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Showing posts from January, 2022

Apposition by Ewan Mackinnon

A few weeks ago, driving across a bridge, down by the water’s edge,  I saw birds in large groups rallied against the rain  as if they had been told to stand there, segregated  like lines at the airport. A screech of gulls, a muster of crows  and tucked behind a dune, a contradiction  of sandpipers. I scrambled down the bank, disturbing a wisp  of snipe which scuttled off towards the ocean past the   cormorants drying their wings on the rocks. Larks twittered   in exaltation and, when I turned, all the birds were looking at me.  A large goose waddled up and spoke: ‘What’s the collective noun  for humans then?’ A pause, then they all started laughing, flapping,  filling the sky. I sat down on the grass. ‘ A virus,’ I said and the wind set off to spread the word. --- Ewan is the Artistic Director of DHK. A charity that puts artists, clowns, and musicians in children’s hospital wards. He lives  in Denmark, which is much smaller and flatter than everyone thinks.  For the last two years he h

Making Data Memorable by Emma Lee

(after 'Data Mountains' Oleksiy Sai) Haven't most of us had a dream like this: where a spreadsheet of numbers in columns yawns away a morning until they are organised into a chart so it becomes something we can interpret and give meaning to? Only for our dreaming to intervene and we re-colour the chart to personalise it, change plain rectangles into more interesting shapes, increase or decrease spaces between? How many of us give in to our inner child that wants to create conical forests, coloured data-trees stretching into the distance, a space to wander among trees, feel the breeze, the soil under our feet, turn background chatter into a susurrus of leaves, let the sky in? Until an alarm beeps and the woods have to return to sheets of paper with regimented numbers that we have to remember had meaning once. --- Emma Lee’s publications include “The Significance of a Dress” (Arachne, 2020) and "Ghosts in the Desert" (IDP, 2015). She co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea,”

Review: What the House Taught Us by Anne Bailey, reviewed by Charley Barnes

"There is a place in a wood,  in the bottom of a drawer,  at the back of a mind."  - Mind's eye  Anne Bailey's What the House Taught Us  is a delicious exploration of the surreal and uncanny aspects of life and living, and I greedily drank this experience down in one sitting. It felt very much like I'd tumbled into a world created by Bailey, where the purpose of things as we know them had been revised into a new narrative structure, to tell stories we might otherwise have walked right past.  Bailey links the known and unknown here, to explore feelings we recognise in new frameworks and domestic settings. She looks, too, at the ways in which we store our own stories in the world and in objects around us, and there is something especially engaging about the way in which she addresses these very human habits, imbedded in the new narratives of non-human things.  "Because we continued    to write it all down        because we remembered not letting anything go unn

Blue by Lisa Coates

I was so used to seeing them behind coke-bottle bottoms that I never knew  just how blue they were. Not until I saw you lying in that hospital bed.  You didn’t need glasses then,  you struggled to open  your eyes at all  but you managed it for me  and I was taken aback by the blue so incongruous in that white room.   Out of place  in a face weary of fighting time and disease. Two blue suns in an altostratus sky,  struggling to shine.  A colour pop in black and white, the corners  vignetted for that ag├ęd look. It was blue who read aloud over  my shoulder, observed the road as I learned  how to drive, gazed  through the viewfinder  capturing family moments on film. Blue watched me grow. The last time I saw blue, they asked  if you knew who was there. You opened your eyes and called me your darling. You died at 8.05. The 25 th on a warm August day. The sun shone. The sky blue. --- Lisa J Coates is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Yorkshire. She is a musician, writ

Advice I Struggle to Follow by Sue Finch

Imagine them naked. Imagine how long I would spend  seeking out the detail – colour of belly compared with colour of hands, that contrast of contours. Oh the thoughts, the questions. How many have seen this body? Who has held it? Is there a part that has never been touched  by the lips of a lover  or another’s tongue? I’d want to be looking for the smoothest parts, seeking constellations of moles, scars. I’d be wondering if this or that neck smells of nutmeg, salt or soap. Or Double Gloucester like my old cat’s paws. I would forget my poem in the worry of unwashed bodies on leather seats and start inventing rules about audiences needing to shower (properly) before entering the auditorium. --- Sue Finch  lives with her wife in North Wales. She likes all kinds of coasts, peculiar things and the scent of ice-cream freezers. Her first collection, ‘Magnifying Glass’, was published in Autumn 2020 with  @BlackEyesPubUK . You can follow her on twitter  @soopoftheday