Issue 24: Benedict Hawkins

1: Salamander’s Wool

As if it were the drug, the cure for it, the consternation of it, perpetual favour to it

The funeral pyre consisting of sweet fuel, cypress, fir, larix, yew, and trees perpetually verdant

As if it were Tuesday, ten or eleven days earlier, Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Junius

And the other months whose names derive from numbers, and conclude at ten, truncate

As we, following a Sovnarkom decree, continue to observe Resurrection

For then the sun renews his finished course, and the seasonable spring refreshes the earth

As the pleasance of it, of the having been buried in the sadness of winter now worn well away, relieves

And is germinal, momentary, and forth come judas trees, romaine lettuces, horse chestnut, arugula

As hosts to voluminous silence, boxes of skies of torrential educational-industrial darts

Blossoming sea thrift, fritillary, borage, valerian, wild mustard at its conclusion comes, naturally

As brandy, re-echoing disclosures into the sweet weave of daily makers

And the days roll over like a sleeping dog

As a cat, a buck, a doe; hares, conies in the desert, bats, owls in the shady bowers over

In melancholy darkness hover throughout the weeks of continuous production, drowsy

As natural philosophy is just that changeling jazzy tree beyond my window, so weep, muses

And throw the baby out, poetry in the crook of a spurious London and its technical depression

As if counting backwards, revises, adopts its masked silence, its gaping mouth

2: Specular Stone

And what we found there, on that island whose glassy fixtures manifest as earthenware meet

For archaeological rhapsody, were, formed through senseless salts and air

A great number of gems with heads of gods and goddesses, an ape of agate, a grasshopper, an elephant of amber, a crystal ball, three glasses, two spoons, six nuts of crystal

For then, still as signatures amongst the glossy leaves, though there, in Ithaca, are none to shade

And solemnise, and like marbles the fruits of these trees are small, hard, and issue no juices

For gone is rotundity, sweet continuance, echo, civility bends like an elbow, an oxbow

With so many naughty, lewd and unlawful games, as dice, cards, tables, tennis, bowls, quoits

For do not these send the haunters of them straight a stealing when their money is gone

And then to repeat, variations on a theme of exodus, meditations on the ecstasies of re-echo

For an ape of agate, a crystal ball, an elephant of amber, gems with heads of gods and goddesses

With so many this saraband of exchange, these early fruits from the politics, and from its sex, doubled

For a grasshopper, three glasses, nuts of crystal, two spoons

And some odoriferous or medical thing signifying the dissolution of the impossible suture

For is not summer become winter by the intervention of the third or ‘glorious’ sex

Easier described as an infinite number of crystal walls gathered triangles to encounter your curious eyes

For your curious eyes, your two spoons

And your three glasses, a ball, and practising size as a grasshopper, then an ape, into an elephant

For gods and goddesses, idyll and fleshy softness turned to crystal, glass, crystal, amber, agate, gem

Or a panacea made from a mummified body, most bitter to the taste

For it is bitter to the taste to give and have the bower broken by an incrassating triangulation of gazes

And geological time, an auspice, a letter, the small fruits of a theme of exodus, and lacunae, and departure


With 2 pounds of bones, teeth, with fresh impressions of their combustion, extraneous substances like, pieces of small bones, brazen nippers, combs handsomely wrought, handles of small brass instruments, some kind of opal

Some kind of opal

With much gold richly adorning his sword, two hundred rubies, many hundred imperial coins, three hundred golden bees, the bones and horse-shoes of his horse interred with him

And mentioned in the 'Itinerary of Antonius, on the way from Venta or Castor unto London, Thetford or Sitomagus

Benedict Hawkins is a poet and university administrator based in London. His poems have appeared in a number magazines and anthologies, and his first pamphlet, Ode to John Tristram - a series of poems about instagram, gay porn and Big Muskie (the largest dragline excavator ever built) - was published by Broken Sleep Books in 2019. He is currently making lists of early modern lists.

Copyright © 2020 by Benedict Hawkins, 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.