Discover more from Perverse
Welcome to the final part of PERVERSE issue 5. I hope you’ve enjoyed the issue overall, and I hope you enjoy these last poems below, all of which contain some sense of our humanity reflected in the tools we use – whether a knife or a microphone.
I love these poems: the trembling violence of ‘Intercourse’, the invented words and fast pace of ‘Mic’, the joyful absurd ascent into sound of ‘“It Don’t Mean a Thing…”’, the overwhelming detail of ‘Playlist’, and the controlled “inner resources”-ness of ‘This Sentimental Life’.
I love all the poems I’ve published throughout issue 5. It has been a great pleasure to share all these poets’ work with you.
I will be in touch again in a week or so once I’ve put together the complete PDF of this issue, along with some details about when the next submissions window is likely to be.
I also feel duty-bound to mention that my new poetry collection LOW has just been published, and there is a launch for it online this week, on Wednesday 19th May. If you enjoy PERVERSE, I think there is a fair chance that you will also enjoy LOW.
Until next time, please enjoy these poems.
With warmest wishes,
(FYI if you are reading this on a mobile phone, it may be best to turn the phone sideways. Some of the poems are displayed as images, so make sure you’ve clicked “show images” at the top of this mail. If you’d rather read these poems in a more formally typeset PDF you can do so here, along with an archive of previous issues.)
This knife, medieval in my hand, is a cold compress
unfurled on parallel lines. I can’t stand the company
of fruit trees. The ocean prepares to blush through smears
of daylight. I am passing heavy blades, the slow twist
administering something sudden. I require rocky beaches
and desert oil. This trembling urge, incredible yet pedestrian.
Of course, the emphasis is always on what I want.
All hail the steel sunlight, falling out of clouds like a yo-yo.
Be kind, holiday season is over and she’s afraid of us.
Time still holds its post firmly. There are no reasons,
only accidents. I don’t possess the language to plunge
this knife in you, but someday I might.
I stand before you
stripped down to tongue
click and stomach song,
lip smack. Blind serpent
atop your silver stalk,
metallic maestro poised
behind pop shield,
you are all ear.
Your tilted head duffled in foam
beckons. I step a step closer,
you take my breath away.
Germ-laden lollipop kid,
you expose all my insider gossip,
broadcast my morning granche
of throat rubble, air kiss
and tell the nation, catch
and keep a golden drip
of postnasal trickle. Scratch track
a molar whistle, a gum cluck,
the slurred fat tip of my t’s.
Slip past the dumb danglers
guarding my claggy windslide,
make all my whispers roar
like a broken smoker.
Faithful forensic intimate,
you will detect a death rattle
years before I feel its choke.
I bequeath you all my stuttering
newborn failures, and also
my accomplished consonants.
Go in, scour this dank,
enamel-clad cave, ransack
contents for sense.
O amplify me.
