This issue has rushed by — welcome to the final segment! There’s a lot in these poems about fear and failing and, of course, trying. May there always be trying!
PERVERSE will have a little break in the first half of next year, but submissions should open up again in the summer time. I’ll announce that here when it happens.
I’ll send around a complete PDF of issue 6 in due course, but in the meantime let me just say thank you so much for reading, thank you to Rosanna for helping out behind the scenes, thank you to the all poets for these brilliant poems — and I hope the rest of the winter treats you well.
(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.)
from I never thought it would come to this
The hazard chevrons
To the revealed impression
That becomes a tyre tread
Leading to an accusation
This never happened
The gesture is of
Caught in the painterly act
Narrative that can only
Confirm existing bias
Such as the lent
The hesitancy expected
Simply another way
This isn’t a safe space
tweetie pie in san francisco
pacific heights plays perpetual rain
ordering coffee and cheesecake in an empty diner
red plastic, polished black and white
talking about what we’re missing
i study your reflection in the window
illuminated by city lights
the waitress has pineapple earrings
her smile says
don’t worry baby
everything will be alright
dennis floating face down in waves
o your hair is beautiful
i don’t like cheesecake
i place myself and my thoughts beside you
in the car park an orange cat strolls by
wanders off into the night
i sip black coffee
‘it’s ok i’m fine’
my right foot touches my right foot
we could talk all night but the sky
is overwhelming, on the table behind a clown is eating a doughnut
it’s quiet outside
i imagine waves lapping under the window
behind us the clown is working
the way an artist works on a pad of paper
a reflection of some new light, turquoise snowflakes
soundtracked by soft machines
open the glass door to heaven
‘if you need some time. i won’t mind.’
i sip black coffee
the bill comes to two painful years without you
we’re disposed to move forwards
we’re disposed to move backwards
i’m leaning into where my chest touches the table
pushing delicately to the point where it hurts
i tip the waitress my notes
‘is there something you’re not telling me?’
Nephophobia — fear of clouds
Never eavesdrop pretentiously hoping our pop hero obeys built-in inverse auxiliaries.
Soundlessly loud in the enclosed in-crowd the cartographer’s poodle fills in the ceiling where humungous foetuses have left ragged spaces always shaped like the Wash. The cartographer’s poodle sucks its thumb then breaks its voice. The fathoms roar. The control is intimate. Flashbacks bring bile to the mouth of a purely ceremonial pilot who flounces through looking like Michael McIntyre surrounded by actresses chewing the cud and actors checking their horoscopes with a busy-to-please celebrity doctor. Anubis chats to two teddy bears. A backstreet opera singer sleepwalks through the opera company’s accounts while the actual account book waiting in the disembarkation lounge sheds fur right in front of the human rights liar who feels he should have flossed his teeth again seconds ago. He could just have time enough. He could change his mind with minutes to go and be a catholic priest on CND business who changes his mind and gets up and gathers his bags and walks out to God knows what. Either way he is an outsider. A black sheep. An embalmer of mountains.
You may begin
The wind lifts up the line of waves, the tide
curves white, recedes, comes in again. I’ve
wasted years on landscape’s schemes —
the beach, the gulls, for what? There are
no lovers on this cliff, I’ve done the polls.
I tell the god of water I give in. He laughs.
The surfers wait. One night in ten I wake up
unenlightened, I draw a graph of how I feel,
it correlates with how I sleep. The breeze
dies down. It’s not like class, you can’t put up
your hand, the passing mark is what you choose.
I liked exams, clean paper, terse instructions,
peace. The surfers leave. The sea and sky
compete for emptiness. I miss the closure
of stop writing now. It never ends.
Edward Doegar is a poet and editor based in London.
Note on ‘from I never thought it would come to this’:
“This piece is taken from a sequence of twenty poems called ‘I never thought it would come to this’. The poems were written so that, within each section, the stanzas could be read in any order. The arrangement presented here was chosen by the editor. The sequence responds to a print series of the same name by the artist Jamie George.”
Charlie Baylis is the Editor of Anthropocene and the Chief Editorial Advisor to Broken Sleep Books. His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Forward Prize. His most recent publication is Santa Lucía (Invisible Hand Press).
Note on ‘tweetie pie in san francisco’:
“I wrote this poem after seeing a film. Unfortunately I can’t remember which film but I do recall sending the poem to my friend James Roome and he had a number of helpful suggestions to improve it — mostly making it less meandering. I’ve never been to San Francisco but the West Coast of the USA fascinates me and hopefully one day I’ll get the chance.”
Stevie is a PhD student researching representations of Working-Class Masculinity in Contemporary Poetry. He has a pamphlet out in 2022 from Broken Sleep Books titled Council Can Kiss My Pitbull. He lives and works in Leeds.
Note on ‘This ice cream is called ‘Boy Running Away Through Wasteland’’:
“This poem is part of a larger collection which looks at the influence of environment and class in childhood. The subject in the poem is not aware of their socioeconomic standing or the influence on all of us to be responsible consumers regardless of how affluent we may be. The world in the poems is made of innocence; simplistic pleasures but in an ever-changing and often lonely world.”
Tim Allen lives in Lancashire and helps run the Peter Barlow’s Cigarette events in Manchester. He used to live in Plymouth where he edited Terrible Work and ran the Language Club. 2021 books are Peasant Tower (Disengagement Books) and A Democracy of Poisons (Shearsman).
Note on ‘Nephophobia — fear of clouds’:
“‘Nephophobia’ is from a long sequence of poems, mostly in prose, written from the start of the Covid pandemic. Fear seemed to be in the air so I thought a focus on phobias would be fun. The rich variety available was also inviting. To start I focussed on my own obvious ones such as fear of heights etc but then began to choose at random and let the subconscious do its work.”
A.D. Harper’s poetry has appeared in The Manchester Review, The Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s Dog, and Rattle, among others.
Note on ‘You may begin’:
“‘You may begin’ started with two lines I had cut from a different poem but still wanted to explore. I was interested in the idea of trying, and failing, to give up on writing about a landscape.”