Encounter with darkness

August 17, 2019

“Who are you?“

“I am Death,” said the creature. “I thought that was obvious.”

“But you’re so small!”

“Only because you are small. You are young and far from your Death, September, so I seem as anything would seem if you saw it from a long way off-very small, very harmless. But I am always closer than I appear. As you grow, I shall grow with you, until at the end, I shall loom huge and dark over your bed, and you will shut your eyes so as not to see me.”

Catherynne M. Valente
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Coins for a Funeral

August 17, 2019

a new zephyr
breathing fire upon lilies until they melt
waxed by a violence for fast paced consideration
falling as pearls back to the seabed
invisible now, as once I was
strewn in savage arms for slaughter
a silver piece in my mouth
hard to bite, sucking on metal
worth less than me, more than life
blooming on the cusp of circular bonfires
lighting the skies with sordid memory
hands pulling me under water
where static weeds grow lithe fingers
entering me in green vision
letting go of the borders and they blurred
like glasses crushed into diamonds
where the moon winks heavily at transgression
and joins the circles compounding begotten earth
do the leaves that unfurl like dancers
know the name of silence’s child as well?
silence that hangs in arabesque
painted stiff and yoked
my dress a bloody reminder
of all things spilt
all things best remedied
beneath this buried attempt.

Candice Daquin

When it happened

August 9, 2019

It could be a little rectangle of sunlight
sitting on the windowsill at dawn
preserved for as long as the earth
sits still and for what reason
but for any number of reasons
it could be a wren in the branches
turning its head toward the shadow
of light at the woman who sits
slumped in a chair, dead.

It could be the inner coherence of nature
when a breeze kicks over
knocking the screen door open then shut
or the instinct of a neighbour who stops by
for coffee and a cigarette, it could be
the soul’s animosity that complicates
the balance of things, loosening the breeze,
throwing the curtain open, creating consequences.
It could be terror announcing itself.
It could be anything.

There is no way of knowing.

Lisa Zaran


After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the sides of the road,
so the corpse-laden wagons
can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone must drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone must glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

Again we’ll need bridges
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls how it was.
Someone listens
and nods with unsevered head.
Yet others milling about
already find it dull.

From behind the bush
sometimes someone still unearths
rust-eaten arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must give way to
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass which has overgrown
reasons and causes,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.

Wislawa Szymborska

Send in the Clowns

July 29, 2019

A girl of ten years is standing with her father’s gun in her hand. It is her birthday. The living room is in a fine house with views over the Hudson river. Her father, an architect, has arranged for a pair of clowns this afternoon to entertain his daughter on her birthday. But she hates clowns. The voices in her head tell her they’re just dirty old men in makeup who want to touch her and her two sisters in a nasty way. So she takes her father’s gun from a drawer and shoots both of them dead after feeling the half-tumescent penis of one of them in his baggy clown trousers.

our bodies speak

July 13, 2019

Secrets are my currency: I deal in them for a living. The secrets of desire, of what people really want,  and of what they fear the most.  The secrets of why love is difficult,  sex complicated, living painful and death so close and yet placed far away. Why are pleasure and punishment closely related? How do our bodies speak? Why do we make ourselves ill? Why do you want to fail? Why is pleasure hard to bear?

Hanif Kureishi
Something to tell you

I take popular culture really seriously because I see in it a mirror that reflects our cultural lusts and longings and desires. Pop music in particular is really good at distilling desire, and I’m interested in the ways that those deep things in us as individuals — our fears and our desires — feed the global machine of racist, heteropatriarchal capitalism, and how it in turn feeds us. It’s a kind of loop. And the terms really are death: global death, species death, even our own deaths — like being hooked on the sugar juice of capital, whether it’s food, or credit. So, I find pop culture to be really, really serious, and that’s why it is so present in After We All Died, because it is a very important mirror.

Allison Cobb
Interview with Sue Landers 1st March 2017

Sea Lullaby

June 16, 2019

The old moon is tarnished
With smoke of the flood,
The dead leaves are varnished
With colour like blood,

A treacherous smiler
With teeth white as milk,
A savage beguiler
In sheathings of silk,

The sea creeps to pillage,
She leaps on her prey;
A child of the village
Was murdered to-day.

She came up to meet him
In a smooth golden cloak,
She choked him and beat him
To death, for a joke.

Her bright locks were tangled,
She shouted for joy,
With one hand she strangled
A strong little boy.

Now in silence she lingers
Beside him all night
To wash her long fingers
In silvery light.

Elinor Wylie

Killing the Spring

April 16, 2019

I could not see the spring.
I could not hear the spring.
I could not touch the spring.
Once upon a time a young person
died for no reason.
I was the same.

Anne Sexton

your gash

March 23, 2019

I drink from your gash
I spread your naked legs
I open them like a book
where I read what kills me.

Georges Bataille
From: The Collected Poems of Georges Bataille
Trans. Mark Spitzer