicking selective electric reiteration

a generation slick with fruiting and overwriting

              5.  recovery

under a resounding shield the fused elytra there is no getting past

that unfamiliar word an emotion kept in a shoebox surviving

nuclear or scraps living on a figment leaf or a pierced jar

rustles in the undergrowth I was constructing an elaborate

hide if you can I’m a keen armature photographer

a sheathed shapely a much-applauded chitinous segment

from behind the blood curtain a thief casing the joint

              6.  those eyes

gives way to pathos         or blinding

hail of noise in the channel

gruesome the way that they

between the soft material

of the neck and the hard

material of the head     & its insistent      

opening       jetblackness    

to an unknown 

consoles       motorised jaw    governance

the signal failure of this or this

to bring any      nectar-drunk     

with a wingspan of six feet

& the revolving    excess of stimuli

Jonathan Catherall has published poems in Datableed, 3AM, Tears in the Fence, Envoi, Visual Verse, and The Frogmore Papers. He has performed his work at Caplet, Words & Jazz, and in the spontaneous poetry/art collaboration event Erratic Scores; and has reviewed for The Literateur and The Wolf.  He works for the Wellcome Trust supporting public engagement with science.