Discover more from Perverse
Welcome to issue 6 of PERVERSE!
This issue will be running until early December, and will be coming out here in weekly segments, and on Twitter and Facebook as always. It is getting harder and harder to curate these sections because of the quality of the poems I receive, but that’s a problem I’m glad to have. Thank you to everyone who sent me such interesting work to read.
I want to say thanks to Rosanna Hildyard as well, who is now the PERVERSE Coordinator, and is helping enormously behind the scenes in setting up and keeping track of submissions and social media. It has been incredibly useful to have another person helping out and I’m very relieved to have her.
Another bit of news is that last night saw the 2021 Forward Prizes. It’s delightful that one of the poems from a previous issue of PERVERSE was one of this year’s Highly Commended poems. Congrats to Alex Bell and her poem ‘Arkteia’!
So, here is the first batch of poems from issue 6A. I hope you enjoy them! There’s a thread of absurdity running through these five that I find very appealing, and I hope you will too.
Thank you for reading PERVERSE!
(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 PDF you can do so here, in this archive of previous issues.)
Michał Kamil Piotrowski
It’s raining cats and dogs.
A kitten smiled at me while
falling on the surface
of the earth
This phone call going like it’s been a long century.
Gnats hit the surface to drink. It would be jaw-shattering
to approach water at that speed. For us. I am sheltering
under silver birch. Indifferent places. You’re further than anyone else
I know. Drawn into an old room. Watch me stamp your ticket.
I am an airhostess. I am the duration of your journey.
At the airport are the agreements. Grass, everything’s invitation,
the threat of open field.
I imagine us lying like stoma cells. If I cannot rest in you
then where can I expect to sleep?
This could only be a post-cloud sun
or lines of light through fingers cupped around a bulb.
Struck lava, every painting. It’s all the day’s particulates
singing. The mast whines the birds to bed.
I want to say that I am your holiday. Say bougainvillea.
Dog on a British Airways Airbus 319-100
You ever ride the rodeo? A flarf would
deny, her teepee skin is litmus for the
air around his tent, you ever ride the
raging bull? she asks. You ever misspell
a farrier as a flarf? The former stitches,
heaves, cares; the latter rides on bare
backed webs. He questions a spider —
you ever ride the rodeo? and sees the
primaries merge. As red blue yellow green
play tag with each other, he waits for an
experience to be spelled out. The web is
catching up, isn’t it? She asks, did you
mean: have you ever ridden the rodeo? He
taps, frivolous, the spider flickers. A task
of utmost urgency, but there’s a queue, and
everyone in front of everyone else is playing
tag. The web isn't catching up, is it? he says.
Almost frustrated hands shiver at the
prospect of strangled wits, she asks, you
ever visit the charging bull inside the big
apple? The fight or flight has a sudden surge,
he has never been pissed off at magic before.
The spider’s spun its creeper, his cries scream
betrayal, suffocated by the silence of the web.
She asks, did you mean: the trojan horse? He
curls his fingers. The spider is dead. His
corpse whispers, you’re a trojan bull. Except,
you’re hollow inside.
Have you ever taken yourself for a ride?
Where is the wind in my sails? The mountains, really large hills, are covered in haze. Chew gum to circulate oxygen to grey gums. Today I am dry. How to light up delights? Next month may be the real deal. Most likely in the throes, although the throes come less & less, but maybe when they come it will be greatly appreciated. The air is hazy. Left eye twitch. Right foot asleep. My friend comes to visit. You could hide pea soup in his beard.
Michał Kamil Piotrowski
Michał is a poet from London. He mostly writes experimental, visual and technology-powered poetry. He enjoys making poetry interactive and he mostly works with found text. The themes he explores the most are technology, politics, and mental illnesses.
Note on the poem:
“The poem has been written because I am trying to find magic in everyday life. I've decided to write a collection of short poetry, sort of stills from my life - this poem forms part of that collection.”
Kate Evans completed an MA in Poetry at Royal Holloway in September, 2021. She has worked variously in film production, as a support worker, and as an investigative journalist. This is her first published poem.
Note on ‘From Rome’:
“When I’m on the phone I often feel strangely aware of my environment, as if it’s part of the conversation. Distance is alive and elastic. I was speaking to someone whilst my attention was running all over the landscape, a little bit frantic, bargaining. This poem is an attempt to encapsulate that strange blend of sensory proximities and imagined, unreachable places. Also, good old-fashioned longing.”
Louisa Campbell’s first full poetry collection, Beautiful Nowhere, draws on her experiences as both mental health nurse and patient, and was published this summer by Boatwhistle Books. She lives in Kent, England, with her husband, teenager and rescued street dog.
Note on ‘Dog on a British Airways Airbus 319-100’:
“I've always written about mental health and mental illness; poetry aimed at reducing stigma, educating, or acting as therapy through creating understanding or catharsis. Maybe having my first full collection published has allowed me to give myself permission to take risks and be silly. To be honest, I consider this poem my finest work.”
Hetvi is a student based in India, the co-founder of hariandhetu - an art & literature zine-letter, and a nap-lover. She’s interested in exploring the relationship between art and technology, amongst other things. Hetvi’s work has most recently appeared in Backslash Lit.
Note on ‘OK, Google’:
“One day, my phone hung, and suddenly ‘OK, Google’ popped up on the screen, misheard what I was saying, and proceeded to correct me. That day, I spent three hours conversing with the voice. I put in extra effort to make it mis-hear my southeast asian accent, and wrote this poem many months later - after successfully being frustrated with interrogating the web.”
Marcus Slease is a (mostly) absurdist, surrealist and minimalist writer from Portadown, N. Ireland and Utah. His latest books are: Puppy (forthcoming in November from Beir Bua Press), Never Mind the Beasts (Dostoyevsky Wannabe), The Green Monk (Boiler House Press), and Play Yr Kardz Right (Dostoyevsky Wannabe).
Note on ‘Pea Soup’:
“‘Pea Soup’ was written during lockdown in Castelldefels, Spain. Books were my main solace and I was trying to keep my gums healthy. I imagined, if I had a guest, the ideal guest. Then I wrote this poem.”