Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Spectral Emphatic now available to order!

I can proudly announce that my new collection of poetry, Spectral Emphatic, is now available to order from the Knives, Forks and Spoons Press. At just £7 a complete bargain.

Here's a sneak preview of one of my favourite poems from the book, Elf-hill:


I’m standing on a slip-road, waiting for the elves
on highway one. Mysteriously, the almost-bankrupt kroner
in my pocket is rolled into tight balls: I do not remember
that rounding reflex of my fingers; around us, the air slices
printing-ink and cod cheeks into a cold harmony. My pencil
hovers over the page. The bloody smell of the graphite makes

me nauseous. The Viking, a psychic and expert in these matters, is
squatting by an elf-hill around which the road parts.
This is his routine: consulting elves on plans for new roads
and intersections, settling the conundrums and drinking
coffee laced with something odourless but as warming
as the magic pounding my chakras from the

grass-covered mound. I chafe my hands, though gloved,
against the morning and yearn for an alcoholic or otherwise
effective preservative from the ghostly whims of the elf-folk,
baby thieves and hearth-cursers all, and the black moonscape,
steaming mud magic that I feel creep towards my swollen
belly, smoky fingers conjuring a jump under my

erratic diaphragm. The Viking coughs discreetly; he is ready to
dictate the elves’ terms, invoking shadows of boulders and
ice-floes and the splits in continental plates. Their demands
are simple enough: goats’ milk, bread and fresh seal meat.
My pencil moves across the page in the received
shorthand we use for such occasions, pressing sigils into the

page in the learnt language whose lines and spaces are the
windy plains in my own flat-vowelled fields of words. The
demands of the elves spread over the page like a virus:
observances to be kept with a ken of acceptance on both
sides. We will take this to be signed off, and the Viking is our
only parley, with his heavy fringe and hazel twigs.

I have never seen them, only felt their demands on my energy.
The Viking straightens from his crouch, brushing earth from his
knees, towering over the road like one who commands
lightning: it’s time to leave. As he turns, the sun hits the highway
like an alien visitation, and just for a moment the winter hillock
is alive with hands reaching for my pregnant belly, grasping

for a hold on the child-yet-to-be. I can feel their want like a
belt, squeezing spell-like promises from the foetus, promises
of the elemental to the water-bound. The Viking extends his
hand. “Don’t linger,” he says, and I pull myself away from the
lassitude that has already entered my blood like a sour painkiller,
a soused herring at the back of my tongue, dissolving.

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