Question & Answer 2 – Jeff Alessandrelli

Question 2

Somme / ambulance / somnambulant
lock my eye / I / Kendrick’s butterfly
my room / our room / room to breathe
brother / sister / hidden in Redruth
quality assurance / has no definition / blank
prozasin / promethazine / weird dreams
do you / Jeff / dream of words
a rainbow / cut open / sharpened knife
the charms / rock our genes / in fitful sleep
this world / I love / Elliott saying yes
map / maap / maapmaap
drawing crosses / kross’d sleep / krossdeath
fade the pixels / picture melts / pictorial
häfttack / cover me in tacks / pins and needles
valerian / valium / vahalla

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

To be alive
is to fetishize

its invisibility, present
only in its absence. Mapping
the months, Gregorian

calendars were once
sun-drenched Mayans

were once nameless
nations skipping stones
across every lake’s surface,

counting the instants
between each eternity’s
flightly stutter.

(Darkly, I’m sleepwalking
in a daydream
comprised solely of nightmare.

And blood,
I’m addicted
to my blood.)

The Yeah Yeahs
backing Kendrick Lamar
opening up for Elliot Smith—

Just because I imagined it
doesn’t mean
it didn’t happen.

(Kris Kross, Kris
Kross, Daddy
Mack, Mack Daddy.)

– Jeff Alessandrelli

Question & Answer 2 – Kate Gale

Question 2

My Grandfather’s funeral was all flight
no fight, a potted history of asbestos
and working class kingdoms.

Back at school. Joseph had a smile worn
exclusively by the sons of psychiatrists,
the big money in a small money town.

I carried the weight of all twelve years
of ‘us’, hand me downs and value
crisps from Chippenham to

Cornwall. The portrait of my grandfather
as a young man, where cycles are
polished and maintained

until the genes are baggy and dense.
My return was grass trodden
to mud and packed lunches

checked for mould-ripened crusts. Joseph,
the biblical son, the priest in
a family of clerics,

knew funerals were an excuse to break
bones. Still council streets and
burnt out bins, I heard

his Freudian slips from the lunch hall.
The problem with first punches
lies in the expectation,

and there’s never a rich kid who
knows how to fight for his
value. Do you know

what I mean Kate? Have you thrown
a fist in rage? My two up
two down tin mines

and Acton scars had taught me
to respond in the same way
my Grandfather met

death – by pushing against the tides
until the foam broke the
rules of gravity

in defence of both of our moons.
Now, I see a therapist every week
and pray I don’t have

to tell him about the time I took a punch from his son, before splitting his lip like the class divide.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

My grandfather said don’t tell me anything bad, just tell me the good.
Left me hovering over corpses in the yard like a seagull.
Waiting for someone who had a story covering the past, making it new.

Then Joseph, the Mexican kid who wouldn’t go by Jose, cast off the coat
of many colors to be American with a blond girlfriend, me.
He wanted to woo me and every one else from his Chippendale perch.

He wanted to chip away at the idea that the American cowboy had to be white.
I wanted to try for a dream where I was on the sill of success
taking off into the sky. Circling the wagons from the air.

Joseph and I went out on the town, rewrote our stories in the clouds.
I wasn’t poor. He wasn’t Mexican. We weren’t infidels from our faiths.
We were born again somebodies, soon to be discovered like sunshine.

You open the window, and there we are, so welcome, so lovely.
So everywhere you want to be. So California, so shining.
So catalog perfect, so gleaming and golden and glittering.

America is where you can bury your story corpse, till the soil,
plant new beans and come up singing with a new music.
We danced to the fancy dance music on the sawdust floors.

In Mexico, rich kids broke the law, smoked weed in the streets and cantinas.
Joseph and I broke no laws. We’re just into tequila, we said. Go ahead.
Do what you do. Hiding the true story. There was no one to rescue us.

We could rot in Mexican jails till the cops come home from the whorehouses,
And still we’d be there. No one rapping on the windows, no one offering bail.
All of you have an escape hatch. We admitted to no one our hatchless condition.

When I left him next to the taco stand to move to California, the sun was setting.
I could see it shining through his hair. I left him with a wet kiss.
We said, I will see you again. We said, I will call you in the morning.

