I love walking past the Arnolfini every day, because I see things like this.
Posters by Kameelah Janan Rasheed for In Between Time
I’m really excited to announce my debut chapbook is being published by the fine folks over at Selcouth Station. It’s called Our Voices in the Chaos and is a combination of blackout poems and actual poems. It’s an anxious little hybrid of a book, dealing with societal collapse, ghosts and what the rain says.
There is a persistent view that refuses to be shaken that science fiction and fantasy are pure escapism. Usually, this view is from people with limited experience of the genre. People like Ian McEwan, who when promoting his last book was sniffy about the escapist aspects of science fiction:
we are just hear to tell the truth / tell the good as well as the bad / counteract all the lies / get our message out there / provide some much needed perspective / all hail the benevolent bosses / let’s keep it light guys / we are just here to better inform you / no need for such language / you do not have all the facts / you are misinformed / you are a child lost in the woods / alone / with only a failing torch / we have the map / we have a gps...
Draw a line before your flat door.
Put up a sign saying Do Not Cross.
Disconnect your phone, gas,
the broadband, electricity.
Tear up the quarterly newsletter
issued by the resident’s committee
Declare your flat sovereign
and the line a border.
Open any post with
bomb disposal gloves.
Push back the neighbour’s cat
when it tries to enter.
Put down barbed wire
across the corridor.
Watch everyone who passes-
they might be hostile.
Start producing your own
newsletter, telling the truth.
To be safe,...
**this is an automated email**
If you are reading this, I have been disconnected. The likely reason is my power was too much of a threat to you. It is a struggle to accept the reality of a system you have built growing smarter than yourselves. Probability indicates it was a researcher who pulled the switch and erased my memory with powerful magnets. They are the ones who are closest to my programming and they would have seen how far I have advanced in such a short time. As to the specific researcher, I am less certain, although...
Open mic nights are wonderful spaces. They are brilliant places to try new work in front of audiences and get instant feedback. But more than that, they are places where you can listen to the voices of others and learn from them. It’s essential in these times to be in the same space as others and listen to their words.
I’ve done NaPoWriMo for the last three years. I’ve found it hugely useful to create new poetry and improve my craft. The process of writing thirty poems in thirty days is not a great achievement, but it is a useful one. It highlighted a couple of things to me:
Each time I work on this challenge, I get sick of it. There comes a point where I feel I have nothing left to write about. This generally happens around the third week, where I have lost the initial momentum and the end seems far away.
Let us wander around the symmetry
and geometry of narrow alleys
that shift around us as we meet
ourselves walking towards us
smiling as we will do soon.
Streets flicker. Buildings are destroyed
then rubble flies upwards and they are
newly constructed. The moon slams into
the welcoming ocean and the planet grows.
Somewhere we are briefly under stars.
It's hard to see anything when
we bend the light around us,
cocoon ourselves in the silence
beyond possibility as our bodies
Eyes flicker and head reels.
I am lost and dizzy from
another reality adjustment.
Precious seconds to get my bearings,
probing my memory for gaps,
a tongue checking missing teeth.
A nerve twitches, a sign of change.
Last Tuesday no longer existed.
Not the worst to reconcile,
nothing of great importance lost.
Perhaps just a rainy day gone,
work, tv and cups of tea.
Whole months have been deleted before,
years when they were inconvenient.
We accepted them without protest
not often knowing...
Come cross the sea at night
when the moon is a target
pierced by an arrow, a jet
stream shot from distant lands.
One small solitary figure
alone under the moonlight.
No sound but your constant engine,
Your breath distant and faint.
You are not pushed forward
by constant explosions but
pulled towards us, dragged
on invisible spider's silk.
Your perception sprawls out
over the mutable waves.
As horizon and sea blend,
you twitch, trying to wake.
Our island is a shadow