Issue 23: Alex Wylie



No more of that:

deliberated movements unbecoming of themselves,

becoming someone else’s, someone else,


-ly tightrope-

stumbling the dashed lines in the middle of the road;

dancing a shambly, hypertrophied


who walks it

all the way from town on a Friday night, ready to drop,

star-like, out of constellation Europe

(knowledge of Brexit

nobbling opinion).

Cat’s eyes cataracting, a huge downpour blanks you

watering the ground with mordant urine,

channelling Banksy

’s anonymous

ubiquity; a ubiquitous anonymity

rising like damp in each subsiding city

house by house.

Losing track

here could prove fatal. Your lucky break is broken

across the line, across which you’re taken

by a lucky break

into a blind field –

floundering in that primal matter, or chaos

of mud, where universal darkness

shines, revealed.


No more of what?

That first section didn’t make it particularly clear.

Nevertheless – the wind shakes out

the rain’s mantilla

black with leaves,

traffic advances its cortege to walking pace;

in the bus shelter a people grieves

its expected bus.

The world is small

enough to imagine: endlessly recycled weather

ghost-written by a nameless author

of muted appeal,

pathetic fallacies

of logic: I am not the world’s to mirror, it is mine.

December sky gives up its slow design,

crumples to pieces

what was gathered

in the dark. An autobiography

captured in ice-puddles, my reflection briefly

illustrates the dead –

the living, that is,

a shadow on the lens. The history of elegy

obverts the elegy of history,

Eros and Thanatos’

unhappy marriage.

Anyone’d think they keep us waiting here on purpose.

Immaculate sunshowers turn the page

to foul papers.



No more of this

petitioning for existence. Maybe it’s a good sign

when you’re generally ignored, condign

to a powerlessness

bearing out the day:

not deleted, quite, but marginally justified.

As pulpy nestlings gulp their Twitter-feed

tweet your birth-cry.

I hear a peacock’s

cry, see shimmering forms of transmigrated men and women

calling out vainly to foreign children.

Something on Netflix

perhaps or YouTube

transported me, flung through the wormhole of a diode.

By the time you read this, I will have died.

Do Not Disturb

my profile. Shakespeare

wanted ubiquity and anonymity at once,

achieved it: a oneness of presence,

that clear-as-air

transfiguring mask.

If you can’t see it, maybe shut up and listen.

Consider the self-abasing passion

of Sacher-Masoch

for utopia.

I’ve a sentimental passion for the work of bell hooks,

the fury of the black-boned phoenix

drinking the fire.


No more of these

unnerving displays. Everyone got over their afflictions,

enshrined, happily, in their higher factions –

I mean faculties

(Freudian slip) –

eminent, online, adverting one and all to their

smooth recoveries. A rising culture:

the sweet dollop

of unsavoury

leaven, supplementary quintessence of a rough

artisan’s bread. (Inflation of your dough

will vary.)

Let them eat

bread, choose from our exciting new range of sailor’s rations.

Change tack. Grow stately as a Russian’s

monarchy of wheat.

(Sun overhang-

ing winter trees, skimped with ivy, lights briefly as if

reanimated – come back to life

with a silent bang)


of the world’sbreath. The world is everything that is

the case, whatever that means. Among these

kindling thespians

find yourself cast

as dead wood; discover yourself therein, a red-

hot clinker puffing up the bread

of Culture Fest.


(No more, no more…)

That’ll do, thank you! Don’t call us, we’ll… Just don’t call us.

Eyes down for your last flourish, soulless

exit through stagedoor.




direct your play.

From a bar-room

music splashes like a slop, the door bangs to again

with a kick of storm, spat spats of rain,

wind’s boom-boom

with a rouzled earth;

space unfolding from its narrow box, heaven’s disorder.

When heaven kills a thing it isn’t murder

or even death:


infinities resolve into an image of the actual

and part again. That’s questionable.

It takes a genius

beyond intelligence

to play well with others: even one’s own creations

might rise up and bite with admonitions

of uncommon sense.

Leave it to the gurus.

On the outskirts of the city, a festival of god

or celebration of the burning flood.

Drown like sorrows.

Alex Wylie lives in Leeds and teaches at York St John University. He is the author of Secular Games.

Copyright © 2019 by Alex Wylie, 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.