In California, there were heaps of riches for somebody else.
Elegant houses for other people. Dresses, cars, streets, shops and bellhops
for people born into the right families. Jobs and suits and funny shoes.

My fist shaking days are past. Fistfuls of hair. Now I breathe in smog and run.
You breathe. You don’t have to keep up. If you were born without legs.
You learn to fly. Your dark parts touch the sky. Your dark parts matter only

In that they define your reason to fly. Oh California, I’m on to you.

– Kate Gale

Question & Answer 4 – Anthony Desmond

Question 4

I roomed in the stare of the house,
following demons through mirrors
into Constantinople. The family
spun gold coins, silver Magyar
stamps and shattered knee caps
in a recreation of Acton –
home in Redruth.

Our house was infinite, Anthony,
and lay dormant in the fields of Cairn.
Have you sat in the neighbours kitchen
and watched them reenact a TV family?
Known that yours is drawn straight
from the well? We kept crutches
to remind ourselves we could be our father

if we had the right group of friends
to show us the wrong blood fjørd.
I still draw pictures of a loft
where the mice wore tap shoes and bedsheets,
and a child peered over the top
of a wardrobe swearing he’d bash our skulls in
if we ever bought the demons to his nest.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 4

Television is where family
is more than just a word;
it’s a fantasy that makes me sick
to my stomach, almost leaving a
taste of jealousy in my mouth.
Bloodlines are riddled by things
left unsaid, a darkness over
houses where no child should rest.
Behind a door, that when unlocked,
a cup of sugar is offered to every
neighbor with a smile as bright
as the morning sun, so no one dare
believe in thy sinful ways.
Thus, why the closest resemblance
is nothing compared to who’s really
there for you. There are jackals
amongst a pack of wolves and
sheep with shaved lambskin
wearing someone else’s coat
until it’s worn out like an old
pair of jeans you wore that night
the first time you fucked.
These are memories.
Memories that are ripped away
by the very people you’re willing
to lose sleep over.

– Anthony Desmond

Question & Answer 1 – Lavinia Singer

Question 1

Ours is not the result of Theia
nor the comparison between
a closed fist on one side of a
map and two natural satellites
hovering over Orwell’s Japan.

Young’s old Gods are ever-
present on Rhea, plotting to
manipulate Titan, and we wait
on train times, hand held on
a journey to fling my stem cells

across the Atlantic to a shadow
dancing in the heart of Texas.
Our sacrifice is simple, give
birth to an animal or give birth
to ourselves. And all we want

are crows, the size of houses.
Where do we mark our mass
on a map? A cross to show we
were here, or some work to
leave a voice on a grave? I

swore we saw Chiron, once,
in the cancer-tinted corner of
a streetlight. We kept it quiet,
gave Goldschmidt his victory.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

Monday 3 April 2017, 19.39


I recognise the symptoms

lex parsimoniae

Left | right……..Set | rise


At first sight: could we be mistaken?


(a kind of paradise)

– Lavinia Singer

Question & Answer 1 – Stu Watson

Question 1

There are two flies
perpendicular to each other
in the crema on this espresso
and each is telling sweet lies
in the form of riddles.

Parallel universe theory
dictates that both flies
are in a different drink
perhaps soup or water
in a different world…

…and perhaps you and I,
Stu, are applying
a different sheen to the surface
of our language
and coating it in Magyar

or German or Arabic.
Am I the result of my language
or vice versa? Are there two
flies, not sailors,
because an English joke demands?

A barista brings a coffee over,
‘excuse me, sir, what are these
sailors doing in my drink?’
‘Praying for a God
who doesn’t exist, or so it seems.’

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

If one is Descartes’ fly,
set down upon a ceiling grid,

and the other is Hugo’s
ecstatic memory of God

the each, one can suppose,
would rather not be pinned

whether nailed down fast before the eye
or lifted toward futurity.

But what one knows
of flies of course colludes

and frames the answers we might beg
of them, unspeaking in their flyness,

stayed quietly like a Wittgensteinian lioness
content to be but in the dryness,

content to feel the warmth
off its rubbed together leg.