“It Don’t Mean a Thing…”
after Steve Reich, ‘Pendulum Music’
a quartet of microphones
swinging through palpable air:
music stripped back to its bones,
entropic essence ensnared
bones quartet of microphones
snareding through palpable air:
music stripped back to its a
entropic essence enswing
bones its tet of microphones
snared en through palpable air:
music stripped back to quara
entropic essence ingswing
bones its to of microphones
snared enence palpable air:
music stripped back tet quara
entropic ess through ingswing
bones its to back microphones
snared enence esspable air:
music stripped of tet quara
entropic pal through ingswing
bones its to back stripped rophones
snared enence esspic ble air:
music mic of tet quara
entro papal through ingswing
bones its to back stripped sic phones
snared enence esspic tro air:
muromic of tet quara
enble papal through ingswing
bones its to back stripped sic mu
snared en ence ess pic tro en
phones romic of tet quara
airble papal through ingswing
air its to back stripped sic swing
phones en ence ess pic tro ra
snared romic of tet qua en
bones ble papal through ing mu
airing to back stripped sic swing
phones qua ence ess pic tro ra
snared romic of tet en en
bones ble papal through its mu
airing sic back stripped to swing
phones qua tro ess pic ence ra
snared tet ic of romen en
bones through papal ble its mu
airing sic of stripped to swing
phones qua tro ess pap ence ra
snared tet ic back romen en
bones through pic al ble its mu
snareding pic of stripped to tet
phones mutro ess rom ence ra
airswing ic back pap en en
bones qua sic al ble its through
snare icpic of stripped to tet
phones mut through en rom ence ra
airswing ding ble pap en ess
bones qua sic al back its ro
ro icpic of to through rom
phones mut stripped en tet ence ra
airswing ding ble sic en ess
bones pap qua al back its snare
ro bones of mut to through rom
phones ic stripped en tet ence ra
airswing ding its sic en ess
pappicqua al back ble snare
or snebo fo umtot oghurth mor
hopnes ses eleped netet neec leb
ginswair ignd tis cis ne ci
quap ipcpa lab cak arse ran
ooooo uuurrttthhh mmoorr
ssss eeeelepp nnneetet neec lebbb
iiiiigggnnd tiss ccis
pppccaaaaa aarrsee nn f d w q l k
eeeeepp nnneetttt neee llbbb
iiiiiigggnn ttissssss ccc
pppccaaaaa aarrrrrrsseee nn
f dd w q l k uuu hhh mm ooooooo
ll bbb ggg eeeeeeeeee nnnneee
aaaaaaarrrrrrss nnnn f dd w q l k
uuu hhh mm ooooooo
ll bbb ggg eeeeeeeeeeeee
aaaaaaarrrrrr nnnnnnnn f dd w q l k
uuu hhh mm ooooooo
Daily sale: Up to 90% Off Retail Prices. “Sorrow Is Not My Name,” Ross Gay – I have an aversion to poems that tell me about their morning, especially if it involved a bird. Black Sabbath, Live in Paris, 1970: sludge that always remains fresh. Good health is not your only reward! Lounge in the great indoors. $120 through PayPal for Sarah’s therapy. My nephew moved into a building where Charles Ives used to live, so I put Ives on Spotify. Shop loungers. Detomasso corpasso chronograph mesh. The BMW Road Home Sales Event. Introducing Walmart+. Free delivery on Google Home. Christine Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being – the painful collision of the personal and the political, history as chop and bleak ceremony. Rebalance your skin’s microbiome. $13 for Hulu. 12 screens at the gym: local news, Fox, CNN, ESPN, HGTV, a Planet Fitness video music channel with an ad crawl at the bottom: Orbit solar, Probe Chiropractic (pronounced PRO-bee, sadly). $99 for a sixtel of Fuego and a bottle of a barrelaged farmhouse ale. Jackie O Motherfucker: Your Cells are in Motion: noise aspires to the condition of music. Walmart. $120 through PayPal for Sarah’s therapy. Power tools: Milwaukee, Black & Decker, Makita. Finish Strong: Transfer to Stockton. $48 for 10 lb. bag of basmati, five lbs. of yellow split peas, red lentils, and split mung beans, a bag of whole nutmeg, three bags of fresh curry leaves. Morgan and Morgan, personal injury lawyers. Adrienne Linker’s new album: a new Americana as the country slides toward authoritarianism. The platinum card: see if you’re pre-approved with no risk to your credit score – debt as a form of prestige. $.99 for 50GB of iCloud storage. The last ten minutes of a Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode, Darren McGavin’s fear and confusion somehow a demonstration of control. Boris and Sunn O))), Akuma No Kuma. A purple arc under the gym’s fluorescent lights. Sleep, The Clarity. The Charlie Brown Christmas album (not my choice) on repeat. Bike sale. Cheese cakes: Lemon meringue, chocolate, pumpkin spice. Business for sale. Uncle Bill’s Pancake House: The Tradition Continues. A dead juvenile hawk on the trail at Corson’s Inlet, tide further out than I’ve ever seen. Birds: sanderlings, herring gulls, surf scoters, a few cormorants. Where are the laughing gulls? On the way back: $28 for gas at a Wawa in Marmora, $3.89 for a bag of Cape Cod Kettle Chips at Acme. “Villanelle,” Otto Leland Bohanon. “No More Fire Here: A Sestina,” b: william