Prac Crit

First Published

poems first published by Prac Crit

Principalities, Dominions

No sooner do I start to settle / To copy my wasp (see opposite) than, / Trapped between net curtain and pane, / Yet another bluebottle loses control, panics, / Ricochets with that tiny death-rattle / That Emily Dickinson misnamed / As a fly when she died in her poem. / My mind’s an insect that hits its pain / Over and over and over again. / / Back to my Chalcid wasp. It / Seems to sing: “Holy! Holy!” / Forelegs, raised, evangelical, / To catch that grace which falls like snow...

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To the Poet Who After My Reading Said
‘Your Poems Are Good. Eccentric, But Good.’

Imagine that you, at eighteen, / in Paris for the first time with / all your loving ideals about / penises intact, in your new / mini-trenchcoat and smelling the / smell of garlic and unfiltered / smoke and assaultive coffee, were / approached from behind. Imagine / un Français, bald smooth spectacled, / grabbed your right hand and pressed it to / his yes soft yes exposed penis / and hissed C’est chaud, hein? as he kept / walking past you shaking with his / poor Fren...

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The Best Is Yet to Come

I was ashamed, but undaunted (my epithet?). / —Maggie Nelson / / / i. / / The heart is permanently gory. / / ii. / / I imbue all this pausing with great importance / but phoniness slides in like one more drink. / / iii. / / I reached too hard for courage / and pushed it further down inside me. / I reached too hard for the sparring part of me / pushed it beyond reach. / / v. / / What did I remember? / / vi. / / I aspire to pure carcass. / Can it not be pic...

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The Ballad of R. D. Laing

Between the skull in Connemara / and the one beneath the skin, / lies the album sleeve aglimmer / in the bargain-columbarium / of a charity shop in Banglatown, / Banglatown or Stepney, / the skull that glows, all unbeknown / where poetry and psychiatry / shacked up for a time, their Magic-Eye / polarities in strobing flux: / as duck scuppers bunny, / so bunny morphs to duck. / / I tug it from its berth in the depths, / twig as the legend appears / above the image: Life before Dea...

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Hey, hey

Think of it as the rubber ball we’ve hidden / in the fruit bowl. Think of it as sludgy coffee. / Think of it like it’s a bunch of balloons. / / Imagine it’s the voices on the recordings / we deleted. Think of it as the empty roads / you see from the empty train. / / Think of it as the lull between your morning / at the typewriter and the hour you spend rehearsing / what you’ll say you did with the cash. / / Think of it as silty coffee. Imagine it as / telephone talk. It...

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Scarlet

/ / / Long ago, I was a figlia with a fever. / Little filly, foaled in my dark star-bed / where I thought I’d die pretty soon. / / Lying there, my fists held candy eggs / of logic, molten math. My pink death already / long ago. I was a figlia with a fever / / & I doubled in the neck. My neck? / Rather my baton, spilling white glitter. / Pretty. I thought I’d die soon / / & warp to World 8-4. I’d take / a running jump up orange broken steps / to find my long-...

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Scarlet

/ / / Long ago, I was a figlia with a fever.1 / Little filly, foaled in my dark star-bed2 / where I thought I’d die pretty soon. / / Lying there, my fists held candy eggs / of logic, molten math. My pink death already3 / long ago. I was a figlia with a fever / / & I doubled in the neck. My neck4? / Rather my baton, spilling white glitter5. / Pretty. I thought I’d die soon / / & warp to World 8-46. I’d take / a running jump up orange broken steps7 / to find m...

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Cain Reverses Time

Cain’s beard grows into Euclidean space: / its anchors catch on every form and drag them back. / He is a camera capacious enough to film the entire world / forever, and then rewound to unmake every wound. / I wait for it to stop once I am reunited with my family, / I fall asleep with my hand on her waist, our sons / on either side. I feel like an illustration on a jug. / But no. A suicide bomber is making a pasta collage. / He cries when his mum is the last one to pick him up. / A fri...

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My 1980

It was now my younger brothers who had / philosophical objections to taking a bath. / / After I came back from the optician, / gold backs for earrings, aglets and fish scales, / / erasers’ edges, girls’ clean fingernails, / were no longer fuzzy, a probability cloud, / / but evident in separate outlines, sad / as Atari pixels with their 8-bit math. / / I had not the means but the imaginative vision – / so adults said – to go anywhere: for example, / / into th...

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Mercenary (from The Caiplie Caves)

Security contractor / is the term preferred / by a growing industry / of private actors who, / at the sharp end of conflict, / aren’t kidding ourselves / about the economy. Money / / is a country I can take with me. / I walk through the battlefield / as through my home town, / fully realized, valued / for my talents. In this territory / also known as Fuck You. / Your home town / is now my home town. / / Relatively apolitical, / with persistent characteristics / and invento...

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