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Callie Gardner

Callie Gardner is a poet, critic, and editor from Glasgow. They are the author of naturally it is not. (The 87 Press) and Poetry & Barthes (Liverpool University Press), and editor of the poetry magazine Zarf.


school for prophets

a painting in the hallway loomed over the pleasantries;

small fears and all their justices

were presented there, to be enthroned

and he captured all, was pleasant to all.

the visions of the future that spiral before

my face, overpopulating, become many,

or these are limited again.

as brutish sorrows cross the imagined night

there are seen sills, standing on the firmament,

screaming, give us something!

rebound from our reach, refund us our lunch!

anarchist without (a) politics, only

an erotics, a sense-memory only a genetic

sense-memory of what it will be like to be free.

and i returned from being taught

by neurofash ideologues whose grim

breathing hearkens gladly, and i never die.

we revert to the old system for suffering,

fatigue and the tired beauty of faith.

i try not to own love any longer;

it pays the rent, she agrees, one

with sadness in the eyes of her smile.

when love meant success and freedom

from want, and thus from consciousness

what i will never know is how or why

we paddled here from the meridian,

leaving damp walls underfoot in the flour

and sugar the earth is.

we tholed ecology on choking feet,

never imagining another childhood.

our aery fineground pads marked out

the storms and waves and fabulous sediment

in all their mineral shades across lost days.

they foam rockily insidious, delicious,

perfect in the face of the horned sunset,

begrudging landback the authoritarian sky.

i claimed to sleep, and that my eyes

were demanded by the dark inside my head,

that my ears would turn quietly against

their screaming needle, scanning empty time,

for sparks of an event, but all i heard

was island silence, a paper harder to abolish.

the rainbow feathers flung on the boundary

fault of a dream, that rush and riot

of colour and smell was heather, deep

in the ungarish past of commons.

perhaps once you woke to a morning

where your small, square window faced the hills

and you saw them kissed by snow;

there's hunger in the city of days,

we see it unfold, record it

as elemental borborygmus rendered

as speech. and so a small escape’s effected

from this bathykoptian capital of sore

sorrows, like the clouds' brief escrow

adumbrates, mottling the clear air.

it hangs over the skyline pale as mud,

medusazoal, invisible stingers coiled

in the avenues and plazas where our work

becomes a strike, our play a riot. criminal,

never been caught, just like never before

having been loved, at least not like that.

a wail rattled the assembled bones,

echoing with a gingerly hospitable jolt

to the nerves still somehow sensate.

in the stars, the severed snake, or out of

the fish, the eye. the idea of "everything"

seems wrongheaded, farcically so.

he looked up during the wine reception

and saw a crack slither across his dome of glass.


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