– Stu Watson

Question & Answer 2 – Daniel Roy Connelly

Question 2

Look at the cracks in our family crest the dent in the shield, and the smirk on the lion’s face. I was fifteen when we played cricket at the resevoir, my younger brother hit the ball into oncoming traffic, and I think that story made his name shine a little – we were the kids your parents warned you about, swinging goat skulls and skateboards in the street. Our ancestors would have been proud had they stuck around long enough to help us scream hello into the sun.

My father’s past was always bound to stories of his father joining the IRA, or shanking people in Acton, or his violence violence violent friends. Ball to bat to traffic, an excuse to show that he could bash a guy’s brains in as part of a botched robbery if our demons needed him to. Could you unearth your darkest fears and swing them in the town centre if your family needed you to? Can you fight fire with fire for approval?

Our shadows were drawn in the back of a notepad inked in the tones of house fires.

I ran into traffic singing homecoming songs as I lost 1989 forever.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2


A needle in the vein of nostalgia.

Don’t get stuck – my advice to you.

There be head-fucks.

Did I mention my grandfather was fishmonger to the Kray twins?

Our crest boasted three scimitars which is fine if you are a violent family. It fell on the cat more than once after a wall got punched. Those lazy summer evenings when we played hangman in the garden. That crunchy nose-nutting in year 10 from ‘Bloodbath’ Dawson. Just kids’ stuff really. Not organised yet not exactly, as per Bacon, what I’d call ‘wild justice’. A simple 16-year-old who needed to swing the swede as I was walking past. No rancour flaming in the gut for decades.

A proposito, fighting fire with fire has always left me tepid. It’s just, like, more fire, no? At what point do you declare a winner from the inferno? How can you tell whose flames are biggest? How do you separate the ashes out?

Asbestos. That’s where it’s at. Deadly as approval.

(The web page I am currently streaming cricket from offers a link to ‘7 mistakes people make while choosing a basketball’. Surely this should be ‘when’.)

My family has needed nothing from me in years. As for the deracination, the hauling to the surface of the rucksack of ruin, the pendulous parade of horrors, the HD quality of the darkness, the gawping remonstration from the few, the couldn’t give a monkey’s cunt from the many; daily out-in-the-open rituals where I come from, each and every one. You should visit.

I see the way through this and though I’m no expert I’d hazard it’s less Joe Pesci with a baseball bat and more trying to get the last grain of sugar out the packet with a fingernail because not many people have ever managed that. We’re different, as you’ll see. There now. Adieu, adieu, remember me.

– Daniel Roy Connelly

Question & Answer 1 – Kate Gale

Question 1

My connaissance des temps / our obligation
to Newtonian physics / leaves a great dark
spot on the back of my / me / we don’t exist
in the tropopause / we should marry in the rear
of a jet stream / force ourselves through /
under / over solar radiation / Polar / Ferrel
/ Hadley / I remember the volatile moments /
jot them / ephemerides of the screaming / waiting
for Thursdays to fire balloon it all /all / all /
break apart the shell / nest / scars / we don’t argue
in the way I was raised / there are no raised fists /
raise a glass to shouting matches / do you /
Kate / find a vacuum / between the Bermuda
Triangle and the Arctic / there are skulls
in treasure chests / lining the beaches of
Coastal paths / I still can’t bring a hammer /
to the chest / replace solar time / for ephemeris
time / for that time I shut the curtains / refused
to leave until / birds / owls / moths / fell

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

Raise a glass to freedom/raise a glass,
That’s all they want/to raise a glass
I have poured the wine /carried it from the cellar
In the cellar/ bats, vermin, live things,
Rodents and snakes/in the cellar there is freedom
I have stomped out the grapes/made wine
Spoil the child/bring down the wooden rod
Down across the back of freedom/the rod says no
You! I mean you!/Get over here you ungrateful
We didn’t land on the moon/we couldn’t have survived
The radiation/between the Bermuda triangle
And the arctic/vast numbers of fish, seabirds
Strangled by oil/plastic, human waste
Bring a hammer to the old/way of pounding
Out of the earth whatever/we need from it
Or go live on the moon/you’d think we’d have
A colony there by now/or a Pizza hut
Freedom from what?/to what?
To trample grapes/to eat moon pizza.

– Kate Gale