Issue 20: Scott Thurston

Working with Fear

Stretching out my neck into

head’s balance to determine

the ideal identity I see

myself falling short of.

               Shoulder rolls:

to understand the quality

of the professional commitment,

working down into the sore

clump of a wrist, nerves

burnt-out by the keyboard.

               Glimpse into the vertebrae:

slightly hot with over-held

responsibility which suddenly

remembers to breathe, so that

               I can feel the diaphragm relax

as the exhale releases weight

in me. Finding another hot spot

               in the injured ankle, but

a heel linked back up

to the head’s crown.

What is it also of the

indignity – betrayal of a confidence

at work – that tautens in the

stomach, held in again – a tension

that becomes a cue into

              movement, lifting from knees

and cutting sideways, grasps,

               examines the feeling-

contour, being with it so that

              it can be re-experienced,

let go and re-incorporated,

               moving on in the improvisation:

staying still not an option with

               this kind of momentum.

               Other work done here too –

a kind of celebration opens of hours

dedicated to creativity, holding a

space for people to speak their

               truth aloud to one another.

Something happened there in the

               territory along the lower edge

of the ribs, the tiny xiphoid process

between them in front.

               It is thick, thickened by

language where it starts and stops,

transforms itself over and over again

              in this technology.

                                        Batch a splinter of traces

up as equivalent to raising an

ethical hand in angled

               conjecture – a proposition of

jointed alacrity to decide

               to spin a turn of events

ecologically in a space

                entangled with bodies in process.

Scott Thurston is a poet, mover and educator working in Salford, UK. He has published twelve books and chapbooks of poetry, including three full-length collections with Shearsman: Hold (2006), Momentum (2008) and Internal Rhyme (2010). More recent work includes Reverses Heart’s Reassembly (Veer, 2011), Figure Detached Figure Impermanent (Oystercatcher, 2014) and Poems for the Dance (Aquifer, 2017). He edited The Salt Companion to Geraldine Monk (2007) and in 2011, Shearsman published his collection of four long interviews with the poets Karen Mac Cormack, Jennifer Moxley, Caroline Bergvall and Andrea Brady, called Talking Poetics. Scott is founding co-editor of open access Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry and co-organizer of the poetry reading series The Other Room in Manchester. Since 2004, he has been developing a poetics integrating dance and poetry and he is currently collaborating with the dancers Sarie Mairs Slee and Julia Griffin.