Issue 24: Kat Addis


             creation of parsley 



In the sweetness of the first stage

he who hides, sees. It’s all as green as grass

something grows in a type of time, the iron will, my bad.

Why sing the sickness that neutralises

I will sing as I see myself in freedom

while love disdains to stay in my hotel

then surely it is just like how he increases

too high            of that which predicts me

of those who are made the example of men.

Even if my hard scampi

was written off for a thousand penises

they’re already tired of it, and in almost every valley

the sound of sighs is winding.

They seek to earn the trust of a virile life

and if memory won’t help me here

sea urchins might          the torments

one thought remains but it is frivolous

everyone else is turning their back

it makes me sweet in my own strength.

I hold something inside me, I am the scourge.


I confess that from the very first sex

attack               many years have passed

so I have changed out of my youthfulness

and I am making ice creams in my heart:

mint, having almost adamantine qualities

distancing           left                       hard

tears           not anymore    bathe my breast

nor break the sound. What I didn’t possess

appeared to me to be a miracle in others

the answer to who I am is not who I was                  [Alas, what am I? What was I?]

the end of life comes, loads up the evening

sensing the crudeness of my reasoning

percussioning                         strangulation 

over the skirt                             up-hitched



rudeness or a self possessed woman

for whom little already never danced

cunning or strength or demanding an apology

I will transform into double that which I am

making myself a living man and a green laurel

in cold stations don’t lose the layers

what makes me when      I first realize myself

in the metamorphosis of my person

a glimpse of my hat in some green fronds

they all hope to have for their crown

the feet are mossy and rooted

as every membrane responds to the spirit

daisies bloom over the woody earth

watered not by a penis but a completely different river

my arms mutate woodily into two branches

nor does it distress me more

to find myself covered in white blossoms.

So this is how I protest and die,

my hopes, as we know, mounted too high.


Because I didn’t know where or when

anyone might find me alone and crying

by the well where a washed mistake might go

seeking inside the waters a sense of time

was already never then, my tongue not touched

I saw power and his malignant fall 

from which I absorbed the colour of a swan.

Then I thundered along the lovely banks of drink

chattering and singing always

calling for mercy in a strange voice

lemonade sweet and wine-filled

this loving racket was designed

to humiliate my fierce-pipped heart

in the past that is, something recalled

but much more than that too, for as they say,

from the sweetness comes the bitters.



I have to say something

                                                    from the position that I’m in.

This evasiveness has infuriated all the animals 

one of them lunges for my chest and grabs out my heart

saying understandably           “I can’t make words out of this”

he divides it, dressing each part in its own outfit

so I don’t recognise them. My sense of human!

The truth is an anorak’s hood blown taut with wind

using TetraPak to body out my buzz in

a kalaedoscopic clutter-fuck of cowboy figurines

one of whom is secretly alive.                                        oh boy.



She spoke as her eyes misted up like car windows

and an earthquake ascended from tremors in the stone

I listened: “you don’t have to read this but if you do”

she said: “please don’t condemn me for my simplicity”


How I don’t know, but you showed yourself independent

                                 you are not as responsible as I am

I put everything there is between life and death

                                                 but because time is short

there’s pressure, the lead breaks

             there are more things on my mind than are written

some trespass, I speak of it to someone

      they give out shiny medals to those who listen hardest.


Death becomes an urge to 

pull up the potatoes with both of your hands

please give help to the afflicted virtues

the living voices that have been forbidden

to shout ink at this birthday card that will get lost in the post

                            “I’m not even mine, I have no presents!”


I did believe her eyes

the indignity of doing that repaid my dignity

this ball of dust was arduous to catch

it felt like tailor-made humiliation

there’s something about sepsis in your chart

were you ever bathed with a sponge?

who did you pray to when you wrote a poem?

looking for a reason roundabout the place

like someone who sleeps in back gardens

and wakes up one morning in grass shivering fragments.



stand around accusing the evasive tabloid of your own thoughts

as some generic water swells the break between paving stones

that you always try to never step on

fall in and disappear under

                                I feel that with time I will come to be less

                   bury me in a waterfall of pies while I smoke a pipe

clunky                      make me humid and take me on a journey,

perhaps             do you dare to carry me to the baptismal font?

The manifestation of a speaking cunt

God will mix your spirits for you

you are already above all thanks

I want to haul you back into your maker

you wizened loaf of bread, you sage stuffing

you come blood yourself up in humble colours

and bow to me. To me?



Like a contrarian peacock I sustain myself against your style

you then are eyeless, and I am a pack of sharpest needles

that had better not be repeated

one weird thing can give birth to so many others.


Porky Madonna is making a fuss 

about miracles and the recognition of her life

I think she is sick, inflating in the radius of pity,

it might be kind to let her go back home,

for nothing in the world could have prepared her for the faith of men

which has more bone-breaking reprisals

more dryly turning away and scorning

and bottling up bits of you in ancient reliquaries

than the other option, which is to die without a name.



A very painful and erroneous poltergeist wants me to remember

my pilgrimage of coins across the desert

but it was many years long and arduous

and it all came to a very bad end

and I returned to the damp earth

believing that that was the most pain I’d ever feel.


I, Louise, followed my own desires

and through all the chatter

presented myself, beautiful and crude

naked in a fountain

I was as strong as any rope

I existed because I was incomplete

I murdered shame, so they stopped to look, 

in broad daylight

I sprayed cooling water on their faces

I said things that were true, although they sounded like lies at the time

I drew myself in my own image

and though that was lonely as a marked deer

I translated myself from forest to forest

and felt even more myself as the siege on me intensified.


Song, you may be nothing more than a cloud of gold,

a fire suspended inside a book

                                   a pube

but there turns out to have been an angel up in the air

wrapped in boiled cotton, lifted up

she knew a plague in 1564,

I want to be her sweet little couverture

    and she knows it: l’amour Lesbienne

[This poem was written on the basis of my mistranslation of the twenty third poem in Petrarch’s Rime Sparse, or Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta. The texts in italics are quotations from, in this order, Diane Di Prima’s poem ‘Babylonia’, Petrarch’s original poem 23 translated by Robert M. Durling, and Louise Labé’s poem ‘Elégie 1’.]

Kat Addis is a writer and experimental costume maker working on a PhD about race and slavery in early modern European epic poems. Recent work has been published in The Chicago Review, ZARF, Tears in the Fence, Stand Magazine, and PELT Vol. 4: Feminist Temporalities, a publication by the Organism for Poetic Research. This poem comes from her first poetry book Space Parsley, forthcoming from the87press.

Copyright © 2020 by Kat Addis, 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.