Issue 23: Ian Seed


He isn’t aware that on his nose a transparent beard has appeared.

The impossibility of the best disguise makes her melt

into herself. Bones – he draws the liquid through

a short, fat, silver-coloured one. Such a funny shape,

difficult to hold, but it makes you wrap your hand around it.

Its space unfolds. He keeps stealing

away to make his propositions, but he comes again

as disfigured shadow with bits and pieces of childhood.

How taut the plot. It ends

in a forgotten reserve of air. What with the door as it shuts

you have to go in search of something else

such as sticking knives into your own photoshop-smooth

forehead, so that you can gaze into the passages made by them

which promise everything which isn’t here.


Where he swept song your white

mouth has stopped further discovery

on the path, the one you produced

begins, having the earth

you made it not the desert

but in yourself circle where you still

my arms can hold daylight, all

your limit stretches swells

skin, is touched this living

separation our bodies mime

except I exist turning ready-made

wholeness be named, my tears, your

cold childhood, the pulse of petals

remains open we are buried

roots, our blood in them

they are fixed and repeating

this sense as high return, the day

so distant between, re-opening

stars and my body mimes a pool

mirror the child water what distance

the sky such a burning separation

you wake the past day, you enter

through cries.

Ian Seed's latest collection is New York Hotel (Shearsman, 2018), nominated by Mark Ford as TLS Book of the Year. His most recent chapbook is Distances (Red Ceilings, 2018). Forthcoming is Bitter Grass (Shearsman 2020), a translation from the Italian of Gëzim Hajdari. Seed’s translation of Pierre Reverdy’s Le voleur de Talan (the first into English) is available from Wakefield Press.

Copyright © 2019 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.