Issue 23: Patricia Farrell

from Handshoe

          (after Max Klinger Ein Handschuh (Paraphrase on the finding of a glove))

this is

a game of chance  

throwing the ice

into the air

and watching it fall  

and for your next

impossible trick  

you are angling to

catch it in the glass  

holding your breath

for an instant

at the event horizon  

skating perfectly

on the meniscus  

but as you follow the trajectory  

the glass performs

a topological manoeuvre  

flattening and freezing

as you hit the surface  

opening a hairline crack  

can’t know where you is  

a fissure in the think  

how is it happening

at this end of the room  

sure sure

you were


at the other  

or does this is

in a beginning  

an heteronomous

categorical imperative

of justice  

to speak

the unthinkable

next move  

wobbling super-saturated  

on its catastrophic edge  

it all makes

too much sense  


as if you were a poet  


using a multiplicity

of devices

to structure

your surface-making tools  

are these the facts

that poets like  

like that handshake

was a challenge  

juxta enjambement

and position

of the upward downward slopes  

repetition and changes of the mixture  

spreading the earth

and doing the loopholes  

so work

you superficial bastard  

you are now the author

of a personal quote form  

and it is on the front line  

and are you trying

to break this

without separating  

it’s an image   

speaking with the borders  

celebrating this

occasional courtship  

this pagan failure  

and who

would read the next job  

a different

congenital frequency

which is where  

without permission  

there is a sudden

sharp noise  

the voice breaks 

is it a crack down  

or is it cracking-up  

crack on  

was that a joke  

humour is the

holy of the

wholly holey surface   

the sound of symbols  




a stone hits the window  

and you cracked your tooth as you fell  

something you slightly non-specifically  


to reach what was inside  

just a moment  

a small resounding moment

of perversion  

a turning aside of itself  

but contrariwise you see  

to crack means

finding a solution  

so blind drunk

you can’t

see anything  





eggs into the mixing bowl  

the lightning is not cracking   

no up  

you’re on the floor  

at the frontier  


where the earthquake

cracked the walls

and the roof collapsed  


thin lines and narrow spaces  

tracing and marking down

a translation

from chance to skilful  

light and deft  

dancing delicate  

rolling through

beyond the dead-end of the flaw  

which way will you fold your soul  

performing acts of perverse



you need

a bargaining chip for gaps  

light the conceptual stunts  

transform the devices  

skip the delay  

configure the melting ice  

here are the facts

you have not  

you are not  

all here  

but listen  

how pretty  


a moment of silence  

or to turn your head  

the force so cold  


come back  



and vast  


calling it an accident  

an instant  



force flashing  

to get the last word  

the first would help  

the excursion terminated  

or run forever

after the penultimate drink

Patricia Farrell is a poet and visual artist. She has collaborated with other writers and artists, most notably Robert Sheppard, as well as the installation artist Jivan Astfalck, on the project B*twixst, exhibited in Birmingham, Portsmouth and Cologne, and A Space Completely Filled with Matter with the dancer, Jennifer Cobbing. Her collection, The Zechstein Sea, was published by Shearsman in 2013 and her latest publication is High Cut: My Model of No Criteria (Leafe Press 2018). She completed a PhD thesis in 2011 on poetic artifice in philosophical writing.

Copyright © 2019 by Patricia Farrell, 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.