bearhart. Allen Bramhall, “Dawns Again.” Firewood, fresh eggs, and seven houses for sale. Denis Johnson’s “Jesus Son,” yeah, I should have read this two decades ago, but I’m just getting to it now. People talk about the brutality of his writing, but I see a kind of spare elegance. Pitchfork’s 100 best songs of 2020: I, too, dislike it, but listening with a perfect indifference I hear something: MoorMother/billy woods, “furies.” I think I’m supposed to know what botega veneta means. Porridge Radio, “Sweet.” Pause the music, watch a video of Alan Sondheim driving with Azure Carter to drop off her notebooks for an algebra class. File&Sign with Adobe Acrobat DC. $9.99 a month for a digital subscription to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Big Thief “Not.” Hourglass: Cruelty Free Luxury Beauty. Alex G, “Gretel.” What do you call a song or a poem that’s okay to hear or read only once? Make Krusteaz, Make it Yours. Psst: Pass it on – wear a mask so you don’t pass it on. Welcome to Explore Our Sustainable Tourism Offer. Save up to $300 on select surface devices. Applebys: 2 for $20, dine-in, deliver, to go. 2020 Passat SE 2.0& $0 down, $0 security deposit, $0 1st month’s lease payment, $0 due at signing (excludes tax, title, options, and dealer’s fees). Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Boltcutters shows she knows exactly what she’s doing, and doesn’t seem to care if you do. Discover + stream what you love coming January 4. Aren’t we all doing that already? The version of Sly and the Family Stone’s “I Wanna Take You Higher” at Woodstock. Schwab is the only brokerage firm to offer a satisfaction guarantee. Coco Mademoiselle at Macy’s. A sign for the roofing company owned by my friend’s cousin. Every change in Hop Along’s “Prior Things” is a brilliant surprise. Quaker: Good starts here. $289.67 to Comcast for cable, internet, and a landline I don’t really use. Turns out The Maltese Falcon is a pretty flawed book. Even the homophobia and racism is lazy: three different sections mention Joel Cairo’s chypre. The best part is the combination of tedium and tension when the main characters stay up all night, waiting for the mail to arrive at a PO Box so that Sam Spade’s secretary can retrieve the claim check and get the falcon. $269.25 for the new furnace, hot water heater, and AC. $125 for a seven fishes dinner. Judee Sill’s “Jesus Was a Crossmaker” beautifully off-kilter, not quite folk or gospel. A kind of faithporn: “Sweet silver angels over the sea/Please come down flying low for me.” We all want to watch someone who believes, someone with confidence in a god or a product. $135.69 at the nightmare ShopRite – the misspelling shows how shopping has become a sacred ritual. $95 for a blue crushed velvet top for Shelle, as well as $13.69 for a book on Tolkien and $18.23 for a shirt with Andy Bernard’s image on it. $10.69 for my membership to Planet Fitness. The Isley Brothers’ version of “Summer Breeze”: somehow they saw how a catchy but bland 70s hit could become a funk masterpiece. The all new Webex with real-time translation – es incredible! Is that bilingual or a kind of fake Spanglish for the English speakers? Richard Vinen, 1968: Radical Protest and Its Enemies: adequate mass market history. Tony Rice died on Christmas, so I’ve got him on Spotify. “Streets of London”: the first time I got drunk my best friend Jim and I drank quarts of Genny Cream Ale with a couple of girls from Philly on the beach in Margate. We stumbled up to a miniature golf course by the bay and Roger Whitaker’s “Streets of London” was playing. A friend of my wife’s sent a bunch of books, including an old collection of mysteries. I love the twee pop of 2nd Grade’s “My Bike” even as I know that guilessness is just a pose. #1 in Cycling Tights. Ana Luisa Conscious Jewelry. Just got a copy of Brandon Brown’s Top 40, and he’s doing some of the things I’m trying to do here, except he’s much better at it. With moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or Krohn’s Disease, your plans can change without warning. Your weight loss journey starts here: Bariatric surgery at Inspira Health. Drake, “Portland”: “My side girl got a 5S with the screen cracked” is a great opening line, but his talented predictability makes him seem like a hip-hop star designed by a focus group. New: Blue Apron Customized for Shrimp. Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Zombies is back. Play for real: Quest 2 from $299 and an ad for an injectable, two-year contraceptive, the name of which I forgot. Not sure why I’m getting those popups – let’s just say I’m not the target demographic. Last year I got VRBO ads in Swedish and clips in Spanish for a diabetes drug. Clarice Lispector’s Collected Stories: any volume that shows the development of this kind of talent should also be too big to hold comfortably. Monkfruit in the raw: enjoy your favorite recipes with zero calories. Merzbow, “Promotion Man,” music aspiring to the condition of noise.
