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.