David Morgan O’Connor
This Sentimental Life
After a storm
pretence of sound
in the spirit of the hour
99 out of 100 lines
are indiscreet veils
the supreme key
Mariam is a bilingual poet and writer recently graduated from Goldsmiths University where she studied English Literature with Creative Writing. She is currently based in East London and works as a Teaching Assistant. Her work has previously been published by Happy London Press, Reflex Fiction and Dempsey & Windle Press.
Note on ‘Intercourse’:
“I wrote this poem because I was interested in the idea of revenge as a sort of intimacy.”
Barbara is a British/Canadian poet and actress living in London. Her poems have appeared in Butcher’s Dog, Poetry London, Brixton Review of Books, Under the Radar, Ambit, The Alchemy Spoon and Perverse 4A.
Note on ‘Mic’:
“As an actress who does a lot of voice work, I’ve had a long and intimate relationship with Mic. This has intensified in the past year when I’ve mostly been recording in my makeshift home studio, duvets and quilts providing the necessary soundproofing. Mic knows me like no other. I guess I figured it was time for a tribute poem.”
Simon Turner’s most recent pamphlet, Birmingham Jazz Incarnation, was published by the Emma Press in 2017. He lives and works in Warwickshire. He keeps threatening to produce a new collection, and is rapidly running out of viable excuses.
Note on ‘“It Don’t Mean a Thing...”’:
“‘It Don’t Mean a Thing...’ is an attempt at applied or practical ekphrasis, partly inspired by Louis Bury’s immersive acts of constrained commentary in Exercises in Criticism. Without giving too much of the game away, it’s probably best to read the poem whilst listening to Reich’s initiatory music. There are plenty of versions available online, but the recording I listened to whilst writing the poem can be found here.”
Bill Freind is the author of two collections of poetry: American Field Couches (BlazeVox, 2008) and An Anthology (housepress, 2000), as well as the editor of Scubadivers and Chrysanthemums: Essays on the Poetry of Araki Yasusada (Shearsman, 2012). He lives in Wenonah, New Jersey, USA.
Note on ‘Playlist’:
“The rise of digital audio technology has made it much easier for each of us to design playlists of almost any commercially-recorded music, but I’m interested in the way digital technology creates playlists we don’t control: autoplay on Spotify or YouTube, and – more importantly – the unceasing stream of advertisements nominally targeted at each of us as a unique consumer. I decided to combine those streams with my own sometimes arbitrary reading habits, as well as my own purchases. As Wallace Stevens said, ‘money is a kind of poetry’.”
David Morgan O’Connor
David Morgan O’Connor’s poems and short fiction have appeared in over 50 print and online journals. He is an associate editor at Bending Genres and contributing reviewer at Rhino Poetry.
Note on ‘This Sentimental Life’:
“To be honest, I have the brain of a gnat. I remember I was highly enjoying reading Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey. It’s a great collection, get it, read it. And I was thinking about all the years I spent pursuing a life in the theatre, trying to figure out why. So much failure and rejection, and then boom – occasionally a moment of transient insight. Aren’t we all simply trying to keep our truth-keys?”